Club Historian Jim Brown looks back on the 1964/65 Second Division season in this PUSB programme feature...
Coventry City club historian Jim Brown contributes the 'The Sky Blues Story 50 Years On' feature to the PUSB match-day programme and during the off-season period, we're showcasing these great features on www.ccfc.co.uk.
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The run up to the away game at Portsmouth on 17th October was dominated by transfer talk.
First John Mitten asked for a transfer saying that his first team opportunities were limited because of the form of Willie Humphries & Ronnie Rees. Jimmy Hill agreed to his request but didn’t agree with Mitten’s view. Hill also revealed that Irish club Linfield had watched Hugh Barr play for the reserves the previous week & were interested in taking him back to Northern Ireland. Barr had expressed a wish to play as a part-timer and further his school-teaching career & City had said they would listen to offers for the Northern Ireland international who had not played for the first-team since February.
The big news however came on the Friday and concerned a new goalkeeper. After a two-week hiatus in the Glazier saga, Derrick Robins rang Palace chairman Arthur Wait (like Robins, a building mogul) and the press reported that 21-year old Glazier, reluctant to move at first, had decided it was too good a chance to miss and signed for Coventry in time to make his debut at Portsmouth’s Fratton Park the following day. What may have swung the day is that recently the rules on signing-on fees paid to players had changed and clubs could now pay unlimited ‘sweeteners’ to sign players. It was also later revealed that the club had awarded Bill a five-year contract, something virtually unheard of in English football at the time.
City fans were stunned by the size of the £35.000 fee, around £14,000 more than the club record paid for George Hudson, but Hill was sanguine about the huge deal: ‘When you want the best you have to pay for it – and believe me Glazier is the best.’ He reminded ‘Nemo’ light-heartedly that the Coventry Telegraph reporter had been saying that if the club wanted to get anywhere they needed two new players: ‘Well this is one of them!’
Glazier kept a clean sheet on his debut and helped City to a 2-0 win with ‘four brilliant stops’, the first time the team had not conceded a goal in eleven games. ‘Nemo’ was effusive about the new ‘keeper: ‘Coventry City fans are going to take to Bill Glazier in a big way’.
George Hudson had a quiet game & was well marshalled by the veteran Jimmy Dickinson but youngsters Gould & Rees scored the two goals that defeated the struggling south coast team. On fifteen minutes Gould ‘came from nowhere’ to pounce on Rees’ short cross and flick home the ball past the groping John Milkins in goal. Rees turned from provider to scorer twelve minutes later when Brian Lewis lost possession, Rees sped round his full-back again & hit a left-foot piledriver past a helpless Milkins. Two of Glazier’s ‘brilliant stops’ came between the goals. First, he came sprinting out of his goal to smother a fierce McCann shot, then he got up to block the rebound from Harris. In the second half, with Pompey pushing forward the new signing brilliantly tipped a 20-yard effort from Cordjohn around a post before repeating his brilliance from a similar shot by Harris.
On the Tuesday night over 17,000 fans turned up to watch a friendly with Scottish club Morton, many supporters obviously keen to see Glazier in action. Morton, fielding four Danes, looked the better side for an hour, sharper and more incisive than the Sky Blues. Hill took the opportunity of blooding 17-year old John Burckitt at left back for the injured Brian Hill & with Rees on international duty with Wales, Mitten got the nod on the left-wing. Morton took a two-goal lead through a Mick Kearns own goal on 24 minutes and a penalty just before half-time when John Smith handled in the area and Jorn Sorensen netted from the spot.
City finally woke up after the hour mark and on 70 minutes Mitten headed in Humphries’ cross & ten minutes from time Smith tried a shot from 25 yards and Hudson stuck his head in its path to divert it at terrific speed past a helpless keeper.
The following Saturday Manchester City were the visitors & Hill had to switch Ronnie Farmer to right-back for the injured Sillett whilst Burckitt made his league debut at left-back. In front of 28,693, City were behind after 11 minutes when it seemed that Glazier misjudged a corner which Murray got a touch to. The ball hit the upright & bounced into the net off George Curtis for an own goal. City rarely troubled George Poyser’s team but two goals just before half-time turned the game in City’s favour. First Gould dived full-length to a Humphries cross to force the ball through with a superb header; then barely had the cheering died down when the visitors were robbed at the kick-off, and another Humphries centre saw Hudson plant the ball past an astounded Ogley.
City had enough chances to put the result beyond doubt after the break with Gould missing two clear chances & four minutes from time they paid the penalty, allowing Neil Young to burst through unchallenged to fire home the equaliser. The draw left City tenth in the table five points behind leaders Northampton.