Friday, 5 February 2010

JIM'S COLUMN 30.1.10

My piece last week about Pablo Counago’s phenomenal strike-rate against the Sky Blues generated several requests to know which player had scored the most goals against City since the came into the Championship in 2001.

Counago shares top spot with Richard Cresswell, on seven goals, all scored for Ipswich. Cresswell, currently on loan at Sheffield United, has been playing against the Sky Blues since 1999 when he played for Sheffield Wednesday in the Premiership. He didn’t score that day but made up for it by scoring in five successive games against the Sky Blues for Preston between 2001-04. After joining Leeds in 2005 he netted in his new team’s 3-1 win over City on Boxing Day and since then has also appeared against City for Stoke. In total he has played 11 games and scored 7 goals, appeared on the losing side only twice and been sent off once. Now aged 32, Cresswell will be aiming to add to his goals against City when City travel to Bramall Lane next month.

Counago’s late winner, timed at a few seconds into the 97th minute, recently at Portman Road caused several readers to question if it was the latest goal that City had ever conceded. Long periods of injury time are a relatively new phenomenon with the maximum three substitutes and set rules for officials extending what was previously a arbitrary decision by the man with the whistle. Therefore we do not have to look far back to find other examples. In 2005 at Plymouth City were denied a 1-0 victory by a goal scored by Tony Capaldi in injury time. The fourth official indicated five minutes of added time but City manager Micky Adams said he counted 6 ½ minutes before the goal went in. If Adams’ watch was correct, and that is not clear, then Capaldi’s goal was probably the latest. Older fans will remember a controversial game at Anfield in September 1969 when referee Norman Burtenshaw let play continue for an extra five minutes at the end of 90 minutes and Geoff Strong scored ‘Pool’s winner in the 94th minute. This was after City had taken the lead and given a strong performance that silenced the mighty Kop and deserved at least a point. In those days there was only one substitute allowed and no board held up by an official – the crowd had no idea how much time was being added. City boss Noel Cantwell fumed at the injustice but legendary Liverpool boss Bill Shankly shrugged it all off with typically laconic comment: ‘All the good teams have luck.’

Norman Styles, a season ticket holder at the Ricoh Arena enjoyed the team photograph from 1954-55 in last week’s column about the late Tommy Capel. Norman’s first game at Highfield Road was when his Dad took him as a nine-year old in October 1954 and was a 3-0 home win over Shrewsbury. Since then he reckons he has only missed about 15 home matches in the 55 years, a pretty impressive record.

He remembers Tommy Capel, Roy Kirk, Peter Hill et al and thinks his first game was the last before Eddie Brown was transferred to Birmingham City, I remember being upset because I was looking forward to seeing him again next match. Norman’s memory is playing tricks, Brown was dropped after the defeat at Leyton Orient in midweek and was sold to Birmingham two weeks later.

He wondered if the photograph was taken at the previous match against Bristol City, when there was a large 29,000 crowd and the picture showed a fairly packed ground. Regretably as City put out the same team in the first seven or so games that season I can’t tell at which game the photo was taken.

Norman also pointed out the sad news that non-league Kings Lynn (The Linnets) had gone out of existence. He was at Highfield Road in November 1961 when the Linnets won that infamous FA Cup tie which precipitated the Jimmy Hill era and remembers that they seemed to have about 5,000 fans in a gate of just over 12,000.

A tax bill of £70,000 (the weekly PAYE deductions for the like of John Terry and co) finally brought the club to its knees and despite a successful businessman offering to take them over at the eleventh hour the FA blocked the move, saying his proposal infringed their ownership rules. It’s a shame the powers that be don’t look a little more closely at the ownership of some of the Premiership’s club’s owners.

Checking out the internet for Kings Lynn’s history I discovered that the club has been wound up previously, in 1960, but they quickly reformed and a year later won famously at Highfield Road. I will look out for signs of reformation in fenland.

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