Matchday Memories: On This Day 1983 – See Sexton’s Sky Blues Stun Man City

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Dave Sexton, CCFC’s gaffer

On this day (12th February) in 1983 the Sky Blues were managed by Dave Sexton in the last year of his two season reign and were due to face the ‘other’ team in light blue from Manchester at Highfield Road. Manchester City were on the slide since City narrowly lost 3-2 at Maine Road the previous October (with goals from Jim Melrose and Garry Thompson). They were also managerless after John Bond’s resignation following a dreadful F.A.Cup defeat at Brighton, so Coventry expectations were high.

The away team had three ex Sky Blues in their ranks for the game, all now CCFPA members, as well as future Chief Exec. Ray Ranson. Unusually for City players taking on their former club Bobby McDonald, David Cross and Peter Bodak all had poor games.

Jim in the Sky Blue 1982

Mark in the Sky Blue

A modest crowd of 9,527 were rewarded with a comprehensive 4-0 win from the home side. Relatively recent CCFPA recruit Steve Hunt and Gerry Francis both hit form together and the Sky Blues’ midfield domination paved the way for an easy win.

The Sky Blues were 2-0 up at half time through goals from  Jim Melrose after half an hour and (now fellow CCFPA member) Mark Hateley seven minutes before the break. The Sky Blues second half goals came from CCFPA member Gary Gillespie (56 minutes) and, eighteen minutes from time, Steve Hunt wrapped up the game. Sky Blues fans went home very happy indeed as City went fifth in the Division One table! This was their best win of the season!

Gary G in the Sky Blue

Steve in the Sky Blue brown!

Sexton’s Sky Blues that day lined up:-

The late Les Sealey, Danny Thomas, Brian Roberts, Ian Butterworth, Paul Dyson, Gary Gillespie, Steve Whitton, Steve Jacobs, Mark Hateley (sub. Jim Melrose), Garry Thompson and Steve Hunt.

Those who went on to join CCFPA are underlined.

Brian (aka ‘Harry’) has been for several years CCFC’s club host at all the City’s games at the Ricoh/CBS Arena (as well as for two years at the club’s St.Andrews exile) and can be regularly seen interviewing CCFPA’s ‘special guests’ for the delight of patrons in the club’s supporters lounges.

Manchester City put out the following team:-

Alex Williams, Ray Ranson, Bobby McDonald (sub. Terry Park), Nicky Reid, Kevin Bond, Tony Paton, Andy May, Kevin Reeves, David Cross, Asa Hartford and Peter Bodak     Referee:- M.Dimblebee

Thanks to former CCFPA committee member Dean Nelson you can watch the match highlights by clicking on the image below:-

By the end of the season both teams were fighting desperately for Division One survival. The Sky Blues succeeded (just) in nineteenth place but the Manchester ‘Sky Blues’ suffered the drop (with Swansea and Brighton) a point and a place below us.

Liverpool took the title well clear (eleven points) of runners up Watford.

CCFC 1982-83

Thanks to CCFPA’s Mike Young for sourcing the images.


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