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.