Thursday, 7 October 2010

Jim's column 2.10.10

What a mixed week for the Sky Blues. Saturday’s 1-2 defeat to Preston was a travesty after all the pressure exerted on the visitors’ goal but then on Tuesday night Doncaster went home rightly aggrieved that they had not won a game they dominated for long periods.

Donny’s boss Sean O’Driscoll has built an excellent side capable of playing lovely passing football and in John Oster he had the man of the match. Oster covered every blade of grass, made Billy Sharp’s goal with a delicious through-ball and showed why back in the 1990s he was a £1.5 million player. In the last 10 years John has played for nine different clubs and rarely spent more than one season in the same club.

Gary McSheffrey scored City’s winning goal with a superb diving header – the first of his second spell at the club. This was the 54th senior goal for the club and he is now 15th in the all-time leading scorers chart, with only Mick Ferguson (58), George Lowrie (59), Ian Wallace (60), Cyrille Regis (62), Jock Lauderdale (65) standing in the way of his entry to the all-time top ten.

Championship pacemakers QPR’s first goalless game (a 0-0 draw with Millwall) means that City are the only side in the division to score in every league game this season. This is City’s best start to a season in this respect since 1954-55 when Jack Fairbrother’s team scored in every one of its first eleven games. The club record was set in 1932-33 when with Clarrie Bourton in his pomp the Bantams netted in the first 16 games with Bourton netting 13 of the team’s 37 goals.

Coventry City have long had a reputation for having good cricketers on their books with a number being good enough to play county cricket including Don Bennett (Middlesex), Freddie Gardner (Warwickshire), Charlie Elliott (Derbyshire), John Mitten and Jack Lee (Leicestershire), Patsy Hendren (Middlesex & England) not to mention legendary manager Harry Storer who played cricket for Derbyshire. I didn’t realise till this week that there is a new entrant in this exclusive club. In August former City goalkeeper Gary Montgomery made his county cricket debut for Lancashire, a year following a switch in codes after being released by Grimsby Town. In all he appeared in three Clydesdale 40 games for Lancashire.

Gary made his debut for the Sky Blues against Chelsea in a League Cup tie in 2001 and played a further eight league games the following season but was never on the winning side for the club and joined Rotherham in 2003. Leamington-born Gary, who is still only 28 years old, was the first boy from my old school, Warwick, to play for City and the first for many years to play county cricket.

Plans for the 40th anniversary of City’s 1970 European campaign on 23 October at the Barnsley home game are well advanced and after last week’s revelation that former Coventry MP, the late Bill Wilson, was on that first trip to Bulgaria, two of his fellow travellers have been in touch with me. Rod Dean and Steve Pittam were among the 37 fans who travelled out to Bulgaria for the first leg of the first round European Fairs Cup tie with Trakia Plovdiv. The Former Players Association would welcome any of that select band who are still around to join the celebrations in the Casino after the game on the 23 October and meet City’s players from 1970 and Plovdiv legend Dinko Dermendjiev. If you were on that long trip to Plovdiv please contact me.

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