Monday, 17 December 2012

Jim's column 15.12.2012

The goals are pouring in for the Sky Blues. Last Saturday’s 5-1 victory over Walsall made it 18 goals in the last six league games and 33 for the season, a total only bettered by Tranmere & Bournemouth in the division. The Sky Blues only need another eight goals to equal the total for the whole of last season and have already scored more goals away from home (18) than in the whole of last season (13). McGoldrick’s golden spell continues – he has scored 13 league and 2 cup goals. He has already scored more league goals than City’s top scorer in nine of the last ten seasons. In that period only Gary McSheffrey in 2005-06, with 15, has bettered McGoldrick’s haul this season. The Forest loanee is pushing some of City’s leading seasonal league goalscorers over the last 40 years:

Ian Wallace (21) in 1977-78
Dion Dublin (18) in 1997-98
Micky Quinn (17) in 1992-93
Terry Gibson (17) in 1983-84
Gary McSheffrey (15) in 2005-06
Ian Wallace (15) in 1978-79

The victory over the Saddlers was the biggest win at home since January 2006 when, on Dennis Wise’s debut, Derby were defeated 6-1. It was also the first time City have come from behind to win a home league game since January 2009 when goals from Guillaume Beuzelin and Michael Mifsud gave City a 2-1 win over Blackpool. It’s been a long time coming!

Walsall skipper Andy Butler received his marching orders ten minutes from time and became the first red card in a City game this season. City haven’t had any players sent off yet and the club’s disciplinary record has been marginally better this season – they had received two red cards by this stage last season – a factor which will hopefully avoid suspensions as the season progresses. And is it my imagination but there seems to be less injuries than in recent campaigns, although we still await the appearance this season of David Bell.

Lee Jones emailed with a couple of questions. The first was regarding the famous 2-2 draw with Bristol City that saw both sides avoiding relegation at the end of the 1976-77 season. He had noticed that this game (along with the Everton v Sunderland game) were both played on a Thursday night, and wondered if there was any particular reason why these two games were held back, as none of the teams were involved in any cup competitions, and the rest of the First division programme had already been completed. Lee, the original game had been postponed a couple of times (on 1st January and 1st March) because of the weather - it was one of the worst winters for many years. Many clubs had fixture backlogs and although the final day of the season had been scheduled for the previous Saturday there were 12 outstanding games after that date. In those days there was no requirement for clubs to play their final games on the same day. There was however only one outstanding issue and that was who would be relegated with Stoke City and Tottenham. Bristol, who had been favourites to go down a week earlier had given themselves a fighting chance by beating champions Liverpool 2-1 on the Monday night. Sunderland, who had been 16th of 22 clubs following the last Saturday’s results, were suddenly into play and had to travel to Goodison Park. The draw at Highfield Road meant that Sunderland were relegated and bitter Sunderland fans have never forgiven Coventry or their chairman Jimmy Hill who they accused of deliberately delaying the kick-off of the game to give City some advantage. The games that night were not the final games of the Division One season – there were two games the following Monday night.

Lee’s second query is regarding a programme for the last day escape against Everton, played at Highfield Road on Sunday 26th May 1985. He wondered if there was ever actually a programme printed for this game, as after much searching he has only been able to trace ones for the date that the game was originally due to be played - 9th February, 1985. Lee, there was a four-page insert, with updated stats and team line ups, printed and sold with the original programme on the Sunday morning.
Two updates to last week’s column. First, Geoff Moore pointed out that City haven’t scored every penalty in shoot-outs this season. Richard Wood actually missed the 10th penalty in the Burton shoot-out before Joe Murphy saved Burton’s 10th and scored City’s 11th to win the tie.

Secondly. Keith Ballantyne remembers the Bristol Rovers cup-tie in 1963 and recalls Rovers playing in red and white striped shirts (not blue and white stripes).

The Former Players Association Christmas stall was a great success last Saturday and £300 was raised for the Association. The stall will be repeated next Saturday at the Preston game in the foyer of the G-Casino. On sale to raise funds for the FPA will be books, shirts, signed images of Keith Houchen’s Wembley goal (only £10) and various other memorabilia ideal for Christmas presents for Sky Blue fans. Thanks to everyone who generously bought items.

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