When the draw was made for the FA Cup Second Round and paired City with Boreham Wood I was under the misapprehension that it was the first time the Sky Blues had met two non-league clubs in the same season in the competition since they became a league club. Several readers reminded me that in 2008-09 City, then a Championship club, met Kidderminster Harriers in round 3 and Torquay United in round 4. For the first game 13,652 were at the Ricoh to see goals from Leon McKenzie and Leon Best send City through 2-0. At Torquay it required a late Elliott Ward goal to see the Sky Blues through to a Fifth round meeting with Premier League Blackburn who they conquered in a replay at the Ricoh to set up a sixth round tie with Chelsea.
City's line up at Plainmoor that day was: Westwood: Gunnarson (sub Ward 44), Fox, Doyle, Hall, Turner, Mifsud, Beuzelin (sub Thornton 63), Eastwood, Morrison, McKenzie.
Boreham Wood are the 23rd non-league club that City have met in the club and their full record in these ties is:
Played 25 Won 15 Drawn 3 Lost 7
The omens must be good – since the Sutton defeat in 1989 they have only lost once in seven games with non-league opposition. Of the seven defeats to non-league opposition, four of them occurred before World War Two and since the war only Kings Lynn, Sutton and Worcester have lowered City's colours.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Dave Murray, a local amateur centre-forward who played a handful of games for City during the early part of World War Two. His grandson and daughter in law, Wendy, have been in touch and I have gleaned more information from them and Ken Rollings, a great pal of Dave's. Apparently Dave was on Dundee F.C.'s books before the war and signed for City in the summer of 1939 just before war broke out. The club cancelled players contracts as hostilities commenced and found work in the local factories for players. Dave joined Armstrong Whitworth at Baginton, along with his brothers Jim and Wal, and his employment in the war production meant he wasn't called up for the services. His appearances in wartime games for City took place in the first year or so of the war and when the club suspended football after the ground was bombed in November 1940 he started playing regularly for the works team AWA Baginton. Ken Rollings describes that team as 'the best junior team in the Midlands' and told me how they won numerous trophies in that decade. The picture shows the successful team from the 1944-45 season with Dave, sitting centre in the front row behind the largest trophy.
The full line up which includes several who appeared as guests for City in the war is:
Back Row (L to R): Wilf Nash, John Laurie, W.Beaufoy (Capt), J.Hews, Bob Ward, Stan Kelly, L. Beaufoy (trainer).
Front Row (L to R): A.Follows (Chairman), E.Sutherland, B.Wareham, Dave Murray, D.Hayfield, Horace Matthews, R.Ashcroft (Hon.Sec.)
That season the team won the Coventry & North Warwickshire League, the Midland Daily Telegraph Cup, the City Cup, the Coventry Nursing Cup and the Foleshill Nursing Cup. What a haul!
Another picture was taken at Highfield Road during one of the cup finals that year, watched by a reasonable crowd.
Ken told me that Dave's nickname was 'Elbows' as he was a very physical centre-forward who could use his elbows to good effect
Dave later ran a motor repair business in Whitefriars Lane and lived in Caludon Road, a stone's throw from Highfield Road. Ken describes him as 'football mad' and for twenty years or more a group of friends attended England v Scotland matches, whether at Wembley or Hampden. In his spare time he was a tic-tac man at Leicester Greyhound track and recognised as one of the best in the business.
Long-time City fan Kevin Ring remembered Dave. His dad was a good friend of Dave and Kevin used to take his first cars to the garage in Whitefriars Lane in the late 60s. He recalled his strong Scottish brogue telling him, 'You have to put oil in these things now and again, my lad'. Kevin remembers him as a modest man who despite knowing Kevin was a big City fan never told him he had once played for the club.