I thought I’d share with you some of the gut feelings I’ve experienced over the years re turning points /milestones at City, off the top of my head :
1) 1960 Denis Law coming – danced in the street
2) 1963 - George Poyser taking over – time to pack it in
3) 1965 - Joe and Malcolm coming - highly optimistic
4) 1967 – Franny coming – fantastic, legendary tales from Bolton, last piece in the jigsaw
5) 1971 - Joe going, very sad
6) 1972 Rodney Marsh coming – icing on the cake, 4 goals in 7 appearances proved it
7) 1973 - Malcolm going – non-plussed
8) 1973 - Johnny Hart as manager – worried
9) 1973 – Ron Saunders coming – optimistic
10) 1974 Ron Saunders going – pessimistic
11) 1974 - Tony Book taking over – comforting
12) 1974 - Franny Lee going – best for player and club
13) 1975 - Rodney Marsh going - as it turned out I never thought we’d win anything with Rod in the team
14) 1979 – Malcolm’s return – ecstatic
15) 1980 – Owen, Barnes, Hartford, Watson, etc going – what the eff is going on, madness
16) 1980 – Shinton, Lee, Daley, Robinson, Stepanovic coming in – interesting
17) 1980 – Robinson going, disappointed, wrote to him and suggested he’d score 20 goals for Brighton, which he did.
18) 1980 - Allison going – relief, sad for Tony
19) 1980 - John Bond coming – delighted
20) 1981 - Trevor Francis coming – skipped all the way to Stoke
21) 1982 - Trevor Francis going – thought we’d get relegated. I remember Swales saying in the November when we were second “people thought we’d struggle, but we’re doing OK”
22) John Bond “far too good to get relegated” going, timing was wrong
23) 1983 - John Benson – coming in – convinced we’d get relegated
24) 1985 - Billy McNeill coming in - fairly happy, would have preferred the Doc.!
25) 1987 - Billy NcNeill going, Jimmy Frizz coming in – cheap option
26) 1988 - Mel Machin coming in – great record as a coach so wait and see
27) 1989 - Machin going – Kendall coming in, exciting
28) 1990 - Kendall going - apoplectic
29) 1990 - Reid coming in – only possible decision
30) 1993 - New Platt Lane stand – now convinced that Swales must go
31) 1993 - Reid going, Maddocks/Horton coming in – what the eff is going on
32) 1993 - Forward with Franny – We were told by a source ‘close to Francis Lee’ “there’s more money than you could ever imagine” so we campaigned on his behalf. But the big money wasn’t there.
33) 1995 - Horton out – a farce, Franz Beckenbauer was mentioned – but we got Alan Ball – suicidal (Martin O’Neill was available, David Pleat even) but we backed him nevertheless
34) 1996 - Ball out – inevitable, but sad because it was yet another failure.
35) 1996 – Hartford caretaker, Bassett turned us down at the 11th hour until Coppell took over. Thought it was a good appointment, but he resigned when he found out that, despite promises, no money was available, and Bassett had been tipped off to this.
36) 1996 – Phil Neal caretaker, until Frank Clark took over. Relieved at Frank Clark, even though he’d failed at Forest, more in desperation than anything else.
37) 1998 – Clark out – he was clueless, and Franny out also as we headed for division three, after Dante’s ‘Free The 30,000 campaign – Bernstein/Royle in – time for a complete overhaul
38) 2001 – Royle out, Keegan in – thought Royle had to go, but would have preferred Moyes to Keegan. I said on TV that he wouldn’t see out his 5 year contract. He didn’t.
39) 2003 – Fowler in/Bernstein out/Wardle in – I really did feel that John Wardle would continue the good work - assumed, wrongly, that they'd checked that Fowler was fit.
40) 2003 – Move to Eastlands – definitely in favour, but were we told we’d be required to spend £25M or so to fit it out? We could have put up 2 new stands at Maine Road for that price, and extended the Platt Lane. But did we REALLY have an option?
41) 2005 – Keegan looking as though he’d lost the plot before the Palace away game, and I said so. I was annihilated on the message boards. We went out of the cup at Oldham in January, and even the die-hard City fans and message board reactionaries realised he was on his way.
42) 2005 – Anelka went – disappointed, to be honest, where would we have been without his goals, and he NEVER missed a penalty.
43) 2005 – Pearce in – he surprised us all with his results in the last 8 games – won 4, drawn 3 lost 1. The obvious choice for new manager.
44) 2005 – SWP sold – I thought it was a very dangerous game, likened it to 1983 when we sold Trevor, gates went down by 7,000, and we were relegated. Didn’t think we’d get relegated this season but we’d struggle and there wouldn’t be any excitement. Oh, and the money wasn’t invested.
42) Live For City and Real City campaign, I thought the timing was bad, after the Doncaster defeat, and was critical. They dropped ‘Real City’ but the ‘Live For City’has proved a winner.
41) 2006 – A poor season, lost ten out of the last eleven games, but the Board didn’t panic, didn’t get investment, and didn’t get Martin O’Neill. So a dire struggle predicted.
42) 2006 – Joey Barton – I thought that we should give him the money and sell him on later for at least £8M.
42) 2006 - Pearce’s decision to leave out Micah Richards in the Youth Cup final first leg, infuriated me. If he’d played at Liverpool we may have got a better result, added 10,000 to the gate for the second leg, and the game at West Ham was unimportant, and we lost anyway- all ends up.
45) 2007 – A dreadful season, as predicted – stayed up by having some good Christmas results and rare away wins, plus three or four teams being even worse than us. I criticised Pearce for the under 21 situation in January, and thought it was time he went.
44) 2007 – I criticised the time the proposed takeover was taking – seven months since it was first announced before the AGM last December. Questioned the credibility of Thaksin, and criticised the proposed move for Sven. Gut feeling - excitement to start with then the reality, which might not match expectations.
Anyone any other 'milestones' to add to this list?
A document popped through the door last week supposedly informing me, as a shareholder, of the takeover situation. No covering letter, no form to fill in advising how to give up our shares. No useful information whatsoever. Typical City.
Then this week another document landed, this time covering most of the above.
This was followed by the anticipated phone call asking if I was going to complete the form in favour of selling.
I asked if the £50million 'transfer kitty' was a gift or a loan from Thaksin, but the representative on the phone did not know.
People have been ringing up asking what’s going on, questions like :
1) What other bids were received, eg Ranson’s, and 'The Americans', whoever they are?
2) Why is the Thaksin bid considered the most suitable?
3) Was the £80 odd million and 40p a share price the best price and why?
4) Is the £50M transfer kitty a gift, or does it have to be repaid?
5) City fans bought shares not for financial reasons but to have a little stake in the club, but nevertheless why should they sell at 40p a share when they bought, thousands in some cases, at £1 a share?
6) Why was the initial document such a rambling statement of the obvious, rather than a source of information and advice?
7) Why are the Board recommending that we sell?
8) Why wasn’t our ‘manageable’ debt manageable?
9) Why is the lady from the share company (?) ringing up shareholders asking them what they’re doing?
10) Why is the deadline mid July – they’ve had 7 months to decide, shareholders have had a few weeks and many will be going on holiday now, if not already.
11) Why is the very regime which got us into this mess being retained?
12) Why was the £10million the board borrowed at Christmas not used in the transfer window?
Most of my gut feelings in the past turned out to be well founded.
Hope my gut feelings today are proved to be wrong, but fear they won't.
Please post your opinions.