Talking of impressive goalscorers I have just discovered the sad news that former City centre-forward George Stewart died in June 2011 aged 84. Stewart hailed from Buckie, a small fishing village in the North of Scotland, and as a teenager was playing for Buckie Thistle when he earned the nickname ‘seven-goal Stewart’ after scoring seven goals in consecutive games. Dundee spotted him and over the next eight years he built a formidable reputation in Scotland scoring goals for Dundee, and St Mirren, where he was leading scorer four seasons running. In 1954 he was in a contract dispute with St Mirren and signed for non-league Worcester City. Once the dispute was resolved he joined Accrington Stanley for £3,000 and became one of the most prolific scorers in the Football League. In four years at Peel Park the nippy striker scored 136 goals in 182 appearances as Stanley had their most successful period ever. The non-smoking teetotaller, George broke all of Stanley’s scoring records including five goals in a 6-2 win over Gateshead in 1954.
After Billy Frith signed him for Coventry in November 1958 he continued scoring and his partnership with Ray Straw helped City out of Division Four at the first attempt. He scored 15 goals in 25 games that season including four in City’s 6-1 win at Carlisle in February 1959 – the club’s biggest post-war away win (We could do with a similar result tomorrow!).
During the 1959-60 season he suffered an injury and lost his place to Ken Satchwell. In 1960 he joined Carlisle before returning to Buckie Thistle a year later. He retired from playing in 1962 and worked as a ship’s chandler and for a local draper in Buckie for many years.
Many words have already been written about City’s tremendous JPT victory over bogey-side Preston. Playing on a Thursday is a very unusual experience for Coventry City. Other than when Boxing Day or New Year’s Day fell on a Thursday, this was the first home game on a Thursday since 1985, and only the fifth time since the war. In 1985 City had a fixture backlog owing to a flu bug around Easter that caused several postponements. City were left needing to win their last three games to avoid relegation and the penultimate game was at home to Luton Town on Thursday 23 May. A late Brian Kilcline goal ensured City’s relegation battle went to the final game, at home to champions Everton on the following Sunday (which they won 4-1). The most famous Thursday game was probably the 2-2 draw with Bristol City in 1977, a result which ensured both clubs avoided relegation at the expense of Sunderland who lost 0-2 at Everton on the same night. Many Sunderland fans still hold a grudge against City and the then chairman, Jimmy Hill, for flashing the Sunderland score on the scoreboard and prompting the teams to stop playing.
Jot Shirley has been in touch regarding the Sky Blue Song. A long-serving City fan, Jot is trying to obtain a copy of the original recording of the song– believed to be by the Ted Heath Orchestra. It was issued as a 45 rpm single in the 1960s but Jot has been unable to trace the song on the internet. If anybody can help Jot, please drop me an email.