Spurs v Coventry: FA Cup clash gives City fans a trip down memory Lane

12:20 04 January 2013

Coventry City

Coventry City's Gary McSheffrey


For Coventry fans, tomorrow’s tie with Tottenham is a poignant reminder of the greatest day in the club’s history – their victory over Spurs in the 1987 FA Cup Final.

Coventry City manager Mark RobinsCoventry City manager Mark Robins

Having scored at the right end in the first half, Gary Mabbutt’s own goal in extra-time secured a historic 3-2 victory for City at Wembley – the only major trophy the club have ever won.

Sky Blues fans will also have fond memories of their great escape at White Hart Lane on May 11 1997 – the final day of the season – when goals from Dion Dublin and Paul Williams secured a 2-1 victory away at Tottenham and saved the club from relegation.

However, there have been few highlights over the last decade following Coventry’s relegation from the Premier League in 2001.

This season the Sky Blues are at their lowest ebb for almost half a century, having dropped into League One in 2012, leaving them in the third tier of English football for the first time in 48 years.

City’s decline has had financial implications and they are in danger of going into receivership – Arena Coventry Limited, who operate their home at the Ricoh Arena, claim that the club owe them £1.1million in unpaid rent.

Despite all of that, Coventry are enjoying a mini revival under their new manager Mark Robins, who replaced Andy Thorn in September and has led the team from 23rd place to their current berth in 11th.

City are also the top scorers in the division with 44 goals from 26 league games, and their 3-2 win at MK Dons on Boxing Day was their sixth away win in a row – a new club record.

There are few familiar faces in the Coventry ranks, but Spurs fans will probably recognise Gary McSheffrey, who was on City’s books when they were in the top flight.

McSheffrey made his debut for the Sky Blues against Aston Villa in February 1999, aged 16 years and 198 days – which made him the youngest player ever to appear in the Premier League.

He held that record for over four years, until Aaron Lennon made his debut for Leeds in August 2003.

McSheffrey spent four years with Birmingham between 2006 and 2010 and played in the Blues’ 2-1 defeat at the Lane in August 2009, when Aaron Lennon hit a late winner.

That was followed by loan spells at Nottingham Forest and Leeds, but the winger returned to Coventry on a free transfer in June 2010 and the 30-year-old is likely to line up on the left side of a 4-4-1-1 formation tomorrow.

On the far side, captain Carl Baker is the club’s most improved player, and the tricky wide man has chipped in with nine goals so far this campaign.

In the centre of midfield, playmaker James Bailey is on loan from Derby and is enjoying a fine campaign alongside the more defensively-minded Steve Jennings.

Unfortunately for City, their star striker David McGoldrick’s loan spell from Nottingham Forest ended on New Year’s Day.

The 25-year-old scored 17 goals in 25 games for City in the first half of this season so he will be sorely missed, but Robins has taken striker Leon Clarke on loan from Charlton with a view to a permanent deal.

At the other end of the field, goalkeeper Joe Murphy is expected to line up behind a back four of Cyrus Christie, Richard Wood, William Edjenguele and 21-year-old left-back Blair Adams, who is on loan from Sunderland.

The Greek centre-back Edjenguele – aka ‘The Edge’ – is fast becoming a fans’ favourite after his arrival from Panetolikos in the summer.

A no-nonsense centre-back, he is dominant in the air and enjoys the occasional surging run forward.

The verdict: Spurs have hosted Peterborough, Charlton and Cheltenham in the third round over the last three years and the aggregate score is 10-0. We’ll go for another comfortable victory this time too – 3-0.

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs


Latest Sport Stories

Yesterday, 13:10
Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game against Manchester United

What we predicted

Christian Eriksen (centre) scored both of Tottenham's goals against Swansea on Sunday

Christian Eriksen admits he feels like “the old one” in Tottenham’s midfield alongside Eric Dier and Dele Alli, and that it gave him an added sense of responsibility as he scored both of the visitors’ goals in Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Swansea.

Yesterday, 07:00
Arsenal's Hector Bellerin and Manchester United's Ashley Young battle for the ball (Adam Davy/PA Wire)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was full of praise for Hector Bellerin after the full-back’s excellent performance in the win over Manchester United.

Yesterday, 06:45
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger gestures on the touchline (John Walton/PA Wire)

Arsene Wenger was pleased to see his Arsenal side put their midweek disappointment behind them with a 3-0 thrashing of Manchester United.

Most read sport

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


You won't need to fork out for groceries for a while!

Asda, one of the country’s leading supermarkets, prides itself in being one of the cheapest places to shop, so you can be sure that your money will go a long way here!

Shop till you drop!

Here’s your chance to treat yourself to a new wardrobe and a whole lot more with this MyOffers competition to win an incredible £2,500 to spend at Primark on whatever you like!

Digital Edition

Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder