Sunday, 23 October 2016

Jim's column 22.10.2016

The sad news of the passing of Peter Denton and my tribute last week prompted several emails. Long standing fan Kevin Ring remembered Peter as a very quick winger who but for the consistency of Ronnie Rees, Willie Humphries and Dave Clements who have been a regular first team player. Kevin pointed out that if more subs had been allowed in those days he would have probably had more chances of first team football.

Fellow City historian Paul O'Connor was also in touch to tell me that in July 1966 Middlesbrough offered £12,000 for him but he rejected the move and later whilst in the reserves Watford were interested in him. Paul also told me that whilst playing at Margate Peter broke his nose and even though things didn’t go well on the pitch following his move to Luton, he made an impression because he moved into coaching there in November 1969 but Paul was unaware of how long he was there in that capacity.

Alan Ludford remembers being at college with Peter in the 1960s when they were both on an accountancy course and remembers him as a 'very quiet lad who didn’t brag about being  on City’s books, he just got on with his work'.

John Docker, a former colleague of Denton's in the youth and reserve teams also contacted me. John, a Caludon Castle schoolboy, was a highly rated player who scored goals for fun at schoolboy level. He played in the 6-4 Youth Cup defeat to West Brom in 1963 and scored a goal direct from a corner as City came from 6-1 to give a strong Albion side, which included Tony 'Bomber' Brown, a shock. John was only just 16 at the time and went on to have two further seasons in the youth team and reminded me that the 1965-66 team was very strong and included Mick Coop, Pat Morrissey and a very young Willie Carr. John remembers a 3-1 victory over a Leicester City youth team with Peter Shilton in goal, with John netting one of the goals. This was when Jimmy Hill's labours in setting up a strong youth policy began to bear fruit, a policy which has generated so many players for the first team and continues to this day.
                                                     Coventry City youth team 1963-64
John signed full professional forms in 1965 and was a regular in the reserves but in 1967 he was loaned out to Torquay where he picked up a knee injury which would ultimately end his career. In 1968 he joined Irish champions Waterford on loan along with other Coventry youngsters Peter Thomas and John Matthews but his knee was a severe handicap. Following his return from Ireland he was released by City and after a brief spell with Rugby Town he began playing for Binley Woods but suffered a broken leg. He has lived & worked in Coventry for all of his life and occasionally goes to City games.

Other former playing colleagues Dudley Roberts and Dennis Oakes also sent their condolences and remembered Peter with fondness.

Regular reader Keith Ballantyne was in touch following last weekend's defeat at Charlton:

The Charlton scoreline replicates that of my first and only visit to the Valley, in October 1964. My father and I were seated in the ground's wooden stand and had taken an old - style 'klaxon' car horn with us. The most vivid recollection of this game I have was the amount of fireworks being let off in and around the ground in the run-up to November 5th. The game itself was nothing to write home about, Charlton scored early as I recall and had Mike Bailey playing for them. The only goal I can remember was scored after Bill Glazier had ended up on his backside and flailed an arm helplessly at the ball as it went in over him.  Please can you tell me the goal times.

The game that Keith refers to was on 31st October 1964 and Charlton did win 3-0 with goals from Eddie Firmani (12 mins), Roy Matthews (72) and Jack Kennedy (83). Glazier had recently been signed from Crystal Palace for a world record fee for a goalkeeper of £35,000 and England manager Alf Ramsey was at the Valley to watch Mike Bailey and Bill. The goal that Keith remembers was the first, when Firmani's shot struck Ron Farmer's leg and was diverted past the City keeper. Bill went on to make several good saves, averting a heavy defeat and Ramsey selected Glazier for his first Under 23 cap a week later. Looking at the newspapers for that weekend I noticed that league champions Liverpool had lost 0-2 to Manchester United and lay 19th in Division One. In the modern game I wonder if manager Bill Shankly would have survived that poor start to the 1964-65 season.

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