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MY CCFC XI: Richard Baker picks his best Sky Blues team!

3 June 2020

Richard Baker has selected his best Coventry City side, made up of players he has seen play during his time supporting the Club.

Richard's first Coventry City game was back in March 1981 against Leicester City at Highfield Road. The Sky Blues were 4-1 winners courtesy of Gary Thompson and a Tommy English hatrick, and Richard has been a fan ever since!

Richard said:

"A 5-2-3 formation, to get the best players in and some defensive solidity against other clubs greatest ever, should see us in the top half in a fantasy greatest ever league, with a good cup run thrown in.

"These are the best players I have seen since 1981."

Now Richard talks us through his selection...

Manager - John Sillett

He took over with 3 games to go in 86 and saved us from relegation. The transformation following that was sensational. We had gone to the last day of the season to survive in 81, 84, 85 and 86. In 83 it was the second last game. In Sillett's 4 full seasons we had 3 top half finishes, 3 cup semi-finals including 1987 and the season we didn't finish in the top half we were 12th, League Cup semi-finalists, top of the league for the first time ever and were the only team to beat Liverpool at Anfield, that seasons champions. Those four and a bit seasons featured the best football we have played whilst in the top division.

 

Goalkeeper - Steve Ogrizovic

601 games, he even scored once. The commentator in the 87 semi final said "When the final whistle goes so much of this is down to him"  

35 years at Coventry City, has anyone contributed more?

 

Right back - Danny Thomas

It was either Danny or Brian Borrows. How do you split the two? Danny had a more pace that's all there was between them. 

 

Right Centre Back - Brian Kilcline

Captain. Did he ever lose a header? He scored some goals aswell, penalties, free kicks, headers. An underrated player, you have to be a bit special to chip the ball over an oncoming attackers head when playing out from the back, in a cup final too!

 

Libero - Gary Gillespie

Calm assured, great anticipation, brought the ball out from the back with ease. 

Left Centre Back - Trevor Peake

Killer and Peake go together like yin and yang. Saw opposition moves well in advance and snuffed them out. A class act.

 

Left Back - Kenny Sansom

Marcus Hall, Greg Downs, David Burrows and Steve Morgan were all good players for us. I have gone for Kenny Sansom. He improved the team when he arrived for the last few games of the 90-91 season. The 91-92 season was grim, what kept us up was a number of clean sheets courtesy of the 4th best defence in the 1st division. Kenny was a key part of that. When he was sold in March 93 we hardly won a game for the rest of the season. I never saw him have a bad game for us. 

Central Midfield - Lloyd McGrath

This team would get the ball out wide quickly, so a ball winner is required. Hoddle, Gascoigne, no problem. Is Lloyd the best man marker in midfield since Nobby Stiles? Mr Reliable.

 

Central Midfield - Micky Gynn

What a great player Micky Gynn was for Coventry City. I pick him ahead of David Speedie and Steve Hunt which says how good he was. Micky Gynn's energy and ability to start an attack at speed whilst maintaining close control of the ball and a little bit more defensive ability gets him in ahead of those two. He was also very good at timing his runs into the box to contribute his fair share of goals. Didn't lose possession either. 

Right wing - Dave Bennett

Two pieces of footage sum up everything you need to know about Dave Bennett. The equalizing goal against Leeds in 87 started with an over hit pass which was a 70-30 ball in favour of Brendan Ormsby. Dave had the pace to get to the touch line before it went out, the tenacity to win the tackle, the skill to keep it in play and pick out Micky Gynn with a cross to score.

The second is a sensational goal against Oxford United in 1987. He beats two defenders on the right wing, nutmegging one before scoring from an acute angle. If John Barnes or Chris Waddle had scored it, we would see it over and over again on tv. 

Dave Bennett wasn't just a great Coventry City player, at his peak he was one of the great players of the 1980's in England. 

 

Centre Forward - Cyrille Regis

Coventry City's greatest ever player. I am not sure there has ever been anyone better at implementing the key centre forward skill of holding the ball up and bringing other players into the attack. When Cyrille was on it, the opposition just couldn't get the ball off him. The amount of goals  he created  for other players was extraordinary. Flick ons, lay offs, far post headers and sublime passes which were at least the equal of Dalglish, Beardsley and Sheringham. 

Check out on youtube his through balls for Bennett v Liverpool in 86, Speedie v Norwich in 89 and Gallagher v Forest in 90. More of a creator than a goalscorer he was our top scorer twice. He scored some crackers, a header v Everton in 85, a thunderous first time shot under pressure v Villa in 88, beating a defender and round the keeper in 90 v Chelsea and of course that brilliant team goal in the Fa Cup v Sheffield Wednesday in 87.

Left Wing - Peter Ndlovu

If Cyrille will always be the king then this man is the Crown Prince. Players like Speedie and Hunt had the X factor but Ndlovu had the XX factor. 

Best, Law, Charlton, Messi, Ronaldo, Le Tissier, Shearer, Chivers, Latchford, Aguerro have all tried and failed. Peter Ndlovu is the only player to score a hat-trick for an away team since Liverpool were promoted in 1962.

I recently saw an interview with Gary Neville who some say is Man Utd and  England's best ever right back. He was asked for his memories of Coventry City, he said,

"My abiding memory of Coventry City is being absolutely destroyed by Peter Ndlovu. Do you remember him? What a player!" 

 

Substitutes:

Magnus Hedman

Phil Babb

Paul Williams 

Steve Hunt

David Speedie 

Dion Dublin

Terry Gibson

 

Do you want to choose your Sky Blues Best XI?

Send your team and please include the reasons why you chose them, along with a photo of yourself and how long you have supported Coventry City to Mark.Hornby@ccfc.co.uk

We cannot guarantee that all submissions may be used, and reserve the right to make editorial changes to your submissions as neccessary. 


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