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A-Z: N is the next letter under investigation in our popular Coventry City A-Z feature with Nilsson, Ndlovu and Netherlands!

22 June 2015

A Coventry City cult hero, two former managers and the Netherlands all feature...

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 E, with a Coventry City cult hero, two former managers and the Netherlands all featuring in the latest installment of the Sky Blues A-Z...

Peter Ndlovu




The Zimbabwean striker moved to Coventry City in 1991 after being spotted by John Sillett in a pre-season friendly.


The-then City boss Terry Butcher snapped up the pacey striker from Zimbabwean club Highlanders and made an immediate impact at the club, scoring on his debut against Arsenal benefitting from a long pump up-field from Steve Ogrizovic and a defensive slip at Highbury.


Bobby Gould took over as Coventry City manager as Ndlovu flourished under the FA Cup winner with Wimbledon and with Micky Quinn in the team, he was part of the team which briefly topped the inaugural Premier League following wins over Tottenham Hotspur, Sheffield Wednesday, Wimbledon and Middlesbrough.


Ndlovu would go on to score seven goals in 32 appearances in his first season at the club but Peter suffered with injury during the 1993/94 season and only made eight appearances but still made his mark on the final day of the season, scoring the winner at Stamford Bridge in a 2-1 win.


Ndlovu suffered with inconsistency and ended his Coventry City career in 1997 after a six-year spell. He made 179 league appearances for the club and scored 39 goals for the Sky Blues. He moved to Birmingham City and Sheffield United after his spell with City before moving back to Zimbabwe to finish his career. He made 100 caps for his national side, scoring 39 goals and he is currently the assistant manager of the Zimbabwean national team.


One of the iconic players of the early Premier League era, Nuddy’s will always be remembered for his fantastic goals, his flair and his smile.


Phil Neal




After a successful seven-year managerial spell with Bolton Wanderers, the former Liverpool full-back took over at Highfield Road in 1993.


His spell didn’t get off to the best of starts as City suffered a 5-1 defeat at the hands of QPR which left Coventry City 12th in the Premier League.


It wasn’t all plain-sailing for Neal but City got stronger throughout the season and finished in 11th position after a strong second-half to the season.


During the transfer window before the 1994-95 season, the Sky Blues backed Neal in the transfer window, noticeably spending £2 million on striker Dion Dublin from Manchester United.


City’s start to the season was patchy at best, recording six wins and eight defeats in the first-half of the season which saw the Sky Blues in the bottom half of the table.


City’s form deteriorated badly over the Christmas period as Neal’s side were beaten 5-1 at Hillsborough against Sheffield Wednesday and then beaten 4-0 at home by Spurs in the next game.


Neal’s side won at Crystal Palace, the first win in the league since November, on February 11th but it didn’t save him from the sack just days later. His successor, Ron Atkinson, ensured the teams survival with two games remaining.


Neal went on to manage Cardiff City and Manchester City as well as many other coaching roles.


Roland Nilsson




The current coach of the Sweden Under-17s side, Roland Nilsson played for and managed the Sky Blues during his stellar career.


The Swede had a spell as a player with the Sky Blues before managing the club in 2001.


In 1997, Ron Atkinson, who had signed Nilsson when he was manager at Sheffield Wednesday, signed the defender for City for £200,000.


In his first spell with the club, Nilsson helped the Sky Blues survive in the Premier League, before moving back to his hometown club Helsingborg.


But when City were relegated from the Premier League and started the Championship season poorly in 2001/02, Gordon Strachan resigned from the club and Nilsson was brought in as a player-caretaker manager, despite having no previous managerial experience.


The Swede excelled initially as City topped the table after the turn of the new year. But after inconsistency, Nilsson announced his retirement from playing in order to fully focus on the role. That wasn't enough though as the Swede left the club in April 2002.


Despite his stint with City not being deemed as a success, Nilsson has the sixth highest win percentage of any Coventry City manager, with a 44.19% win ratio with 19 wins, six draws and 18 defeats from 43 games.


After his time with Coventry City, he has also managed GAIS, Malmo FF and F.C Copenhagen, including winning a personal accolade of Swedish manager of the year award in 2010.


In his native Sweden, Nilsson is a legend, having made 116 appearances for the Swedish national side, between 1986-2000. He played in the Sweden side that finished third in Euro '92 and who finished with a bronze medal in the '94 World Cup.

 

Netherlands




The Sky Blues have had seven players play for the club from the Netherlands.


Martin Jol, Rudi Kaiser, Arjan De Zeeuw, Ellery Cairo, Patrick Van Aanholt, George Boateng and Denzel Slager all played for City.


Those players have nine caps between them and George Boateng has the most caps out of those players for the Oranje with four.


Boateng is probably best known during his time at the Sky Blues for being responsible for breaking one of City's longstanding hoodoos, helping the team win at Villa Park for the first time in 63 years.


Boateng scored twice in the 4–1 win over Aston Villa at Villa Park on 27 February 1999.


Martin Jol has three of those nine caps in total and made 15 appearances for the Sky Blues. He is most famous for managing Tottenham, Ajax and Fulham.


Patrick Van Aanholt has two caps to round off the total of nine Sky Blues Netherlands caps, and he joined City in 2009 on loan from Chelsea.


He made 20 appearances for City, and recently joined Sunderland where he scored a belter against Leeds United in the FA Cup. 


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