Coventry City's 1-1 draw with Oldham Athletic on Tuesday night has probably ensured their safety from relegation from League One. It is difficult to see five clubs overhauling them with the games running out & several of the teams seemingly unable to buy a win. It was the Sky Blues' ninth home draw in what has been a frustrating home season, and fifteenth draw in total, the highest number in the division along with Walsall. With three games remaining the club record for the highest number of drawn games in a season, 17 set in 1962-63 (Jimmy Hill's first full season in charge), could come under pressure. A positive statistic is that if just eight of this season's 15 drawn games had been won, City would be in seventh place & challenging for a play-off position.
With one home game left, against Crewe a week today, the club may equal their highest number of home draws in a season of 10, set in 1971-72 – the season that saw Noel Cantwell sacked in March after a second successive FA Cup exit to a lower division club, Hull having knocked City out at Highfield Road.
Fellow historian Paul O'Connor tells me that the draw was the 1000th drawn game since the club joined the Football League in 1919. The complete record over 89 seasons is now:
Played Won Drawn Lost
3801 1327 1000 1474
Tuesday night's draw was the first time since December that the team had come from behind to gain a result. The last time was the 1-1 home draw with Fleetwood when Simeon Jackson equalised an early Andy Webster own goal. This season the Sky Blues have only come from a goal down to gain a point on three occasions, and have once gone on to victory (Peterborough at home).
Geoff Moore came up for an amazing statistic after the Leyton Orient home defeat recently. He pointed out that Orient's winger Jobi McAnuff has played eight times at the Ricoh Arena & never been on the losing side. Since 2005 he has played there for Crystal Palace, Watford, Reading & Leyton Orient & incredibly been on the winning side six times with two draws. He has scored twice, for Palace in a 4-2 win in 2006-07 & for Reading in a 3-1 win in 2009-10. It backs up the theory that the Sky Blues have struggled badly at home since the move to Longford. In fact this season will be the eighth season running that they have failed to reach double figures in home wins.
McAnuff must love playing against the Sky Blues – in the same period he has not been on the losing side to City for his home teams. Prior to 2005 his record is not so good. Between his first game against City for Wimbledon in 2001 ,he appeared against the Sky Blues for the Dons, Cardiff & West Ham on seven occasions, winning once, drawing three & losing three. Jobi is now 33 & his career is tailing down but since 2001-02 he has never played less than 35 league games in a season & will top that figure this campaign. It's an impressive record that Reda Johnson must envy!
City fan Ed Blackaby asked me recently about locally born players who have never appeared for the Sky Blues. He named his XI of players born in Coventry & Warwickshire who he feels could have done a decent job for the City:
Goal - Ben Foster
Defenders- John Curtis, Nigel Winterburn, Ian Evatt, Ricardo Scimeca
Midfield- Graham Alexander, Jamie Paterson, Peter Whittingham, Mark Bridge - Wilkinson
Strikers - Matty Fryatt, James Collins
substitutes: James Quinn & Dean Thomas
I thought of a few others from bygone eras. Leamington-born George Green signed for Sheffield United from Leamington Town in 1923 & went on to play over 400 games for the Blades and won eight full England caps. Then there was David Woodfield, another Leamington lad, who played over 250 games for Wolves in the 1960s. I remember as a boy, being excited to be calling at his house in Tachbrook Road, Leamington, to get the autograph of a First Division star. David is still alive & lives near Cambridge. Finally, there was Graham Parker, an outstanding Coventry Schools player who also played for England Schoolboys in the early 1960s. Graham, a wing-half turned down City to join First Division Aston Villa & was Villa's first ever substitute in 1965. He made only 21 appearances in five seasons for Villa but subsequently had a long career with Exeter & Torquay.
If you can name any other Coventry or Warwickshire players who City missed out on please drop me an email.