Sunday, 3 April 2016

Jim's column 2.4.2016

Colchester United turned up at the Ricoh Arena on Tuesday evening sporting a fetching fluorescent orange kit which certainly dazzled Tony Mowbray's team. As usual when City's home performances struggle to get above the mediocre the talk around me in the East Stand turns to the past. The Woodfield brothers (both City supporters from the early 1960s) discussed the colour of the visitor's shirts which reminded John Woodfield of the shirts worn by Scottish club Morton in a friendly at Highfield Road in 1967. He thought the Scots played in a similar orange kit but brother Richard remembered it as a more redder hue but still very fluorescent. It was not uncommon, in the early days of floodlights for teams to wear a more silky version of their normal kits as they glowed brightly under the lights. I remember reading about Wolves' famous floodlit friendlies against top European sides at Molineux in the 1950s when they wore a specially commissioned silky shirt and shorts.

The discussion about Morton reminded me that Steve Bell had asked me recently about the friendly games against the Scottish club in the 1960s and I was able to provide him with details. At the time Morton were a very go-ahead and innovative club and were referred to as the Scottish Sky Blues. The clubs agreed to play a friendly at Highfield Road in October 1964 and a crowd of 17,029 watched a 2-2 draw with City's goals scored by John Mitten and George Hudson. The crowd was larger than expected due to the first home appearance of new goalkeeper Bill Glazier, a record £35,000 signing from Crystal Palace. Five months later the return took place at Cappielow Park, Greenock and the Scots ran out 3-1 winners, Dave Clements netting City's goal.

Two years later, in November 1966, Morton returned to Highfield Road (probably the occasion of their fluorescent shirts) and City got a sort of revenge, winning 3-2. With several injuries and a massive game at Wolves on the following Saturday, City manager Jimmy Hill gave run outs to several youngsters including goalkeeper Peter Thomas, defenders Mick Coop and John Burckitt, and forwards Willie Carr and Trevor Shepherd. Three days earlier rebel forward Ian Gibson had been recalled to the side after a seven-week absence following a fall-out with JH and had been man of the match with two goals in a 3-2 victory over Cardiff. He starred again against Morton and inspired the victory with the goals coming from Ronnie Rees, Bobby Gould and Shepherd. Carr came on as a substitute at half-time, the first of many appearances in a Sky Blue shirt, and impressed many of the 4,098 crowd.

Following the game at Peterborough on Friday night fellow historian Paul O'Connor reminded me that the loss was City's 100th away defeat in the Football League. In the 90 seasons since the club joined the league in 1919 their away record is:-

Played Won Drawn Lost Goals -for Goals – against
1921    410    511     1000     2039          3406

Finally, I had an interesting request from Margaret Crabtree this week. She was a member of the Coventry Bantams Ladies XI in 1968 and asked if I could help track down some of her former teammates.

She can name some of her teammates on the photo and has attempted to trace some of the other players at various times with limited success. These are the sketchy details she has:-

Back Row (Left to Right)
Susan Dunning (now Smith) - lived at 38 Standard Avenue, Janet Chadwick, Lesley ? – lived in Standard Avenue, Frances C. O'Neill - (Married Don Peachey (CCFC youth team player) and emigrated to Australia.  Margaret Key (now Crabtree) – Lives in Nuneaton.

Middle Row (Left to Right)
Pauline M. McNally – (Married Tom Sinclair (CCFC youth team player & friend of Alan Dugdale), Anne ?, Janet ? (Drove a sky blue dormobile to matches), Anne’s sister, Maureen ?

Front Row (Left to Right)
Avril (Parham?), Liz ?, Terri ?, Sandra ? – (Used to live in Sadler Road)
If you are in the photograph or know any of the ladies team please send Margaret an email at

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