Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Jim's column 8.10.11

Two weeks ago I wrote about a famous City player from the 1920s Hugh ‘Rubberneck’ Richmond and the piece generated a lot of positive feedback from readers. Today I will delve even further back thanks to an old cigarette card sent to me by Bernard Poulten of Baughurst, Hampshire. His father, who played for Tottenham Hotspur in the 1920s collected football memorabilia and when he died in 1970 Bernard found the card with a picture of Alfred Fenwick in his belongings. Bernard wanted any information I could provide on Alfred Fenwick’s career. 

Alfred (Alf) Randolph Fenwick was born in the mining village of Medomsley, near Consett in County Durham on 26 March 1891. He was the son of a mining engineer and grew up close to the Hamsterley Colliery where his father worked. 

It is known that he played for local team Craghead United before joining Hull City in 1910. In 1914 just as war was about to break out he signed for West Ham. There is no record of his war-time activities but after the war he briefly played for West Ham again before signing for City in December 1919. His steadying influence at left half helped the club pull out of the relegation places after a miserable first season in the Football League.

He made 53 appearances for City over two seasons and scored one goal. After leaving Coventry in 1921 he played for numerous other clubs including Lincoln, Notts County, Newark Town and Shildon Athletic. The last record of him playing was with Bedlington United 1926-27, coincidentally Hugh Richmond finished his playing career with the same club. I have no details of his post-playing life and Alf died in Northumberland in 1975 aged 83. In 1921 Alf recommended his nephew Austen Campbell to Coventry but he was released after one game but later joined Blackburn and became an England international.

If you have any pictures of old City players that you would like to know more about please send them to me via email or via the Coventry Telegraph and I will try and provide some background to the player.
My appeal, on behalf of Dean Nelson, for film footage of Oggy’s goal at Hillsborough in 1986 brought a positive response with two readers, Mike Young and a gentleman from Cheylesmore, offering Dean a copy of the great man’s only goal. Dean will now be able to complete his video of the famous 1986-87 season. Dean reminded me that during that season Coventry City appeared for the first time in a live league game. In January 1987, two weeks before their famous FA Cup victory at Old Trafford, John Sillett’s team played out a 0-0 draw with Arsenal at Highbury. If I remember rightly the London-based ITV commentary team were disappointed that City didn’t roll over and let the Gunners thrash them but recognised that City had, after a few years in the wilderness, developed a team that was hard to beat and could be ‘going places’. Four months later the Sky Blues lifted the FA Cup.

My latest book, Sky Blue Revolution, telling the story behind City’s amazing rise from the depths of Division Three to the First Division between 1961 and 1967 is now in the shops. Two weeks today, on 22 October, the day of the Burnley home game, I will be holding a book signing at Waterstones in Coventry between 11 a.m. and 12 and will be joined by a number of City legends from that era, including Mick Kearns, Ronnie Farmer and Dietmar Bruck. Later in the day, both before and after the game we will be moving to the G-Casino for a signing session and I look forward to meeting some of my readers at one or other of the venues.

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