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A-Z: G is the next letter under investigation in our popular Coventry City A-Z!

12 June 2015

A local legend and some great escapes are under the spotlight in our look at the letter G in the Coventry City A-Z...

Across the season, we worked our way through the alphabet for this year's Coventry City matchday programme PUSB, finding a Sky Blue perspective of each letter in the alphabet.

It made for a popular feature so we thought we'd bring it to the web too! So without further ado, here is G, with a local legend and some great escapes under the spotlight and the in our third installment of our Coventry City A-Z...    

G is for…

GREAT ESCAPES



"If the titanic was painted Sky Blue, it wouldn't have gone down...' - Coventry City former chairman Brian Richardson.

There aren't many clubs in English football which can boast the levels of escapism which Coventry City have shown over the years.

Throughout City's 34-year stay in the top flight of English football, every once in a while, the Sky Blues had to ‘dig a tunnel and make a run for Switzerland’ to secure the club's top flight status.

The Sky Blues could have lost that status in their first two years at the top level as Noel Cantwell's side survived by one point in the 1967/68 season and the 1968/69 season.

The 1967/68 Great Escape edition was perhaps one of the most remarkable. City ended their season poorly, without a win in their last five games. However, City secured two 0-0 draws in their final two games of the season with their season ending on Saturday, May 11th against Southampton.

On the same day, Sheffield United lost against Chelsea at Bramall Lane but had one game remaining at Elland Road against Leeds United. The sub-plot was that Leeds needed to win to finish fourth and qualify for the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. Almost six weeks after City's season finished, Leeds and the Blades met at Elland Road and the Whites secured European football and City's safety with a narrow 1-0 win.

Moving forward 17 years, City faced another improbable task to stay up as with four games remaining, the Sky Blues sat on 40 points, nine points behind Norwich City who had already finished their season.

Steve McQueen was once again dusted down and got on his bike down to Portman Road where City secured a 0-0 draw against Ipswich which meant Don Mackay's side had to win all three remaining games to stay up.

Three days later, City travelled to Staffordshire to face a relegated Stoke City side and sealed a nervy 1-0 victory. Six days later, City welcomed mid-table Luton Town to Highfield Road, who had nothing to play for having already over-achieved during the season, and another nervy 1-0 win followed.

So, one game remaining, one win needed, the great escape was all but done. However, the game was against champions Everton, who had already sealed the title with an incredible 90 points and had only lost seven games all season.

On Sunday, May 26th, a brace from Cyrille Regis and strikes from Terry Gibson and Micky Adams sealed a 4-1 win and joyous scenes at Highfield Road to condemn the Canaries to relegation and secure City's top flight status.

The final 'Great Escape' edition occurred during the 1996/97 season where Gordon Strachan's City faced another impossible task as City sat at the bottom of the table with six games remaining. 

Wins over Liverpool and Chelsea got City out of the relegation zone but two draws, against Southampton and Arsenal, and a home defeat against Derby put the pressure back on City.

City travelled to Tottenham Hotspur on the final day of the season and goals from Dion Dublin and Paul Williams secured a 2-1 win for the Sky Blues whilst Jason Euell's late-strike for Wimbledon against Sunderland at Selhurst Park sealed City's survival.

GERMANY

Just three German players have plied their trade for Coventry City but between them, they amassed over 300 appearances for the Sky Blues.

The first German to play for City was full-back Dietmar Bruck who was born in Danzig and joined the Sky Blues as an apprentice, making his debut for the first-team at the age of 17 years and nine days.

Bruck, now an active member of the Coventry City Former Players’ Association, went on to make 189 appearances over a nine-year spell, scoring seven goals before moving to Charlton Athletic.
The second German to play for City was full-back Wilf Smith who was signed by City in 1970 from Sheffield Wednesday. He went on to make 135 appearances that season, scoring one goal.

Nick Proschwitz joined the club on loan last season from Championship side Brentford to complete the hat-trick and he scored one goal in nine appearances.

THE ‘GOULD-FATHER’



The Coventry-born striker Bobby Gould started his career at City and scored 40 goals in just 82 appearances for the club. He went on to have a successful playing career at clubs such as Arsenal, Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Bromwich Albion.

Gould returned to Highfield Road as a manager for two separate spells and in his second spell, he defied all the odds and kept City clear of relegation during the 1992/93 season. He currently works as a pundit on national radio.


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