It is with great sadness that I report the death this week of former City player Peter Wyer at the age of 82. Born in Coventry in 1937, Pete attended Christ the King school in Coundon and shone with Coventry Schoolboys. He played part-time football with Coventry Amateurs and Atherstone and was doing an apprenticeship when he he impressed City's management in a private trial game in 1955. After some excellent performances for the 'A' team and reserves he was given his debut by manager Jesse Carver as a second half substitute in a friendly against Sheffield United at Highfield Road. He scored City's second goal in the 3-2 defeat and five days later he was given a starting position at Crystal Palace as City had injury problems. They lost 3-0 at Palace and he was back in the reserve team the following week.Peter is his playing days
He was a skilful inside-forward who could also play wide, but failed to impress and was released in the summer of 1956 without playing another first team game. He joined Derby County where former City boss Harry Storer was manager and made two appearances for the Rams in two seasons, scoring one goal, before Billy Frith re-signed him for Coventry in 1958. Despite his enthusiasm Peter got few opportunities and played only four games in City’s Fourth Division promotion season. In 1959 he joined Nuneaton Borough and later played for Rugby Town. He was a regular visitor at the Ricoh until last year and was also an enthusiastic member of the Former Players Association from the start. His health had declined over the past couple of years, he suffered with dementia, and had to leave last year's Legends Day after being taken ill.
Peter at 2017 Legends Day
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about City's Winston Churchill Trophy game against Fulham in 1965, played on the same day as the great statesman's funeral. Roger Hillier has reminded me that the trophy was played for again the following season against Northampton Town in a game which doubled as a testimonial game for long serving City stalwarts George Curtis and Mick Kearns. The game took place on Tuesday 10th May 1966, the night after Southampton, by drawing 1-1 at Leyton Orient, clinched promotion and consigned the Sky Blues to third place in Division Two.
The Cobblers had just been relegated from the First Division after their one and only season in the top flight. A crowd of 13,576 raised almost £3,000 for the players' testimonial fund and the game ended 2-2. Peter Denton and Ray Pointer gave City a two-goal lead in the first half but Northampton came back in the second half with goals from Billy Best and Jim Hall. George Hudson, who had signed for Northampton two months previously, played but was hampered by an injury sustained in their final league game. A four-page programme was issued for the game.
City's line up was: Glazier: Kearns, Hill: Bruck, Curtis, Farmer: Denton, Machin, Gould, Pointer, Clements. Dudley Roberts substituted for the injured Denton at half-time.
Kyle Walker's appearance in the goalkeeper's jersey for Manchester City in their Champions League game against Atalanta last week prompted City fans to ask when City last had an outfield player go 'between the sticks'. It was more common in the days before multiple substitutes and there wasn't a goalkeeper on the bench to replace an injured custodian. The last time the Sky Blues had an outfield player in the 'keeper's jersey was in a home game against Stoke in 2005 when Stephen Hughes had to go in goal after Ian Bennett received a red card just after half-time. Manager Micky Adams had a habit of not including a goalie on the bench and it almost backfired on him that day. Hughes however made a number of excellent saves and City got a 0-0 draw.
You have to go back 30 years for the previous occurrence – at Millwall in 1989 – when Steve Ogrizovic was injured and had to go off at half-time with City losing 3-0. There were two subs allowed in those days and City's were outfield players Dougie McGuire and Kevin Macdonald. Macdonald came on and David Speedie went in goal. David Smith pulled a goal back and 'Speedo' kept Millwall at bay until the 89th minute when Ian Dawes beat him with a corker from 25 yards.
I believe there were seven other instances since the war of outfield players going in goal including Bobby McDonald, John Craven, Ronnie Rees, George Lowrie and Roy Kirk (who did it three times!). Older City fans will remember Rees's appearance in goal, at Maine Road in 1965 when Bill Glazier broke his leg. Rees took over with City losing 1-0 but he kept a clean sheet and Ken Hale popped up to score an equaliser.