Watching England lose 1-2 to a rebuilt French side at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday night, Nick Cook pointed out that the game ended with three former Coventry City players on the pitch in an England shirt.
2009 loanee Jordan Henderson made his England debut in midfield but was unable to make much impression in a game bossed by a strong French midfield. Henderson made ten appearances for the Sky Blues and looked impressive at the time but it is a sad indictment on the state of the national team that someone with so little experience in the Premier League (he had started only 23 games before this season) is thrown into the national team. One can only hope that the lad doesn’t let his mediocre display hinder his progress in the game.
Jay Bothroyd was also given his first cap as a second-half substitute and almost scored. At 28, Jay has far less time than Henderson to make his mark but his call-up is a testimony to his consistent performances over the last couple of years at Cardiff, where this season he has already notched 15 goals. Jay, who I believe is out of contract next summer, will undoubtedly go to the Premiership either with a Bosman move or with the Bluebirds. People say his time at Coventry was not a happy one but he is arguably one of the most skilful players seen in a Sky Blue shirt in the last ten years and he scored 17 goals in a side that thought they had the divine right to go straight back up after relegation. He scored some superb goals including a brace at Stoke in 2002 and a delightful chip at Crystal Palace the same year. He was on the England radar back in 2001 when he scored for England under 21s with a stunning overhead kick at Filbert Street. Nine years later he gets his chance.
The third ex-City man was Stephen Warnock who had an impressive season-long loan from Liverpool in 2003-04 and is the only loanee to be voted City’s player of the year by the fans. Arguably the best City loanee of all time, Stephen turned down a permanent move to Coventry believing he could make it at Anfield. Finally he had to move to Blackburn and then to Villa to further his career and on Wednesday won his second full cap.
To add even more local interest to the French game Leamington-born former Racing Warwick goalkeeper Ben Foster, won his fifth cap for his country. Ben is the first Leamington-born full England international since George Green of Sheffield United won eight caps in the 1920s.
Mark Stickings wanted to know who scored City’s goals at Crystal Palace in 1980-81 season. On 17 February 1981 City won the game 3-0 (against a very poor Palace side heading for relegation) and Gary Bannister and Tommy English (2) were City's goalscorers, all in the first half.
Dean Nelson tells me that he spotted that former City forward Eddie Johnson has signed for Portland Timbers who will be playing in the MLS for the first time next year. Johnson, who played for City in 2004-05, on a season-long loan from Manchester United, was the USSF Division Two’s joint leading scorer last season with 15 goals playing for Austin Aztecs, managed by former City assistant boss Adrian Heath. Eddie scored on his debut against Sunderland but managed only five goals in 26 league appearances and was given few opportunities following Peter Reid’s departure and Micky Adams’ arrival.
I have become aware of a new website for reading and recording memories of Coventry. Launched by the Transport Museum anyone can leave their memories, however brief, about the city generally, the Football Club and other sports teams or just their life in Coventry. The site, www.coventrymemories.co.uk is very quickly getting populated with memories and images and I noticed lots of great memories of the 1987 Cup Final including several from players at the time.