Sunday, 17 November 2013

Jim's column 16.11.13

Coventry City's impressive season has seen long-held records falling and after the last home game against Notts County the goal scoring feats of Messrs Clarke & Wilson came under the spotlight. Both strikers clocked their eleventh league goals of the season before Callum scored again at Wimbledon in the FA Cup. Steve Phelps wondered when two City players last reached 20 goals in the same season. The answer is the Third Division championship season of 1935-36. In that momentous season City scored 102 league goals, 75 of them at home & the great Clarrie Bourton netted 23 and winger George McNestry hit 20. A third player, Les Jones, managed 19! It also happened on three other occasions prior to that, in 1925-26 (Paterson 25, Herbert 22), 1926-27 (Herbert 24, Heathcote 21) and 1934-35 (Jones 25, Bourton 24).

In 1962-63 two City players topped 20 goals; George Hudson (30) & Terry Bly (25). however 24 of Hudson's goals were scored when he was at Peterborough, his previous club. The best haul of the modern era (post-1967) was the Ferguson/Wallace partnership of 1977-78. Ian Wallace scored 21 & Mick Ferguson 17 in a season that the team netted 75 league goals & finished seventh in the old First Division & missing out on a European place only because Arsenal lost the FA Cup final.

After a golden few weeks when he netted 6 goals in 6 games Leon Clarke has now scored 19 goals in 27 league games for the Sky Blues, one of the best scoring starts ever by a City player. He ranks 3rd equal in the best starts ever, level with Terry Bly (1962-63) just behind Micky Quinn (20 in 27 in 1992-93-94) but way behind the immortal Clarrie Bourton who netted 34 goals in his first 27 league games for the club in 1931-32. Leon's record is however better than that other legend George Hudson who netted 17 in his first 27 games.

The 3-1 FA Cup victory at Wimbledon was City's first away win in the competition since they won 1-0 at Torquay United in 2009. Elliott Ward got the late winner that day but City have failed to win in 4 FA Cup trips subsequently, drawing twice (at Blackburn & Portsmouth) & losing twice (at Birmingham & Tottenham). 

Reader Alan Ward alerted me to a statistical milestone approaching for the club. Since joining the Football League in 1919 the Sky Blues have won 3999 points and a win or draw at Bradford tomorrow will see them reach the milestone.

In those 94 years the club have played 87 seasons of league football (World War 2 took seven seasons out) in seven different divisions. For the first 55 seasons there were only two points for a win but since 1981-82 there have been three points for a victory. Their full record in those 87 seasons is:-

Played.     Wins.     Draws.   Losses.  Goals for.     Goals against.    Points
3727.        1308.    975.         1444.       5175.           5390.             3999

The club took 24 seasons to reach 1000 points, 22 seasons to get to 2000, 22 seasons to get to 3000 and only 19 seasons to get to 4000 however with the different points systems it is a fairly meaningless exercise.

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