Last Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Scunthorpe means the Sky Blues stay in the race for a play-off position in the Championship. It is a tall order but a continuation of the current form could push the club into the top six and a first ever play-off situation.
The 2-1 victory was the first ever league win over the Iron, although the clubs have met on only four occasions. The victory took City to 46 points from 34 games and it is interesting to note the points total at the same stage in previous seasons.
2001-02 56 (final points: 66 11th)
2002-03 46 (final points: 50 20th)
2003-04 49 (final points: 65 12th)
2004-05 35 (final points: 52 19th)
2005-06 44 (final points: 63 8th)
2006-07 41 (final points: 56 17th)
2007-08 39 (final points: 53 21st)
2008-09 47 (final points 54 17th)
Assuming City are going to need around 72 points to reach the play-offs, they will require 26 points from 12 games. Their best last 12 games in the last eight years was 19 points in 2005-06, the year Dennis Wise dragged City up by their boot-straps. Surprisingly City have been in as good a position or better on four previous occasions, even in the dreadful 2002-03 season, and blown play-off chances. In their first season after relegation they had 56 points at this stage and looked a better than good bet for a play-off position.
The Scunthorpe victory made it seven home league games without defeat since Newcastle won at the Ricoh in early December, the best run since 2005-06 when in the Wise revival City went eleven games without a home defeat from November until the end of the season.
Leon Barnett suffered the ignominy of red cards in two successive appearances by virtue of his two yellow cards against Scunthorpe. For once the dismissal did not stop City taking all the points, the first time that has happened since March 2004 when loanee Peter Clarke was ordered off in the first minute at Ninian Park but City won 1-0 thanks to a Gary McSheffrey penalty. Since then City have had 18 players dismissed and never won a game.
Leon joins an elite group of nine City players sent off twice in a season. The full list is Paul Cook, Liam Daish, Paul Williams, Dion Dublin, David Burrows, Lee Hughes, David Thompson and Kevin Kyle. He is not the first player to receive successive red cards though; Dion also achieved that feat in 1996-97 season being ordered off against Sunderland (home) and Blackburn (away). Kyle went close to emulating him two years ago, ordered off in two successive starts (Blackpool (a) and Burnley (h)) but he had an innocent substitute appearance between those games.
Dean Nelson emailed me this week. He has recently acquired a City programme from 1964 and wanted more information on the game. It is a friendly game at Highfield Road against the Great Britain Olympic XI played on Monday 2 March 1964. City produced a full programme but only 4, 827 turned up on a cold night for a game the British team used as a warm up for an Olympic qualifying tie in Greece the following week. City, top of the Third Division at the time, put out a virtual first team, but failed to score against what was a team of amateurs as at the time professional players were not allowed in the Olympic Games. According to the match report the Amateurs soaked up City pressure with a ‘defensive barrier formation’ and then snatched the only goal of the game twenty minutes from time through Hendon forward J Quail. The British team may have kept City at bay but a week later in Athens the roof caved in and they lost 4-1 and went out of the Qualifying competition and failed to go to the Olympics in Tokyo that summer.
City’s team that night was: Dave Meeson: John Sillett, Mick Kearns, Brian Hill, George Curtis, Ron Farmer, Willie Humphries, Graham Newton, George Hudson, Dietmar Bruck, Ronnie Rees.
The planning for this years Legends Day is well underway and many former Coventry City players will be attending the event at the Sheffield Wednesday home game at the end of the month. The Former Players Association are organising the event and already signed up to come are Dennis Mortimer, Tommy Hutchison, Willie Carr and Ernie Hunt. The half-time pitch presentation, such a hit in previous years will take place again.