……again to my latest blog.
FEEDBACK AND ERRATA
Gary Mixture has e-mailed me regarding the four missing line ups. He points out that if a little detective work is to be undertaken then a list of those sources already tried would be helpful. Well Gary the Essex Chronicle and Essex Weekly News microfilms held at Chelmsford Library have already been tried and this is where the main information has been gleaned from. You will notice that, with the exception of the Dartford match, the games were played on Wednesday or Thursdays, too late for that weeks papers and old hat by the time the following weeks editions were out. As a result coverage was minimal with no line ups included. As mentioned last time Dave Clarke has looked at the East Anglian Daily Times whilst I have e-mailed all four of the Clubs, but without success. I have also contacted Kidderminster Library, am awaiting a response from Dartford Library and will be contacting Bedford Library and Llanelly Library in due course. The only ‘local’ paper left is the Essex County Standard, which although Colchester based, did cover City from time to time. I’m pretty certain that the ‘Green ‘Uns’ files have also been checked.
In my piece last time on Friday 13th I omitted the month from the date of the game against Folkestone. This game, which City won 2-0, was played on Friday 13th October 1972.
MY FAVOURITE CITY STAT
Apologies for mentioning this again, it pops up in my programme columns from time to time, but after beating Alvechurch 2-0 on Saturday 21st April 1990 City did not win another home league game on a Saturday until 11th January 1992, when they beat Burton Albion 3-1. That’s a run of 21 home Saturday league games without a win. The run consisted of 13 draws and 8 defeats.
That is a remarkable enough statistic in itself, but this is what makes it so special for me. During the same spell City played 10 league games at home on days other than a Saturday and did not lose one! The 10 games were played on Mondays, 7, and Wednesday’s, 3, and City won 5 games and drew the other 5. Must have been something to do with the floodlights!
ARISE SIR JOHN MORRIS……
John Morris has become a real star when it comes to tracking down players on what I am now calling ‘Operation Birth-day’, that is a project to record the birth details of every player who played a league game for City. John has really taken this on board and is e-mailing me, almost on a daily basis, with potential leads. Please see further down for details of those players I have tracked down with John’s help. Keep up the good work John.
Sadly former City ‘keeper Brynley John ‘Jack’ Parry died on January 20th. Jack, who was born on 11th January 1924 in Pontardawe, joined City in the summer of 1955. He started his league career with Swansea Town just after the Second World War and made 98 appearances before being transferred to Ipswich Town for £750 in August 1951. He spent four years at Portman Road making 138 league appearances before being released and signing for City. He won a full Welsh international cap whilst with Swansea. In all he spent 4 seasons at New Writtle Street making 149 appearances, although he had spells on the sidelines after breaking an arm in August 1956 and again in November 1958.
ESSEX SENIOR CUP
City have appeared in the final of this competition for the last two seasons and have reached the semi final again this season. Consequently since losing 3-0 at Braintree Town in a 3rd Round tie on Tuesday 7th November 2006 the only defeat City have suffered was the Final at Roots Hall against Southend United in April 2008. That’s a run of 13 games with 12 wins and just the solitary defeat. If only our form was as good in the FA Trophy!
RICKY HOLMES – 200 up
City’s recent 0-0 home draw with Newport County saw Ricky Holmes make his 200th appearance for the Club. Ricky made his debut when he came on as a substitute in a 3-1 home League Cup win over Horsham on Wednesday 9th November 2005 at New Lodge. He made his full debut in an Essex Senior Cup tie at Brentwood Town in November 2005. His full league debut did not come until August 2006 in a 1-1 home draw with Bromley. Coincidentally his first goal was scored against Bromley in the second game played at Melbourne Park when he scored with a header after coming on as a substitute. The breakdown of his first 200 games is:
League 150 43
League Cup 9 0
FA Cup 14 4
FA Trophy 11 4
Essex Senior Cup 13 8
Play Offs 3 0
Totals 200 59
They say, of course, that modern day players play too much football and that they need a rest from time to time. Try telling that to John Docherty who joined City in the summer of 1965. He missed just one first team game in his first two seasons at New Writtle Street. Nothing too amazing in that you might say, until you realise that thanks to taking part in the Eastern Floodlight Competition City played 67 games in 1965-1966, Docherty missed one game, and 73 in 1966-1967. That’s 140 competitive games in two seasons and Docherty played in 139 of them! Of course there were substitutes in the latter season but John started all 139 games not once appearing as a substitute, a quite remarkable record. The game he missed? Well that was an Eastern Floodlight Competition game at Cambridge United on January 5th 1966 after which he played in 117 consecutive games. It’s not as though Docherty was a youngster either, he was already 30 when he signed for City!
Before I come on to the exploits of John Morris I have to mention that Dave Clarke has also been digging around and come up with a couple of nuggets. He has tracked down the birth details of James McCombe who played for City in 1938-1939 after spells with Clapton Orient and in Scotland. He has also done the same and confirmed details for Hopkin John ‘Jack’ Roberts who appeared as a guest for the Club in the 1945-1946 season.
So on to John Morris. He has managed to conform the birth details for Jack Coulter, listed in many books as 1912. John has been in contact with Marshall Gillespie, the Editor of the Northern Ireland Football Yearbook, who has confirmed that Jack was in fact born in 1910, and he has also confirmed the actual date.
John has also provided leads that ended with me speaking to Dave Weights, Harry Yardley and Trevor Inch and confirming their respective birth details. Further details below. The number of players left has now dropped to 183 with more leads from John to follow up.
I had an excellent chat with Dave Weights who confirmed to me that, along with Tottenham Hotspur and Dagenham and Redbridge, he looks for the City result each Saturday. Dave made 39 appearances for the Club scoring 10 goals in the 1979-1980 season, finishing as joint top scorer along with Frank Bishop with 7 league goals. Originally with Fulham he joined Barking and then Leytonstone, where he struck up a friendship with John Still. He enjoyed a short loan spell at Grays Athletic before joining City in October 1979. It was not a great season for City as Manager Don Walker’s side finished 21st in the 24 team Southern League Southern Division. After leaving City Dave suffered with a back injury that prompted an early retirement from playing football, although he did some coaching in local football. Dave will always be remembered by City fans for his 4 goals at Gosport Borough in March 1980, a game that City won 5-3. By doing so he equalled the efforts of Frank Peterson who had scored 4 in a 5-2 league win at Guildford City in September 1971. This has subsequently been equalled by Alec Gallagher, who got 4 at Ruislip in a 9-0 win in December 1988 and Steve Portway, who did the same in a 5-1 win at Burnham in September 2000. The Club record in away games is 5 scored by Syd Plunkett in an 8-1 win at Exeter City Reserves in October 1949.
For many years an Executive with the Whitbread Group Dave and his wife have recently purchased a swimming pool and established a business that specialises in courses for schools. He tells me that it hard but very enjoyable work.
Originally an apprentice and full time professional with Portsmouth Trevor signed for City in August 1986 after spells at Southend United and Crawley Town. Unfortunately an injury suffered whilst he was at Fratton Park always hampered his career and he played only 37 games in goal for City before leaving in January 1987. He had a short spell at Basingstoke Town before hanging up his boots at a relatively young age.
Trevor told me that the highlight of his time at City was the FA Cup 2nd Round tie at Gillingham in December 1986. Two goals from Tony Cascarino were enough to see the Gills through, in front of a crowd of 5,843. It was certainly an improvement for City who just 3 years earlier had lost at Priestfield 6-1 in another 2nd Round tie.
Alive and still living in Galleywood is Harry Yardley who made 4 appearances for the Club in September and October 1952, making his debut when just 18 years of age. Originally on the books of West Ham United he played for City under Ben Burley but after being dropped he refused to sign a professional contract and left the Club, never to return. Whilst on National Service he was approached by both Plymouth Argyle and Torquay whilst playing for the United Services but was unable to fit in any games owing to his other commitments.
Once his National Service had finished he returned to Chelmsford and played for Chelmsford Swifts preferring local football with all its social side to the professional game. He also played for Park Avenue in the early days of the Chelmsford Sunday League.
MISSING LINE UPS
Dave Clarke has introduced me to a chap called David Williams who is an expert in all things Bedford Town. David is concentrating on the post 1950 seasons, so he is unable to help with the missing players from the April 1948 game. However he is visiting the National Newspaper Library at Colindale shortly and has promised me that he will hunt through the Bedfordshire papers of the time to see if anything turns up.
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