Sunday, 23 August 2015

Jim's column 22.8.2015

Three wins, nine points and Coventry City are top of the table. What a great start to a season that sees the club celebrate the eightieth anniversary of the 1935-36 Third Division championship side. I have been inundated with questions about the great start, Armstrong's scoring feats, etc.

The three-win run equals the start made in 1992-93, the inaugural season of the Premier League, under Bobby Gould. In August 1992, City followed up a 2-1 home win over Middlesbrough with two away wins in the capital at Tottenham (2-0) & Wimbledon (2-1) to become the first-ever leaders of the new 'Super League'.

The club's best ever start of victories was in 1964-65 when Jimmy Hill's newly promoted side took the Second Division by storm with five straight victories. A 2-0 home victory over Plymouth was followed by away wins at Ipswich & Bolton (both 3-1) and further home successes over Ipswich (5-3 in front of over 37,000) and Middlesbrough (3-0).

In City's last Third Division promotion season, 1963-64, the team started with three straight wins, followed by a draw & three more victories to make it six wins out of seven. There was an identical start in 1954-55 with Eddie Brown notching eight goals in seven games. Another good start came in 1934-35, with four consecutive wins with nine goals scored and four clean sheets. The team finished third that season.

One statistic that went largely unnoticed this week was that the club notched its fourth consecutive league victory, following the win at Crawley on the final day last season. You have to go back to December 2002 to find the last four straight league wins by City. Under Gary McAllister the team won at Stoke and Wolves on consecutive Saturdays, and then beat Derby 3-0 and Reading 2-0 on Boxing Day. Sadly they won only one more game until the end of the season!

You have to go back 17 years to the last run of five league victories. That was in February 1998 under Gordon Strachan when City were buzzing and if you include FA Cup games including the famous win at Villa Park it was seven wins in a row.
Adam Armstrong has taken League One by storm with five goals in three games, the best start ever by a City striker. In 1992 Mick Quinn arrived from Newcastle & netted four in his first three games but Adam will have a battle on his hands to match Quinn's haul of ten goals in his first six starts.

Armstrong emulated Reda Johnson's feat on the opening day last season by scoring two goals on his debut & became the 93rd player to score on his City debut and only the eighth to score more than one goal on his first Football League appearance for the club. The previous seven are:-
1928 Tommy Bowen v Norwich (h) 2
1954. Jack Lee v Crystal Palace (h) 2
1963.  George Hudson v Halifax (h) 3
1992.  Mick Quinn v Man City. (h)  2
1999.  Robbie Keane v Derby County (h)  2
2013.  Chris Maguire v MK Dons (a) 2
2014. Reda Johnson v Bradford City (a) 2

That makes Adam the first to score a debut brace at home since Robbie Keane's arrival in 1999 & the first ever at the Ricoh. He has some way to create a record for successive scoring games. That record is held by the legendary Clarrie Bourton who scored in nine consecutive league games in 1931-32 on his way to a record 49 goals for the season. The afore-mentioned Quinn netted in six consecutive league games in 1992-93 and Terry Gibson managed seven in a row in 1985-86 but that included League Cup & Full Members Cup ties. The most recent run of successive scoring came two seasons ago when Callum Wilson scored in five games in a row & narrowly failed to equalling Quinn's total by missing a penalty in the sixth game.

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