Tuesday, 15 March 2011

JIM'S COLUMN 12.3.11

A disastrous home defeat to Bristol City last week saw Marlon King receive his second red card of his short stay at the club – City’s fifth red card of the season. This is the club’s worst season for dismissals since 2002-03 when seven players were sent off. Seven in one season is the club’s worst campaign and was also the total in 2001-02. This season’s culprits are:

Carl Baker (Millwall away)
Aron Gunnarsson (Norwich home)
Marlon King (QPR home)
Martin Cranie (Leicester away)
Marlon King (Bristol City home)

Surely it is no coincidence that four of the red cards have been dished out during the current bad run started in December. Conversely no opponent has been sent off this season and if that situation continues until the end of the season it will be the first time since 1996-97 that no opposing player was given a red card. King emulates players like David Thompson, Kevin Kyle and Leon Barnett who received two red cards in one season.

Dean Nelson pointed out that David James, the Bristol ‘keeper on Saturday, played 18 years after his first appearance against the Sky Blues and wondered if it was some kind of record. 40-year old James first played against City for Liverpool in 1993 in a 4-0 defeat for the Sky Blues -almost 18 years ago last Saturday. Dean asked how many times he had played against City in that period and I make it 17 including the two games this season for Bristol City. He has only appeared on the winning side six times in that time and Saturday’s game was only the second winning side he has played in in Coventry. Considering that eleven of the 17 games were for Liverpool it is not that impressive. He was between the sticks at Anfield for all three of City’s great victories there – in 1995, 1997 and 1998.

As far as I know James’ record is topped by two players. When Teddy Sheringham appeared as a substitute (and was sent off) for Colchester at the Ricoh in 2007, aged 41, it was 19 years and 12 days since his first appearance against City, for Millwall in 1988.

The record however is held by Peter Shilton who first played against City for Leicester in December 1967 and played his last match in April 1991, over 23 years later, for Derby at Highfield Road. In total ‘Shilts’ played against City 42 times for five different clubs (Leicester, Stoke, Nottingham Forest, Southampton and Derby) and was on the winning side 19 times.

The longest City career (in time) is also held by a goalkeeper Alf Wood. Alf made his debut in February 1937 and although the war intervened, he made his final appearance over 21 years later in December 1958 at the age of 43 years.

City had three different captains during the match with Bristol, which must be some sort of record. Keiron Westwood captained the side from the kick-off but handed the armband to King when he went off at half-time. When King was red-carded he passed the band to Gunnarsson. Then on Tuesday Richard Wood was captain.

Today’s special guest of the Former Players Association at the Hull City game is Peter Bodak. Birmingham-born Peter played a big part in the 1980-81 League Cup run to the semi-final but was unable to attend the recent reunion of that team. He will be best remembered for two stunning goals, the first in the 5-0 quarter final victory over Watford, the second, the following season at Maine Road where his delicious chip clinched a famous FA Cup win and won Match of the Day’s goal of the season.
Fans will be able to meet him in the corporate areas before the game and after the game in the G-Casino.

Finishing touches are now being made for this year’s grand reunion of our former players at Legends Day 2011 (which is less than a month away). This will be held on Saturday 2nd April 2011 at the Sky Blues’ home game against Watford. Over 40 Former Players have already confirmed their appearanceand it is expected that 2011 will be the biggest and best Legends Day so far. We will reveal on the website www.ccfpa.co.uk who is coming nearer the date.
The funeral of former Coventry City defender Eric Dobbs will take place at Canley Crematorium on Monday 14 March at 11.30 am.

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