Sunday, 7 April 2013

Jim's column 6.4.13

                                                 City's goal v Walthamstow Avenue 1957
Two weeks ago I mentioned Coventry City's FA Cup First round tie in 1957 against non-league Walthamstow Avenue. Arthur Warner of Binley wrote to me with his memories of the game:

They were a strong amateur team as you said- I remember they gave City one hell of a game. I was behind the goal on the Kop with the lads again-aged 12-nearly 20,000 crowd (19,064 to be precise). Big Ken McPherson scored the only goal, at the Kop end , towards the end of second half if my memory serves me right. I am sure that Walthamstow  played in green and white hoops and City played in red as both teams normal colours were blue.

Rod Dean too, has vague memories of the game: 'It was 56 years ago! I seem to remember Walthamstow in quartered shirts and City in red'

I did a bit of research and found an old newspaper picture from the game (of McPherson's goal I think) and of the two players in the background the closer one is wearing a quartered shirt (green, I suspect) and is a Walthamstow player. The other looks like City player Ray Sambrook, and is wearing City's away kit of that time, red shirts and white shorts. Both teams would have changed shirts because of the colour clash to comply with the FA rules at the time. The match report says that the amateur side had been the superior team in the first half but after a half-time lecture from manager Billy Frith, City improved a lot and McPherson scored the only goal after 56 minutes.

Arthur also remembers Steve 'Kalamazoo' Mokone who I wrote about two weeks ago:

Concerning Steve Mokone, I was at the game in October 1956 when steve scored his only goal for City against GIllingham -we won 4-1, and the crowd of nearly 17,000. I was behind the goal, at the Kop end where all us young ones went in those days. i am sure he scored it at the covered end- later known as the West end. i do remember that he picked the ball out of the  back of the net,  put it under his arm, and ran back to centre circle, waving to the crowd, and placed it on the centre-spot, amid great cheering from the crowd. He was a exciting talent to us young ones and was like a breath of fresh air in the games I saw him play- first team and reserves. The football was pretty grim under Harry Warren I seem to remember.

Alan Gamble of Longfollow Road also has fond memories of Mokone:

I was 9 years old “city fan “and used to go to South Street School, after school a crowd of us would have a kick about at the bottom of Days Lane by the Vauxhall Tavern. One day Kalamazoo joined us, he was really friendly and mesmerized us with his skills, and I got his autograph and treasured it, until sadly lost it in a house move 20+ years ago.

CCFPA committee member Mike Young has been in contact with ‘Kalamazoo’ who recently celebrated his 81st birthday and lives in Virginia, USA. He is a member of the FPA & would love to come over for a Legends Day however his health is not great but has promised to try and make it next year. 

What a disastrous result at Walsall, although by many accounts it wasn't that bad a performance but the red card for Stewart, City's first sending off of the season, and a stunning display of finishing by Walsall saw City beaten. It was their biggest league defeat of the season and the largest since the final day defeat at Southampton last season. In fact before Monday the team had only conceded more than two goals once in league games (at Shrewsbury in September).

I have written about City's topsy-turvy form, 11 away wins but only seven at home but there is another fascinating feature about the league record this season. Looking at a league table based on games against top half sides the Sky Blues are top of the league but on a table based on games against bottom half sides the Sky Blues are 17th. City have performed far better against the top sides & have done the double over Doncaster and Bournemouth and taken four points off Sheffield United and MK Dons. Conversely their form against lower sides has been dire with Shrewsbury & Carlisle doing the double over them and teams like Stevenage and Scunthorpe winning at the Ricoh. The Good Friday win over Doncaster Rovers was the second time this season that the Sky Blues have beaten the league leaders following the win over Tranmere in January.

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