Nationwide League Division 1
14th March 1998
Port Vale Foyle(13), Ainsworth(73)
City Margetson, Jeff Whitley, Symons, Jobson, Edghill, Jim Whitley, Brannan, Kinkladze, Wiekens, Heaney, Rosler – used subs Russell, Brown, Dickov
TAKEN FROM KINKLADZE PERFECT 10 BY DAVID CLAYTON …Gio was passed fit and pitched into the team with Beardsley dispatched back to Bolton much to his dismay
“he said we were too similar” said Beardsley “Gio was fit and my time at City was over. I would have liked to have stayed longer and thought I was going to but it didn’t work out that way”
Vale Park was a mud-bath and the 5,000 travelling City fans were in no mood for anyone without total commitment to the cause.
The atmosphere was ugly from the start, with the visiting fans showing their displeasure towards several of their own players, Uwe Rosler, Ged Brannen, Neil Heaney and Kit Symons had all become targets in the past few months, and this before a ball was kicked!
When Martin Foyle put the home side ahead on 13 minutes, it really was a case of unlucky for some. Arguments flared amongst the Blues’ followers and there were several scuffles. Even Kinkladze, previously all but untouchable, didn’t escape criticism, with some claiming his heart wasn’t in it anymore
…In fairness to Gio he didn’t look fit and was tired of having lumps kicked out of him, he looked desparately unhappy. For his legion of fans watching him that day was a painful experience. True world class players should be able to perform anywhere at anytime, but stick Thierry Henry, Denis Bergamp or even Zinedine Zidanenin the City team that day and there would likely have been no difference….City lost 2-1 to Vale and nobody escaped the wrath of anger from the supporters.
from DENNIS TUEART – MY FOOTBALL JOURNEY By Dennis Tueart – … It was a horrible day, really windy with lashing rain, and it was made worse by the fact that they were extending one of the stands at Vale Park, so the rain was gusting through the gap left by the building work. That was the day Joe[Royle] fell out of love with Georgi Kinkladze (although I don’t think Joe had ever really been under the Georgian’s spell). It was a game for players to get stuck in and fight for their lives. All season, other clubs had been gunning for City because they were the big club to be shot at, and too often our players had been unable to rise to the challenge. Georgi was the biggest culprit of all. He was a manificently talented player, but that day he was a disgrace. Vale put a man marker on him, and Georgi just didn’t seem interested in running at him, or trying to muscle him out of it. He was on about £12,000 a week, but his contribution that day was nil. Joe came into the boardroom after the game raging about “That Cheating Georgian Bastard!”