A Barcelona La Liga winner, an opening day hat-trick and a popular manager feature in the first installment of our 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 A, with a Barcelona La Liga winner, an opening day hat-trick and a popular manager featuring in the first installment of our Coventry City A-Z...
A is for…
Adebola – Dele Adebola
One of the most notable Coventry City strikers in the 2000’s, Dele Adebola became a fans favourite during his time with the Sky Blues.
At 6ft, 3in, Adebola had a commanding presence up front and was brought to the club when Gary McAllister snapped him up on a free transfer in 2003 after he was released from Crystal Palace.
Initially, ‘Ade’ struggled to find form and was sent out on loan to Burnley and Bradford City. Peter Reid brought the striker back into the fold before manager Micky Adams got the best out of him.
Playing as the ‘link man’, his partnerships with Gary McSheffrey, Stern John and Michael Mifsud helped him score 31 goals in 163 goals during a five-year spell at the club.
Aldocoa – Emilio Aldocoa
Emilio Aldecoa is a name many Coventry City fans won’t be familiar with but the left-winger’s career is an incredible story to tell.
During the Spanish Civil War, the City of Bilbao suffered incessant shelling from Francisco Franco’s Nationalist Forces. Over 20,000 shells fell on the Basque City on June 17th 1937 and as 200,000 people fled the City, the British Navy sent ships as part of a non-intervention committee to rescue the children of Bilbao. One of these children was a 15-year old Emilio Aldocoa.
Six-years later, Aldocoa was working in a Staffordshire factory as part of the British War effort. He began to play for a Staffordshire works team in 1943 and his ability was noticed by Wolverhampton Wanderers who signed him. During the War, he was Wolves’ top scorer with 11 goals in 30 games.
Just three months after Victory in Europe Day, Aldocoa signed for Coventry City. The Spaniard made his debut at home to Portsmouth in August 1945 and scored in a 3-1 win for City.
During his two-year spell at the club, he continued to work in Coventry’s factories and lodged in Wyken. He was fondly remembered by City fans for bringing a style, panache and a touch of genius to the brutish post-war English game and to a City scarred by the Blitz.
Aldocoa returned to Bilbao in 1947 where he signed for Athletic Club. He made one appearance for the Spanish national team during his time with Athletic and after a short spell at Real Valladolid, Aldocoa signed for Spanish giants FC Barcelona.
He won the Spanish Championship with Barcelona in his first season at the club and then won the Copa Latina, a cross-country club competition between clubs from Spain, France, Italy and Portugal, beating OGC Nice at the Parc des Princes in Paris in 1952.
After a short spell at Sporting Gijon, Aldocoa retired in 1954 bringing to an end a career which brought a Spanish War refugee to the heights of the post-war European game, via Wyken.
Atkinson – Ron Atkinson
Big Ron arrived at Highfield Road in February 1995 tasked with retaining Coventry City’s top-flight status.
Having managed West Bromwich Albion, Manchester United and Atletico Madrid, Ron’s personality had the desired effect on the City squad, which comprised of Zimbabwean striker Peter Ndlovu and target man Dion Dublin.
The Sky Blues retained their Premiership status on the penultimate game of the season with a 3-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, finishing the season on 50 points.
The 1995/96 season earmarked his first full season in the City dugout and the early signs were good, recording a 5-0 win over then-champions Blackburn Rovers in November 1995.
However, City continued to struggle and stayed up on goal difference thanks to unbeaten four-game run at the end of the season, including wins over QPR and Wimbledon.
City’s indifferent form continued in the early stages of the 1996/97 season and Atkinson moved into a Director of Football role in November 1996, handing managerial duties over to Gordon Strachan.
Arsenal – Mick Quinn’s opening day Highbury hat-trick
We think it’s safe to assume that everybody remembers where they were the day the Sky Blues opened their 1993/94 Premier League season in stunning fashion.
Iconic striker Mick Quinn took the Gunners apart on a sunny day at Highbury with a clinically taken hat-trick the get the Sky Blues’ second season since the formation of the Premier League off to a perfect start.