Sunday, 19 February 2017

Jim's column 18.2.2017


I recently wrote about Joe Elliott's first ever Coventry City game against Preston North End in a friendly in January 1956 & several other City fans remembered the game including Rod Dean and John Woodfield (his first ever game too). But 48 hours after Preston had ripped City's defence apart there was more controversial game at Highfield Road when San Lorenzo, four times the champions of Argentina from Buenos Aires, played another friendly. It turned out to be anything other than a friendly game.

It was the infamous Wembley World Cup quarter-final of 1966 — followed by the World Club Championship matches involving Manchester United, Celtic and Estudiantes — that established the reputation for conflict between teams from Britain and Argentina.
But there was a hint of what was to come at Highfield Road that night and shows Antonio Rattin was not the first Argentine footballer to refuse to leave the field after being sent off. That dubious honour went to José Sanfilippo, a 19-year-old forward with San Lorenzo on that cold January night.
San Lorenzo were on a tour of Europe, including matches in Spain, Britain, France and Italy. Before coming to Coventry they had played Brentford, Rangers, Sheffield Wednesday and Wolverhampton Wanderers. Unused to the typical British pitches of that era — when most of the grass had disappeared by December — San Lorenzo blamed the pitches for four straight defeats and 21 goals conceded, nine of them at Hillsborough.
The previous Saturday 32,000 Wolves fans had watched their team beat San Lorenzo 5-1, but not before the Wolves players had to give protection to Mervyn Griffiths, the highly-regarded Welsh referee, after San Lorenzo players had threatened him when he awarded Wolves a penalty.
Another leading referee, Arthur Ellis, was appointed to take charge of the match at Coventry. He had experienced Argentine passions in 1953, when he was pelted with orange peel in Buenos Aires after he had controversially abandoned the Argentina v England international when torrential rain had turned the pitch into a quagmire.
San Lorenzo included Pizarro, Lopez and Benavidez, all Argentina internationals and City manager George Raynor named an unchanged side from the Preston game. The game was approaching half-time when the trouble started. Ken McPherson, a brawny centre forward who had scored five goals in nine games since signing six weeks earlier, had given the home side the lead after half an hour, only for Guttierez, the left winger, to equalise a minute later.
Just before half-time City's Dennis Uphill hit a post and, with the goalkeeper out of position, he was about to score when he was pushed off the ball by two San Lorenzo defenders. Ellis immediately awarded Coventry a penalty, which the whole San Lorenzo team disputed. Sanfilippo, the inside left, went further and kicked Ellis in a temperamental outburst. Ellis ordered him off and there followed five minutes of mayhem.
According to the Coventry Telegraph's reports of the evening’s events, “police were called on to the pitch to give Ellis protection and Sanfilippo was dragged from the pitch by his team’s reserve players and trainer, kicking and struggling like a wild tiger cat”. Ellis, meanwhile, had walked off the pitch and told officials of both clubs he was abandoning the game as he refused to continue under “impossible conditions”.
“The player kicked at my legs and I collared him, although all the Argentine players mingled in so that I could not get at the offender. I told him to get off but he refused to leave the field,” Ellis said.
After half an hour of appealing to Ellis to continue the game, the City chairman, Erle Shanks, told the crowd of 17,357 the game had ended as Ellis refused to continue and under FA rules a substitute referee was not allowed. The crowd, which previously had been whistling and slow hand-clapping, received the decision well and quickly dispersed from the ground.
After the game, Coventry officials and players mingled with their visitors in the boardroom and Shanks presented the chairman of San Lorenzo, Luis Traverso, with a plaque. Both clubs exchanged badges and Traverso, through an interpreter, expressed his deep regret for the incident. He said that Sanfilippo would be sent back to Argentina on the first available plane as his punishment and that the rest of the team would be severely censured.
Sanfilippo did not fly home until the team got to Paris a few days later. He went on to become a San Lorenzo legend, scoring 200 goals — a club record that stands today — and won 29 caps for Argentina, scoring 21 goals. His final international was against England in the 1962 World Cup in Chile, where he scored in the 3-1 defeat and one of his team-mates was a certain Antonio Rattin.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Jim's column 11.2.2017

Coventry City are Wembley-bound after Tuesday night's famous but nail-biting victory over Wycombe Wanderers at the Ricoh. City will face either Oxford United or Luton Town on April 2nd in the EFL Trophy final (aka Checkatrade Trophy). The match was the ultimate 'game of two halves' with the previously goal-shy Sky Blues scoring two early goals but surviving a Wycombe bombardment led by their heavyweight striker Akinfenwa after the break. The scenes at the end were memorable and the sound created by 11,000 City fans was incredible.

It has taken thirty years for City fans to get a return trip to the famous stadium, although Wembley has of course been completely rebuilt in the meantime. I thought I would do a bit of research into teams that have appeared at Wembley in the 30 years since City last appeared there. In that time the old and new stadiums have hosted FA Cup finals & semi-finals, League Cup finals, Play-off finals and Football League & FA Trophy finals. Amazingly the Sky Blues are one of only two teams in the top three divisions not to have played at either national stadium in those 30 years – the other being Fulham. There are also four current League Two clubs (Accrington, Crawley, Hartlepool & Barnet) who haven't been to either Wembley. Fulham's only ever appearance at the stadium was the FA Cup final in 1975 when they lost to West Ham but they have reached an FA Cup semi final in 2002 (played at Villa Park whilst the new Wembley was under construction) and the Europa League final in 2010.

It's back to league action today at Oldham and City, propping up the division, are now desperate for points to avoid a third relegation this century. Last Saturday's dire performance at home to Millwall increased the pressure on the Sky Blues. It was the thirteenth league game without a victory and one short of that dreadful run of 14 in 2012 that saw the club relegated from the Championship and start the following season without a win in eight. Coincidentally that run ended at Oldham with a late Cody McDonald goal. Manager Russell Slade has still to record a league victory and Saturday was his seventh without a win and only two short of the worst start for a Coventry manager set by Noel Cantwell in 1967. The glimmer of hope for Russell is that Cantwell, despite his poor start, managed to steer City out of seemingly certain relegation from Division One.

Goals have been hard to come by this season and Saturday's blank was the fourth league game running that the team have failed to score – the worst run since 2003 when they went six without a goal. For me that 2002-03 season was the worst ever. On Boxing Day Gary McAllister's side were sixth in the Championship & eyeing the play-offs. Their form fell off a cliff with only one win in 21 games but somehow they staggered to 50 points to finish 20th, four points clear of relegation. Goals were at a premium during the run – only 12 were scored in 21 – with players like Bothroyd, McSheffrey and McAllister all failing to net after Christmas. The team failed to score in the last five games and then started the next season with a 0-0 draw with Walsall.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Jim's column 4.2.2017


City suffered another bad defeat at Northampton last weekend in a game marred by several pitch invasions and flares on the pitch causing the game to be held up several times. City's chances of a result were not helped by a red card for Jordan Willis in the 19th minute – a somewhat harsh decision but one which was upheld by the FA. Jordan is the fifth City player to receive his marching orders this season, following Dion Kelly-Evans, Jordan Turnbull, Ben Stevenson & Lewis Page. In those five games City went on to win two (West Ham & Chesterfield) and lose three (Bradford, MK Dons & Northampton). The club record of seven red cards in a season is now under threat. That record was set in 2001-02, City's first season out of the top flight for 34 years when the following players 'saw red':

Lee Hughes v Bradford City (a)
Youssef Safri v Gillingham (a)
David Thompson v Millwall (a)
Marc Edworthy v WBA (a)
Lee Hughes v Grimsby (a)
David Thompson v Wolves (a)
Jay Bothroyd v Crystal Palace (a)

All seven were away from Highfield Road and City ended up wining three of them (Gillingham, Grimsby & Palace) with Hughes & Bothroyd both scoring before receiving the red card, and losing the other four. City finished nine points shy of the top six that season & whilst it's all hypothetical if those four games had been won, City would have been in the play-offs!

The following season that number was equalled when the following received their marching orders:-

Calum Davenport v Brighton (a)
Youssef Safri v Crystal Palace (h)
Craig Hignett v Burnley (a)
Dean Gordon v Sheff United (a)
Gary Caldwell v Nottm. Forest (a)
Youssef Chippo v Watford (h)
Gary McSheffrey v Wimbledon (h)

Another unwelcome stat from last Saturday was the third hat-trick of the season by an opposition player. Cobblers' Keshi Anderson followed Bristol Rovers' Billy Bodin and Cambridge's Luke Berry in scoring a hat-trick against the Sky Blues. That is the first time City have conceded three hat-tricks in a season since 1995-96 when Alan Shearer (Blackburn), Gary McAllister (Leeds) and Savo Milosevic (Aston Villa) netted three apiece. The worst season for conceding hat-tricks was in 1925-26 when five opposing players did it. It was City's only season in Division Three North and Fenner (Wigan Borough), Jepson (Accrington), Keetley (Doncaster), Cookson (Chesterfield) and McDonald (Bradford PA) all scored three.

Last week I wrote about Joe Elliott's first ever City game - a friendly against Preston North End in 1956 – and it prompted Rod Dean to write about his memories of the game.

Last week's piece on the Preston 1956 game was massive nostalgia for me. My father had purchased a brand new Ford Popular in 1954 for £390 (he paid in cash utilising my school satchel) - a basic black car with no heater, no indicators (my father added those himself). It was an exciting time for our family and we took trips down to the Cotswolds and travelled to my first City away match at Northampton in the Autumn of 1955 (attendance 20,000 - a bit larger than last Saturday).
 We stood on the 'famous duck boards' that were used in the football season and then removed for the cricket season (Northampton's ground was shared with the county cricket team). The only problem was that my father had yet to pass his driving test! He did eventually pass at his third try - a different world in those days when a lot of drivers had never taken tests!

The one thing I remember about the Preston game is the absolute run around Finney  gave the 'Ageing' Charlie Timmins - Charlie had been a real 'servant' to the club since the 1940's, was a real favourite with the fans but was coming to the end of the road. Such changes were rare in those days but as you said ' Raynor switched Charlie with Frank Austin at half time' - I can remember my father saying after the match as we walked to the car ' Frank did a real good job and kept Finney quiet' It's over 60 years ago but it only seems like yesterday - some matches you remember like it was yesterday others are a total blank! Yes Frank had a good day!
                                                           Tom Finney in action

I had been to Wembley the previous season to see England beat Scotland 7-2 but Finney had not been selected so it was my first and last view of this 'English Titan' - he and Stanley Matthews were the scourge  of Scottish Football  in the 40's and 50's.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Jim's column 28.1.2017

Coventry City's relegation-threatened team are just ninety minutes from Wembley after a successful penalty shoot-out at Swansea's Liberty Stadium on Tuesday evening. After a stuttering ninety minutes the young Sky Blues team made their experience count from the penalty spot with George Thomas, Gael Bigirimana, Kyel Reid and Ruben Lameiras all netting and Reice Charles-Cook saving two of the four Swansea efforts.

The penalty shoot-out success ended a run of three losses from similar sudden death endings. Last season they lost shoot-outs at Rochdale and Yeovil and in 2013 they lost at Leyton Orient, managed at the time by Russell Slade. The last victory from a penalty competition before Tuesday was a Football League Trophy game against Sheffield United in 2012 when a Joe Murphy master-class helped the Sky Blues to a 4-1 victory. City's record in all shoot-outs since their first at Reading in the Simod (Full Members) Cup in 1988, is now played nine, won four and lost five.

Saturday's league defeat to Fleetwood was manager Russell Slade's fifth league game in charge and he has still to record a victory. Several people asked me whether this is a record for a new Coventry manager. I've looked back at previous incoming managers (excluding caretakers) and Russell has some way to go to break the record, set in 1967 by Noel Cantwell. The Irishman, in his first management post, took over from Jimmy Hill before the Tottenham home game on October 14th and did not record his first victory until December 16th when a Bobby Gould hat-trick helped secure a 5-1 victory over Burnley. In his first nine league games in charge the team drew four and lost five.

Other incoming managers who had poor starts are Joe Mercer in 1972 – his team failed to win any of their first six games, and Terry Butcher who despite a thrilling 5-4 League Cup win over Nottingham Forest, similarly failed to win six league games after succeeding John Sillett in 1990.

On the flip side, the best incoming manager has to be Roland Nilsson who was unbeaten in his first 11 league games after replacing Gordon Strachan in September 2001. The great Harry Storer won his first five games at the start of his second stint as manager in 1948 – pulling the team away from the Second Division basement. In 1961 Jimmy Hill won four of his first five games in charge after replacing Billy Frith.

Chatting to former City chairman Joe Elliott recently he mentioned that his first ever City game was a friendly against Preston North End in 1956 and could I provide some details. The game took place on 28 January 1956, the day of the FA Cup Fourth Round. Both sides were out of the Cup so organised a friendly game at Highfield Road. First Division North End fielded 10 of the players who had beaten league leaders Manchester United 3-1 seven days previously, including one of the country's top stars Tom Finney.

City, fifth in Division Three South, had recently lost their manager, Jesse Carver, who had returned to Italy just months after arriving with a fanfare. His number two George Raynor was in charge and named the following team:

Reg Matthews: Frank Austin, Charlie Timmins: Iain Jamieson, Roy Kirk, Noel Simpson: Eric Johnson, Denis Uphill, Ken McPherson, Peter Hill, Ray Sambrook.


The weather was dismal with driving rain turning the pitch into a muddy quagmire and keeping the crowd down to 13,700. Many of the crowd came to see Finney – in those days before television was saturated with football, top stars had to be seen in the flesh and Finney had never played before at Highfield Road. They weren't disappointed as the England international right-winger turned on a magical display and Nemo wrote in the Coventry Telegraph: 'try as they might, neither Charlie Timmins nor Frank Austin, who swopped with his full-back partner in the second half, could do a thing with the Preston wizard'.

McPherson gave City a second minute lead following a 'gigantic goal-kick by Matthews' but Finney equalised from the penalty spot soon afterwards. Evans made it 2-1 for the visitors just before the break but in the second half North End were the superior side described by Nemo 'playing some of the best precision passing I have seen on a heavy pitch'.

Finney and Foster scored further goals with 'unstoppable shots' as Preston ran out 4-1 victors. Poor old Timmins failed to stop Finney once, 'I had not enough energy left to even shake hands with Finney afterwards', laughed Charlie after the game.

Two days later City hosted another top side in a friendly, San Lorenzo of Argentina. That, however, is a story for another day.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Jim's column 21.1.2017

Most City fans are aware of City's poor recent record for headed goals but Geoff Moore has been researching it and has come up with some frightening statistics. He tells me that City have scored only two headed goals in league games this season. Both were scored by Marcus Tudgay (v Northampton and Bolton) and came from open play rather than from a set piece. According to Geoff this is the lowest number of headed goals in the league.

Last season we scored with six headers, all from set pieces and none from open play. Geoff tells me
that before Tudgay's efforts this season you have to go back to April 2015 and Marcus' header at Crawley for the last one. By Geoff's reckoning that is two headed goals from open play in 72 league matches!

On the flip side City are very vulnerable to headers. Last season we conceded 13 headed goals, but surprisingly only two of them were in open play (Fleetwood at home and Doncaster away). This season there have not been as many but I can recall at least three or four.

Geoff puts this in context by saying that you would expect about one in six goals to come from headers, although it obviously varies according to style of play. He adds, 'Sobering to note that Dion Dublin scored 45 headed goals in his Premier League career, many of them for the Sky Blues'.

Over the years Coventry City have had some superb headers of the ball – attackers and defenders – who scored dozens of headed goals, from Ted Roberts and George Lowrie in the 1940s through to Neil Martin (1960s), Mick Ferguson and David Cross (1970s) and the diminutive David Speedie who on two separate occasions netted a hat-trick of headed goals. What would we give for a header of the ball like those?

Keith Ballantyne wrote to ask questions about the original Premier League members in 1992-93 and how many of them have been ever present members. He also wanted to know if any of those original members had fallen to the fourth tier (Obviously anticipating a relegation for the Sky Blues this season).

Of the 22 original members the following six have never been relegated:
Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea and Everton.

Only four other original members are in the current PL: Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough, Manchester City and Southampton.

Nine clubs have fallen to tier three at some stage: Norwich, Sheffield Wednesday, Manchester City, Sheffield United, Southampton, Leeds United, QPR, Oldham and City.

None of the original members of the Premier League have fallen below the third tier so if the Sky Blues and/or Oldham get relegated this season it will be a first. Wimbledon, PL founder members in 1992-93 no longer exist in the same form. Two teams who were in the First Division in the last season prior to the formation of the Premier League have been lower. Notts County are now in League Two as are Luton Town, who have been out of the Football League.

Since 1992 three clubs have been promoted to the PL for the first time but never relegated:
Stoke 2008 (now in 9th season)
Swansea 2011 (6th season)
Bournemouth 2015 (2nd season).

Steve Pittam is a long suffering City fan – he was one of the 30 or so supporters who travelled to watch the Sky Blues in Plovdiv in their Fairs Cup campaign in 1970. He's spent many years working and living in Dubai only managing to catch the Sky Blues once a year if that. He emailed me last week to say he is retiring and hoping to get to see his team play a bit more often. He liked my article last week about Christmas games and wrote:

'your piece brought back huge memories for me. I had never heard of football until the vide-printer was on at my grandparents house on Boxing Day 1958. Torquay 1 Coventry 1 printed and I was hooked - all I knew was that I lived in Coventry, I didn’t have a clue about football (still don’t some would say!) and pestered my Dad until he took me in March to see us play Workington.'

Happy retirement Steve and look forward to seeing you in the near future.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Jim's column 14.1.2017

With the Sky Blues not playing last weekend I was able to ponder the recent run of form. They managed to end the dreadful run of losses in league games with draws against Peterborough and Bolton, in fact City should have won both games. The defeat at Bristol Rovers on Boxing Day was therefore the end of the run of seven straight defeats, equalling the worst run by a City team since 1924, and two short of the worst run since they joined the Football League in 1919.

City have still failed to win in nine league games – the longest run since 2012 when Andy Thorn's relegated side failed to win any of their last six games in the Championship and then went eight games into 2012-13 without registering a league victory (under Thorn, caretakers Lee Carsley and Richard Shaw and Mark Robins). Let's hope that's not an omen and Russell Slade can end the run quickly and pull the club away from the relegation zone.

The form shown in the last two league games and the FL Trophy victory over Brighton on Tuesday evening has cheered some City fans up and with more signings expected in the January window I expect the side to have a stronger look for the last three months of the campaign. Against Bolton Slade introduced three new players, all of whom made an instant impact, and the number of players to represent the club since they joined the League in 1919 edged towards the 1000 mark. No-nonsense defender Nathan Clarke (the 966th to wear the shirt), midfield loanee Callum Reilly (967) and all-action striker Stuart Beavon (968) all played their part in a much-improved display. Beavon became the 106th player to make his debut in the 4 ½ years since we were relegated from the Championship in 2012. By comparison, Jimmy Hill in his six years as the club's manager only gave 40 players their debuts. Back then new signings were rare and a number of the players he inherited in 1961 were still at the club when they reached the First Division six years later including George Curtis, Mick Kearns, Ronnie Farmer &  Brian Hill.

The rate of new players has accelerated in recent years, for example Steve Jacobs was the 500th player in May 1980 (the club's 55th season in the league) and now 37 years later we are approaching the 1000 mark. Last season we gave 24 players their first game, one less than the 2014-15 when a record 25 got their debuts. This season there have been 15 so far – maybe the inability for clubs to take loans outside of the transfer windows has had an effect – but I expect there to be several more.

Stuart Beavon comes from a footballing family and it makes me feel very old to say I remember watching his father and grandfather play. Cyril Beavon, his grandfather, was a no-nonsense full-back in the Oxford United team admitted to the Football League in 1962 after the demise of Accrington Stanley. He was a regular in their side in the 1960s that included Ron Atkinson and his brother Graham, who sadly passed away recently. Cyril's son Stuart senior was in the Reading side that knocked City out of the Simod (Full Members) Cup at the semi-final stage in 1988. In a game which had a delayed start because of traffic congestion, City and Reading drew 1-1 after extra time and Reading won the penalty shoot-out to book a Wembley final place. They met Luton in the final and won 4-1 becoming the only side outside the top flight to win the trophy and Stuart scored one of the goals from the penalty spot.

Two weeks ago I wrote about the days when football was played on Christmas Day, usually with the return of a double header on Boxing Day. City had numerous long trips to make on Christmas night to fulfil a return game the following afternoon but Rod Dean reminded of the two worst Christmas double headers from a travel point of view. On Christmas Day 1929 City entertained Plymouth Argyle, the previously unbeaten league leaders of Division Three South, and won 1-0 in front of over 26,000, more than double the crowd that had watched them play Luton at home four days earlier. Somehow the two teams got to Plymouth, 207 miles away, in order to play the return twenty-four hours later (probably by train in the days when BR ran a Christmas Day service). Argyle won 3-0 in front of over 27,000. Rod also mentioned the Christmas of 1958 when the fixture compiler (pre-computer days) matched City v Torquay, a round trip for both teams of 370 miles. The clubs met at Highfield Road on Boxing Day morning with City retaining top spot in Division Four with a 3-0 win in front of over 27,000. Twenty-four hours later the teams clashed again at Plainmoor with honours even in a 1-1 draw. There was very little time for footballers to have a Christmas with their families back then and I wonder what the modern managers and players would have to say about two games in two days with or without a long journey!

Monday, 9 January 2017

Jim's column 7.1.2017

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about some postcards of old Coventry City teams given to me by John Feeney and they generated some interest amongst readers. Fellow historian Mike Young confirmed that the 1904 picture was taken 'behind the grandstand' before the home game with Walsall on 17th September. Mike was also able to shed more light on G. Beale who was dressed in civvies in the team picture. He believes it is George Beale, a centre-forward from Walsall who played (and scored) in the second pre-season public trial match on 27th August when his team (the Stripes) lost 6-3 to the 'Blues'. Beale wasn't signed on by the club so Mike is mystified as to why he should still be knocking around for the photo more than a fortnight later.

'Eli' Juggins was the club's trainer in the postcard of the 1912-13 team picture and I had a lovely email from Laurie Bird of Rugby regarding his ancestor.

Congratulations on an interesting article on Coventry City's history. I was pleased to see my uncle got a mention as trainer in the 1912 photo. You refer to him as ‘Eli’ Juggins, whereas his full name was Eleader Juggins. Apparently his mother named all her kids from the Bible! He was in fact the brother of my mother’s mother, so I guess that makes him my great uncle?

He was born 15 June 1880 in Darlaston, near Walsall and initially played for Wolves. He was transferred to Coventry in 1907 and went to live in a club house at 78 Nicholls Street. The employment situation was such that all the family moved with him to Coventry, as he was the main earner. The house later passed to other landlords and was occupied by other members of the family until they actually bought it in the 1950s and eventually sold it around 1970.

Family folklore has it that when he was first transferred to Coventry he used to cycle from Darlaston for training, then hide his bike as footballers weren’t allowed to ride bikes as he use to say ‘it slows you up’!  Whether he did this just a few times or on a regular basis I’ve no idea, but if it was even once it shows the era they lived in.

The book ‘Coventry – A Complete Record 1883-1991’ by Rod Dean (with your help) shows Eleader Juggins as playing for Coventry from 1907-08 season to 1911-12 making 110 appearances and scoring 9 goals. He played at right back and I believe he was a regular penalty taker. Of course in those days, even before the ‘stopper centre half’, the full backs were the main defenders. The photos on pages 12 and 15 show him first a player then trainer. The book incorrectly calls him Eleander Juggins and goes on to explain that in 1914 he went to Southampton. This would have been very brief as before long he returned to Coventry to keep a pub in Hillfields. Shortly afterwards he fought in World War 1 after which he returned, minus a finger. His younger brother, Sam, was less fortunate, losing a leg.

Apparently the pub was in a bad way when he returned and he moved into the fish and chip business. He set up a shop appropriately called ‘The Bantam’ situated in Caludon Road, overlooking the railway bridge and within sight of Cov’s ground. I remember the shop in the 1940s, when people used to queue for fish and chips right round the corner into Brighton Street. That’s all disappeared now, with the new road displacing the goods railway line. His son (also Eleader) took over the shop until a fire in the mid-fifties forced closure.

I remember he used to grumble about his knees, saying this is what came from “tecking all them penalties for Coventry City”! He later lived in another house in Nicholls Street, almost opposite no.78 and he died around 1960 when he would have been about 80.


A right full-back, Juggins was a stalwart in the City defence between 1907-1912 and is pictured in the team photograph from 1908 as City prepared for their first season in the Southern League.

On the question of Eli's name I wasn't convinced that Eleader was a biblical name and wondered if his christian name was perhaps Eleazer (definitely a biblical name). I sought the help of Michael Joyce, one of the leading people on footballers' ancestry who was able to support Laurie's view that he was definitely christened Eleader. Michael also advised that he was born in 1882 and all the available censuses confirm this as does his death record in September 1966. There is also no record of him appearing as a player for Southampton in 1914 but Laurie thinks he may have taken a similar role to the one he left at Coventry i.e. as a trainer, especially as his predecessor Jimmy McIntyre had moved to the Dell from Coventry in 1912. As wore broke out in the summer of 1914 he possibly never took up the position.


I also wrote about a City friendly game in Derry in 1948 and said that Wally Soden was probably the first instance of Coventry City using a substitute. Mike Young pointed out that that honour went to Dennis Simpson who replaced 'Plum' Warner in a friendly game against Danish club Aarhus during City's tour to Denmark in 1946. It seems Wally was the second substitute used in a friendly game.