Sunday, 23 April 2017

Jim's column 22.04.2017

It's now official, Coventry City are relegated to League Two (tier 4). Good Friday's 1-1 draw with Charlton Athletic meant that the Sky Blues were unable to catch the sides immediately above the four relegation places. The draw finally put City fans out of their misery – most of them have known for weeks that relegation was inevitable, probably before Mark Robins arrived to offer a small glimmer of hope. At least he got the team winning a few home games and showing a bit of passion. I think most fans realised that Robins was brought in to start the planning for next season and over the few weeks he has seen performances over a wide range of the spectrum – from gritty wins over Port Vale and Bristol Rovers to capitulations at Rochdale – to be clear where the problems lie.

So, next season the Sky Blues will play in the fourth tier of English football for the first time since 1959. That was the first season of that division and City were there through a reorganisation of the league and not as many believe through relegation. Up until 1958 the Third Division consisted of two regional leagues (North and South) and when the 92 clubs voted to reorganise these divisions into a Third and Fourth league, it was decided that the top half of the Third North and the Third South would comprise the new Third Division and the bottom half of the two old leagues would make up the new Fourth Division. City, by virtue of finishing 19th in Division Three South were put in the new Fourth Division. Strictly speaking therefore, City have never been relegated to tier 4 before!

In 1958-59 City, under the management of Billy Frith, had a poor start with only one point from their first three games leaving them in 23rd place. A run of 15 games with only two defeats saw City surge into the promotion race and in early December they hit the top. A slight dip in March saw Port Vale overhaul them and win the title with over 28,000 watching the teams meeting at Highfield Road. Frith's team finished runners-up with York City and Shrewsbury also promoted. The success was based on an excellent home record with 18 victories and just one defeat, and the best defence in the division with only 47 goals conceded against 84 scored.

Fans are already looking at the likely opponents next season and although Doncaster, Plymouth and Portsmouth have clinched automatic promotion, it's not clear who will be in the play-offs with eleven clubs still capable of qualifying for places 4 to 7. At the foot of League Two there is a scramble to avoid the trapdoor and any two of nine teams could lose their league status. So at this stage it's only certain that we will be visiting Chesterfield (already relegated from League One) and Notts County. However it's fairly clear that there will be first league visits for the Sky Blues to Barnet, Morecambe and probably Cheltenham and Wycombe. The whole picture will be a lot clearer after today's games but it seems that City will also be making their first league visit to Accrington since 1960 (when Stanley played at their former ground, Peel Park) and first time to Lincoln since an FA Cup game in 1963.

Easter Monday offered the Sky Blues an opportunity to end the Spotland curse but they spurned it, losing 2-0. They have never won at Rochdale in nine league and cup visits stretching back to 1920 when Dale were a non-league side and defeated Second Division City 2-1 in an FA Cup replay.

Several readers believed that City are the first team that has played in the Premier League to be relegated to the fourth tier but this is untrue – Bradford City, who were relegated from the Premier League with the Sky Blues in 2001, had four seasons in League Two and Portsmouth were in the Premier league as recently as 2010. The statistic that is true is that City are the first of the original members of the Premier League to be relegated to the fourth tier. Another original member, Oldham, seem to have done enough to avoid being relegated but Swindon, Premier members in 1993-94, are looking very precarious in 22nd place.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Jim's column 15.4.2017


I am writing this before Friday's game but if City have beaten Charlton yesterday it will amazingly be the first time since 2007 that the team have won four home league games in a row. That was the first four games of the Dowie era and although there have been numerous three-game runs in the intervening period the team have never won four. Back in October/November under Mark Venus the team won three league games plus a Checkatrade trophy game in a row, and we all thought the team would pull away from the foot of the table. It wasn't to be and now relegation is virtually certain – it may have happened yesterday or on Monday at Rochdale where the Sky Blues have got such a woeful record.

Long-suffering fan Dave 'Brammy' Bramwell attended the post-match party last Saturday and asked me a question about City goalkeepers. He wanted to know which 'keeper had made the most penalty saves during a season.

I'm pretty sure the answer is Joe Murphy who saved five penalty kicks from seven in 2013-14. Messrs Berrett (Carlisle a), Mooney (Leyton O h), O'Connor (Rotherham a), Lisbie (Leyton O a) & Judge (Brentford a) all had their spot-kicks saved by the agile Irishman. Information about penalty saves is patchy before World War 2 but since then several keepers have saved three in a season including Bill Glazier, Jim Blyth & Murphy himself in 2011-12. Glazier's saves were in that exciting but nail-biting 1967-68 season & his saves were all away from home & from stars of the day Denis Law (Manchester United), Charlie Cooke (Chelsea) & Francis Lee (Man City). Lee, especially, was renowned as one of the top penalty takers of that era & Glazier's efforts were outstanding. Jim Blyth saved three penalties in 1977-78, another exciting season when the Sky Blues scored 75 goals & narrowly missed out on a European spot. Jim saved from Liverpool's Phil Neal in a 1-0 victory at Highfield Road, from Leicester's Dennis Rofe in a 2-1 win at Filbert Street but his most crucial save was in the last minute of the 5-4 victory over Norwich City when he foiled John Ryan's attempt to make it 5-5. In 2011-12 Joe saved from Messrs Hunt (Reading), Martin (Ipswich) & Danns (Leicester).
                                                                    Joe Murphy

On Twitter this week Celebcelery asked if the Sky Blues had ever gone through a whole league season without scoring more than two goals in a game. With four games remaining (before the Charlton game) the team have failed to net more than two in a game and are closing in on a record they won't be proud of. The team has scored only 34 goals in 42 games and only Oldham (29) of the 72 Football League clubs have scored less.

Coventry City's record low number of goals in a season is 35, set in 1919-20 and equalled in 1991-92, but both campaigns were 42-game seasons. The club's lowest for a 46-game season is 41 in 2011-12, the Championship relegation year.

The low total number of goals is also reflected in the club's leading league scorers. Currently three players (Tudgay, Agyei and Sordell) are heading the chart with four goals. But with Agyei and Sordell no longer at the club and Tudgay's appearances, let alone goals, becoming as rare as hen's teeth, we have to look to George Thomas (3 goals) to try and overtake them in the remaining games and avoid another pitiful record. The lowest number of goals by a Coventry leading scorer is six. That was achieved in the club's Premiership relegation season when Hadji, Hartson and Bellamy all managed six. Two seasons ago Messrs Nouble, O'Brien and Samuel each scored six to top the scoring charts.

I have to mention the immutable law of the ex, as the famous football writer Brian Glanville described it, which struck in last week's 2-0 defeat at Bramall Lane. Numerous ex-City players have scored against the Sky Blues but until the trip to Sheffield only three had managed it this season (Mark Marshall, Chris Maguire and Jacob Murphy). Then within five minutes Leon Clarke and John Fleck both netted for the Blades for a unique record – never have two ex's scored in the same game against the club.

Although John Fleck has had an outstanding season Leon has been unable to hold down a regular place and before the City game had netted only one league goal. Predictably however he came off the bench to score against City to follow up his two goals for Bury against us last season. Then on Saturday Clarke and Fleck were at it again, scoring the goals at Northampton that clinched promotion for the Blades.

It was another great Legends Day last Saturday at the Peterborough game with over 40 former players watching the Sky Blues notch their third home win in a row. The crowd, 10,441, was the second largest home crowd of this miserable season. There were several factors for the high attendance – cheap tickets, a post-Wembley euphoria and hopefully the draw of seeing our former players.

Six of the 1966-67 squad were in attendance to celebrate the 50th anniversary of winning the Second Division title – Bill Glazier, Mick Kearns, Dietmar Bruck, John Tudor, Ronnie Farmer and Dudley Roberts but Bobby Gould had to pull out at the last minute after his mother died. The CCFPA's thoughts are with Bobby, Trevor and the family.

The highlight of a great day was to receive an award recognising ten years as chairman of the Former Players Association from one of my heroes Roy Barry. To be recognised by my fellow committee members and the association's members was a very special moment for me. Thanks to everyone.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Jim's column 1.4.2017

Regular reader Keith Ballantyne wanted to know which Coventry City players had played in the World Cup Finals whilst at the club. He thought Tommy Hutchison was the first but wonders how many others there are.

Keith is correct about Hutch – he represented Scotland at the 1974 finals in West Germany and made two appearances, both from the bench, against Zaire and Yugoslavia. Four years later he wasn't included in the Scotland squad that went to Argentina, despite having an outstanding domestic season. Ian Wallace and Bobby McDonald were also surprisingly omitted but goalkeeper Jim Blyth was part of the squad but didn't appear.

Since then the following City players have made appearances whilst with the club:

1994 (USA): Phil Babb (Ireland) and Roy Wegerle (USA)
1998 (France): Viorel Moldovan (Romania)
2002 (Japan/S Korea): Gary Breen (Ireland) and Magnus Hedman (Sweden)
2006 (Germany): Stern John (Trinidad & Tobago)

In 1998 Gary McAllister would have gone to France as captain of Scotland but wasn't fit and the same year Dion Dublin who was joint winner of the Premier League's Golden Boot, was unfortunate to be left out of Glen Hoddle's final 22 having won three caps in the warm-up games.

I have recently been involved in a project run by the National Football Museum to find the Oldest living Football league players.

I received the results this week and former Coventry player Colin Collindridge has been confirmed as the sixth oldest.

Colin, who was born in Barnsley, joined Sheffield United as an 18-year old in 1939 but lost the best years of his career to World War II. After the war he was one of the top players in the league, top scoring for Sheffield United three seasons running as either a left winger or centre-forward. In 1950 he joined Nottingham Forest and helped them to the Division Three North title in his first season, playing alongside Tommy Capel. Jack Fairbrother signed him and Capel for Coventry in 1954 but the man renowned for his terrific speed and fierce shooting had lost his pace and his eye for goal. In 1956, after 35 games and three goals he moved to Bath City on a free transfer. He has lived in Nottingham for many years.

The eight oldest living Football League players are listed below. Number 8 is interesting; Dudley Kernick was manager of Nuneaton Borough at the time of their great FA Cup successes in 1967 and also was on the coaching staff at Highfield Road during the Jimmy Hill era.

1. Arthur Hoyle Smith. (Bury & Leicester 14 apps).    DoB  8.5.1915.  Age 101yrs 10 months.

2. George Haigh. (Stockport  7 apps).      DoB. 3Q 1915.  Age 101yrs 4 months approx.

3. Cyril William Bacon. (Orient. 121 apps). DoB  9.11.1919. Age 97.4. 

4. George Stewart. (Brentford, QPR, Shrews. 74 apps). DoB 18.1.1920. Age 97.2.

5. Joe Johnson (Lincoln & Workington.  52 apps) DoB 13.9.1920.  Age 96.7.


6. Colin Collindridge. (Sheff U, Forest, Coventry. 343 apps)  DoB 15.11.1920. Age 96.4.

7. Thomas Hubert Best (Chester, Cardiff, QPR). 81 apps).  DoB 23.12.1920. Age 96.3.

8. Dudley Kernick.  (Torquay 41 apps.)  DoB  29.8.1921.   Age 95.6.

To all my readers – have a great day out at Wembley tomorrow. It's been a long wait to return there and let's hope it's not another 30 years before we are back.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Jim's column 25.3.2017

A week tomorrow Coventry City are back at Wembley after a break of thirty years. As I have written previously, only City & Fulham of teams from the top three divisions have not appeared at the old or new Wembley in the intervening years. The circumstances however are very different. In 1987 City were having the club's best league season for almost ten years. Under the shrewd management of George Curtis and John Sillett they had been comfortably in the top ten all season, winning 14 out of 21 home games and since reaching Wembley by beating Leeds in the semi-final, they had lost just once in eight games. Confidence was high and although they finished tenth in the league they were only three points off sixth place.

Thirty years on it is a different story with the club in one of its worst runs ever with only two wins in 23 league games and on their fourth manager of the campaign. Relegation to the fourth tier is virtually certain and the team will struggle to reach forty points. There have been numerous nightmare games, home and away, and we can only hope that the team puts on a good performance at Wembley, win or lose. It would be a sad day if the players didn't perform on this big day for the club and the supporters who will turn the great stadium into a sea of sky blue. Have a great day City fans, you deserve it!

Arthur Warner, a regular reader from Binley wrote to me recently:

Your article about Christmas matches a few weeks ago brought back memories of the Liverpool Boxing Day match of 1967. I was there in the Sky Blue Stand at the Kop end which was the end that Gerry Baker scored the equaliser in the 1-1 draw. I remember the sending off of Ian St John for the punch on Brian Lewis, a hard midfield player who gave no quarter. The that the company I worked for in the 1980's had a forum at Highfield Road, and after lunch there was a talk from Ian St John. He talked about his time with Liverpool and talked about his sending off against the City in 1967. He told us that the great Bill Shankly, the Liverpool manager at the time, told him to report the next day at the training ground. On reporting Shankly told him to strip off and proceeded to black him up in the lower regions. It appears that it was a Gascoigne/Vinny Jones moment that caused the sending off. Shankly then invited the press in to show them what Coventry had done to 'his boy'.

Relating this story to friends in the pub before the Port Vale game someone suggested that in those days you had to do something pretty bad to get sent off, normally involving punches and fighting, and players rarely got sent off for bad fouls. I thought I would do some research into City's red cards over the years.

The first conclusion is that there were far fewer dismissals in those days; the chart below analyses City's 144 red cards since they joined the league in 1919.

1920s
4
1930s
2
1940s
4
1950s
3
1960s
5
1970s
11
1980s
17
1990s
32
2000s
43
2010s
23
Total
144

Before the 1960s dismissals were very rare indeed and in the six seasons that Jimmy Hill was manager (1961-67) only one player, George Hudson, got his marching orders. 'The Hud' was sent off at Huddersfield in 1965 for flooring John Coddington with a punch. I can only find one dismissal before the 1970s that was not for fighting or raising hands – Frank Kletzenbauer was sent off for two bad challenges on QPR's Clive Clark in an FA Cup match in 1960. Older fans will remember Maurice Setters and Liverpool's Alun Evans being ordered off at Highfield Road in a nail-biting 0-0 draw that kept City up in 1969.

In the 1970s retaliation became popular and Chris Cattlin, Donal Murphy and Jimmy Holmes all got sent off for that offence with the real culprits (Bobby Gould, Kenny Burns & Francis Lee) all getting off scot-free.

In the 1980s it was still more common for players to be sent off for punches or, in Steve Hunt's case, a head-butt, and Steve Jacobs, Terry Gibson (twice), Gary Bannister & David Speedie all saw red for adopting Marquis of Queensbury rules. The 1990s saw a rapid growth in red cards for the Sky Blues with the peak being hit in 1996-97 when six red cards equaled the total of the 20 mid-war years. That was topped in both 2001-02 and 2002-03 when City had seven men sent off in each season. However there has been a downturn since 2010 with only one dismissal in 2012-13 and two the following season. The type of offences has changed too – of the 54 red cards since 2002 only three players have been sent off for striking an opponent, Michael Doyle, Marlon King and Reda Johnson, and there are far more dismissals for persistent fouling, dissent and foul language.

This season City have picked up five red cards, the highest number since 2002-03, with young players bearing the brunt. It was more the exuberance of Ben Stevenson & Dion Kelly-Evans rather than malice that got them sent off in their first season, and Willis, Turnbull and Page were probably let down by their relative inexperience.

Finally, we are only two weeks away from the 10th annual Legends Day organised by the Former Players Association (CCFPA). Already more than 40 Sky Blue stars of the past are lined up to attend & it promises to be another great day on 8th April. A large contingent from Scotland will be in attendance including Tommy Hutchison, Roy Barry and Ian Wallace. The 1967 Division Two championship side, celebrating their 50th anniversary will be well represented and include Bill Glazier flying in from Spain and John Tudor coming from the USA. It's also 30 years since the FA Cup victory and the 1987 side will be well represented. The football club are still taking bookings for the day and fans interested in being in the presence of our Legends should contact Suzette or Tynan at 024 7699 2330

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Jim's column 11.3.2017

Russell Slade's brief time as Coventry City manager came to an end last Sunday after just 74 days – easily the shortest reign by a manager of the club, a record previously held by Mark Robins who stayed for 148 days in 2012-13.

Slade was in charge for 13 league games and three Cup games and his league record of just one win in 13 is the worst ever by a post-war City manager (a 7.7% win ratio). The only manager with a worse ratio is William Clayton – City's first boss when they entered the Football League in 1919. Under Clayton the side lost its first seven games at which point he was sacked. However it should be pointed out that Clayton had been the manager the previous season in the unofficial War Legaue Midland Division and it was City's performances in that 1918-19 season that were influential in the club being elected to Division Two in the summer of 1919. If that season's results were included he would have a much healthier win ratio.

The previous worst post-war manager was Don Howe who took over from the sacked Terry Butcher in January 1992. Don, whose managerial exploits never lived up to his record as Bertie Mee's number 2 at Arsenal when they won the 'double' in 1971, won only three games out of 19 as City hurtled down the league table. On the last day of the season the Sky Blues looked down and out as they trailed 2-0 at Villa Park only for already relegated Notts County to have a second half rally and condemn Luton to the drop. If Slade's cup results, two wins and a draw in the Checkatrade Trophy, are added into his record he overtakes Howe's win ratio for all games!

                                                                    Don Howe

By Monday Mark Robins was back at the club – only the fourth City manager to have two stints in the chair, the others being Harry Storer, Billy Frith and Bobby Gould. His previous stint saw him lift the Sky Blues from 23rd place in League One to 8th place when he departed five months later. Under his stewardship the team won 13 out of 25 league games and four out of eight cup games – with a win ratio of over 50% - the highest by any City manager. Only one other manager has won more than 50% of games – Jesse Carver in his short spell in the autumn of 1955 when he led the team to 14 wins in 27 games before disappearing to Italy to manage Lazio.

Robins is full-time manager number 42 in the 91 seasons since the club arrived in the league in 1919 – an average of just over two seasons per manager. The average tenure of our managers has been falling however and Robins is the 15th in the 16 seasons since we left the Premier League- an average of virtually one season per manager, and that excludes caretakers. In that time only one, Chris Coleman, has lasted more than 100 league games.

Robins is the fourth man in charge this season after Mowbray, Venus and Slade but it's not the most in one season. In 2012-13 Andy Thorn started the season as boss but was sacked after four games, Richard Shaw & Lee Carsley took over as caretakers but failed to win a league game, before Robins arrived. When Robins was lured away by Huddersfield in February Carsley was caretaker again until manager number five, Steven Pressley, arrived from Falkirk.

Apparently the record for any FL club is six different managers, set by Swansea in 1995-96 and equalled by Blackburn in 2012-13 and Colchester last season. The six Blackburn managers that season include two with Sky Blue connexions. Steve Kean, Chris Coleman's assistant, started the season in charge at Ewood Park but was sacked after eight games despite being top of the Championship and replaced by his assistant, former City manager, Eric Black. Black was temporarily in charge for six games before Henning Berg, Gary Bowyer (caretaker), Michael Appleton and Bowyer again.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Jim's column 4.3.2017

Last week I mentioned the fact that Coventry City players with the same surname, Thomas, had scored in the same game. Kwame & George Thomas netted in the Gillingham victory two weeks ago and I did some research into other similar occurrences for the club.

During the 1950s City had several players with the surname Hill. Two of them, Brian & Peter, are fairly well-known, and both passed away in recent times. However Ray Hill and Jimmy Hill (no, not the bearded wonder) played for the club in the 1950s and on more than one occasion the club fielded three Hills in a game.

There are a few instances of two Hills scoring in the same game, the last being in April 1961 at Watford in a Third Division game. City lost 7-2 at Vicarage Road and Peter and Brian netted the consolation goals. The following season in the infamous FA Cup defeat to Kings Lynn saw the last appearance together of the two men. When JH took over the following week he told Brian that he wouldn't be playing as a forward in future; Jimmy spotted the defending potential of Brian and he became a key member of the defence that took the Sky Blues all the way to Division One. Peter, on the other hand retired at the end of the 1961-62 season and became the club's trainer.

The other occurrences of two Hills scoring in the same game were:
1955-56 Norwich (h) (won 5-3) - Peter & Jimmy scored as well as Denis Uphill!
1955-56 Millwall (h) (won 5-1) – Peter & Jimmy scored.
1957-58 at Gillingham (lost 2-3) – Brian's debut as a 16-year old. Peter also scored.

The game at Gillingham in April 1958 was the only time that City fielded three Hills with Ray making up the trio.

Several readers thought that in the early 1990s two Williams might have scored in the same game. City fielded four players with the surname Williams in the decade, three of them christened Paul and the other John (the Flying Postman).

Paul A Williams was a loan player from West Brom, signed by Bobby Gould in 1992. He made one start and one sub appearance without scoring and in both games appeared alongside John.
                                                               Paul A.Williams

Paul R C Williams joined City from Stockport in 1993 and made 19 appearances, seven from the bench over two seasons. He failed to find the net.
                                                        Paul R.C.Williams

Paul D Williams joined City from Derby County in 1995 and earned the nickname 'Willo'. He made 199 appearances for the club over six seasons and scored six goals. He never appeared with any of the other Williams.
                                                         Paul D.Williams

John Williams joined City from Swansea in 1992 and played 86 games scoring 11 goals (including City's first in the Premier League) over three seasons.
                                                                  John Williams

The next question this begs is – what is the most common surname of Coventry City players? The answer is Smith – there have been 12 Smith's appear in first team games for the club since they joined the league in 1919. However no Smith has appeared since the winger David Smith (1987-93). Other popular surnames are Jones (10), Clark(e) 9 and Williams 7.



Sunday, 26 February 2017

Jim's column 25.2.2017

It is sad to report the death of former Coventry City & Gillingham player Roy Proverbs who passed away on 15th February aged 84. Born in the Black Country at Wednesbury on 8th July 1932, Roy attended Wood Green Junior and Kings Hill Senior Schools in the town. He was a talented schoolboy footballer, playing for his school team and selected for the town's schools team two years running.


After leaving school he worked as a wood machinist and continued his football with St Pauls Youth Club. He did his National Service as a rifleman in the North Staffordshire Infantry Regiment spending time in Trieste in Italy and playing football for his regiment. After being demobbed he began a career in sign-writing and played football for South Staffs Territorial Battalion team. He soon attracted the attention of Birmingham & District League team Stourbridge before moving to play one season at Stratford Town in the same league. It was whilst playing for Stratford that City chief scout Harry Barratt spotted his potential & recommended that City boss George Raynor sign him.

Roy arrived at Highfield Road in May 1956, sharing digs with goalkeeper Alf Bentley. By the time the 1956-57 season started Raynor had been replaced as manager by Harry Warren who had different ideas as to how Third Division sides should play. Roy, a defensive wing-half, made his City debut in an early season 1-1 draw at Southampton but only played 11 first team games. His last appearance was just before Christmas 1956 in a 4-2 defeat at Exeter which left City in 21st position in Division Three South. Proverbs was one of several players who filled the role vacant because of injury to Lol Harvey but he failed to make a big impression with Warren and left to join Bournemouth at the end of the season.

At Dean Court Roy was unable to break into a strong Bournemouth side and in February 1958 moved on to Gillingham, managed by Harry Barratt. He was a regular for the Gills for the next four years, earning the nickname 'Chopper', and played 154 games as either a full-back or wing-half, appearing alongside other ex-City men Ronnie Waldock & Bill Patrick.

In 1962 following Barratt’s departure he joined Canterbury City and later appeared for Tunbridge Wells, Banbury Spencer and Kings Lynn. His final game for Kings Lynn was in January 1965 when in the programme the club thanked him for his 'all-out effort in every game in which he has played' and wished him success in his 'new partnership'.

At this time he moved back to the Black Country and became a full-time sign-writer, a profession he continued for over 30 years until retirement.

His son Paul, whom I'm grateful to for supplying some of the information here, tells me his father fell out of love with football after his playing career and wasn't one to talk much about his days as a footballer even to his two sons.

After football his main interests were music (he was a lifelong devotee of jazz and classical to a lesser degree), reading (novels & non-fiction) and he also became very interested in left of centre politics. He was a stubborn character who eschewed many 'creature comforts' much to the frustration of his wife. He was also quite proud of never owning a car; hence he used to walk everywhere which probably helped him maintain a good level of fitness despite being a heavy smoker.

He lived in Willenhall until he had to go into a care-home a couple of years ago suffering from dementia. Roy was a member of the Former Players Association but was never well enough to attend events. A small funeral with family and close friends is planned.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Last Saturday the Sky Blues finally got a victory, beating Gillingham 2-1 to end the disastrous league run of 15 games since the last win on 1st November. The record books will have it as the third longest league run since the club joined the Football League in 1919, with only the 19-game run in that first season and the 16-game run without a win in 2003 under Gary McAllister topping this season's woeful record.

The victory was Russell Slade's first league win as a City manager in his tenth game in charge and he equals Noel Cantwell's similar run when he arrived in the autumn of 1967.

Many fans will have noticed that City's scorers against Gillingham shared the same surname, Thomas. Kwame Thomas netted his second Sky Blue goal in his third appearance, whilst academy graduate George Thomas scored his first league goal. George made his debut as a 16-year old at Leyton Orient in 2014 and has now made 28 league appearances (14 starts & 14 as substitute) – let's hope it's the first of many.