Wednesday, 4 July 2007

GUT FEELINGS

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?

The Takeover
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.
Dave

Please post your opinions.

3 comments:

  1. Good to read not all Blues are getting carried away with the current situation. Most of the stuff I've read online from Blues in the messageboards has been simply embarrassing. While they're online why don't they search for Thaksin Shinawatra's name on the Amnesty International website, they won't have to wait long for the results. Not that any of them could be arsed to read it. All this 'Frank' business turns my stomach too. Wake up Blues, the lack of proper discussion or protest over this business is a disgrace. I want City to succeed just as much as the next Blue, but not at any cost.
    David Bernstein spoke about the takeover last weekend and is dead set against it, he won't be selling his shares. He says the deal is a poor one and doesn't wipe out any debt. I've always been proud to be a blue, I hope that's not about to change.

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  3. I feel we're in a position of the Irishman giving directions - "well I wouldn't start from here".

    Some of the reasonable grouses that have been expressed are a spinoff of the bizarre regulation of Takeovers, which require certain things. Some are just answered with 'better than the alternative'. In an ideal world we would have found the club bought by some billionaire who was a credit to humanity and a big City fan on the side. Strangely this person hasn't been found. Rich people usually get that way by exploiting others. Even the likes of John Wardle got his money by flogging overpriced football shirts on the back of Vietnamese labour - just through his chain instead of the club shop.

    In answer to the questions, Dave:

    1) What other bids were received, eg Ranson’s, and 'The Americans', whoever they are?

    Details of bids can't be revealed without the express permission of the bidding parties - so if Ray wants to tell us all, that's fine, but City can't do so.

    2) Why is the Thaksin bid considered the most suitable?

    Probably because it's the highest bid that involves confirmed cash with the possibility of further dosh if needed. Ranson's bid looked as if it relied on a whip-round and borrowed money.

    3) Was the £80 odd million and 40p a share price the best price and why?

    Yes probably. It doesn't look shabby against the prices paid for other club takeovers.

    4) Is the £50M transfer kitty a gift, or does it have to be repaid?

    I'm guessing this is a loan or paid for by the issuing of more shares, which is mentioned in the offer document. It's really only £25M of new money though.

    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?

    Don't have to sell unless Shinawatra goes over 90% and chooses to enforce this.

    6) Why was the initial document such a rambling statement of the obvious, rather than a source of information and advice?

    'cos that's what all offer documents are like.

    7) Why are the Board recommending that we sell?

    Because they think it's the best deal that's availabl to the club. It doesn't do Wardle and Makin many favours financially don't forget.

    8) Why wasn’t our ‘manageable’ debt manageable?

    Because the wave of new money coming into the Premiership from Sky and new owners meant that standing still was likely to lead to a season worse than 2006/07 and relegation.

    9) Why is the lady from the share company (?) ringing up shareholders asking them what they’re doing?

    To get a rapid resolution of the issue of getting to 75% and then being able to get Sven on board and I suspect to see whether the 90% line will be reached.

    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.

    Again, there are timetables imposed on takeovers which are standardised and nothing to do with City or Shinawatra.

    11) Why is the very regime which got us into this mess being retained?

    Well Macintosh is retained, Wardle is retained as a figleaf and in recognition of some debt write-off, but we got into this mess through Wardle not being as rich as the likes of Shepherd and able to write-off wasteful managerial buyung without a care in the world.

    12) Why was the £10million the board borrowed at Christmas not used in the transfer window?

    Probably because Pearce was once-bitten with the money spent on Sam and wanted to go for proven talent which was only going to be Fatboy Mido anyway.

    I still don't like Sven as manager for the key reason that he has absolutely no sense of humour which I find ket in a City manager. Never liked Keegan for the same reason and for that reason I'd much rather have lured Gordon Strachan, despite his ex-Red status.

    But them's the breaks and if I had stopped being a fan in the last 40 years through crass chairmanship, administration and managership, I'd have been gone many times over.

    Geoff Challinger

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