Following my recent obituary of former Coventry City striker Terry Bly, City fan Tony Genower wrote asking me to recall an incident involving Bly. According to Tony, the prolific scorer blasted the ball over the bar from a position only a couple of feet from the goal line when it looked impossible for him not to score. He also recalls that the Bishop of Coventry, the Reverend Cuthbert Bardsley, a keen City fan and later President of the club, was present and when Bly missed the open goal City’s fans let fly with a stream of abuse and invective at Terry's dreadful miss, the Bishop was heard to exclaim "Oh.......... folly, ............folly".
I think the game in question was a 1-1 home draw with Northampton in October 1962. Northampton were top of the Third Division but in a similar situation to the present state of affairs in the Championship, City were in 14th position but only five points behind the Cobblers. The game had generated a great deal of interest in Northampton and there was a large contingent from the shoe town to boost the crowd. Alec Ashworth had given the visitors an early lead and Bly had equalised just before the hour. Then three minutes from the end came Bly’s miss. Nemo reported it at the time thus:
‘Northampton’s defence had been split and (goalkeeper) Chic Brodie was stranded yards out of his charge by a cunning Hugh Barr shot that deserved to be a goal, but curled slightly in the last couple of feet to hit the base of the upright.
Out it came to Bly’s feet, but with time to trap it and sidefoot it into the gaping goal, he blasted it over the crossbar. He held his head in disbelief, the 21,985 spectators uttered a mixture of anguish and nervous relief, and the bewildered Cobblers’ players looked as if they just didn’t believe their luck.’
I can’t confirm the reaction of the Bishop of Coventry but from what I have heard it was the sort of thing he would have said. The miss didn’t put Terry off either; his goal sparked a run of 11 goals in 10 league games, including a run of seven consecutive games in which he netted, something City had only seen before from Ray Straw and Clarrie Bourton.
I answered a question for David Kite on his first ever City game recently. He has asked if I could list the City team who lost 0-3 to Burnley on 28 December 1946. The team was: Alf Wood, Charlie Elliott, Lol Coen, Jack Snape, George Mason, Harry Barratt, Norman Smith, Fred Bett, George Lowrie, Peter Murphy, Emilio Aldecoa. The attendance was 26,944, the second highest of the season.