The Republic of Ireland, a famous club sponsor and some international caps are under the microscope 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 I, with the Republic of Ireland, a famous club sponsor and some international caps under the microscope in our latest instalment of the Coventry City A-Z!
The Emerald Isle has produced some fantastic players over the years, and Coventry City have been fortunate enough to have a large number in their ranks. From rock solid defenders to club record strikers, a number of Irishmen have made their impact for the Sky Blues over the number of years.
Firstly, in terms of media coverage and impact, one of the most famous Irish players at Coventry was all-time record goal-scorer for the Republic of Ireland, Robbie Keane. City beat a number of Premier League Clubs and paid £6m for his services, a then record for a teenager. Although he only spent one season at Highfield Road, it was a successful one as he formed a strong part of an attacking team that contained the likes of Mustapha Hadji, Youssef Chippo and Gary McAllister. He scored 12 goals before he was sold to Internazionale for £13m, over double what they paid for him just a year before.
Another player with connections to the national team is former Ireland manager Steve Staunton. He played at the back for City between 2003 and 2005, scoring four goals in 70 games. For the boys in green, he earned 102 caps, playing in the 1994 and 2002 World Cups.
The final Irish Sky Blue to come under the spotlight is Phil Babb. After signing from Bradford in 1992, there was optimism that he could become a key part of Bobby Gould’s side. But Babb surpassed all expectations, improving game upon game as fans and managers alike praised his tough tackling and no-nonsense attitude. He left to join Liverpool in 1994, for a fee of just over three and a half million pounds, which at the time made him the most expensive defender in Britain.
Other notable mentions include former City stopper Joe Murphy, former Irish captain Kevin Kilbane, defender Gary Breen and former City midfielder and coach Lee Carsley who played in the 2002 World Cup for the Irish national side.
A name synonymous with some of the more eye catching kits City have worn in recent memory, the Japanese car manufacturers featured on the front of Coventry’s away kits from 1997 to 2005. In a partnership with fellow Japanese brand Subaru, their name became linked with some of the best and most controversial kits adorned by the Sky Blues.
Who can forget the purple and yellow striped combination worn by the likes of Darren Huckerby in 1999? Or how about the much more popular red and white shirt worn during 2003 to 2005? Combined with the yellow and blue ‘Brazil’ third kit in 2002, the name Isuzu will conjure up memories of unique kits worn at the turn of the millennium.
Although he might not have been at City for very long, Isaias Marques Soares made an important impact in the Premier League, blazing a trail for future South Americans to play in the top flight of English Football.
Known simply as Isaias through his career, he enjoyed considerable success at Benfica, and came to English attention in 1991, when he scored twice against Arsenal at Highbury in a 3-1 win.
In 1995 he made the unusual move from the Stadium of Light to Highfield Road for half a million pounds, and became the first Brazilian to play in the Premier League. He remained at City for two seasons, scoring twice in 12 appearances. After this he returned to Portugal to see out his career with Campomaiorense.
But without Isaias making the plunge to play in England, we might never have got the chance to see the likes of David Luiz and Robinho playing in England’s top division.
85 Coventry City players have represented their country at full level whilst playing for the Sky Blues. 25 different countries have awarded caps to City players since goalkeeper Bob Evans became the first in 1911 when he was picked for Wales against Northern Ireland in 1911.
City's first England international was another 'keeper, Reg Matthews, in 1956 when the club were a Third Division side. Reg won five caps and was never on the losing side including victories over Brazil at Wembley & West Germany in Berlin.
The most capped is Swedish goalkeeper Magnus Hedman who won 44 full caps between 1998-2002. Amongst the lesser known to receive international honours are Yazid Mansouri (Algeria), Che Bunce (New Zealand) and Nii Lamptey (Ghana). This season Simeon Jackson became the club's first Canadian international.