Tuesday, 26 January 2010

JIM'S COLUMN 23.1.10

I tempted providence last week when I pointed out that the Sky Blues were the only side in the Championship not to concede a goal in the last five minutes this season. Sure enough Ipswich pop up and score in added time to break that impressive record. Admittedly Pompey had done it twice in the cup replay but the league record stood firm until Pablo Counago’s strike.

Talking of Counago his record against the Sky Blues is impressive. The Spanish striker has been playing for Ipswich against City since 2002 but had three seasons away in the middle of the decade. In that time he has played against City on eight occasions (three of which were as a substitute) and scored seven goals, six of them at Portman Road. I think he needs special attention if we come up against him again.

Another Ipswich scorer was our old friend Stern John. After the match a lot of fans were saying that it was so predictable him scoring against his old club under what famous football writer Brian Glanville called the immutable law of the ex, that is a player scoring against his old club. The law doesn’t really work for Stern, that was his first goal in six appearances against City since he left in 2007 (and his first goal anywhere for 32 games!). There have been just four other former City scorers in the last five seasons: Dele Adebola, Jay Bothroyd, Andy Morrell and Calum Davenport. Incidentally it was the fourth different club John has played for against us in those six games and he has now appeared against City for six different clubs.

The football stars of the 1950s are today largely forgotten by the media. Many of them survive on a meagre pension after earning less in a career than today’s Premiership stars earn in a week. It was still however a surprise to learn last week that former 1950s Coventry City star Tommy Capel passed away last October. His death was reported at the time by the Nottingham papers (Forest were his major club and he lived in the city) but didn’t appear on my radar until reported in the Soccer History publication.

Manchester-born Capel played as a teenager for local works team Goslings and then Droylesden before joining Manchester City in 1941. Military service in Burma with the Marines meant he made only a handful of senior games for City in war-time football. In 1947 he joined Chesterfield and later was briefly at Birmingham City before a move to Nottingham Forest in 1949. The dashing inside-forward was a regular scorer and played his best football at the City Ground scoring 72 goals in five seasons including 23 in Forest’s Second Division promotion campaign of 1950-51. Coventry City boss Jack Fairbrother pulled off a major coup signing Capel and his Forest colleague Colin Collindridge in 1954. In his first season at Highfield Road Capel, a ‘bustling’ inside-forward was top scorer with 22 league and cup goals including a brace in the surprise 3-3 FA Cup draw at First Division Huddersfield. The following season under Jesse Carver he was dropped after the first two games and sold to Halifax soon afterwards. After leaving senior football he worked as a travelling salesman for Trent Concrete and played non-league football with Heanor Town in the Midland League. Tommy continued to play for Padstow in the Nottingham Spartan League until past his 50th birthday.

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