Ed Blackaby emailed me recently regarding a Portuguese player called Carlita who he remembers joining the Sky Blues in the mid 1990s but can’t recall him playing for the first team. I don’t know too much about the man from Portugal but from the internet i have gleaned that his full name was Carlos Alberto Maior Silva Batista and he was born in Angola in 1970. He had played for various minor teams on the Algarve including a brief spell with top-flight club SC Farense before coming to England for a trial with Blackburn Rovers in 1995. Blackburn rejected him & he came to Coventry where he impressed manager Ron Atkinson enough to be offered a deal. Some newspaper reports suggest City paid Farense £150,000 or more for his signature but I find that hard to believe. Having said that my colleague Alan Poole reported at the time that Benfica were very interested in him and he was rated in the £300,000 bracket.
Carlita never played for the Sky Blues first team but did appear in seven first-team friendlies. In his first game, a 3-1 pre-season win against Finn Harps in Ireland, according to match reports: ‘he impressed with his workrate and control’. He also appeared against Cambridge United, Vitoria Guimares & Deportivo de la Coruna (in a pre-season tournament in Portugal), Birmingham City (Brian Borrows’ testimonial), St Albans & Cork City. He was a regular in the reserves during the first half of the season but sometime before the end of the season he returned to Portugal & played a handful of games for Boavista. After that he disappeared. I suspect he was one of Big Ron's impulse buys - he always had a penchant for skilful foreigners and the same summer signed classy Brazilian midfield player Isaias from Benfica.
After City's Johnstone's Paint Trophy game at Leyton Orient this week Ben Lipman asked me if City had ever played in the same stadium three times in a season and on the same day of the week - City have played at Orient's Match Room stadium twice on a Tuesday night already this season and will play there again in the league on a Tuesday night in January. The answer is no but it did set me thinking about instances of City playing the same side in three different competitions in one season.
To achieve this rare feat they would have had to be drawn against a team from their own division in more than one cup competition. Since the League Cup was inaugurated in 1960 City have been drawn against the same team in two cup competitions twice. In 1962-63 City, then a Third Division side, met Portsmouth in both the FA and League Cup, winning the FA Cup fourth round tie in a second replay but losing the League Cup tie heavily at Fratton Park. Then in 2003-04 City, a championship side, beat League Two Peterborough United in both the League Cup (2-0) and FA Cup (2-1) but neither of these instances were against a club from the same division.
However in 1959-60 City, a Third Division side, were drawn against Southampton in both the FA Cup and the Southern Professional Floodlit Cup (a senior competition but one that was obsolete the following season when the League Cup started). City therefore met Southampton in three competitions in the same season. With the FA Cup first round tie ending 1-1 at Highfield Road a replay at the Dell was necessary (duly lost 1-5) so City travelled there twice and entertained the Saints three times winning the league game (4-1), drawing the FA Cup tie and winning the Southern Professional Floodlit semi final (2-1) on the way to becoming the last ever winners of the trophy.
California-based City fan Bob Nelsen asked what colour City's kit was before Jimmy Hill took over as manager and changed the kit to the continental looking Sky Blue. The answer was that for the three seasons from 1959-60 City wore an all-white kit with various different styles of sleeves and collars. The team picture here (taken at the start of the 1960-61 season with the previously mentioned Southern Professional Floodlit Cup trophy) shows some players with a short sleeved v-neck shirt with blue trim and some with a round necked shirt with a blue V. Another variation was also used and is illustrated with a picture of George Curtis taken at Notts County's Meadow Lane. This had long blue sleeves and I suspect was worn when the temperatures dropped. After JH took over in November 1961 the white kit was retained until the end of the season and replaced with the snazzy Sky Blue kit in August 1962. Rod Dean seems to remember the all-white kit being introduced earlier, possibly in a home match against Port Vale in the 1958-59 Fourth Division promotion season. Can anyone remember this?Follow me on twitter @clarriebourton