Michael Doyle's return to Coventry City this summer reminded me of a question posed by Keith Ballantyne towards the end of last season which remains unanswered. Keith named three City players who had two separate spells at the club and asked if there were any others.
He correctly named three 'Gary's' – Messrs McAllister, McSheffrey and Bannister but there are others including:-
Tom Maskill (1923-26 and 1928-29)
Jimmy Baker (1929-32 and 1932-35)
George Lowrie (1939-48 and 1952-53)
Billy Frith (1932-45 and 1946-47)
Alf Wood (1935-52 and 1955-59)
Peter Wyer (1955-56 and 1958-59)
Mick Ferguson (1971-81 and 1983-84 (on loan))
Jim Hagan (1976-79 and 1981-82)
Keith Thompson (1982-85 and 1988-91)
Marcus Hall (1991-2002 and 2005-10)
Roland Nilsson (1997-99 and 2001-02)
Lee Carsley (2000-02 and 2010-11)
Ben Turner (2006-09 and 2015-16 (loan))
Gael Bigirimana (2011-12 and 2015-17)
As I write this there is a possibility that Carl Baker will join this list.
There have also been a handful of players who have had more than one loan spell at the club including Richard Duffy and Gary Madine.
My friend Rod Dean was in Peru on holiday earlier this year and discovered that City's only ever Peruvian, Ysrael Zuniga, is still playing top-class football in the country. Now aged 41, Zuniga, captained his club Melgar in their Copa Libertadores campaign where they played in the group stages against several strong teams including crack Argentinian side River Plate. Sadly they failed to qualify for the final stages but it seems Zuniga is still playing.
His career at Coventry was disappointing, the diminutive striker made 31 appearances, 18 of them as a substitute, between 2000 and 2002, scoring four goals. He made his City debut at Elland Road in March 2000, following his £750,000 move from Melgar, and in his third appearance, at home to Bradford City, he came off the bench to score in a 4-0 win. He scored another goal in the final home game that season, a 4-1 home win over Sheffield Wednesday. His other two goals came the following season as City were relegated from the Premier League – at Preston in a 3-1 League Cup win and a consolation in the 2-1 home defeat to Manchester United. Following relegation he made just seven more appearances, six of them off the bench, without scoring. He left the club in the summer of 2002 and signed for Argentinian club Estudiantes.
A reminder that my latest book, Play Up Sky Blues, the story of the memorable 1966-67 season, is due to be published in October and is available for pre-order on Amazon.
If you have any questions regarding the club's history please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I will endeavour to answer them. Alternatively you can contact me on Twitter @clarriebourton