Sunday, 11 February 2018

Jim's column 10.2.2018

I'm back from my sickbed this week and looking forward to two memorable Saturdays. Today the Sky Blues entertain Accrington Stanley and a bumper crowd is expected for Community Day. Then, next Saturday, the team travel to Premiership Brighton for an FA Cup Fifth round tie with another large following hoping to see City reach the sixth round of the FA Cup for the first time since 2009.

Today's attendance is almost certainly going to be over 25,000 and although many schoolchildren are on free tickets, the gate will be a record for a League Two game since the league reorganisation in 2004. The existing record was set by Portsmouth two years ago when 18,746 watched their home game against Northampton. One record that won't be broken today however is the highest attendance for a game in tier 4 of the league. That was set in 1961 by Crystal Palace when 37,774 watched the Glaziers (as Palace were known then) play Millwall on the way to winning promotion. That excludes any play off finals at neutral Wembley or Cardiff. City's highest in their one season in Division 4 (1958-59) was 28,429 for the vital promotion game against Port Vale when a Ray Straw goal earned City the points.

The tie with Brighton is the fourth time City have been drawn against the Seagulls in the competition and each time they have been the away club. The teams first met in 1911 when City, fielding seven of their previous season's giant-killing team, got a 0-0 draw with their fellow Southern League opponents at the Goldstone Ground, and won the replay 2-0. The next meeting, in 1953, saw Brighton reverse the tables with a 5-1 thrashing by the sea in the First Round. The last game was in 2006 when a Gary McSheffrey goal was enough to win a Third Round tie at the Withdean Stadium.

Graham Paine has been in touch regarding Michael Doyle's total appearances for the club and believes he is now in the top twelve appearance-makers for the club. Graham is correct, this season Micky has overtaken Willie Carr, Marcus Hall, Peter Hill, Ronnie Farmer and Frank Austin in the all-time list and now stands twelfth.

  1. Steve Ogrizovic 601
  2. George Curtis 543
  3. Mick Coop 499
  4. Brian Borrows 488
  5. Bill Glazier 402
  6. Mick Kearns 385
  7. Richard Shaw 362
  8. George Mason 359
  9. Tommy Hutchison 355
  10. Roy Kirk 349
  11. Trevor Peake 334
  12. Michael Doyle 332

Doyle, with 35 appearances already this season, is only two behind 1987 FA Cup hero Trevor Peake, and assuming he plays today and on Tuesday night will draw level with Peaky at Colchester. If he stays fit he could reach Roy Kirk's total of 349 by the end of the season.
Finally, the Sky Blues go into today's game on the back of seven consecutive home wins. An eighth win today would be the best since they won the same number in 1954.

12 April QPR (h) 3-1
20 April Southampton (h) 2-1
24 April Bristol City (h) 3-0
26 April Norwich City (h) 1-0

21 Aug ust Bournemouth (h) 1-0
23 August Reading (h) 2-1
4 September Brighton (h) 2-1
6 September Gillingham (h) 4-1

On 18 September 1954 Bristol City ended the run with a 3-1 win at Highfield Road in front of a 29,000 crowd.

City did win nine league games in a row in 1959-60 season but that run was punctuated by a cup draw with Southampton. Included in that run was a 2-1 victory over today's visitors Accrington, on their last visit to the city.

Several people have asked me how they can make a donation to remember Cyrille Regis. His favourite charity was Wateraid and donations can be made at:

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Jim's column 27.1.2018

The Swindon Town bogey has officially been put to rest after last Saturday's 3-1 victory for the Sky Blues secured City's second double of the season. It was City's first home win over the Robins since October 1964 when Jimmy Hill's team won 3-2 at Highfield Road. Since then City had been unable to win in seven home games, one in the League Cup (1968), one in the Premiership (1994), both of these draws at Highfield Road, and five games in League One (four defeats, one draw).City's record at the County Ground has been little better until the victory there this season – the first in the league since 1960.

That last home victory in 1964 was an interesting game. City, newly promoted from Division Three, had started the season in scintillating form, winning their first five games to head the table. Then the wheels fell off and they went seven games without a win. The Swindon victory was a very nervous one and ended the dreadful run. Swindon had a young, exciting team which included Mike Summerbee and Don Rogers as well as future City star, Ernie Hunt. Ernie Machin gave City an early lead but Ken Skeen equalised. George Hudson made it 2-1 but Hunt levelled from the penalty spot before half-time. City's winner came ten minutes from time from Ken Hale and the game was watched by 25,253. Swindon were relegated that season and it would be thirty years before the clubs met again in league action.
                                                                         Ken Hale 

Saturday's victory made it six home wins in a row (five in the league plus one FA Cup). That is the best home run in league and cup games since 1987 when the team won six in a row in the run up to the FA Cup final

Feb 14 Chelsea won 3-0
Feb 28 Charlton won 2-1
Mar 7 Sheffield W won 1-0
Mar 20 Oxford won 3-0
Apr 20 QPR won 4-1
May 2 Liverpool won 1-0

The run was ended by Manchester United who held City to a 1-1 draw on May 6th.

City did win six league games in a row in early 2006, inspired by the signing of Dennis Wise, but a 1-1 draw in the FA Cup with Middlesbrough spoiled the run. The club record for consecutive home wins is 12 set in 1952-53 season (11 league and 1 Cup).

Nigel Spence asked me a question a few weeks ago. He wanted to know which City goalkeeper has saved the most penalties. I have records of most missed penalties since World War Two and I believe the top three 'savers' are:

Steve Ogrizovic 12
Bill Glazier 10
Joe Murphy 9

Joe holds the record for the most saves in a season – 5 in 2013-14 and his record achieved in just three seasons is impressive. Since Joe left Coventry four years ago only two penalties have been saved (excluding penalty shoot-outs), both by Lee Burge last season.

Ian Crawley was a local football legend and the son of former Coventry City player Tom Crawley. In 1983 he scored the winner for VS Rugby in the FA Vase final at Wembley and followed up this achievement when hitting the net six years later when Telford beat Macclesfield Town in the FA Trophy final.

In 2006 Ian was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and shortly after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He cruelly lost his life on 8th July 2008.

On May 19th 2018 his family and friends will be celebrating Ian’s life and raising funds for the MND Association with the Crawl Ball 10th Anniversary at the Britannia Hotel Coventry with tickets at £35. Throughout the night there will be a number of fundraising activities such as raffles and auctions to support the vital work of MND Association. For tickets contact his daughter Sophie Crawley on email

Sunday, 21 January 2018

A tribute to Cyrille Regis

Cyrille Regis
9.2.1958 – 15.1.2018

If George Curtis was the Sky Blue player of the 60s and Tommy Hutchison the player of the 70s, then Cyrille Regis was a strong contender for the City player of the 1980s. Cyrille was a talismatic centre-forward who was adored by Coventry City fans of all ages during his seven years at Highfield Road and was a key player in the Sky Blues' 1987 FA Cup triumph. His death this week at just three weeks short of his 60th birthday has shocked the football world but especially the fans of his two favourite clubs, West Bromwich Albion and Coventry City.

Strong, quick and direct, Cyrille had an excellent first touch and a habit of scoring spectacular goals, powerfully running at defences before unleashing thunderous shots from either foot. He had a strong aerial presence too and many of his goals were headers. He was a true centre-forward who led the line with passion and bravery prepared to take a battering from a tough defender as well as the vile racial abuse from the terraces.

Born in Maripasoula in French Guiana, Cyrille's family moved to the UK in the early 1960s and he grew up in West London, not far from Wembley Stadium. West Brom spotted him playing for non-league Hayes and at the age of 19 he moved to the Hawthorns for a £5,000 fee. He made an instant impact, scoring twice on his debut in a League Cup tie with Rotherham and four days later, like something out of Roy of the Rovers, he scored against Middlesbrough on his league debut. Within a short space of time he become a fixture in an Albion side that included two other outstanding young black players, Laurie Cunningham and Brendan Batson.

Eighteen goals that season and the same number the following season when, with Ron Atkinson in charge, the Baggies finished third in Division One saw Cyrille gain international recognition. In his seven years at the Hawthorns he built a formidable reputation as a goalscorer winning four England caps and narrowly missed going to the 1982 World Cup finals. The Sky Blues crossed paths with Big C several times in that period and two games are not fondly remembered by City fans. In October 1978 Atkinson's rampaging Albion side took a more than useful City team apart at the Hawthorns, winning 7-1 with Cyrille scoring twice. Then, in 1982, Dave Sexton's young City side travelled to the Hawthorns for an FA Cup sixth round tie and Cyrille scored the first goal - one of his screamers – in the 2-0 win. That year he was voted second in the PFA Player of the Year award behind Kevin Keegan. His haul of five England caps was poor reward for years of brilliance and he would have won more but for the outstanding form of Trevor Francis and Paul Mariner and later Gary Lineker, and if he had played for more fashionable clubs.

Cyrille admitted in his autobiography that the years 1983-86 were spent in the wilderness. He lost form in a struggling Albion side, had off the pitch problems and his career had stalled when City manager Bobby Gould paid £250,000 for him in October 1984. His first two seasons at Coventry were disappointing as first Gould, and then Don Mackay used him as target man and his goal return was poor. He almost joined Bordeaux in 1985 and under Mackay there were stories that City were trying to unload him for £40,000. In his first season City had to win their last three games to avoid relegation and in the final game he finally came good, scoring twice (a powerful header and a scrambled effort). There were always glimpses of the old Cyrille , for example he equalled the club's individual scoring record by netting five goals in a League Cup game with Chester. After John and George took over in 1986 Sillett insisted they played to Cyrille's strengths – playing on the deck and getting him to hold the ball up and play off and around him. Immediately City looked a different proposition, the successful partnership with Dave Bennett was formed and the club enjoyed their best season for a long time. Cyrille netted 16 goals including a memorable 90th minute winner against Tottenham in a 4-3 thriller at Christmas but this was only the prelude to a memorable FA Cup run.

Cyrille described City’s 1987 FA Cup win as the greatest football day of his career and his role in that famous team was vital. He scored in the 3-0 win over Bolton in round three and then in the sixth round he set City on the way to a famous victory by scoring at the Kop end against Sheffield Wedneday at Hillsborough. Lloyd McGrath and Dave Bennett did the spade work in the centre circle and a one-two with Benno saw Cyrille take off like a greyhound with the Wednesday defence trailing in his wake. As Martin Hodge the Owls goalkeeper came out Cyrille, from the edge of the penalty area, let fly and the ball rocketed into the net.

His form that season was so good that he was recalled to the England squad and gained the last of his five full caps. Critics said he did not score enough goals but he made many for others purely with his physical presence and the fear he induced into defenders. Whilst John Sillett was in charge Cyrille was guaranteed a place and his post playing career seemed assured when John gave him and Trevor Peake coaching roles. However in 1990 when Sillett was sacked the new manager Terry Butcher wanted change. Several of the '87 boys were let go and in May 1991, to the surprise and disappointment of the fans, Cyrille was given a free transfer, a decision which turned out to be premature.

Ron Atkinson, by now in charge at Aston Villa, realised that Cyrille had more to offer and signed him. The move gave him a new lease of life and he was a first team regular. Then in May 1992 Cyrille scored a goal against City at Villa Park that, but for Notts County’s late winner, would have sent his old club down. After two years at Villa he joined Wolves on a free transfer and later played briefly for Wycombe Wanderers and Chester. He then took up a coaching role at West Brom but quickly recognised that coaching wasn't for him and moved to become a very successful player’s agent. In this role he mentored some big names in the game, passing on sensible advice to young players making their way in the game. In 2008 he was awarded the MBE for his services to the game and for his voluntary work.

The firm bonds of friendship and camaraderie between the players and management that helped carry the team to success in 1987 are as strong as ever and they met regularly. Their next get together will have a sombre atmosphere.

When the Former Players Association was formed eleven years ago Cyrille was one of the first to join, enthusiastic about meeting up with former colleagues, and he has been a great supporter attending most Legends Days. I often bumped into him in the Legends Lounge and was always struck by his warmth and kindness and his special presence. He never said a bad word about anyone and would engage positively with everyone he came into contact with. When he started talking, quietly mostly, about the game and players he was compelling and you hung on his every word. For his young clients his words and wise advice must have been invaluable and inspiring. Since becoming a born-again Christian following the tragic death of Laurie Cunningham in 1989, religion had played an important role in his life.

There were no signs of impending health problems when I last saw him in the autumn, in fact he looked fitter than most men half his age and that makes the news of his death all the more shocking. City fans will mourn him today but at the same time celebrate the passing of a great footballer and a great man. In Latin Regis means 'of the king' and Cyrille lived up to his surname on and off the field. To Coventry City fans he will always be a true King.

Jim Brown

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Jim's column 13.1.2018

What a remarkable day last Saturday. I, along with many Sky Blue fans, gave City little chance of beating Premiership Stoke City even with the Potters lack of form. Over ninety enthralling minutes however the team thoroughly deserved a famous victory and a place in the Fourth Round for only the third time in nine years.

Since the club reached the sixth round and faced Chelsea in 2009 the Sky Blues reached the fourth round in 2011 (losing to Birmingham) and 2014 (losing to Arsenal). Let's hope it's third time lucky for the fifth round at Milton Keynes where it will be the first ever FA Cup meeting between the clubs.

Saturday was the club's first victory over a team from a higher division since Steven Pressley's side won at Championship side Barnsley in 2014. It's a welcome relief after being knocked out by teams from lower status in last three seasons. Worcester City, Northampton and Cambridge United have all left egg on City's faces in the last three years.

In the 93 seasons that City have played in the FA Cup since joining the Football League they have now faced 30 clubs from a higher division – obviously in the 34 years between 1967-2001 when the club were in the top flight they couldn't play a team from a higher division. In those 30 meetings they have progressed on seven occasions:

1937 v Charlton Athletic – City, then a Division Two side beat Division One leaders Charlton 2-0 at Highfield Road.

1963 v Portsmouth – Division Three City beat Second Division Pompey in a second replay at White Hart Lane after two draws.

1963 v Sunderland – Sunderland were Division Two leaders when City made it to the Sixth Round triumphing 2-1.

2008 v Blackburn – Ian Dowie's Championship side dumped First Division Blackburn out, winning 4-1 at Ewood Park. (Mark Hughes was Blackburn manager that day).

2009 v Blackburn – Chris Coleman's side repeated the Blackburn result, winning 1-0 in a Ricoh replay after a draw at Ewood.

2014 v Barnsley – Steven Pressley's League One side progressed at the expense of bottom of the Championship side Barnsley, winning 2-1 at Oakwell.

2018 v Stoke City – 53 places (a club record) separated City & the Potters but anyone landing from Mars would have found it hard to identify the Premiership team.

City had a wonderful FA Cup tradition in the early part of the 20th century before they joined the Football League. In 1908 as a Birmingham League side they reached the equivalent of the Third Round and two years later, now in the Southern League, they defeated First Division Preston and Nottingham Forest to reach the quarter-final where they lost to another top flight club Everton in front of a record 19,000 crowd. They caused another upset the following season by winning at First Division Sheffield Wednesday.

Saturday's attendance of 14,199 was City's largest home crowd in the competition since that famous day against Chelsea in 2009 when 31,407 watched the Londoners win 2-0. Since then City had had eleven home games and the biggest crowd in that time until Saturday was the 9,000 who watched the Sky Blues lose 2-1 to Southampton in 2012. It was also the club's biggest gate for almost two years – since 17,140 watched the league defeat to Burton Albion in January 2016.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Jim's column 6.1.2018

In October 1936 Coventry City paid Wolves a club record £3,000 for Jackie Brown. City, newly promoted to Division Two, had lost their star right-winger George McNestry with a bad ankle injury and manager Harry Storer persuaded the directors to sign as his replacement the 21-year old Irish international who was struggling to hold a regular place at Molineux. Brown quickly became a massive favourite with the Highfield Road fans and topped the goalscoring lists with 13 goals in both 1936-37 and 1937-38 as City almost reached the First Division for the first time. However, in September 1938, he was abruptly sold to Birmingham for £3,000 and at the time it was reported in the local press that he had been involved in 'an unsavoury incident at a local ballroom'. City historians, including myself, have always assumed a salacious story, possibly involving a female, behind his sudden departure. Brown played for Blues up until the outbreak of war the following year and after the war he played for Barry Town and Ipswich before retiring in 1951.
                    City in 1937 with Brown third from left on second row, two to the left of Storer.                    

A new book published at the end of last year throws more light on Jackie (or as his family called him, Johnny) Brown. The author, Michael Walker, the great nephew of Brown, has done extensive research into his relative and has discovered a possible reason for his sudden move. Early in September 1938 the Midland Daily Telegraph (the fore-runner of this newspaper) reported on disturbances in Coventry city centre. There were headlines such as: '300 Irishmen in Street Fight'; 'Fierce Clash of Coventry Gangs'. It said trouble had occurred outside 'a dance hall' in Ford Street and it was not the first of its kind. The author leaves the question of Brown's departure open but it is a fascinating theory. Did the club unload Brown because of his involvement in the trouble? Another interesting coincidence is that in 1946 with football beginning to re-organise itself following the hostilities, Birmingham, who had retained Brown through the course of the war, made the winger available for transfer and he signed for Southern League Barry Town. The Blues manager responsible for the decision was – Harry Storer, the man who had bought and sold him for City.

The book, entitled 'Green Shoots', is the inside story of Irish football and blends original research, travel writing and interviews with many of the significant characters in Irish football, both north and south of the border. There are wonderful vignettes on numerous famous and not so famous Irish footballers. The piece on Peter Doherty, until George Best the best Irish footballer of all time, who later managed Northern Ireland to the quarter-finals of the 1958 World Cup, is delightful. The lesser-known Alan McLoughlin's story is equally intriguing. Born in Manchester to an Irish mother, McLoughlin received two letters in the same post delivery, one from the FA telling him he had been selected for England 'B' to play Ireland 'B', the other from the Irish FA telling him he had been picked for Ireland 'B' to play England 'B'. Alan had to choose which country's invitation to take up. There are many other fascinating stories

I thoroughly recommend this excellent book about Irish football which is thoroughly researched, passionate and funny.

The Sky Blues had an excellent holiday period with three wins out of four which lifted them into third place in League Two following the New Years Day game. It may be a surprise to discover that it is the highest league position that the club has been on New Years Day since 1967 when, of course, the team won promotion to Division One. It is one place higher than Tony Mowbray's side were placed two years ago following a 5-0 win at Crewe. Mowbray's team had been higher (up to first in November 2015) but went downhill after the Crewe game.

Today the Sky Blues are in FA Cup Third round action for the first time since 2014. They face higher status opposition, in the form of Stoke City, for the first time since they travelled to the Emirates Stadium and lost 4-0 to Arsenal in 2014. Since they were relegated from the Premier League in 2001 they have faced higher status opposition on eleven occasions and progressed just three times: Blackburn (twice, in 2008 & 2009) and Barnsley (2014), although they did take Middlesbrough (2006) and Portsmouth (2010) to replays. There are however three divisions between City and Stoke and a Sky Blue victory today would qualify as the club's biggest ever shock result – bigger than in 1910 when City, then a Southern League club, knocked First Division Preston and Nottingham Forest out of the competition on their way to the quarter-final. There are 53 places between City and the Potters and in those terms the biggest giant-killing act I can find was in 2008 when City won 4-1 at Premier League Blackburn when there were 28 places between the clubs. Blackburn's manager that Day was Mark Hughes.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Jim's Column 23.12.2017

Eighteen-year-old Tom Bayliss made a dramatic first league start for the Sky Blues last Saturday. Within two minutes of the kick-off he had netted his first goal for the club – the fastest goal by a City league starting debutant since 1956 when Ron Newman netted in the first minute of his debut against Southampton. Newman was a Welsh-born right-winger who joined City from Northampton Town in a straight swap for Charlie Dutton n March 1956 and went straight into the first team. His goal-time was not recorded in seconds but 'Nemo' in the Pink was clear it hit the net within the first minute. City beat the Saints 2-0 with Ken McPherson netting the second goal. Ron scored one other goal in six appearances before the end of the season, in a 4-1 home win over QPR. The following season he made only seven appearances and moved to Torquay United in July 1957 where he played just four games before moving into non-league circles with Bedford Town, Rugby Town and Rushden Town. He later coached Wellingborough Town and still lives in Northampton.
                                                             Ron Newman in 1955

Since then two players have scored faster debut goals as substitutes. Wayne Andrews scored 26 seconds after coming off the bench at Barnsley in 2006-07 and Laurent Delorge scored within a minute after coming on for his league debut at Sheffield United in 2001.
                                                   Wayne Andrews celebrates at Barnsley

Leicester-born Bayliss celebrated his 18th birthday on 6th April which made him 18 years and 254 days when he scored his first goal. However, that doesn't even put him in the top 10 youngest City goalscorers who are:-

1 Brian Hill v Gillingham 1957-58  16 years 273 days
2 Colin Holder v Shrewsbury 1960-61 17y 78d
3 Tom English v Bristol City 1979-80 17y 307d
4 James Maddison v Oldham (a) 2014-15 17y 332d
5 Willie Carr v Charlton 1967-68 18y 21d
6 Peter Hill v Preston 1949-50 18y 33d
7 Ellis Lager v Bournemouth 1935-36 18y 93d
8 Conor Thomas v Blackpool (a) 2011-12 18y 94d
9 Bobby Gould v Mansfield 1964-65 18y 124d
10 Steve Sedgley v Oldham 1986-87 18y 155d

Bayliss was born in April 1999 and the day is fast approaching when the club will field their first player born in the 21st century. Only Jordan Thompson, born two days after Bayliss, who made his bow in the Checkatrade Trophy game with West Brom as a substitute, was born after Tom.

Geoff Moore, who tracks stats on the players who have appeared at the Ricoh tells me that an opposition player born in the 21st century has already appeared – Walsall's Mitchell Candlin was born on 8th June 2000 and was only 16 when he played against the Sky Blues last April.

Geoff also tracks the nationalities to appear at the Ricoh and has advised me that two recent players were 'firsts'. One of Boreham Wood's substitutes in the recent FA Cup tie was Angelo Balanta, the first Colombian to appear at the stadium. Then, last Saturday, Cheltenham's impressive striker and goalscorer was Sudanese Mohamed Eisa. This takes the total of different nationalities to play at the Ricoh to 85.

We are also getting close to the 1000th player used by the club since they joined the Football League in 1919. That milestone will probably be reached next summer.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Jim's column 16.12.2017

I couldn't believe the small attendance at Coventry City's game at Morecambe last Saturday. Despite there being almost 700 City fans present, the gate of 1,773 was the lowest to watch City in an away league game since 1932 when 1,215 watched us play a Third Division South match at Thames AFC.

Since that grey January day in 1932 these are the ten smallest crowds:

1,773 v Morecambe 2017-18
2,077 v Wimbledon 2002-03
2,275 v Southport 1958-59
2,495 v Rochdale 2015-16
2,505 v Clapton Orient 1935-36
2,544 v Stevenage 2017-18
2,607 v Halifax 1961-62
2,611 v Bury 2016-17
2,791 v Northampton 1933-34
2,828 v Accrington 2017-18

Note: four of the smallest ten have occurred during 2017.

Many City fans will not have heard of Thames AFC before but they were a side formed in 1928 to play in the then new West Ham Stadium in the Custom House area of East London. The stadium was primarily used for greyhound racing and speedway and at the outset had a capacity of 120,000! Initially Thames were members of the Southern League but were voted into the league in 1930. Their stay in the league was
short and unhappy as the club failed to attract support. Despite the capacity of the stadium making it the largest ground in England to ever regularly host league football it holds the unenviable record of attracting the lowest Saturday crowd for a league game with only 469 turning up to watch them play Luton in December 1930. They finished 20th (out of 22) in 1930-31 and bottom the following season after which the club did not apply for re-election and was wound up.

The 1,215 who braved a cold East End day saw a thrilling game with Thames causing an upset by winning 5-2. Before the game Thames were bottom of the league and City were in seventh place, just three points behind second-placed Fulham, having scored 59 goals in 23 games. This was the season that Clarrie Bourton finished as the league's top scorer with 49 goals and he had already netted 30 including four hat-tricks. He fired blanks that day and Frank White and Jock Lauderdale scored City's goals as Thames won only their fourth game of the season and ended a run of five consecutive defeats. They would win only three further games and suffered shattering losses at Cardiff (9-2) and Fulham (8-0) and conceded 109 goals in total.

Ed Blackaby asked me a question about a friendly against Bayern Munich he remembers attending in 1998. He remembers Bayern winning 4-2 and they had German international goalkeeper Oliver Kahn and Brazilian Elber in their line up. Ed wants to know City's line up that night and any other details.

The game was played at Highfield Road on 27 January 1998 and City put up a good fight against their strong German opposition. City had a goalkeeping crisis with Steve Ogrizovic and Magnus Hedman injured and manager Gordon Strachan played Motherwell 'keeper Scott Howie as a guest player. City's line up was: Howie: Boateng, Breen, Hall, Salako: Telfer (sub Shilton 58), Gavin Strachan, Soltvedt, Whelan (sub Hamrouni 73): Dublin (sub Haworth 45), Moldovan.

Moldovan was making his first senior start after joining the club just before Christmas and the substitute El Hamrouni was a Tunisian on trial at the club.

Bayern lined up as follows: Oliver Kahn: Christian Nerlinger, Mehmet Scholl (sub Zickler 77), Thomas Strunz, Giovani Elber, Lothar Matthaus (sub Gerster 62), Bixente Lizarazu, Mario Basler, Thorsten Fink, Michael Tarnat, Carsten Jancker (sub Rizzitelli 77). Ten of the starting XI plus two of the subs were full internationals at the time.

Moldovan opened the scoring in the 9th minute before Scholl equalised on 19 minutes. Elber and Jancker made it 3-1 before half-time. Sub Simon Haworth made it 3-2 before Rizzitelli completed the scoring in the 84th minute to the delight of 140 visiting fans. The attendance was 8,409 and the game was beamed back to German TV where an estimated 3 million viewers watched the action.