My Favourite Shirt - Part Sixteen
Part Sixteen of My Favourite Shirt has John Dawkins answering questions about his 1987/88-1988/89 Coventry City Home Shirt as well as other questions about life supporting The Sky Blues.
John's beloved 1987/88-1988/89 Coventry City Home Shirt
Are there any happy or bad memories that come back to you when you see or think about this shirt? I got this shirt for my seventh birthday along with a ticket to the first home game of the season, I begged my mum and dad for it and they delivered!!!! The first time we wore the shirt was that very first game of the season against Spurs, the very same Spurs who we had beaten in one of the great cup finals a few months earlier 3-2 at Wembley (our only true major honour). The stadium was absolutely packed (definitely over sold) and my dad took me along (a Wolves fan, he played for them). I remember him kind of slagging Cov off all game, ha ha, but the atmosphere was electric and the anticipation for the season ahead was HUGE. Its one of the few times I was a full kit wanker at the game, but I was 7 so let that go. We beat Spurs again 2-1 with (David) Speedie scoring on his home debut and I think Greggy Downs with the second..... We have returned to the Hummel brand this season after 30 years, and it gives a huge nod to the kit from 30+ years ago!
Who was the best player to wear this shirt? So many cult heroes in this team because of the heroic '87 win, but for me it has to be David Speedie in this kit. A million pound signing from Chelsea and the best executioner of a chip I have ever seen, no goalkeeper was safe even if he was on his line. His movement was superb, proper razor sharp just like his tongue that got him in trouble on and off the pitch at Cov. Speedo had the silkiest of feet, his finishing was top drawer and was incredible in the air for a small man. He used to hang like a leaping salmon. Speedie, like all Highfield Road favourites, was a player that always got you on your feet as soon as he got on the ball.
And the worst? Worst in this kit is a tough one as these were glory days for my beloved Sky Blues. probably Keith Thompson though. Came back from Real Oviedo and didn't really have any impact for us sadly.
How do you rate the shirts of today compared to years gone by? I think today's shirts are devoid of any emotion or thought on a large part, just dead templates where the colour and badge are changed and that's your lot. I think this is underlined by the hunger for the old school shirts even with the youth of today, which is great to see. There is a shop down Brick Lane, East London, full of 80's and 90's shirts and the memories that come flooding back whilst walking round there are amazing, For me new kits just come and go.
Why do you support Coventry City? Simple really, I was born and raised in Coventry. My family have been going the match / had season tickets there since they moved to Coventry in the late 20's when all my family moved to the city from Stoke, Wales and the North East to work in the local coal mine in Kersley. I Had no choice really, I believe it should be a postcode thing! I currently live in North London in a predominantly Tottenham area, my first born is 8 weeks away...... so they will probably be Tottenham. It hurts, but i think that's the way it should be. Besides, I wouldn't wish the pain we endure as Cov fans on anyone.
What was the first Sky Blues game you went to and what was the score? 26th of August 1986 - we beat Arsenal 2-1 at home. The only thing I really remember is walking up the steps and seeing the pitch and the crowd, such an amazing feeling that first time isn't it. You just fall in love there and then. I remember being overwhelmed with that scene which felt absolutely enormous at the time, a proper fever pitch moment. What's funny is I've actually just checked the attendance and it was only just over 11,000, huge to a 6yr old kid though I guess. I don't really remember the goals or anything, but still remember the crowd being loud and people swearing and smoking around me, ha ha ha. I thought that was so naughty. what an introduction and education of what lay ahead for me.
Being a Coventry fan hasn’t been easy over the last few years. Do you see any light at the end of the tunnel? This has been well documented everywhere, and once again we find ourselves playing outside of our city which is an absolute disgrace. SISU / COUNCIL / WASPS should all hang their heads in shame. No one gives a fuck about us the supporters and its criminal, but its goes further back than just SISU. For me the club has been rotten to the core for a good 25yrs and as for the EFL - What is the point of them? They have done NOTHING! Without the fans the game doesn't exist and sadly due to greed I feel we won't be the first or the last to experience what ourselves, Wimbledon, luton and other proud clubs have had to endure.... The thing is we are Coventry City, a proud club of a very proud city that survived the blitz..... so we will come again, survive these parasites and see them off, and then get to the end of the tunnel and rise back to the pinnacle of English football where we belong.
How do you see Cov doing in the coming season? I think in Mark Robins we have the best manager outside the top two tiers of English football. He has massively overachieved under an incredibly dark cloud during both of his tenures at the club. Last season he was let down by his forwards whom had they hit any sort of rhythm sooner we would have been well in the mix last season. It's been a very impressive transfer window this summer and the recruitment on paper is of a very high level. Hats off to Mark and the team for that. Despite the move to St. Andrew's (which is a disgrace) I think we will be right in the mix for automatic promotion / playoffs next season. We have pace and power through the wide areas and a very strong spine now. I wouldn't fancy playing us next season!
Your best CCFC 1-11 in your time supporting the club? This is all out attack because all my favourite players were the one's that go you out of your seat. Trust me, I'm well aware about the lack of balance in this XI and the fact we would concede so many goals. I'm selecting from the best days I had as a fan (1986-2001).
GK - Steve Ogrizovic
RB - Roland Nilsson
CB - Gary Breen
CB - Brian Kilcline (C)
LB - David Burrows
M - Mustapha Hadji
M - Gary McAllister
M - Peter Ndlovu
CF - Darren Huckerby
CF - Dion Dublin
CF - Robbie Keane
Subs - Cyrille Regis / Dave Bennett / Noel Whelan / George Boateng / Magnus Hedman / Micky Quinn / Trevor Peake
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