Days Gone By | Bluebirds vs. Sky Blues
Ahead of our trip to Coventry City on Thursday, we look at some interesting anecdotes from our recent history against the Sky Blues...
Sky Blues Sick of City Strikers
The Bluebirds’ final season at Ninian Park delivered a host of memorable moments, a valiant team effort towards promotion and some stunning individual displays across 46 games.
Notwithstanding the return of Michael Chopra and the emergence of Joe Ledley and Peter Whittingham as two of the finest midfielders in the division, Dave Jones’ first-choice strike pairing of Jay Bothroyd and Ross McCormack were as good as any offering in the second tier.
Bothroyd, who signed from Wolves that summer, would actually go ten League and Cup fixtures without scoring before opening his account at home against former club Coventry City in September 2008.
McCormack, a relatively unknown acquisition from Glasgow Rangers, already had six goals to his name after 11 appearances before he registered the second against Chris Coleman’s side in a 2-1 victory. A young Aron Gunnarsson was on the field for the visitors that night.
Later in the season, in January 2009, Bothroyd and McCormack were once again the scorers in a 2-0 victory in Coventry (Gunnarsson and Ben Turner, another future Bluebird, were on the Sky Blues team-sheet).
Come the end of the season, Bothroyd had amassed a total of 14 strikes in 44 League and Cup appearances, whilst McCormack registered a club-topping 24 goals in 46 fixtures.
The aforementioned return of Chopra and Jones’ faith in his homecoming kingpin meant that the Bothroyd-McCormack partnership was somewhat short-lived, to McCormack’s longer-term cost in South Wales. But their understanding of each other’s game and collective goal return during the 2008/09 season should not be discounted, nor will it be quickly forgotten by the Coventry City supporters who followed their side that year.
Whitts Torments Boyhood Club
Few statistics or nuggets of information surprise us when it comes to looking back at the service of Peter Whittingham to Cardiff City between 2007 and 2017. But it’s interesting to look back at the nuisance he was to his local club, Coventry City, for a number of those years!
Peter began his football journey with the Sky Blues in their youth ranks prior to signing professional terms with Aston Villa in 2003. He was born in Nuneaton, 20 minutes north of the city, and some wondered if he’d one day turn out in those local colours towards the end of his career.
Of course, Whitts ended his professional football at Blackburn Rovers following his decade with the Bluebirds and it certainly meant that some awkward conversations with the Sky Blues’ historians were avoided!
Incredibly, Pete scored for Cardiff City against Coventry City for the first time in a 2-2 draw at home in February 2007 and then netted in five out of six consecutive fixtures between October 2009 and March 2012 (constituting three wins and two draws).
The game in which he didn’t score was on Boxing Day, 2010, the occasion on which Seyi Olofinjana famously placed a mound of snow on his head in celebration.
City had been relegated back to the Championship in 2014, following a year of Premier League football. Ole Gunnar Solskjær remained in charge of a somewhat swollen squad that was trying to merge longer-term veterans with Premier League acquisitions and a host of newcomers. It’s fair to say that there were opportunities for game time when it came to Cup competition.
As such, City found themselves drawn away to Coventry City in the first round of the League Cup, but they wouldn’t be playing at what was then known as the Ricoh Arena. Due to off-field issues, the tie would be played at Northampton Town’s Sixfields Stadium, 33 miles south-east of Coventry.
With current City stopper Ryan Allsop on the Sky Blues' bench, the game in itself was rather uneventful, save perhaps for the fact that it marked the scoring of the only goal of Guido Burgstaller’s short-lived Bluebirds career in a 2-1 City win.
Names such as Kévin Théophile-Catherine, Magnus Wolff Eikrem and Mats Møller Dæhli were also on the pitch that day, as were Academy graduates Declan John, Tommy O’Sullivan and Jazzi Barnum-Bobb.
City saw off Port Vale in the following round of the competition before falling 3-0 at home to AFC Bournemouth in round three. Scott Young and Danny Gabbidon were in the dug-out by then, taking interim charge following the departure of Solskjær and the imminent arrival of Russell Slade.