Why and When? Get Coventry City back to Cov

A famous pundit once said that football is a ‘funny old game’, well sometimes it isn’t.

I was contacted recently by fellow Saints fan Jimmy Hayes with some information about the ‘Why and When Campaign’ focused on raising awareness of the plight that fans of Coventry City find themselves in.

The situation is close to my heart for a number of reasons. Firstly because I love my football club, and I know how it feels to be at the point where you don’t know if you will soon even have one, secondly because I now live in the city of Coventry and I work alongside it’s people and those who have supported the club for years. The third reason is a selfish need for nostalgia. Perhaps I am getting old, but in recent years more than ever I have felt grief for the loss of the game I first knew, and the 1987 FA Cup final was very much a part of that.

The people who started the problems at Coventry were once linked with a takeover for Saints. It doesn’t bare thinking about, but for the fans of the Sky Blues it is reality, and now they find their team playing it’s home games in Northampton. The people behind the campaign tell us more:

Andy Scaysbrook (Lifelong Coventry City fan, and award winning photojournalist) ‘I grew up watching Coventry City, from the age of 6, my family were season ticket holders. My Father and my Grandad took me to Highfield Road during the days of the Sky Blue revolution that was led by Jimmy Hill in the 60’s. 

 I started my photographic career working for the club, shooting action pictures for the matchday programme. In my 44 years of being a City fan I have travelled all over the country to support the team. We have been through some terrible times over the years but the situation at the club is now desperate. Through all of this, the fans have stood firm and sought to work to try and find a solution to the horrendous situation we now find ourselves in. 
 
I know many City fans and the desperation they feel is awful. I want to be able to put these feelings into pictures and help raise the profile of our plight, hence the Why & When photography campaign.’

 

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Jimmy Hayes ‘As a Southampton fan, I have seen us take the terrible tumble through the leagues, have seen managers, chairman and owners come and go. I, and thousands of others have felt the horrible uncertainty that comes with it. What has happened to Coventry could have easily happened to us. Football club owners should always have the best interest of the club and the fans at heart. If we, the fans, stand together, perhaps we can stop this happening in in the future.’

 

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The first phase of the campaign is based around seven images with the following message:

“We are the sons and daughters of the City of the Phoenix…

Generations have rallied together to fight side by side for what is right.

The people of our city have stood together, through wars, economic depression and social upheaval. We have survived even when the odds were stacked against us.

Coventry City Football Club has been our port in the storm, a rallying point, a shelter, a reason for hope and a chance to dream…

The spirit of Coventry is an unstoppable force. Born from adversity it has gathered strength through generations of Cov Kids. It’s time to fight again…

Our famous club is under threat and stands on the brink of losing its identity. When loyal fans, generations old and new cannot watch a game in the city they love, the time has come to stand up and be counted…

We STILL have a voice. Stand up and USE it”

#why&when

To see all the images follow this link:- https://www.facebook.com/GreenKnightMedia
The next time you take your seat to watch your team playing in your city, take a second to think about the Coventry City supporters who right now, don’t have the opportunity to do the same.

Chris

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The kids are all Wight Part 2……..

Sometimes, you start something and you know it isn’t quite finished! That is how I felt after the first “Kids are all Wight” article.

The feedback I had to it was astonishing, and now I have a much broader appreciation of Island pros, pre my generation. To that end, I thought it only fitting and fair that I write a follow up, celebrating the talents of those Islanders that made the grade long before my time, and in an era that would have made it even harder for a young man from the Isle of Wight to be snapped up by the professional clubs.

Ferry travel, was not as regular as it is now for the youngsters of the Island, making it tough for them to attend trials, the last ferries home often way too early,  not to mention the expense, this coupled with a non-existent scouting setup meant talented lads had to shine for the bigger Island clubs and hope for the best.

The first to defy this and  “make the grade” and perhaps the most well known of Island footballers was Roy Shiner.

Shiner, a carpentry apprentice from Seaview first caught the eye of Birmingham City while playing for East Cowes Vics during the Second World War, but was persuaded from attending a trial by his father(a brief top level player himself, so perhaps aware of the pitfalls) who urged him to continue with his trade. Shiner did however attend trials with Wolverhampton Wanderers and Portsmouth, neither of which were successful, before signing for Ryde Sports.

Shiner was prolific up front for Ryde, notably smashing 50 goals in the 1947/48 Hampshire League Season, big things were not far away for Roy. In fact just two seasons later, after starring in a match for the Isle of Wight representative team against Gloucestershire, Shiner was signed part time by Southern League side Cheltenham Town. Roy couldn’t have had a better start, scoring the only goal in his Southern League debut in October 1949.

Roy Shiner - Sheffield Wednesday FC. Picture courtesy of Mike Payne.

Roy spent just two seasons at Whaddon Road, before a pre-season friendly against Wolves in 1951 made his dream a reality. Huddersfield Town had a representative in the crowd and Roy was on his way to Division One!

Shiner didn’t made his top flight debut until Christmas Day of that year, and first team appearances were few and far between as he struggled to adapt at this new level. After just twenty one games and six goals in three years at Leeds Road he moved on, signing for Division two club Sheffield Wednesday.

This turned out to be the best decision of Roy’s career. Roy scored goals for fun in the blue and white stripes of Hillsbrough. In a four year spell from 1955 to 1959, he found the net 93 times in 153 league appearances, and established himself as a top level goalscorer. He was part of the Wednesday side that twice won the Division Two championship, all be it coupled with two relegations, and became a terrace favourite for the Owls.

A now 34 year old Roy moved on again in 1959, even further North to Hull City, but despite scoring eight goals, he was only to last one season. Injuries began to take their toll and Shiner accepted that his football league career was finished. Roy went back to Cheltenham and had a spell as player/manager, before completing the circle of his career and returning to the Island in 1962, taking the managerial reigns at Seaview and later those of Newport, East Cowes Vics and St Helens Blue Star.

A true shining light in the arena of Island footballers, Roy sadly passed away in 1988, but his legacy and impact on Island football will never be forgotten.

Roy Shiner(left) in his managerial days at Newport. Picture courtesy of Brian Marriott.

Another name that was mentioned to me several times was that of Wes Maughan. From Cowes, 19 year old Maughan signed for Southampton in 1958 and over a four year spell played six times for the Saints first team and scored one goal before moving on to Reading. He had a bigger impact at Elm Park, scoring three times in sixteen games before heading to Chelmsford City in 1963 and eventually returning to the Island.

Jim Watts from Cowes spent a season with Gillingham in 1956/57, playing in twelve games and scoring one goal in Division Three(South), where he went from there, though, I cannot find out.

Wayne Talkes was the next to hit the professional game. From Brading, although originally London, Talkes signed for Southampton in 1969, a long locked midfielder, Talkes stayed at the Dell until 1974 despite only playing nine first team games. He was loaned to Doncaster Rovers before becoming the first in the long line of Islanders to play for Bournemouth.

It was the eighties before another Islander could make the step up. 20 year old Cowes lad Gareth Williams found his way to the heady heights of Villa Park and the first division via East Cowes Vics and Gosport Borough in 1987. Williams racked up an impressive 225 football league appearances over a thirteen year professional career that ended at Hull City in the year 2000. As well as Aston Villa and Hull, he had spells at Barnsley, Bournemouth, Northampton Town and Scarborough before playing for a few Non-League sides, eventually becoming player/manager of Matlock Town.

Gareth Williams - Scarborough FC

So we come back full circle to where I started in the first article, the 90’s to the 00’s. I did do a couple of Island players from that era a disservice, by not mentioning them.

Aaron Cook from Cowes, was signed by Portsmouth in 1998 and had a loan spell at Crystal Palace after impressing Terry Venables, but it didn’t quite work out for him. Since then though, he has forged a distinguished Non-League career, notably with Havant & Waterlooville and Salisbury City.

Danny Hatcher had a spell with Leyton Orient between 2000/03 playing sixteen games for the London club before returning to play for his hometown team Newport.

So there we have it, another instalment, but perhaps not the last? There may be more from the past, that we know little about, and hopefully there will be more in the future, what is clear to me now, is that while we may not be the hotbed of footballing talent that bigger, more dense areas of the country are, for a place of our size and population we are certainly making ourselves heard!

Many thanks go to Brian Greening, Brian Marriott, Nick Reed and Mike Payne for their help and information on this.

Chris