Coventry City: Alive and Kicking (Part 4)
Vital Coventry's look back at the 1992/93 season, 25 years on from the start of the Premier League. Thanks to Jim Brown's book 'Coventry City - The Elite Era' for reference.
Bobby Gould's first spell as manager of the club had been marked by his willingness to take a chance on players from the lower leagues.
Micky Gynn, Trevor Peake and Steve Ogrizovic would go on to become mainstays of the side that won the 1987 FA Cup but Gould's reputation as a talent-spotter supreme was cemented by the £25,000 purchase of Wealdstone left-back Stuart Pearce during the early part of the 1983/84 season. First impressions last and few among a crowd of 11,796 would forget the crunching tackle on his Queens Park Rangers opposite number with which the former electrician marked his professional debut.
Second time around and with the promise of substantial transfer funds from chairman Peter Robins yet to materialise, Gould again looked to find an undiscovered gem, paying Bradford City £500,000 for Phil Babb while John Williams arrived from Swansea City for £250,000.
Babb was signed primarily as a left-back, where he was expected to challenge the veteran Kenny Sansom, but could also play in the heart of the defence and even in attack if required.
His arrival attracted few headlines but Williams, despite only twelve months as a professional had made a national impact by winning an on-pitch sprint challenge at the previous season's League Cup final. That, together with his former employment at Royal Mail had earned him the tag of the 'Flying Postman' but Gould`s knowledge of the player went back to Williams` time playing for West Midlands side Cradley Heath.
'I don`t want to be known as a sprinter,' said the 24-year-old after completing his rise from non-league to the Premier League. 'I am a professional footballer and it's up to me to prove that I can play football.'
A number of goalkeepers, meanwhile, had tried to take the number one jersey away from Ogrizovic over the years, with the likes of Jake Findlay, Keith Waugh and Paul Heald all forced to move elsewhere in search of first-team football as Oggy proved to be one of the most consistent custodians in the top flight.
The latest to attempt to dislodge him from between the posts would be Gould`s son, Jonathan, signed from West Bromwich Albion.
Two strikers from the fringes of the squad left the club. Paul Furlong had made a decent impression in his first season as a professional after signing from Enfield and would look to get regular first team football at Watford.
Kevin Drinkell, meanwhile, had been the club's record signing prior to Kevin Gallacher joining the club with City paying £800,000 to Glasgow Rangers in 1989.
As popular as the likes of Cyrille Regis, David Speedie and Keith Houchen had been, Drinkell was supposed to be the regular goalscorer who would make the Sky Blues title challengers under John Sillett. Three goals in his first three games looked to have proved that notion correct but Drinkell rapidly faded from view and had barely featured in the previous campaign.
As well as Bobby Gould, another familiar face returned off the field as Brian Roberts was named as reserve team coach.
'Harry' had been a popular player at the club in the late 70`s and early 80`s before joining Birmingham City and then Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Joining him in coaching the reserves was another member of the Gould family, Bobby`s brother Trevor who left his post as manager of Aylesbury United to come back to his former club.
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