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.
News that Coventry City were prepared to pay Crystal Palace £35,000 for their highly-rated young goalkeeper Bill Glazier had stunned City fans and the football world in general.
If the deal came off Glazier would be the most expensive British goalkeeper ever, the transfer fee topping that paid by Everton for Gordon West by £7,500. However, Palace had not accepted City’s bid & in an interesting twist Bournemouth appeared to be willing to discuss City buying their young ‘keeper David Best. In the meantime Dave Meeson would keep his place with Bob Wesson playing for the reserves.
The midweek following the Huddersfield home defeat was the first free week of the season & the club organised a night of football to raise money for Coventry Schools FA. The first team played a Local Leagues XI & this was preceded by a 60-minute game between Coventry Schools & a Warwickshire Schools XI. Coventry won the curtain-raiser 3-2 with a 15-year old Trevor Gould from Caludon Castle the star player. In the main event City hit nine goals without reply, four goals from Ernie Machin, three from George Hudson & one each from Ken Hale & Willie Humphries. With the new electronic scoreboard in operation the fans wondered what would happen if the score got to 10!
On the Saturday City were at home again, to Swindon Town who had started the season in mixed form & lay just below the Sky Blues in the table. Manager Hill made several changes with full-backs Brian Hill & John Sillett returning from injury & Rees back from international duty. Ken Hale was also back & Dietmar Bruck & Ronnie Farmer were rested.
Bert Head’s Swindon were an exciting young team which was attracting the scouts of top clubs for their impressive form. A forward line which boasted Mike Summerbee, Don Rogers & Ernie Hunt was a handful for anyone.
Ernie Machin, showing the sort of form that had impressed everyone before his injury, set the Sky Blues on the way to their first victory in eight league games in the 16th minute and ten minutes later the team were rewarded for their constant attacking with a second goal. Outjumped in heading duels by former City player Ken McPherson, Hudson linked well with his inside-forwards & scored when he beat the offside trap whilst the Swindon defenders waited for a whistle hitting a fine drive from the edge of the box.
A minute later Hunt crossed for Ken Skeen to pull a goal back before the game’s major controversy in the 38th minute. Swindon winger Leggett fell trying to turn the ball into the net from five yards. Two City men had tried to tackle him & the referee pointed to the spot indicating dangerous kicking & Ernie Hunt equalised from the spot-kick.
City’s display, whilst not totally convincing, was much smoother than in previous weeks & John Smith was at the heart of many of the best moves. Wingers Humphries & Rees were in good form & the forward line looked more balanced. At the back Brian Hill’s return made a vast difference with a much more solid look about it.
The winning goal came eleven minutes from time after City had a good penalty claim of their own turned down when Rees was fouled after beating his full-back along the by-line. Hale scored the winner after a super move that carved open the visitor’s defence & City moved up to tenth place, just five points behind the leaders Northampton. A crowd of 25,216 watched the game in warm sunshine.
Four days later Mansfield were the visitors in the Third Round of the League Cup. City triumphed 3-2 to reach the last 16 for the first time but made heavy weather of disposing of the Third Division side. Twice they were behind & it needed an appalling blunder to seal the victory 20 minutes from the end.
Machin was ruled out with injury & Hill gave a home debut to 20-year old Bobby Gould in an otherwise unchanged side. Mansfield, who were the only side to do the double over the Sky Blues the previous season, had held on to prolific striker Ken Wagstaff, despite the attentions of higher level clubs. It was Wagstaff who put the Stags ahead after 26 minutes when he seemed to nudge John Smith off the ball 10 yards inside the City half. Smith stood still waiting for a foul to be given but by the time he realised the referee was giving him nothing Wagstaff had drawn Meeson out & dribbled round him to score. Four minutes later City were level when Hale tapped in after Hudson’s downward header. Mansfield re-took the lead on 36 minutes when a wayward pass by Mick Kearns was picked up by Wagstaff, fed to Scanlon, who scored from 15 yards.
Within a minute debut-boy Gould made it a night to remember by equalising when he shrugged off the attentions of the Stags centre-half Gill and hit a cross shot past ‘keeper Treharne. In the second half Wagstaff continued to trouble the Sky Blues & only a superb save by Meeson kept his shot out on the hour. Rees however scored the winner when Gill & Treharne both inexplicably missed a simple header from a corner & the unmarked Welshman gleefully headed home. A crowd of 12,387 watched the win.