Matchday Memories: On This Day 2003 – McAllister’s Men Kick Off German Tour With Win

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On this day (July 11th) in 2003 Scottish international Gary McAllister was the Sky Blues player-manager (with his assistant, now CCFPA member, Eric Black). Gary, who was impressive with the Sky Blues under CCFPA member Gordon Strachan (another CCFPA member now) from 1996-2000 had returned to Highfield Road from a spell at Liverpool in May 2002 to replace another former international Sky Blue player (and fairly recent Association recruit) Roland Nilsson.

Gary Mac took his Sky Blues squad for a four match pre-season warm-up in Germany and, in their first match against fairly modest Landesliga opponents on a ropey pitch, the beat Suhler SV 06 comfortably enough by two clear goals, one in each half.  Suhler, apparently, is the ‘gun making capital of Germany‘ in the Thuringian part of the old Eastern Germany.

The ‘gaffer’ handed out seven debuts (including a couple of trialists) and tried out a new forward line centred on new signing from Crystal Palace, popular CCFPA member, ‘Dele Adebola. Also Calum Davenport (also now a CCFPA member) was handed the armband to ‘skipper’ the side for this day.

Simon Donnelly (Scotland)

Scottish triallist Simon Donnelly opened the Sky Blue scoring with a first-half tap-in and (now CCFPA member) Craig Pead doubled City’s score nine minutes from time. There was a modest crowd of around 750 including a dozen members of the Sky Blue Army. Craig has now become a regular at both the Association’s Legends Days and Golf Days and at Sky Blue games at the CBS Arena (and Wembley)!

The game might have finished closer as City’s goalie, Scott Shearer (another CCFPA member now), then a new signing from Albion Rovers, conceded a 56th minute penalty which was squandered by the German side’s Mike Heiner, blasting over the crossbar.

Craig in the Sky Blue

Returning from injury, CCFC heroic central defender (and CCFPA member) Mo Konjic was given a late run out, but up front, in partnership with newbie Graham Barrett as 78th minute subs and it was the Bosnian who set up Craig’s goal!

The Coventry Telegraph‘s report of the game can be found by clicking here.

Macca’s men that day lined up (4-4-2) as follows (CCFPA members underlined):- Scott Shearer, Andrew Whing, Sean Cooney, Calum Davenport, Stephen Warnock (sub. Stuart Giddings -28), David Pipe, Craig Pead, Michael Doyle, Phil O’Donnell (sub. Isaac Osbourne -49), Dele Adebola (Graham Barrett -68) and Simon Donnelly (sub. Mo Konjic -68).

Steven came as a loan signing from Liverpool, Simon was a Sheffield Wednesday trialist as was Phil. Tragically, Phil (who had also played for Celtic and Sheffield Wednesday) died aged only 35 in December 2007 collapsing after a game between his side Motherwell and Dundee. Graham was a new signing from Arsenal.

City won only one of the remaining trio of matches on their German tour, albeit by 10-1 against SC Weismann. They also lost 5-1 at SpVgg Greuther Furth and 1-0 at FC Regensburg. the goings on in at least some of these games will be covered in later posts.

CCFC 2003-04

In all Gary selected himself for sixty games and scored a dozen goals before retiring as a player. After an somewhat indifferent spell as manager Gary resigned from his managerial position on 12 January 2004 so he could spend more time with his seriously ill wife and Eric Black took over. All in all Eric completed a decent Sky Blues season in Division One the team finishing in a creditable mid table twelfth spot with a CCFPA membership trio finishing as top scorers that season. Gary McSheffrey grabbed twelve goals, Julian Joachim eleven and Andy Morrell nine goals.

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


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