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A-Z: Today letter is M - Check out which manager has the highest win percentage in Coventry City history!

19 June 2015

Check out the latest installment of the A-Z feature from the PUSB match-day programme...

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 M, with the M69 Derby, Gary Mabbutt, Gary McAllister and Managers in focus in this installment of our Coventry City A-Z...  

M is for...

M69 Derby

One of the biggest and most played derbies in recent times, the M69 derby against Leicester City has seen some classic encounters and memorable goals.

The overall head to head record reads 25 wins for City, with 24 draws and 37 victories for the Foxes.

The Sky Blues have only lost one of the last seven games against their Midlands neighbours, with a 2-0 win in 2008 at the Ricoh Arena being the highlight. In that game Elliot Ward scored a penalty to put City in front, before Leon Best sealed the win in what was Chris Coleman’s first game in charge.

Arguably City’s finest hour in recent times in this fixture was the 2000-2001 season when the Sky Blues did the double over the Foxes. At Highfield Road, a first half Craig Bellamy goal sealed all three points in a feisty encounter.

In the return fixture at Filbert Street, a sterling away performance gave City the win. Bellamy again gave the Sky Blues a lead after two minutes. Ade Akinbiyi equalised in the tenth minute, before Lee Carsley restored Coventry’s lead in the 19th minute.

The second half was more even but big John Hartson sealed the win on the hour to ensure a famous win, one that Gordon Strachan described as ‘unforgettable’.

Gary Mabbutt

The scorer of arguably Coventry City’s most important goal in their history never even played for the club! Gary Mabbutt was a sterling centre-back in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, playing over 750 times for Bristol Rovers and then Tottenham Hotspur in a distinguished career.

But his most infamous moment came in the 1987 FA Cup Final. In extra time with the score at 2-2, Lloyd McGrath played a ball into the area, which hit Mabbutt on the knee and looped over the keeper and into the net. It proved to be the winner for the Sky Blues, who earned the first major trophy in their history.

In typical Coventry humour, Mabbutt was never allowed to forget his moment of infamy, as the Sky Blues launched their long-running fanzine soon after, entitled ‘Gary Mabbutt’s Knee’!

Gary McAllister

First player and then manager for the Sky Blues, McAllister was well respected by City fans after he became an integral part of the Coventry side in the late 90’s and was captain of that great escape team in 1997.

He moved to Highfield road for £3m in 1996 and remained at the club for four years. He would play 140 times, scoring 26 goals. Among the highlights of his time in the West Midlands was an FA Cup quarter final in 1998 and beating the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and rivals Aston Villa at Highfield Road.

He became player-manager in 2002, when he made another 55 appearances, scoring a further ten goals. He struggled to maintain a promotion challenge however and resigned in 2004 to spend more time with his family. He now works as an occasional pundit and after-dinner speaker.


In total, there have been 43 men who have taken charge of the Sky Blues since the club was founded in 1883. Of those men, only three have been foreign: Noel Cantwell and Harry Buckle were from the Republic of Ireland, whilst Roland Nilsson came from Sweden.

When comparing win percentage records, a surprising name came up as number one. Whilst Jimmy Hill and Harry Storer understandably make the top five, the number one spot goes to current Scunthorpe United manager Mark Robins. Of the 33 matches he took charge, the Sky Blues won 17, a win record of 51.52%.

Current manager Tony Mowbray has a win percentage of 38.46% which puts him ahead of Bobby Gould, John Sillett and Peter Reid in the rankings. Out of the 13 matches Mowbray has took charge, City won five and drew four as the Sky Blues survived in League One. 

Finally, spare a thought for William Clayton, who took charge of 11 games between 1917 and 1919. Out of those 11, City drew two and lost nine, giving Clayton a winning percentage of 0%! You would hope that it is a record that will never be equaled. 

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