Monday, 29 December 2014

Christmas Quiz 2014

(scroll down for answers)


  1. Jim O'Brien has played in every league game this season but which player has been involved in all but one of City's league games?

  1. Who scored City's only goal in the League Cup this season?

  1. Which club were the visitors for the lowest league crowd in Coventry since 1986, just 7,708?

  1. Who were City's opponents in the final game at Sixfields?

  1. Which club did Josh McQuoid play for at Wembley last season?

  1. The attendance of 27,306 for the Gillingham game was not the highest for a league game. Which club were the visitors in 2010 when the record, 28,184 was set?

  1. Which former loanee scored against the Sky Blues for Oldham this season?

  1. Two City players had received red cards in league games before Boxing Day. Reda Johnson is one, who is the other?

  1. Which City player made his first senior appearance when he came on as a sub at Wycombe in the JPT?

  1. Which club attracted a crowd of under 3,000 for the visit of City, the lowest away league crowd since 2002?


  1. Who was the last Coventry City homegrown player to win full international honours for England?

  1. Which non-league club were, in 1935, the last to knock City out of the FA Cup before Kings Lynn in 1961?

  1. In 1997 which club were forced to play in City's away kit at Highfield Road after failing to bring their own change kit?

  1. Which player, last season, achieved a feat only done by three other players, scoring for the Sky Blues without starting a game?

  1. In 2005 v Stoke City at Highfield Road why did Stephen Hughes go into goal?

  1. The lowest league crowd for City games at Sixfields was set in February when only 1,603 attended. Who were the visitors?

  1. Which Coventry City manager led the club into Europe in 1970?

  1. Name the only Ukrainian to play for Coventry City. He made 3 appearances in 1997.

  1. Prior to Callum Wilson scoring 21 league goals last season, who was the last City man to score 20 league goals in a season?

  1. In 1995-96 City's away kit was two-tone purple & yellow. How many games did they win wearing it?



  1. ...scored against the Sky Blues last Boxing Day for Peterborough?

  1. ...was appointed manager of Nuneaton Town earlier this season?

  1. ...played for Wigan in the FA Cup semi final last season?

  1. ...was appointed manager of Tamworth earlier this season?

  1. ...has recently joined Exeter City on a non-contract basis?

  1. ...played for Aberdeen in the Scottish League Cup final last season?

  1. ...scored against the Sky Blues for Oldham last season?

  1. ...was appointed manager of Tranmere Rovers recently?

  1. ...played in a League Cup final for three different clubs?

  1. first choice goalkeeper for Middlesbrough this season?


  1. ...knocked City out of the FA Cup last season?

  1. ...were promoted from Division Three with the Sky Blues in 1964?

  1. ...did the double over City last season but were relegated to League Two?

  1. ...sacked former City player & manager Terry Butcher last summer?

  1. ...gave Reda Johnson his chance in English football?

  1. ...were the last team to win the League Cup after defeating the Sky Blues in the competition?

  1. ...sold Darren Huckerby to City in 1996?

  1. ...were promoted to League One via the play-offs last season?

  1. ...attracted a record crowd of 19,095 to Highfield Road in 1910 for an FA cup tie?

  1. ...were the first to defeat John Sillett's City side in an FA Cup tie after the 1987 triumph.


  1. Which club in 1974 pulled out of a deal to buy City's Willie Carr after a medical?

  1. In 1979 City were outbid by Nottingham Forest for Britain's first £1m player. Name him.

  1. Which current Cardiff striker was on the verge of joining the Sky Blues in 2011 before Reading outbid City?

  1. Name the foreign player signed by City in 1998 only to have the player (or his wife) decide days later that he would prefer to play for Real Madrid.

  1. Which Welsh international defender chose Blackburn over the Sky Blues in December 1995?

  1. Which current Middlesbrough midfielder was strongly linked to City in 2009 when playing for Rushden & Diamonds?

  1. Name the USA defender who looked set to join City after the 1994 World Cup but changed his mind & went to Italy instead.

  1. Which City player failed a medical & torpedoed a £440,000 move to Manchester United in 1978?

  1. In 2000 City & Glasgow Rangers agreed a fee of £5m for this Scottish international winger but then Rangers got cold feet.

  1. In 1979 which City striker looked set to join Ipswich only to score four goals against them & cause Gordon Milne to keep him.


All of these players have made first team appearances for the club in the last 35 years.




Section 1

  1. John Fleck
  2. Shaun Miller
  3. Crawley Town
  4. Barnsley
  5. Peterborough
  6. Leeds United
  7. Danny Philliskirk
  8. Jack Finch (v Crewe)
  9. Kyle Spence
  10. Scunthorpe United

Section 2

  1. Chris Kirkland
  2. Scunthorpe United
  3. Chelsea
  4. Mathieu Manset
  5. City's keeper Ian Bennett was sent off & City had no substitute goalkeeper
  6. Carlisle
  7. Noel Cantwell
  8. Alex Evtushok
  9. Ian Wallace
  10. None

Section 3

  1. Shaun Jeffers
  2. Liam Daish
  3. Gary Caldwell
  4. Andy Morrell
  5. Clinton Morrison
  6. Willo Flood
  7. Jonson Clarke-Harris
  8. Micky Adams
  9. Kevin Richardson
  10. Dimi Konstantopoulos

Section 4

  1. Arsenal
  2. Crystal Palace
  3. Tranmere Rovers
  4. Hibernian
  5. Plymouth Argyle
  6. Sheffield Wednesday
  7. Newcastle
  8. Fleetwood
  9. Everton
  10. Watford

Section 5

  1. Wolves
  2. Trevor Francis
  3. Adam La Fondre
  4. Robert Jarni
  5. Chris Coleman
  6. Lee Tomlin
  7. Alexei Lalas
  8. Jim Blyth
  9. Neil McCann
  10. Mick Ferguson

Section 6 (Pictures)

  1. Kevin Kyle
  2. Dave Bamber
  3. David Bradford
  4. Wayne Turner
  5. Denzel Slager
  6. Trond Soltvedt
  7. Jen-Guy Walleme
  8. Michael Cook
  9. John Hendrie
  10. Neil Wood

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Jim's column 20.12.14

My Greatest ever Christmas games

With Christmas almost upon us I thought I would compile my Top Ten Coventry City Christmas games. I have been watching the club for over 50 years and there have been many great festive games, many at home, some away. Of course my most memorable festive games are Sky Blue victories but there have been some tremendous games that didn't result in a City victory. There was the spectacular on ice in 1962 when City came from 3-1 down to share the points with league leaders Peterborough at Highfield Road, the first Christmas game in Division One in 1967 when City held the mighty Liverpool to a 1-1 draw with Ian St John flooring City's Brian Lewis with a left hook that Muhamed Ali would have been proud of. I wasn't there, but the Christmas Day 1937 game at Bramall Lane must have been a cracker. City & the Blades were first & second in the Second division table at the start of play & City took a two-goal lead only to succumb to the Blades attacking might & lost 2-3 in front of a massive holiday crowd of 49,000.

Sadly there have been few Christmas crackers in recent years but the last two seasons victories feature. I cannot recall a single exciting Christmas game since we moved to the Ricoh in 2005. Let's hope that will change this year against Chesterfield.

Some readers will have their personal favourites that I haven't included – let me know your favourite Christmas games.

So my top ten, in reverse order, is as follows:

  1. 2013 City 4 Peterborough 2

Lee Tomlin & Britt Assombalonga inspired an impressive Posh first-half performance at Sixfields & City were lucky not to be more than 1-2 down at the break. In the second half City's dynamic duo of Leon Clarke & Callum Wilson took over & City raced to an impressive 4-2 win – the first time they have come from behind twice to win at home since Christmas 1997.

9. 1966 City 4 Rotherham 2

On Boxing Day 1967, Jimmy Hill’s Sky Blues faced Rotherham and a brace from Bobby Gould and further goals from Ian Gibson and Ron Farmer secured the win. Rotherham goalkeeper Alan Hill had to leave the field with a broken finger sustained trying to stop Gould's second goal. John Galley deputised & was at the centre of controversy when a City fan climbed out of the West End & attacked him. The win kept City in second place behind Wolves but four points covered the top eleven teams.

  1. 1982 City 3 Manchester United 0

Dave Sexton's young lions jumped to fifth place with a comprehensive victory over Ron Atkinson's team. Peter Hormantschuk's first senior goal set the Sky Blues on the way & Mark Hateley scored the second before half-time. Jim Melrose sealed the win twenty minutes from time as Gerry Francis outshone England star Ray Wilkins.

  1. 1964 City 3 Preston 0

City legend George Hudson gave one of the great individual performances on an ice-bound pitch. The score-line flattered Preston as they barely have a shot & could have shipped six or more. 'The Hud' sets up Ernie Machin's early headed goal & his delightful chip over the 'keeper makes it 2-0. Humphries scores a third – set up by Hudson – for City's first home win in seven.

  1. 2012 MK Dons 2 City 3

5,000 City fans travelled to Milton Keynes & saw a thrilling comeback victory that lifted the Sky Blues into the top ten after a miserable start to the season. Mark Robins' team were trailing to an early Powell goal when Franck Moussa dribbled through & hit a thunderous goal. Ryan Lowe restored the home side's lead but two Stephen Elliott goals early in the second-half had the Sky Blue Army celebrating a famous victory.

  1. 1999 City 3 Arsenal 2

A Boxing Day thriller for the Sky cameras as Gordon Strachan's 'Entertainers' beat Wenger's side. Gary McAllister's long shot took a deflection & Hadji made it 2-0 just before the break with a superb header. Freddie Ljungberg pulled one back before a delicate chip from Robbie Keane sealed the win. Suker's late goal made no difference to the outcome.

  1. 1992 City 3 Aston Villa 0

Mick Quinn had rejuvenated Bobby Gould's team's season with eight goals in five games since his move from Newcastle & the burly striker led the way to victory over Big Ron's Villa team. In eight second-half minutes Quinn, with two & Robert Rosario put a big dent in Villa's title hopes before the fog descended & threatened the game.
  1. 1997 City 3 Manchester United 2

Alex Ferguson's champions & league leaders were turned over by a thrilling City comeback. City came from 1-2 behind to win with Dion Dublin, a penalty, and star of the show Darren Huckerby, scored in the last four minutes. Huckerby dribbled past the whole United defence before slotting home for one of the most famous Highfield Road goals.

  1. 1987 City 4 Tottenham 3

City's biggest league crowd for six years, 22,000, saw a Christmas cracker. Twice, goal-machine Clive Allen gave Spurs the lead before Dave Bennett's brace on the hour swung the game City's way. Nico Claessen levelled the scores with six minutes left but Cyrille Regis headed the winner in the final minute to give City their first home win over Spurs in 13 years in what was a preview of the Wembley classic the following May.

  1. 1977 City 5 Norwich 4

Sensational, breathtaking, unbelievable! One of the greatest games ever seen at Highfield Road, with goalkeeper Jim Blyth saving Jim Ryan's last-minute penalty to clinch the win. Gordon Milne's team were having a great season & have netted 39 goals already. Ian Wallace's second goal, a bicycle-kick, was a stunner and Barry Powell (penalty), Ray Gooding, Bobby McDonald & Ray Graydon netted the other goals.

Next week I will be setting my Festive Quiz, in the meantime, I wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Jim's column 13.12.14

Sky Blue fan Ed Blackaby asked me about a game at Wembley Stadium in 1987 when Steve Ogrizovic played for a Football League Select XI versus the Rest of the World as part of the Football League's centenary celebrations. He remembers the FL side winning 3-0 and Oggy coming on as a substitute for Peter Shilton but wondered how long Oggy played for and if he made any good saves.

The game took place on Saturday 8th August, one week after City had played Everton in the Charity Shield at the old stadium. There were 61,000 present for the game & the FL side won 3-0 with goals from Bryan Robson (2) & substitute Norman Whiteside. The FL side, managed by England manager Bobby Robson, included Tottenham's Clive Allen & Richard Gough as well as Arsenal's Liam Brady. The Rest of the World team, managed by Terry Venables, included Diego Maradonna, who was booed incessantly, Michel Platini, who had retired at the end of the previous season & Barcelona's England international Gary Lineker. Oggy replaced Shilton in goal after 60 minutes but I have no knowledge about any saves he might have made.

Ed had another question about goalkeepers. He seems to remember David Speedie playing in goal during the Guinness Soccer 6 competition back in the 1980s. You are correct Ed, Speedie was City's goalkeeper during the 1988 competition held at Manchester’s G-Mex complex. Apparently Oggy had a 'dodgy shoulder' and reserve 'keeper Jake Findlay was recovering from a knee operation so 'Speedo' volunteered to play in goal. In their first game City trailed 1-2 to Newcastle with time running out. Speedie raced out of his goal & slammed home the equaliser. In the following game he had four goals put past him by Charlton but admitted that he loved the experience. Nine months later Speedie had to go in goal in a First Division match at Millwall when Oggy had to leave the pitch injured. The Scottish international striker played 45 minutes between the sticks & kept Millwall out until the last minute when an Ian Dawes thunderbolt beat him to make it 4-1 to the Lions.

Next Saturday the Sky Blues play Fleetwood Town for the first time in their history & Rod Dean emailed me recently to point out that Fleetwood is probably the smallest town to put out a team to face Coventry in their Football League history. The population of Fleetwood at the last census in 2011 was 25,939 & I can think of few towns that have faced City to be as small. In the 1925-26 season City played in the Third Division Northern Section & faced a number of clubs from small towns including Nelson & Accrington in Lancashire & Ashington in Northumberland. Ashington, a small mining town famous for producing Bobby & Jack Charlton, had a population of around 30,000 in the mid 1920s whilst Nelson's census in the 1920s was around 38,000. Rod points out that you probably have to go back to the 1914-15 season when City played in Southern League Division Two to find a club from a smaller town that Fleetwood. That season City met many clubs from South Wales, amongst them Ton Pentre, a village in the Rhonda Valley, with a population of under 5,000.

If you are looking for a stocking-filler for the Coventry City fan in your life you could do a lot worse than buy a new book on Sky Blues memorabilia. Got, not Got, the Lost World of Coventry City by Derek Hammond & Gary Silke is a nostalgic trip down memory lane, especially for fans who look back longingly at the 1960s & 1970s. Full of pictures, programmes, crazy kits, bubble-gum cards & lots of other relics from the good old days the humorous, often tongue-in-cheek book illustrates an important part of Coventry City's history & heritage. Some of the stuff will cause younger fans or the PC-brigade to choke on their Christmas pudding, for example, the City programme of the early 1970s which displayed a semi-clad female as 'Girl of the Match'. It makes one realise how naff some of the stuff was and the Sun newspaper cards from the late 1970s take the biscuit. To avoid paying for actual photos of players the Sun got an artist to draw the players with a felt-tip pen. The results were horrendous & few of the cards resembled the players. Fellow City historian Dean Nelson has lent his super collection of Sky Blues memorabilia for the book which is unashamed nostalgia. At this depressing time for City fans what better than to wallow in this book and it will be an excellent way to spend an hour or two on Christmas afternoon whilst the rest of the family fall asleep in front of The Great Escape.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Jim's column 6.12.14

Last Saturday's goalless draw with Walsall attracted a lot of criticism from City supporters but I for one didn't think it was as bad as several home games this season & whilst the lack of goals is a cause for concern we should be celebrating a more solid defence. Since the Cup exit to Worcester the side have conceded one goal in four matches & that was a sloppy mistake that nine times out of ten would not have been punished. Prior to Worcester they had conceded 17 goals in seven league games. Saturday's clean sheet meant that the team have two successive clean sheets for first time for over a year. The last time consecutive clean sheets were recorded was in autumn 2013 when wins over Walsall (1-0) & Notts County (3-0) took City up to 11th place despite starting with a ten points deduction.

Several fans have asked me how City's record for the calendar year compares with the worst years in the club's history. So far, in 2014, Steven Pressley's side have won 10 out of 42 league games & won 43 points. The worst calendar year was in 1984 when Bobby Gould's team won just nine games out of 43, totalling 35 points.

In a 46-game calendar year the worst record was in 2011 when Aidy Bothroyd started the year in charge but was replaced by Andy Thorn after 12 games. The team won 11 out of 46 games, earning 40 points. Other bad years were 2003, 1997 & 1996. In all of those years the side amassed only 42 points. In conclusion, therefore, it is not going to be one of the club's worst years.

I didn't mention last week that City's long run without an away victory had been ended with the 1-0 victory at Colchester. Not only was it the first away league win of the season but the first since March 29th when a Callum Wilson brace earned City a 2-1 win at Crewe. That was 11 away games without victory & just four draws. The club's worst ever away run was between January 1924 & April 1925 when they went 28 trips without a victory.

Last week I wrote about Jack Doran who appeared just once for Coventry City in 1915 but scored two goals. City fan David Selby sent me a pen picture of Doran from the Norwich City A-Z by Mike Davage & I have done some more research.

Davage's book reveals that Doran was gassed at the Battle of Somme & again at Cambrai whilst in Major Frank Buckley's 'Football Battalion'. On being demobbed after the First World War, Doran signed for three clubs within five months of 1919 (Brentford, Newcastle & Norwich). Southern League Norwich were managed at the time by Major Buckley & Doran emulated his feat for City by scoring twice on his debut for the Canaries. In 25 Southern League games the burly, curly-haired, Doran scored 18 goals before fellow Southern League club Brighton stepped in to sign him in February 1920. He scored 10 goals in 10 games for the Seagulls & ended up as top scorer for both clubs that season. That summer the complete Southern League became the new Third Division & Doran netted 21 goals (half of Brighton's total) in their first season in the League, a feat that earned him a call-up to the Ireland team that played England. In 1921-22 he continued his goalscoring, netting ten goals in his first seven games & 23 in total in a struggling side as well as winning two further Irish caps.

His phenomenal scoring attracted considerable interest from bigger clubs & in the summer of 1922 he signed for Manchester City. Doran made only three appearances for Manchester City, scoring once, before the club attempted to convert him to a centre-half. He then moved back to the Third Division for a few months with Crewe but his career was in a nose-dive. Short spells followed with Mid Rhondda United in the Southern League & Shelbourne in Ireland. He also played for Fordsons in the Irish Free State League before finishing his playing career with Boston in the Midland League. He then returned to Ireland where he coached Waterford. After retiring from football, he became a publican in the north-east of England, and died in Sunderland of the effects of tuberculosis, aged 44.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Jim's column 29.11.14

I get many requests for information from relatives of former Coventry City players & I found the latest request very interesting. Jo Loraine contacted me about her grandfather by the name of Jack Doran.

Jo is doing some research for her 84-year old mother whose father John(Jack) Doran was playing for City in 1914 when war was declared and subsequently joined up to fight in France with the 17th Middlesex Battalion, known as the football battalion. Her mum wanted to know how Jack came to be playing at Coventry as he must have been only about 17 at the time.

I didn't have too many details of Jack but know that Coventry spotted him playing in junior football for Newcastle Empire FC & signed him in May 1914, just months before the outbreak of war. It appears he joined the Army in September 1914 & made only one first team appearance for the club. On 20 March 1915 (presumably when he was on leave from the army) he played in a Southern League Division Two game versus Welsh club, Ebbw Vale, and scored two goals in a 3-1 win.
During the war, whilst on service with Royal Army Ordnance Corps, he was awarded both the Distinguished Combat Medal & the Military Medal. After the war he joined Norwich City and he subsequently played for Brighton, Manchester City, Crewe, Mid-Rhondda, Shelbourne, Fordsons (an Irish club) & Boston United. He won three international caps for Ireland. Most of my information was gleaned from the excellent book 'The Complete Who's Who of Coventry City footballers' by Martin & Paul O'Connor.

I think Jack must hold a record for being the only Coventry City player to score two goals in his only game for the club. In addition I was able to furnish Jo with a Coventry City team picture, with Jack in it, taken in the summer of 1914.

Lifelong City fan Terry White contacted me recently regarding his brother's 60th birthday next May. He is keen to get hold of the programme from the game played on the day his brother was born, 2nd May 1955 when City entertained QPR at Highfield Road. He has trawled many websites looking for it without success.

The game in question was the penultimate home game of the 1954-55 season on a midweek night & a small 4-page programme was issued. The programme is very rare & although I have a copy myself I can't remember seeing it on programme dealer's lists over the past 20-30 years. I was able to send Terry a scan of my copy.

The game ended 5-1 with goals from Alan Moore, Ray Sambrook, Barry Hawkings & Tommy Capel (2). Only 7,350 attended the game & I doubt many there kept the flimsy 4-page programme.

Glenn Hulbert is an exiled City fan on Vancouver Island, British Columbia & e-mailed me concerning City's record attendance. He started watching City as a seven-year old in 1952, was a regular in the 1960s and still recalls some of the old names like Arthur Lightening, a South African goalkeeper, Scots winger Stewart Imlach, Welsh winger Ronnie Rees, centre-forward Ray Straw & Ernie Machin.

He wanted information on City's record attendance. He says that the official record crowd is 51,455 recorded against Wolves on 29th April 1967 but he believes that in 1938, in a game against Aston Villa there was a crowd estimated at 60,000 +. He also remembers standing on the Spion Kop in the 1960s watching City play Sunderland in the 5th round of the FA Cup, & believed that  was the unofficial record attendance, probably 65-70,000.
Glenn rightly says that many fans got into the ground that night when some of the gates were broken down. The official crowd was 40,487 however r
eliable eye-witness  estimates would suggest that the actual number in the ground was around 50,000 but certainly not 65-70,000.

The official record crowd at Highfield Road was 51,452 for the famous Wolves game in 1967. The Aston Villa crowd of 67,271 was in 1937 but was at Villa Park & over 20,000 City fans made the trip up the A45 for a 0-0 draw. The highest for a home game v Villa was 44,930 in 1938. This was the official record crowd until the Wolves game. All these attendances are those recorded with either the Football League or the Football Association.

Finally, there is news of former City & Romania centre-forward Viorel Moldovan. Many believe that his signing in December 1997 was the catalyst for the exciting spring of 1998 when, but for a penalty shoot-out defeat at Bramall Lane, City would have reached the FA Cup semi-finals and maybe another Wembley final. Moldovan, now aged 42, is a coach in his home country & last season led Rapid Bucharest to promotion to the top division. He has been rewarded with appointment as coach to the national under 21 side. Moldovan, of course, will always be remembered for scoring the goal that ended the Villa Park hoodoo in the memorable 1-0 FA Cup win there that season. Moldovan never really settled in England & after appearing in the 1998 World Cup (& scoring against England) he was sold to Turkish club Fenerbahce with City netting a small profit.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Jim's column 22.11.14

Two former Coventry City Academy players deserve congratulations this week after winning their first international caps. Cyrus Christie won his first full cap for the Republic of Ireland in their 4-1 victory over USA in Dublin on Tuesday night. He joins a select band of City products to have played for the Republic, becoming the sixth full cap after Peter Thomas, Jimmy Holmes, Gary Howlett, Dean Kiely and Barry Quinn.

Meanwhile Callum Wilson's progress to the top of the game continued with his first appearance for England under 21s. He came on as a substitute against France in Brest but couldn't stop the French winning 3-2. Callum follows a long line of City home-grown products who have pulled on a Young England shirt. England first played under 23 internationals in 1954 & Reg Matthews was the first City product to win a cap, in 1955 in a 5-1 victory over Italy at Stamford Bridge. Reg, of course went on to win full caps the following year. Since Reg there have been fifteen Academy products selected for either the under 23 side or its successor, the under 21s ranging from Dennis Mortimer & Garry Thompson through to Marcus Hall & Tony Dobson. Callum is the first however for ten years, since Calum Davenport played whilst a Tottenham player. Since Reg Matthews only four Academy products have gone on to win full caps: Jeff Blockley, Danny Thomas, Mark Hateley & Chris Kirkland.

Talking of Callum, this week I picked up a copy of the Banbury Guardian & read that another ex-Sky Blue, Shaun Jeffers is playing for Brackley Town in the Conference North. In the summer of 2013 some people were disappointed that Jeffers and not Wilson was released by City. In less than 18 months Wilson has progressed to England under 21s and may be on the radar of some Premiership clubs in the January window whilst Jeffers is plying his trade at Brackley. It's a funny old game.

Another former City striker is back as a manager in the same league. Andy Morrell was appointed boss of Tamworth a couple of months ago & is slowly turning things round for the Lambs. Two other former City players, Lee Hildreth & Donovan Simmonds have left the club recently.

Steve Pittam read my piece about City comebacks from two down & reminded me of one of the all-time great City recoveries. In November 1995 City entertained Wimbledon in a Premier League game. Both sides were struggling – City hadn't won in 13 league games (although had beaten Spurs 3-2 in that famous League Cup comeback a month earlier) & the Dons were without a win in 10. A Paul Heald own goal gave City an early lead before Paul Williams was shown a red card for handball in the penalty area & Vinnie Jones equalised from the spot. Goodman & Leonhardsen made it 3-1 for the Londoners by the hour mark before Dion Dublin pulled a goal back on 67 minutes. City were throwing everything at the Dons but ten minutes from time Richard Shaw was sent off for his second yellow card, leaving Ron Atkinson's men with nine players. Somehow City managed to equalise seven minutes from time through David Rennie & in a frantic finale Peter Ndlovu missed a glorious chance to win the game near the end.

My good friend Dave Long has been following the club since the early 1970s and remembers that when he first went to Highfield Road the kick-off time for Saturday games was 3.15 pm but at some stage came into line with other league sides and kicked off at 3pm. He wanted to know why City previously kicked off later & when did it revert to 3pm.

It was Jimmy Hill who introduced the 3.15 kick off time in 1962. There were two reasons for the change. Firstly, Hill revealed he had received requests from shift-workers whose shift ended at 3 pm and who could attend games if the kick-off time was adjusted. The second reason and possibly the more important reason was that the new 4.55 pm finish time would fit in neatly with the new ‘Sky Blue’ social club which would have a licence commencing at 5pm and members would not have to wait around for twenty minutes for a drink. Apparently he had been impressed with a similar club at Torquay the previous season where the home fans gathered in large numbers to have a drink after the game, missing the worst of the traffic and mulling over the game over a pint. There was a snag for fans unable to get to games. When the BBC did their classified results at 5pm it was rare for the final whistle to have blown at Highfield Road so the result was often not announced until after all the other results had been read.

The change back to 3pm occurred at the start of the 1972-73 season but I cannot find any information on the reasons for the switch, however it did coincide with Joe Mercer & Gordon Milne arriving at the club.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Jim's column 15.11.14

Once again the Sky Blues have been humiliated in a cup competition, Conference North side Worcester City dumping them out of the 2014-15 FA Cup at the first hurdle. This is the first time since 1959 that the club have failed to reach the Second Round of the competition – but at least that year they managed to force a replay with fellow Third Division side Southampton to ensure they were in the draw for the second round. You have to go back to 1956 to find the last time Coventry City weren't in the draw for the Second Round – that year they lost 2-1 at Swindon in the First Round.

Sunday's tame capitulation to a side three divisions below them, was the seventh defeat suffered at the hands of a non-league team since the club were elected to the Football League in 1919. The full list of those previous giant-killers is: Rochdale (1920), New Brighton (1922), Worksop (1925), Scunthorpe (1935), Kings Lynn (1961) & Sutton United (1989). The majority of City's non-league victors have been one or two levels below them in status, the major exception being Sutton, who were four levels below the Sky Blues in 1989. Sunday's embarrassment must therefore rank as the second worst ever, after Sutton. Interestingly only one of those embarrassing defeats has cost the Coventry manager his job, Billy Frith making way for Jimmy Hill four days after the Kings Lynn debacle, although JH did reveal in his biography that Derrick Robins had offered him the manager's job before the Kings Lynn game but he didn't decide to take it until after watching City fall to defeat against the Linnets, sitting incognito in the stand. Frith was already a marked man before the Cup game.

The Worcester result was not helped by the red card given to young goalkeeper Lee Burge, an action which has earned him much criticism from the management and supporters. Lee became the first City goalkeeper to be sent off in an FA Cup game and only the fourth ever to be given marching orders. 
Steve Ogrizovic  was sent off for handling outside the box in a League Cup tie at Wolves in November 1995, City going on to lose 2-1. 
Chris Kirkland received his red card at Stamford Bridge in October 2000 – a bad decision that enabled Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink to stroke home the penalty for the first of his four goals in Chelsea’s 6-1 romp. 
Ian Bennett got his marching orders at home to Stoke in February 2005 – again for handling outside the box – and, with no keeper on the bench, midfielder Stephen Hughes took over between the sticks to help earn the Sky Blues a 0-0 draw.

Mick Williams from Coundon was in touch with me recently. Last month he celebrated 52 years as a supporter of Coventry City. His first game was in 1962 against Hull City in the old Third division which ended in a 2-2 draw in front of over 11,800 fans at Highfield Road (Willie Humphries & Roy Dwight scoring for the Sky Blues). This is what he wrote about that day:

When the day arrived I remember being a very exited seven-year old and was looking forward to wearing "the football scarf" that I had seen in one of cupboards in our house. However, Dad told me that under no circumstances would I be wearing the "football scarf" and that I would soon see why not. When the time came we walked from our house in St Margaret Road that was just the other side of Gosford Green to Highfield Road and which lay in the shadows of those strange looking lights that reached up into the sky on top of those criss cross pylons. As the teams took the field it seemed unfair to me that I had been forbidden to wear the "football scarf" as one of the teams were kitted out in exactly the same colour as the said item. Dad explained to me that the team that we were supporting were the one playing in Sky Blue and not yellow and black and that the "football scarf" was in fact the scarf that he wore for watching our speedway team the Brandon Bees as they were then known.

And so the love affair began. I have been on the roller coaster all the way through (except we didn't go to Sixfields) from then through to today and my partner and I have our season tickets in block 36 at the Ricoh. It's a bit ironic that we are now in a league position that is lower than all of the previous years of my support and gates that are also significantly lower. I guess the only way is up.

He also related a humorous story:

I'm not sure what year it would have been but I was still a youngster. One weekday evening my Dad had returned home from work and was sitting in his chair reading the Telegraph sports page when he looked up and said "I didn't realise we were playing at home tonight". He told me to hurry up and put my coat on and not to forget my hat and scarf. We walked at a hurried pace down St Margaret Road, Dad virtually dragging me along with his hand clasped firmly around mine. We walked faster and faster and even ran across Gulson Road and then into Gosford Green. It was then that the pace became a little more relaxed. In fact the pace became so relaxed that half way across we came to a stand still with Dad telling me "take of your hat and put it in your pocket" and also "pull your collar up over your scarf". We then did a full turn-around and headed for home. Just to say I was a bit confused was an under-statement, I was also very disappointed. I guess it may have been the lack of parked cars in the streets that may have first stirred Dad's suspicions but I think what really confirmed his thoughts would have been the lack of illumination from the floodlights as we walked across Gosford Green. It was some time before Dad owned up to what had actually happened. Sitting in his chair that evening with his copy of the Telegraph he had indeed read that we had a game that night..........AT THE "CITY" GROUND....... in Nottingham.

Great memories Mick!

The Former Players Association are enjoying being back at the G-Casino after home matches with Billy Bell interviewing the day's special guest on stage. Today, 1987 hero Greg Downs is the guest but I have been asked to tell fans that his appearance on stage will be delayed until 5.45 to enable the England-Slovenia game to be shown on the large screens. So if you want to watch the England game & see Greg get down to the casino after the game.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Jim's column 8.11.14

The FA Cup campaign starts for the Sky Blues tomorrow with a visit from Conference North side Worcester City. It is the third time the City have met Worcester in the competition since we joined the Football League in 1919 – the most head-to-head games with any non-league side. The first meeting was in 1960, in the first round at St George's Lane, Worcester. Coventry ran out easy winners, 4-1, with two goals apiece for Ronnie Farmer & Billy Myerscough. Then in 1983 Worcester reached the third round & travelled to Highfield Road. An early Paul Moss penalty shook Coventry & although Steve Whitton soon levelled & Mark Hateley made in 2-1 before half-time, Worcester battled on & only conceded a third & final goal from Whitton in the 85th minute. They also met Worcester twice between 1905-1907 when the clubs were both in the Birmingham League and honours were even.

Several readers have asked me to list all the non-league sides City have faced in the competition. Tomorrow will be the 20th such meeting since the club joined the Football League & the results are as follows:

1920-21 v Rochdale (a) 1-2 after 1-1 draw
1922-23 v New Brighton (a) 0-3
1925-26 v Worksop (a) 0-1
1926-27 v Kettering (a) 3-2
1929-30 v Bath City (h) 7-1
1932-33 v Guildford C.(a) 2-1
1934-35 v Scunthorpe & Lindsey (h) 7-0
1935-36 v Scunthorpe & Lindsey (a) 2-4 after 1-1 draw
1952-53 v Bishops Auckland (a) 4-1
1957-58 v Walthamstow Avenue (h) 1-0
1958-59 v Weymouth (a) 5-2
1960-61 v Worcester City (a) 4-1
1961-62 v Kings Lynn (h) 1-2
1963-64 v Trowbridge (a) 6-1
1982-83 v Worcester City (h) 3-1
1988-89 v Sutton United (a) 1-2
1996-97 v Woking (a) 2-1 after 1-1 draw
2008-09 v Kidderminster (h) 2-0
2012-13 v Arlesey T (h) 3-0

Last week's piece about games in which City have conceded a two-goal lead to lose prompted a comment from Keith Ballantyne.
'I may be wrong on this, but I have a vivid memory of going to Nottingham Forest in late 1985 or early 1986. It was freezing cold and I'm sure City went  2-0 up in 20 minutes, but finished on the wrong end of a 5-2 thumping. I think Stuart Pearce and Ian Butterworth played for Forest, this being their first season since joining from City, and Des Walker was outstanding at the back with them. I wonder what happened to Butterworth, as his career came nowhere near to reaching the height of Pearce's.

Keith is quite correct. It was actually January 1st 1986 & City took a two-goal lead through Cyrille Regis & Micky Adams inside 20 minutes. They still led at half-time despite a Neil Webb goal in the 40th minute. After the break Brian Clough's team ran riot, netting a further four goals with Webb completing his hat-trick & Johnny Metgod & Peter Davenport scoring the others. Gates this season were at their lowest ebb & only 13,860 watched the game on an icy pitch. To illustrate how poor attendances were, the following week there were only 10,300 at Highfield Road for the visit of Aston Villa. As for Pearce & Butterworth, neither appeared in the Forest side that day. Whilst Pearce had a long and successful career at the City Ground, Butterworth stayed there only one season, making 27 appearances, before joining Norwich. At Carrow Road he made around 250 appearances over eight seasons. He had a successful coaching career with Darlington, Cardiff, Bristol Rovers, Hartlepool & Norwich City. He is now chief scout at QPR & was spotted at a City game at Sixfields last season.
                                                 Ian Butterworth

Latest loan signing Gary Madine arrived at the club last week for his second spell. It is five years since his last loan spell which consisted of nine appearances from the bench & five non-appearances. In total he played 55 minutes of football and failed to net but last Saturday at Orient he surpassed that total in his first start for the club. Madine is in good company with a number of players who have made many substitute appearances before starting a game. Gary McSheffrey made 11 appearances & Callum Wilson eight at the start of their careers. Before last Saturday Gary shared a record with Mathieu Manset of the most sub appearances (nine) without starting a game in one season. Wayne Andrews holds the record of the most sub appearances without ever starting a game ever – he was sub on 10 occasions over two seasons during Micky Adams' reign at the club.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Jim's column 1.11.14

With the Sky Blues losing 0-2 to Peterborough at half-time last Saturday few City fans would have been prepared to back a City victory, but even less would have bet on that outcome if they had realised that the team had failed to comeback from two down in 19 years!

But first senior goals from Ryan Haynes & Jim O'Brien & a swash-buckling third from Frank Nouble secured a famous 3-2 victory over Posh. I was aware that City had not achieved a comeback from two down since a League Cup victory over Tottenham at Highfield Road in 1995 when trailing at half-time through goals by Chris Armstrong & a Dave Busst own goal, Ron Atkinson threw Dion Dublin on & watched as goals from Peter Ndlovu (a penalty), Dave Busst & John Salako secured a third round victory. What I hadn't realised until I did my research was that two goal turnarounds are few & far between for the Sky Blues. In fact Saturday's was only the ninth such comeback since World War 2. The last five before last week were:

1995-96 Tottenham (League Cup) (h) 3-2
1985-86 Southampton (h) 3-2
1980-81 West Ham (League Cup) (h) 3-2
1970-71 Derby (a) 4-3
1963-64 Peterborough (h) 3-2

It wasn't the first time that Posh were on the wrong end of a three-goal comeback - the only comeback in the Jimmy Hill era was in a dramatic victory over Posh in the autumn of 1963. Peterborough's record at Coventry is extremely poor. Since they arrived in the Football League in 1959 they have played nine away games against City but having won on their first visit in 1961 they have lost seven & drawn one of the subsequent games.

When the dearth of similar comebacks was revealed many readers wondered how often we have been on the receiving end of a comeback from two down. Since World War 2 there have been 14 instances, four of them in the last 14 years. The last five will bring bad memories to some City supporters:

2008-09 Watford (h) 2-3
2002-03 Ipswich (h) 2-4
2000-01 Aston Villa (a) 2-3
1999-00 Charlton (FA Cup) (h) 2-3
1987-88 Southampton (h) 2-3

Four of the five were at home with the Villa Park defeat the result that condemned the Sky Blues to relegation from the Premier League & the Charlton Cup defeat (a last minute Jonathan Hunt goal sending City out of the Cup) was for me the start of the club's slow & sad decline to where they are today.

James Maddison didn't get on to the pitch last week but did celebrate a milestone by scoring his first City goal at Oldham's Boundary Park four days earlier. James, who is not 18 until later this month, scored with the help of a deflection off a defender but became the fourth youngest goalscorer in the club's history. The ten youngest are now:

1. Brian Hill v Gillingham (a) 1957-58 16 years 273 day
2. Colin Holder v Shrewsbury (a) 1960-61 17y 78d
3.Tom English v Bristol City (h) 1979-80 17y 307d
4. James Maddison v Oldham (a) 2014-15 17y 332d
5. Willie Carr v Charlton (FAC) (h) 1967-68 18y 21d
6. Peter Hill v Preston 1949-50 (a) 18y 33d
7.Ellis Lager v Bournemouth (h) 1935-36 18y 93d
8. Conor Thomas v Blackpool (a) 2011-12 18y 94d
9. Bobby Gould v Mansfield (LC) (h) 1964-65 18y 124d
10. Steve Sedgley v Oldham (LC) (h) 1986-87 18y 155d
                                                     Brian Hill

Keith Ballantyne asked me how many appearances Spanish International Vicente Engonga made for the Sky Blues during his brief spell at the club in 2002-03. Engonga, a defensive midfield player who played over 350 La Liga appearances for Celta Vigo, Valencia & Mallorca & won 14 Spanish caps, joined City on a short-term contract in February 2003. City were struggling badly at the time (they went 21 league games with only one win during that spring) and in his eight appearances (including three as a substitute) he made little impact on the club's woeful form.

He played in the following games:

Rotherham (a) lost 0-1
Bradford City (h) lost 0-2
Grimsby (a) sub won 2-0
Preston (a) sub drew 2-2
Derby (a) sub lost 0-1
Stoke (h) lost 0-1
Gillingham (h) drew 0-0
Millwall (a) lost 0-2

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Jim's column 25.10.14

Another disappointing away defeat at Oldham on Tuesday night saw the Sky Blues plunge to 20th place in League One. It was the tenth away league game without a win, since Steven Pressley's men won 2-1 at Crewe at the end of March. Of the side who started at Oldham only two appeared at Crewe that day, Andy Webster & Jordan Willis. The fact there are so many new faces in the side might be one of the reasons behind City's form but having said that the side went seven games unbeaten earlier in the season.

The run has to get a lot worse to match the woeful away record under Andy Thorn when the team went 21 away league games without a win between April 2011 & April 2012, or the club's worst ever run of 28 in the 1920s.

The defeat at Boundary Park was the worst league defeat since the 1-5 thrashing by Tranmere at home last season & the worst on the road in the league since the 0-4 at Walsall in 2013.

City's away following on Tuesday night, 223, was the lowest of the season and you have to go back to March 2012 to find the previous lowest when 211 brave souls travelled to Cardiff for a midweek 2-2 draw. City's average away following is currently 1,190, one of the best in the division.

Last Saturday league leaders Bristol City had almost 3,800 fans at the Ricoh to see them win 3-1. That was the best away following at the Ricoh since Birmingham City brought 5,700 supporters in March 2012. In a crowd of over 22,000 City drew 1-1 – Marlon King replying for Blues two minutes after Gary McSheffrey had put City ahead.

Last week's review of the George Raynor book attracted a lot of interest from readers. Graham Smith tells me that there is a feature film coming out in the next couple of months about the legendary Brazilian Pele and George Raynor, played by Irish actor Colm Meaney. Raynor was the Swedish coach in the 1958 World Cup final when a 17-year old Pele introduced himself to the world, scoring twice & helping Brazil to beat the Swedes 5-2.

Kevin Ring reminded me that there is another, much older book, written by Raynor himself - 'Football Ambassador at Large'. There is a whole chapter on Coventry City and his year long battle with Erle Shanks and the Coventry board and he talks about the couldn't care less attitude of some City players. In the new book Ashley Hyne mentions Raynor's autobiography, which was ghost-written by famous BBC commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme. It's publication in 1960 by Stanley Paul was controversial in that Raynor strongly criticised the Football Association, who took legal action which had the book removed from book shops but not before several thousand copies had been sold. The book later had the offending passages removed & was re-printed by the Soccer Book Club. If Raynor had any chances of a job in the FA the less than subtle comments in the book scuppered them. Kevin also tells me that George lived on the Binley Road, on the corner of Uxbridge Avenue & the property is still standing.

Reader Tom Cope posed an interesting question- how many corners were there in the 1987 FA Cup final? The answer is that over the full 120 minutes including extra time there were 17 corners, 12 to Tottenham & five to the Sky Blues.

Another reader Keith Ballantyne asked me who the second Coventry City player to win a full international cap for England. He knows that Reg Matthews was the first in 1956 when the Cov kid won five caps in goal and was never on the losing side. The second came 27 years later when Danny Thomas won two caps on a summer tour of Australia. Both games, played in Sydney & Melbourne, ended in draws & Danny (pictured below) started in Sydney but was only a substitute in Melbourne. The only other Coventry City players to win full England caps are Cyrille Regis (one cap v Turkey in 1987) and Dion Dublin (three caps in 1998).

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Jim's column 18.10.14

                                                        George Raynor

Sixty years ago next year Coventry City, then a struggling Third Division South outfit hit the back pages of the national newspapers by enticing top English coaches Jesse Carver and George Raynor from their well-paid positions as head coaches of AS Roma & Lazio respectively. It was seen as a massive coup by the City board & its chairman Erle Shanks & the highly respected men arrived in Coventry to a fanfare of publicity.

Carver, who had won Serie A with Juventus & built up a great reputation in Italy, would only stay at Highfield Road for six months, before being lured back to Italy with a massive salary but Raynor would stay for almost eighteen months. After Carver jumped ship George stepped into the manager's position but in the summer of 1956 he was demoted to coach again after the arrival of Harry Warren. Raynor was a football purist who had led Sweden to the Olympic gold medal in the 1948 London Olympics & third place in the 1950 World Cup. His ideas didn't sit well with Warren's out-dated & neanderthal tactics & when Sweden came again, seeking a man to lead them in their home World Cup in 1958, George was grateful to leave the primitive, up and under Third Division style of play.

Amazingly for a man who football has largely forgotten about, there have been two books published this year on George Raynor. Italian journalist Federico Farcomeni has written a short E-book of 64 pages entitled 'George Raynor- The Untold Story of English Football's Forgotten Giant' which makes for interesting reading and is available in Kindle form for only £1.53. Meanwhile Ashley Hyne has produced a far more meatier biography of Raynor entitled 'The Greatest Coach England Never Had'. Hyne's research is excellent, for instance he interviewed former City player Lol Harvey, one of the few ex-City men still alive who played under Raynor. Whilst the section about his time at Coventry are fairly brief the author weaves a story of a man misunderstood in his own country but revered in Sweden. Returning to Sweden in 1957 with just a year to prepare a team for the '58 World Cup he had the job of revitalising a team that had failed to qualify for the 1954 final stages & had regressed considerably since he had left them to go to Italy in 1953.

With the help of clever tactics & his own brand of motivation Raynor prepared his team with infinite detail & became the first Englishman to coach a team to the World Cup final. Unbeaten in the group stage, they went on to defeat USSR & holders West Germany to reach a final against the odds-on favourites Brazil. Sweden took an early lead but the silky skills of Garrincha, Didi & 17-year old Pele swept the hosts away in a 5-2 defeat. Raynor however was a Swedish national hero but when he returned to England a few months later the only job he could get was at Midland League Skegness.

One of the best stories in the book is about Sweden's meeting with the great Hungary side of the early 1950s. The Magyars were unbeaten in three years when Sweden arrived in Budapest just a week before Hungary were due to meet England at Wembley in what would turn out to be a watershed game for England. Raynor had done his homework & recognised the danger of Hidegkuti, the deep-lying centre-forward. He played a zonal marking system to counter Hidegkuti & instructed his forwards to close down their markers when they were not in possession (in modern parlance, a pressing game). The plan worked and Sweden got a creditable 2-2 draw. The arrogant English press saw the result & said England had little to fear from the Hungarians at Wembley. After the match Raynor met up with England manager Walter Winterbottom & gave him advice on how to play the Hungarians. Sadly Winterbottom ignored the advice, gave Hidegkuti the freedom of the pitch & England suffered their first home loss to continental opposition in an embarrassing 6-3 defeat.

George Raynor's death went unrecorded by the local & national press and he is still a largely forgotten man in football circles but Ashley Hyne's book does the man's fascinating life justice.

Today, the league leaders Bristol City are in town, rejuvenated by Steve Cotterill & boasting a couple of outstanding strikers in this division in Aaron Wilbraham & Kieran Agard. City did the double over them last season but it will take a massive effort to beat the Robins today. Cotterill's team have an amazing record at the Ricoh, winning four of the six meetings and drawing one. The only City victory was in the last meeting on Boxing Day 2011 when a Gary Deegan goal gave the Sky Blues their first win in 11 games.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Jim's column 11.10.2014

The big story of the week was Coventry Council's sale of their shares in ACL to Wasps RFC & the possible ramifications. The story obviouslyovershadowed events on the pitch – a welcome point against Crawley after three successive defeats & progress in the Football League Trophy (aka Johnstone's Paint Trophy) with a very young side.

The Crawley game was watched by a pitifully low crowd of 7,708 – the lowest home league crowd in the city since January 1986. Then City, struggling in the relegation zone, lost 0-2 to Graham Taylor's Watford for whom John Barnes scored both goals in front of 7,478. That was the lowest league crowd since April 1962 when the club had two end of season crowds under 6,000. Watford were making their second visit to Highfield Road in fourteen days having won 3-1 in an FA Cup Third round tie two Saturday's previously when the attendance was 10,500. Fourteen months after that miserably poor crowd the Sky Blues were at Wembley in the FA Cup final in front of 98,000! It shows how a club's fortunes can change in a short space of time.

On Tuesday night a crowd of 7,273, far more than many were expecting, attended the Exeter tie in the Football League Trophy. They witnessed a solid 3-1 victory from Steven Pressley's side who worked hard to break down a packed Exeter defence. With a 2-0 half-time lead Pressley was able to introduce two more of the promising under 18 side, George Thomas & James Maddison. The former made one appearance last term & Maddison was making his third appearance from the bench this campaign & both gave mature & exciting performances. With the Sky Blues also fielding youngsters Lee Burge, Aaron Phillips, Ryan Haynes, Jordan Willis & Conor Thomas I had a feeling that the side that finished the game was one of the youngest City X1s of all time.

The record youngest City X1 is the team that started versus Manchester City away on 22 November 1980 which had an average age of 21 years and 58 days. Geoff Moore who tracks this interesting statistic tells me that Tuesday's final X1 averaged just 21 days more, so it was probably the second youngest of all time and the youngest ever for a home game. For the second time this season the finishing line-up was comprised of nine home-grown players – a fantastic achievement by the club & the Academy set-up ably led until last season by Gregor Rioch.

Talking of Aaron Phillips, the youngest scored a superb brace of goals & supporters were asking if a full-back has ever scored a hat-trick for the club. I can find no record of a defender ever scoring three in a game. The last full-back to score two in a game was Steve Morgan in a 3-0 League Cup victory over Wycombe Wanderers in 1993-94 season and Steve Phelps reminded me that Brain Borrows got two in a 5-1 victory over Liverpool in December 1992. Over the years City have had very few prolific full-back goalscorers. Bobby McDonald scored a few goals as did Danny Thomas and of course Aaron's father David was playing at full-back when he scored at Sutton in 1989.
                                                                Steve Morgan              

Exeter, making their first trip to the city since 1958-59 season, had a vociferous band of almost 500 supporters who never gave up their chanting & were rewarded with a late consolation goal. Coventry is not a happy hunting ground for the Grecians; they have won only twice in 19 visits & the last time was back in 1934 in a Division Thee South Cup tie.

Kevin Ring found last week's piece about the 1964 friendly with Brazilian America FC interesting & remembers attending the game. He recalls that the old Atkinson's Stand had been demolished in the few days since the final league game with Colchester, leaving the two wing stands (that had been erected during the 1963-64 season) either side of a big gap of rubble. In the subsequent weeks the centre blocks of the new Sky Blue Stand were erected in time for the start of the new season. He pointed out that in the Jimmy Hill era the club played many foreign sides in friendly games at the old stadium including Slovan Bratislava, TSV Aachen, Ferenvaros of Hungary & Stade Francais, several of whom were 'big' clubs in Europe at the time.