7 Of The Best Players To Ever Play For Coventry
Welcome to the countdown of the seven best players to play for the Sky Blues. In recent history, Cov has had some serious problems on and off the field, but its time to look back at there greatest ever players to bring some cheer and a ray of light to the Coventry crowd.
7: Stuart Pearce
Stuart Pearce is one of England’s greatest defenders; a tough-tackling, no-nonsense full-back with a terrific left foot which helped him register 87 career goals. A Nottingham Forest legend, Pearce will always be remembered for two penalties; his saved effort at Italia ’90 and subsequent redemption during Euro ’96.
Working as an electrician, Pearce spent five years in non-league with Wealdstone, before signing a first professional contract with Coventry City in 1983.
After more than 50 games for the Sky Blues, Pearce made the move to Nottingham Forest, joining Brian Clough for what proved to be one of the most successful periods in the club’s history.
During 12 years at Forest, Pearce amassed 401 appearances, many of them as captain, scoring 63 goals. Pearce won two League Cups with Forest and was an FA Cup runner-up.
6: Robbie Keane
It is now 19 years since Coventry City stunned the footballing world by forking out £6million for Robbie Keane from Wolverhampton Wanderers.
It was a then British record transfer fee for a teenager - with Keane just 19-years-old when he swapped Molineux for Highfield Road.
'Keano' is fondly remembered by the Sky-Blue Army despite only being with the club for one season for his role in 'the entertainers’ of 1998/99.
Keane made one of the most successful debuts ever seen at Coventry when he scored a brace in the club’s 2-0 win over Derby County, which he followed up with strikes against Sunderland, Tottenham, Newcastle and Watford as the club hit good form in September and October.
The pinnacle of Keane’s Coventry City career came in the club’s 2-1 home win over local rivals Aston Villa, when Keane scored one and set up another as Gordon Strachan’s side saw off the month of November in style.
5: Steve Ogrizovic
Goalkeeping coach Steve Ogrizovic is somewhat of a living Sky Blues legend having played between the sticks for the 1987 FA Cup final-winning squad and holding the record for most club appearances at 601 during a playing spell that lasted 16 years.
The towering former custodian waved farewell to his playing duties in 2000 but stayed on at the club in a coaching capacity which originally saw him head the club's reserve ranks before he took the natural role of goalkeeping coach to the Sky Blues' established and up-and-coming shot stoppers.
During his playing career, 'Oggy' became one of only a few goalkeepers to score from open play when he netted in Coventry's 2-2 draw with Sheffield Wednesday in the old First Division in 1986.
He is also one of just four players to have played top flight football in four different decades along with fellow goalkeepers Peter Shilton and John Lukic and ex-Blackpool icon Sir Stanley Matthews.
4: George Curtis
Only current goalkeeping coach and fellow FA Cup winner Steve Ogrizovic made more first-team appearances for the Sky Blues than the man nicknamed 'The Ironman'.
Between 1956 and 1969, Curtis appeared in first-team action on 543 occasions, scoring 13 goals. Division Three and Division Two titles were secured under his leadership before a broken leg in City's Second Division match at the City Ground sidelined him for the season.
Later appointed Managing Director at Coventry City, he stepped up to managerial duties alongside John Sillett to mastermind the Wembley success following the resignation of Don Mackay.
3: Dion Dublin
A traditional English centre-forward, Dion came to prominence in lower League football in England playing for Cambridge United. He shot to fame by scoring a famous FA Cup goal against Arsenal and has played at the top level ever since.
Shortly after his FA Cup heroics he earned a dream £1m move to Old Trafford where Alex Ferguson was completing the side that would go on and dominate the game in this country. Sadly, for Dion, a serious injury curtailed his United career and he made only seven starts in two years before Coventry took a £2m gamble on him by bringing him to Highfield Road in 1994. It was while he was at Coventry that his career really took off.
Playing as a centre forward or central defender with equal style, Dion soon earned regular call-ups to the England squad, only narrowly missing out on a place in the Euro 96 squad. My chief memory of him from Highfield Road is of him rising to head home yet another Gary McAllister corner, or scoring the goal that completed Coventry’s miracle Premiership escape at Spurs.
2: Gary McAlister
Gary played primarily as a midfielder, in a successful career spanning over nineteen years.
McAllister left Leeds for Coventry City on 26 July 1996, for a fee of £3million – a large sum for a player aged over 30. His move to the Midlands club came less than a year after he had scored a hat-trick against them for Leeds.
He stayed there for four seasons and played firstly under Ron Atkinson and then former Leeds teammate Gordon Strachan. McAllister was a big-name recruit to Big Ron's team of 1996–97.
Having experienced a difficult start at the club, McAllister won over the fans and remains a respected figure at Coventry City. During his time at the Sky Blues he played 140 games and scored 26 goals. As he is remembered by many most fondly for his time at the Sky Blues, McAllister has informally been bestowed with the honour of having a drink named after him. A 'Gary Mac' is a Blue coloured alcopop and 140ml of Vodka, which pale blue tones are reminiscent of McAllister's playing strip during his spell in the Midlands.
Coventry's Greatest Ever Player: Tommy Hutchison
Arguably the most popular City player of the First Division era, the dazzling ball dribbler was also supremely fit and a consistent performer who was often worth the entry fee to Highfield Road on his own.
He was born in Cardenden, Scotland in 1972, Coventry City manager Joe Mercer offered £140,000 cash plus Billy Rafferty for Hutchison's services. He signed for the Midlands club, leaping at the chance to play in the First Division on a regular basis. 'Hutch' remained at Highfield Road for eight years, playing 355 games and scoring 30 goals. During his Time at Coventry he played probably the best football of his career, winning all his 17 Scottish caps while at the club. Nicknamed "Mr Magic" by the club chairman, Derrick Robins, he was voted supporter's Player of the Season three times during his eight-year spell at Highfield Road – a feat no other Sky Blues player has yet equalled.
His wing play, and close ball control were a key feature of his game and he often provided the ammunition for the likes of Ian Wallace and Mick Ferguson.
He left for Manchester City in the summer of 1981, but he is still fondly remembered by the Sky Blues faithful.
On retiring from league football at the age of 43, he joined non-league Merthyr Tydfil where he played for three seasons, finally hanging-up his boots in 1994.
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