Last Saturday’s 2-1 win at Ashton Gate was a welcome result after three games without a victory and, as has been widely reported, was City’s first league victory at Ashton Gate since 1963. Having said that, City have only played nine league games there in the intervening period, and have drawn four of those nine. In addition there have been three cup ties at Ashton Gate resulting in two draws and one win - a Mick Ferguson goal in 1976 gave the Sky Blues a victory in a League Cup tie.
Back in 1963 it was a solitary Ken Hale goal that earned the points in an evening game and took City four points clear at the top of Division Three. Ken’s goal, after only four minutes, was a shot that deflected of a defender’s leg and flew over Mike Gibson the Bristol keeper. Gibson had a much busier night than his opposite number Bob Wesson, who had little to do on his 23rd birthday.
I have said before that if City are going to be serious challengers for a top six place then a number of their bogey grounds will have to be more productive. City have failed at Millwall and Swansea but the win at Ashton Gate gives City fans some hope that other bogeys, such as Leicester, Cardiff and Preston may be exorcised.
This month is the 40th anniversary of City’s first ever European cup tie. In September 1970 City travelled to deepest Bulgaria to face Trakia Plovdiv in the first leg of their first round European Fairs Cup tie with Trakia Plovdiv. City won the away leg 4-1 with a hat-trick from John O’Rourke and a Neil Martin goal and then beat the Bulgarians 2-0 in the second leg with goals from Brian Joicey and Jeff Blockley.
The Former Players Association are planning a reunion of the 1970 City squad at the home game with Barnsley at the end of October and have organised for Trakia’s star player of 1970, Dinko Dermendjiev, to travel to Coventry for the reunion. With the sponsorship of Jason Dickens of The Jade Studio, the graphic designers, Dinko and an interpreter will be flying in from Bulgaria to attend the match and meet City’s players from 1970.
40 years ago a small band of around 50 City supporters travelled out with the team to Bulgaria and one of them, Rod Dean, informs me that another of the group was Bill Wilson, MP for Coventry South at the time. Rod also told me that Bill had passed away last month aged 97, a fact that had passed me by. Bill was not only an avid City supporter having been born and bred in the city, but also an outspoken shareholder whose objectivity would have been useful in the club’s boardroom at some periods over the last 50 years. Unlike other MPs who have jumped on the football bandwagon since the game attracted large amounts of money in the Premier League era, Bill had followed City’s fortunes since the 1920s and could wax lyrically about the golden era of the 1930s.