Monday, 14 May 2018

Column 12.5.2018

After seventeen seasons of trying the Sky Blues have finally made it to the Football League play-offs by virtue of finishing sixth, their highest league finish since 1970. On Saturday evening the Sky Blues entertain Notts County in the first leg of the semi-finals with the return at Meadow Lane on the following Friday and the chances are there will be a record crowd for a League 2 (or Division 4) play-off semi-final this weekend. The current record is 19,462 and was set in 2004 at the Huddersfield v Lincoln game at the Galpharm Stadium. It wouldn't surprise me to see 25,000 at the Ricoh this weekend.

City's record against the Magpies is not inspiring. City won 3-0 on the opening day but County won on their previous two visits to the Ricoh, which sandwich a 3-0 Sky Blues win at Sixfields in 2013-14. Prior to that City had won six out of seven home league games at Highfield Road, the exception being an amazing 5-1 defeat in 1982, one of the most embarrassing results in City's history. Before that City had not lost at home to the Magpies since 1951. Older fans will remember County being City's opponents on the opening day of the 1962-63 season when goals from Terry Bly and Hugh Barr gave City a 2-0 home win as City wore the new all Sky Blue kit for the first time in a competitive game.

At Meadow Lane City's record is very poor. They haven't won there in eight league visits since the last victory in August 1963 when George Hudson (2) and Willie Humphries gave City a comfortable 3-0 win. That was one of only two wins there, the other coming in 1950, 2-0 courtesy of Ken Chisholm and 'Plum' Warner, when 41,000 packed into Meadow Lane.

The full record of league games is:

Played W D L F - A
Home 19 9 3 7 33 - 25
Away 19 2 5 12 17 - 33

Notts County have been in the play-offs on four previous occasions and have reached the final three times. In 1987-88 they lost 2-4 on aggregate in the Division Three semis to Walsall but two years later they were back under the managership of the legendary Neil Warnock and beat Tranmere 2-0 at Wembley. Twelve months later they were back again to reach the top flight by beating Brighton 3-1. They remain the only club to win play-off finals in successive years. Their stay in the old Division One was brief – they were relegated the following season (and saved the Sky Blues on the final day by sending Luton Town down). They were back at Wembley in 1995-96 in the Division Two (tier 3) but lost 2-0 to Bradford City.

City will go into their first two-legged tie since 2013 this weekend. That was when City played Crewe in the JPT (Football League Trophy) Regional final and lost 3-2 on aggregate after a nightmare home first leg. Before that you have to go back to 2000 when the League Cup second round was reduced from two legs to one. In 22 seasons of two leg ties in that competition the Sky Blues were only defeated on four occasions (Everton, Walsall, Scarborough and Tranmere). I'm pretty sure City's first two-legged tie was in the FA Cup of 1945-46 when for one season only the Third round was played over two legs. City drew Aston Villa and won 2-1 at Highfield Road but lost the second leg 2-0 to exit the competition. They have played two leg games in the UEFA Fairs Cup in 1970-71 and then in the Texaco Cup for the following three seasons. That competition was hardly memorable with victory in only one tie (Falkirk in 1971) and three defeats (Motherwell (2) and Newcastle). Probably the most famous two leg ties were in the League Cup semi finals on 1981 and 1990. In 1981 West Ham were defeated 3-2 at Highfield Road but edged City out of a Wembley trip with a 2-0 win at Upton Park. Nine years later City controversially lost the first leg at the City Ground, Nottingham, 2-1, and Forest held on for a 0-0 at Highfield Road to go through.

I make that 32 two-legged ties with 20 wins and 12 defeats on aggregate. City have been at home in the first leg on 14 occasions and ended up progressing in only seven of those ties.

Finally, congratulations are in order for a good friend of mine, Geoff Moore, who, by watching City at Cheltenham two weeks ago, joined the '92 club'. He has now watched the Sky Blues play at all the current 92 league clubs in a first-class game. There are three current grounds where City have not played (the Etihad, West Ham's London Stadium and Huddersfield's Galpharm Stadium) but Geoff did see the Sky Blues play those clubs at Maine Road, Upton Park and Leeds Road respectively.

His first away ground was Swindon's County Ground for an FA Cup third round tie in 1966 and since then has seen City play on 118 different English grounds not including Wembley Stadium, Sutton United and Motherwell in Scotland where he attended a Texaco Cup game in the 1970s. If City are promoted via the play-offs he will miss out on the new league clubs (Macclesfield and possibly Boreham Wood) but I'm sure he will sacrifice that for football in a higher division.

Are there any other City fans who can match or better Geoff's record. I suspect Kevin Monks must be close!

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Jim's column 5.5.2018

Despite that sensational 6-1 win at Cheltenham, the nerves are still jangling amongst Sky Blue fans ahead of today's game with Morecambe. The added twist is that Morecambe may need something from the game to avoid returning to the Conference after eleven seasons in League Two. That will depend on the 23rd-placed club Barnet keeping their excellent run under new boss Martin Allen going – they have won four of their last six games – and beating already-relegated Chesterfield at home. If Barnet win then Morecambe will need a point at the Ricoh to finish above the Bees and avoid the drop.

The win at Cheltenham was the ninth away win of the season, an impressive record bettered only twice in the Sky Blues' history (in 1969-70 (10) and 2012-13 (11)). The result was rarely in doubt once Tom Bayliss had scored in the twelfth minute and the team went on to record a scoreline that equalled the biggest away league win since World War 2. City have won 6-1 away on three previous occasions in those 73 years, at Carlisle in 1958-59, at Crewe in 2001-02 and at Walsall in 2003-04. The club's biggest away win occurred 91 years ago on Easter Monday 1927 when, in their only ever visit to Aberdare Athletic, City won 7-0 with goals from Jimmy Heathcote (2), Billy Bird, Frank Herbert, Jack Crisp, Alex McClure and Robert Ferguson. Twenty-four hours later in the return game, with fans expecting another hatful of goals, City struggled to win 1-0!

Marc McNulty was at it again at Cheltenham netting another hat-trick to take his league total for the season to 23 and 26 in all competitions. He has overtaken players like Calum Wilson, Adam Armstrong and Ian Wallace and is now the highest league scorer in a season for over 50 years - since Bobby Gould's 24 goals in 1966-67. Today McNulty could overtake George Hudson and Bobby Gould and the two City legends will be at the game to see if he can achieve a remarkable feat. Any potential play-off games don't count as league goals but do count in the all competitions category, therefore Marc could even top Ray Straw's tally from 1958-59.
                                                                 Ray Straw

Most league goals in a season (post WW2)
Ray Straw
1958-59
27
George Lowrie
1946-47
26
Terry Bly
1962-63
25
Ken Chisholm
1950-51
24
George Hudson
1963-64
24
Bobby Gould
1966-67
24
Marc McNulty
2017-18
23

Most goals (all Comps) (post WW2)
Ray Straw
1958-59
30
George Lowrie
1946-47
29
Terry Bly
1962-63
29
George Hudson
1963-64
28
Marc McNulty
2017-18
26
Bobby Gould
1966-67
25

McNulty is also a record breaker when it comes to hat-tricks. He became the first City player to score more than one league hat-trick since 1977-78 when Mick Ferguson scored three in a season. Darren Huckerby scored two hat-tricks in 1998-99 but one was in the FA Cup.

City fan Neil Monaghan posed an interesting question in the pub at Cheltenham on Saturday. He wondered if Michael Doyle has made the most Football League appearances by a player from the Republic of Ireland. We knocked around a few names including Roy and Robbie Keane, Dennis Irwin, Noel Cantwell but I promised to find out for Neil.

I contacted the English National Football Archive (www.enfa.co.uk) whose comprehensive database provides the results, line ups, scorers and league tables of all games since 1888. A search of their database gave me the top ten Southern Irish-born players by appearances in league games as follows:

682 Dennis Irwin
628 Michael Doyle
614 Frank Stapleton
584 Tony Dunne
575 Damien Delaney
572 Don O'Riordan
565 Tommy Eglington
557 Johnny Giles
538 Barry Roche
537 Graham Kavanagh

Doyle will need more than a full season of games to overhaul Irwin's total but it is still an impressive record for the Sky Blues' inspirational captain.


Today is Legends Day at the Ricoh Arena and over 50 former players are planning to attend. This year's event is dedicated to the memory of Cyrille Regis who will be represented by a good number of his relatives including his widow Julia. Former players from seven decades will be joining the traditional half-time parade from Lol Harvey and Brian Nicholas from the 1950s through to Dele Adebola and Andy Morrell from the 2000s. There are some big names attending including George Hudson, Bobby Gould, Colin Stein, Roy Barry, Ian Wallace and Keith Houchen. If you're at the game today make sure you are in the arena to give our former players a great reception on what may be a famous day.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Jim's column 28/4/2018

The nerves are jangling amongst Sky Blue fans this week after the defeat to Lincoln on Tuesday night. Instead of dwelling on that result and the two remaining vital games I thought I would respond to a few requests for information from readers.

Apologies for mentioning Lincoln City again but Mick Williams asked me about a City friendly game at Sincil Bank that he attended in the mid 1970s. Mick wrote:
It was definitely a friendly and I believe therefore it would have been pre season and I think it must have been in the mid 1970's and I think it would more than likely be around July or August 1976. It was a warm and light evening and my friend Spangle and myself had been driven there by a Coventry based work mate of mine that had a soft spot for Lincoln City. Also with us was another work mate who supported Man Utd.

We stood behind the goal in the middle of the home end and eventually Spangle and myself revealed our Sky Blue scarves. After our identities had been discovered by the Lincoln fans who we were standing amongst and who were clearly taking exception to this invasion, we were escorted out of the home end and onto a terrace along the touch line by a single policeman who was probably the only one on duty that night. He actually said "we hadn't expected any Coventry fans to travel".


The game Mick is referring to was played on 26th April 1976 and was arranged in order to celebrate the Imps winning the Fourth Division title and to present them with the trophy. Their manager was Graham Taylor and it was the first success of his managerial career. A large crowd of 9,573 saluted the champions who had lost only four league games all season and amassed 74 points (equivalent to 106 points in the modern day with three points for a win), an all-time record for any Football League division.

Coventry had finished 14th in Division 1 and took a full-strength team to Lincoln. The game ended 2-2 with Alan Green and Les Cartwright cancelling out goals by John Ward and Percy Freeman. City's line up was: Blyth: Oakey, Hindley (sub Cartwright), Craven, Dugdale, Coop, Murphy, Green, Cross (sub Ferguson), Powell, Hutchison.

Looking at the programme for that game helped to partially explain the home side's success. The chart of appearances show that eight of the team played 40 or more league games with two, goalkeeper Peter Grotier (ex-West Ham) and Ian Branfoot (ex-Sheffield Wednesday) playing 46. A settled side without injuries can have a big advantage in any season in any league.

After Marc McNulty's hat-trick against Grimsby last month several readers were keen to know which City player has scored most hat-tricks in a season for the club. Not surprisingly, first place goes to Clarrie Bourton with seven hat-tricks in 1931-32, his first season at the club, when he netted 49 league goals and was the league's leading scorer. Second place goes to George Lowrie who in 1946-47, the first league season following the war, netted five hat-tricks, including three in successive home games. In third place is Leslie Jones in 1934-35. Les, an oustanding inside-forward who joined Arsenal in 1937, netted four hat-tricks and even outscored the great Bourton with 28 goals to Clarrie's 26. Between the two goal machines they scored 54 of City's 86 goals.
                       
                                                                        Leslie Jones

Another question came from Andy Webster who is an avid City programme collector. He has acquired a programme from a game the Sky Blues played at Eastbourne in 1964 and wanted to know more details of the game. The game was for the Eastbourne Charity Cup and I think there was a strong link between City chairman Derrick Robins and the Eastbourne cricket festival. City, who had manager Jimmy Hill in their line up, won the game 3-1 with goals from George Kirby (2) and George Hudson. The team was: Wesson, Sillett, Kearns, Brian Hill, Curtis, Jimmy Hill, Humphries, Hudson, Kirby, Smith, Rees.

Next Saturday the final home game with Morecambe is Legends Day and over 50 former players are planning to attend. City's play-off challenge will still be in the balance, barring a Mansfield defeat this weekend, and this year's event is dedicated to the memory of Cyrille Regis who will be represented by a good number of his relatives including his widow Julia. Former players from seven decades will be joining the traditional half-time parade from Lol Harvey and Brian Nicholas from the 1950s through to Dele Adebola and Andy Marshall from the 2000s.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Jim's column 21.4.2018

I'm writing this before last night's home game with Stevenage, a game that will help decide Coventry City's fate this season. The Sky Blues need three wins from their final four games to make certain of a top-seven finish and thus earn a play-off position for the first time ever. They may not need three wins however, depending on the results of the clubs around them.

I've been doing some research into the teams that have played in the play-offs since they were inaugurated in 1987. The first season, for the only time, featured three sides immediately below the automatic promotion places plus the side immediately above the relegation places. So, for example, in the Division Two play-off games Charlton Athletic, who had finished 20th in the old Division One battled it out with Oldham, Leeds United and Ipswich who had finished 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively in the old Division Two. In the days before the play-off finals were played at Wembley, Charlton beat Leeds in the final after two legs and a replay, to retain their top flight status. The following season the system was unchanged and Chelsea, who finished fourth from bottom in the old Division One, were relegated in a two-leg play-off final against Middlesbrough. In 1989 the system changed and the four sides immediately below the promoted teams fought it out for the extra promotion place with a two-leg final. The final became a one-off game at Wembley in 1989 and has remained unchanged since then with the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff hosting the final when Wembley was closed for rebuilding.

In the 30 years since the play-offs were introduced Preston North End have qualified the most times, with 10 appearances, but have only made it to the final three times, all of them ending in defeat. Last season's Championship play-off winners Huddersfield Town are second best with nine appearances with five final appearances and four victories. Ipswich have reached the play-offs on eight occasions (all in the championship) but have been knocked out at the semi final stage seven times but won the final once in 2000. Lower down the leagues Scunthorpe have reached the play-offs eight times but won the final only twice. Tranmere and Torquay who are no longer in the league have both reached the play-offs on six occasions each.

Looking at City's possible opponents in the League Two play-offs there are mixed findings. Exeter reached their first play-off last season but lost at Wembley to Blackpool. Notts County have reached the play-offs four times. They won the Division Two play-off in 1991, a year after winning the Third Division final and been losing finalists on one other occasion. Lincoln have a miserable record, qualifying for the League Two play-offs five years running between 2003-2007, losing the final twice and semi-finals on three occasions. Mansfield, perhaps City's greatest threat of reaching the top seven, have twice reached the League Two play-offs but never won them.

All City fans are acutely aware that their team has never qualified for the play-offs but how many other teams have failed. The simple answer is ten but five of those have an unbroken run in the top flight since 1987 and one, Aston Villa, have spent only two seasons out of the top flight and gained automatic promotion in one (1988). Villa also look certain to be in this year's Championship play-off. Then there are the two clubs playing in the Football League for the first time this season, Forest Green and Newport County. The old Newport were voted out of the league in 1988 so barely had a chance to reach the play-offs. That leaves two others: Crawley Town and Oxford United. Whilst neither has been in the play-offs both have won promotions in the last few years.

So strictly speaking City aren't the only side not to have reached the play-offs but their record since leaving the Premiership in 2001 is without doubt the worst of all.

It's award time again and congratulations go to Jack Grimmer who has been selected in the PFA League Two team of the season. He is only the seventh Coventry City player to be honoured since the awards were introduced in 1974. The others are:-

1983 Danny Thomas (Division 1)
2009 Danny Fox (Championship)
2009 Keiren Westwood (Championship)
2013 Leon Clarke (League One)
2014 Callum Wilson (League One)
2016 Adam Armstrong (League One)
                                                          Danny Thomas winning a CCFC player of year award

In 2015 the Football League (EFL) introduced their own awards and Lee Burge and Jordan Willis were the first City players selected for their efforts this season. The awards are testimony to the excellent defensive performances (Yeovil apart) put in by the club's defenders this season. It is still possible for the defence to set a new club record low goals conceded in a 46-match season. The record is 47, set in the 1958-59 promotion season. Before last night the team had let in 41 goals.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Jim's column 7.4.2018

What a shocker on Easter Monday! A larger than normal crowd turned up expecting City to put lowly Yeovil to the sword and extend the unbeaten run to eight games only for the Glovers to tear up the form-book and pull off a sensational 6-2 victory. Whilst City's defending was appalling it seemed that every time Yeovil attacked they scored. The statistics bear this out with the Somerset team having seven shots on target and six goals.

There are lots of historical stats resulting from a game which whilst depressing for Sky Blue fans was a thrilling encounter. The start by Yeovil was sensational with three goals without reply in the first 15 minutes. Trawling through the record books I can find only one worse start for City – in September 1956 at Northampton's County Ground the Cobblers were 3-0 ahead in 13 minutes, eventually losing 4-0. Incidentally in the very next away game City were 3-0 down after 16 minutes to Ipswich Town, again a 4-0 defeat. Unfortunately goal-times are notoriously inaccurate before World War Two and there may have been worse starts before then.

The size of the defeat was staggering and the worst at the Ricoh since 2008 when West Brom won an FA Cup tie 5-0. It was only the second time in 92 seasons of league football that City have let in six goals in a home league game – the other a 6-1 thumping by champions Liverpool on the final day of the 1989-90 season. Older fans will remember an 8-1 League Cup home defeat to Leicester in 1964 but there were mitigating circumstances, George Curtis limped off injuries and there were no substitutes.

The total of eight goals in the game was the most City fans have seen at the Ricoh since it opened in 2005 but those who travelled to Sixfields in 2013-14 saw nine goals (5-4 v Bristol City) and eight goals (4-4 v Preston) respectively in the first two home games there. The previous highest at the Ricoh was seven in the 6-1 victory over Derby in 2006.

Three Yeovil players (Fisher, Zoko and Surridge) scored braces and with Max Biamou also scoring two the total of four braces in a City game was only the third time this has occurred and the first in a home game. The last time was in the 5-5 draw at Southampton in May 1982 – arguably the most exciting City game of all-time. Mark Hateley (3) and Steve Whitton (2) netted for the Sky Blues whilst Kevin Keegan (2), Keith Cassells (2) and Alan Ball were on target for the Saints. The only other occasion was at Exeter in 1926 when four home players scored braces in the Grecians 8-1 victory.

Biamou also achieved a personal landmark by scoring two off the bench. He is only the third City player to achieve this in a league game, the others being Bobby Gould (at Forest in 1967) and Chris Maguire (at MK Dons in 2013).

City's outstanding defensive record went to pot – before Monday they had only conceded 32 goals and looked capable of breaking the club's all-time record of 38 in 1970-71 but that won't happen now! They could possibly still set a new record for a 46-game season – currently 47 goals in 1958-59.

Most fans feel that it was just one of those days and a somewhat freak scoreline. The team have a tough away game at Notts County today and the omens aren't good there, it is a real bogey ground for the Sky Blues. They have won only twice in 18 visits there since they entered the league and there have been five defeats and two losses since the last win there – in August 1963 when George Hudson (2) and Willie Humphries netted in a 3-0 victory.

Thanks to all my followers on Twitter for helping with this week's stats.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Jim's column 31/3/2018

The Sky Blues excellent 4-0 victory over Grimsby was not only the team's biggest win since the 6-0 hammering of Bury in February 2016 but extended the team's unbeaten run to a season's best six games. In fact you have to go back to the autumn of 2015 to find the last run as good – Tony Mowbray's side went 11 league games without defeat. It's just the sort of run the team needed at this stage of the season especially after the three straight defeats at the start of February which caused many fans to give up their hopes of promotion. The run has also coincided with a loss of form amongst some of their rivals in the race, Luton and Notts County especially. With eight games remaining (before yesterday's game at Newport), it is clear that the race for the automatic and play-off positions will go right to the wire. On paper City have a relatively easy run-in (if there is such a thing in this grim division) facing only two of the top nine sides (Notts County and Lincoln) whilst Notts County have to play Luton, Accrington and Wycombe as well as the Sky Blues. Accrington, the favourites for top spot, feature on the outstanding games for Exeter, Wycombe, Lincoln, Swindon and Mansfield. City's chances of an automatic promotion spot could hinge on the results of these six-point games.

Mark McNulty has emerged as the 20-goal striker that City fans have been praying for and his hat-trick last week took his total to 18 league goals and 21 in all competitions. He is up there with the most prolific City goalscorers in the last 50 years. In league goals he has equalled Dion Dublin's best season in 1997-98, is two behind Adam Armstrong's 20 in 2015-16 and three behind the best since 1967, 21, held by Ian Wallace (1977-78) and Callum Wilson (2013-14). Looking at goals in all competitions we might be looking at the highest scorer for fifty years. Since Bobby Gould got 25 in City's 1966-67 promotion season the highest scorers are:

23 Ian Wallace (1977-78)
23 Dion Dublin (1997-98)
22 Callum Wilson (2013-14)
20 Adam Armstrong (2015-16)
19 Terry Gibson (1983-84 & 1984-85)

McNulty has overtaken Gibson and Armstrong and must be favourite to overhaul Wilson, Dublin, Wallace and possibly even Gould. The next target will be George Hudson's haul of 28 goals in 1963-64, then Terry Bly's 29 in 1962-63.

Arthur Warner's memories of watching Coventry City go back to the early 1950s and he wrote to me recently following my piece on long runs of home victories. He remembers, as a ten-year old, the 1954 run of eight wins and Bristol City ending the sequence. City had won their last four home games of the 1953-54 season and had a great start to the 1954-55 season. On the previous Wednesday they had lost their unbeaten record (and top spot) at Gillingham 1-2. Bristol had taken over the league leader's position and had won four games in a row. There were 29,879 at the game including a few thousand from Bristol, the biggest crowd at Highfield Road since the club were relegated from Division Two in 1952. Arthur recalls that expectations were high amongst City fans.

Close season signing Tommy Capel put City ahead but John Atyeo (2) and Jimmy Rogers sealed a 3-1 away win. Also in the Bristol side that day were Jack Boxley and Jim Regan, who both later joined City. Centre-forward Eddie Brown, who had netted eight goals in eight games that season was sold to Birmingham City soon afterwards and manager Jack Fairbrother resigned in protest. Bristol were promoted and City finished 9th.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Jim's column 17.3.2018

Coventry City's defensive record in League Two this season has been very impressive. After the 2-2 draw with Luton on Tuesday night the Sky Blues had conceded 30 goals in 36 games - seven better than Mansfield, the next best in League Two – an average of 0.83 goal per game. Only League One clubs Wigan (23) and Shrewsbury (26) have conceded less in the whole Football League. In addition 14 of City's 36 games have resulted in clean sheets for City.

These spectacular statistics have prompted several questions from readers about the records with regard to goals conceded. The club record for the lowest goals conceded is 38 and was set in 1970-71 under Noel Cantwell. That was a pretty dire season for spectators as the team only scored 37 goals (the second lowest ever). That was a 42-game season and an average of 0.90 per game. The lowest for a 46-game season was 47 (1.02 per game) in 1958-59 when City finished second in the Fourth Division. I would be surprised if the current team didn't break the 46-game record and with a bit of luck they might beat the all-time record as well!

That great season in Division Four 60 years ago also saw a clean sheet count of 18, equalling the record set in 1938-39. Several City teams have gone close in the modern era with Cantwell's 1970-71 keeping 17 with Bill Glazier between the sticks in all but one game. In 2001-02, City's first season outside the Premiership, the team kept 16 clean sheets shared between Magnus Hedman, Tim Flowers and Chris Kirkland. Then, two years ago, under Tony Mowbray, the team kept 16 clean sheets with Reice Charles-Cook (13) and Lee Burge (3) in the 'keeper's jersey.

The 1938-39 team, arguably City's best team until the 1967 promotion team, kept 18 clean sheets in finishing fourth in the old Second Division. In those days the defence was considered to be the goalkeeper, two full-backs and three half-backs. That season four of the six defenders played in virtually every game: Goalkeeper Bill Morgan (41 games), Jack Astley (42), George Mason (42) and Billy Frith (39). Left back Walter Metcalf played 34 games before injury kept him out of the run-in while left-half Harry Boileau played 28 games. It was a tough, uncompromising defence that conceded only 45 goals as City missed out on promotion by four points with Morgan setting the club record for the 'keeper with the most clean sheets in a season (17).
                                                       1938-39 squad

The 1958-59 team, managed by the 1938 player, Billy Frith, also kept 18 clean sheets. Three defenders, captain Roy Kirk an ever-present, George Curtis (43 games) and left-back Lol Harvey (41) played in virtually every league game. Left-half Ron Farmer (26) was an ever present after joining the club in November and right-half Brian Nicholas (26) was the regular right-half until injured in December at which point Mick Kearns (32) and later Frank Austin (14) took over. The goalkeeping situation was fluid that campaign. Veteran Jim Sanders played the first ten games (4 clean sheets) before breaking his leg. Coach Alf Wood came out of retirement to take the jersey and kept five clean sheets in 10 games before Arthur Lightening arrived from Nottingham Forest in November. Arthur was ever-present until the end of the season keeping nine clean sheets in 25 games.
                                                                1958-59 team

The other interesting statistic of this season is that, to date, the club have not conceded more than two goals in any league game. Luton were the eighth side to score twice against the Sky Blues but no team has managed more. City have never gone through a whole season without conceding more than two goals in a game! Another record looming?