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).