Sunday, 31 March 2013

Jim's Column 30.3.13

                                   Chris Chilton, who scored against Falkirk in 1971

John Green wrote to me recently to say that he had been visiting friends in Falkirk recently and had talked to some of the local supporters. They all agreed that Steven Pressley was doing he right thing by moving to England to manage the Sky Blues but were sad to losing a fine manager. One of the Falkirk supporters raised the topic of a two-legged game between Falkirk and the Sky Blues in the 1970s but did not remember much about the game or what the competition was but did remember that Man United boss Alex Ferguson played for Falkirk. John asks if I could supply some details of the games & confirm the Appearance of Ferguson.

The teams met in the now defunct Texaco Cup, a competition involving English & Scottish First Division sides who had not qualified for European competitions. City entered the Cup, sponsored by the oil company, for three seasons from 1971-74 with little success. The tie with Falkirk was played in September 1971 with City losing the first leg in Scotland 1-0 but winning the second leg 3-0 after extra-time at Highfield Road with goals from Chris Chilton, Ernie Hunt & Dennis Mortimer, to go through on aggregate 3-1. Alex Ferguson did play in both legs for the Bairns. City's team for the first leg was Glazier: Coop, Smith, Mortimer, Blockley, Parker, O'Rourke, Carr, Chilton, Hunt, McGuire sub: Barry. In the second leg Cattlin replaced McGuire, Young replaced O'Rourke.

Ian Harris of Radford posed an interesting question this week he points out that the club look set to play at least 58 competitive games this season (more if they reach the play-offs). Ian wanted to know if this is a record for the number of games played by the club in a season. The answer is yes it will be a record, topping the 1962-63 season when the team played 57 games. That season, severely disrupted by the bad winter, City played 46 League games, two League Cup ties and nine FA cup ties. Some people might argue that they played 57 1/2 games as the Colchester home game was abandoned at half-time because of fog. Ian also pointed out that they will also play 30 home games, another club record, topping the 29 set in 1962-63 and equalled in 1973-74.

Last week’s loss at Fratton Park was a rare away defeat for the team in a run stretching back to last October. It brought to an end a run of four league wins (five in all competitions) and was only the second away league defeat in 12 games since the reverse at Brentford on 23 October. This is undoubtedly the best away run since the club entered the League in 1919 and would have barely thinkable last season when the Sky Blues managed a single paltry away win. Several readers have asked about the ‘Brazil’ away kit and commented how lucky it has been. For the record the club have played 11 games in the change kit and won eight, drawn one and lost two (at Carlisle & Portsmouth). Once again this is a record for any ‘away’ kit the club have ever worn & highly unlikely to ever be topped. Older fans may point out that in 1969 we played two away games in green shirts and black shorts (the new green & black striped shirts weren’t ready at the start of the season), and won both, at West Brom & Ipswich, before retiring the quite dashing kit in favour of the stripes.

Gary McSheffrey hasn’t had a great season for the Sky Blues and the penalty miss at Portsmouth will not have helped his confidence. The miss was the first by a City player this season after five successful ones, strangely by five different players. Kevin Kilbane, John Fleck, David McGoldrick, McSheffrey himself and Carl Baker had all netted from the spot before last week.  Unfortunately Gary has set a club record which he won’t be proud of – the most substituted City player of all time. Before yesterday’s game he had been taken off in 21 of 26 league games in which he has started. The previous record, I believe, was held by Dele Adebola in 2005-06 – he was pulled in 16 games. Some statistics have been produced this week on the most substituted players of all time and Adebola is 9th on the list having been ‘subbed’ on 202 occasions. Top of the list is Robbie Blake with 237 substitutions and I see that by coincidence he was released by Doncaster in the week the list was published! McSheffrey by the way has been ‘subbed’ 139 times and is in 79th place in the list.

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