In his two-year stay at the club he helped the development of a golden generation of City players and left the club a fine legacy. He was a good lower division player whose only honour was a Third Division championship medal with Brighton in His best period as a player was probably at Upton Park where he was a member of a group who immersed themselves in football coaching and tactics. All were destined to become top managers. Successful coaching at Fulham and Arsenal where he was promoted to assistant manager under Bertie Mee enhanced his reputation in the capital and when Chelsea sacked Docherty in October he was handed the Stamford Bridge job.
For a time Chelsea were the most attractive side in the country.
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In Chelsea finished third in the league and won an epic, engrossing and ill-tempered FA Cup final against Leeds United, after a replay which was watched by 28 million people on television. In February of that year they gave a dazzling display at Highfield Road, beating one of the best City teams of all-time, After losing the League Cup final to Stoke City,Chelsea went into decline, hampered by the cost of their ill-conceived ground developments and wranglings between Sexton and some players. He was sacked by Chelsea in but within weeks he was appointed manager at Queens Park Rangers.
Espousing his football philosophy he developed a side that was unlucky not to win the League Championship in — they were pipped by a point by Liverpool on the final day. He got the best out of talented players such as Gerry Francis, Don Masson and Stan Bowles with an exciting attacking brand of football. Dave was a keen fan of Dutch total-football and would often fly to Holland at his own expense to watch games and learn. In he resigned from QPR and was on the verge of rejoining Arsenal as coach when Manchester United persuaded him to replace Docherty again. In he was sacked by United, despite the Reds winning their last seven games of the season.
Jimmy Hill persuaded him to come to Coventryto take over from Gordon Milne who moved upstairs. His first game in charge for the Sky Blues was against United and he tactically out-thought his successor, Ron Atkinson, to give City a win.
His first season in charge went well until Christmas then City picked up just three points in twelve games including a home defeat to NottsCounty. However, just as things were at their blackest, and fans wondered where the next league win was going to come from, City mounted a tremendous revival.
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He made me a much better player by concentrating on the smallest parts of my game as well as encouraging me to watch the best players in my position — he had us watching videos of the best players in the world in the early 80s. After I left City it was like going back into the dark ages. In his second season with gates falling under 10, he had to survive with a squad of players. They survived by the skin of their teeth but Sexton was sacrificed for the return of Bobby Gould much to the disgust of his young players.
History & Honours
Whilst at Coventry he also managed the England Under side to victory in the European Championship and continued in that role for several years, winning the trophy again in , as well as being assistant manager of the England team under Bobby Robson. Away from football he was a fascinating character, relishing other aspects of life, taking an Open University degree in philosophy during his fifties, appreciating modern poetry and art, and being receptive to new ideas.
His love of sport even extended to American Football and I am told had a fascination for the tactics and plays. He continued to live inKenilworth where, in , a building was named in his honour. Sadly in latter years dementia took its toll. Dave Sexton was an unassuming and highly intelligent man, always placing the greatest emphasis on technique and progressive football rather than the long ball and a big boot.
He never sacrificed those principles. Iain Jamieson, who recently died in Scotland aged, 84, juggled careers in football and business, achieving great success in both fields. He is unique in having been a Coventry City player as well as a director and, for one momentous year, chairman of the club.
Simultaneously he rose through the ranks of textile company Courtaulds to become one of its managing directors. The Dumbarton-born son of a Glasgow shipyard electrician, his talents on the pitch were first evident at Dumbarton Academy where he also excelled in the classroom. In Iain won a place at Aberdeen University to read modern languages and had ambitions of becoming a school-teacher. He was approached by Aberdeen FC and agreed to play as a part-time professional to help fund his studies.
It was during his time in the services that he flourished as a footballer, playing in Army teams with stars of the age such as Ivor Allchurch, Bobby Johnstone and Harold Hassall. During that period he witnessed a horrifying incident when two of his fellow players were killed in a lightning strike. The tragedy, in April , happened during a re-play of the Army Cup Final at the military barracks at Aldershot. As it transpired Iain made the right choice. He quickly settled down in Coventryand soon became established as a firm crowd favourite.
His debut was against Leeds United at Highfield Roadon15 January and Iain, playing at inside-right, scored in a victory. Over the next five seasons Iain, whilst a regular for the reserves, was unable to become a first-team regular and played only 37 first team games.
On a number of occasions he captained the side. He was a clever man and the banter in the dressing room between him and his good friend Eddy Brown was amusing to us working-class boys. Iain was a great help to me and the younger boys at the club and nothing was ever too much trouble to him. Iain was determined however to secure a future beyond football, and he decided to further his academic studies and attended Coventry College whilst pursuing his career on the pitch. In his professional football career ended when he left City after appearances and 6 goals, although he went on to spend a spell as player-manager, on a part-time basis, for Southern League side Rugby Town.
In his business career he was quickly on the promotion ladder rising swiftly through the ranks to become the general manager of Courtaulds commercial division,. It was a difficult time for the club with severe financial problems following the introduction of the all-seater stadium in and losses from the investments in the NASL at Detroit and Washington and virtually the whole first team squad out of contract.
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I was manager at Bristol Rovers at the time and we had a clandestine meeting in a field near Banbury at which we agreed terms. We only worked together for a year until John Poynton bought the club, but he was incredibly supportive to me. I had watched him play from theHighfield Road terraces and admired his elegance as a footballer. He understood football, something rare in football boardrooms and he was very kind to me in a stressful year at Coventry.
There was never any histrionics from Iain and he was a true gentleman who was a great representative of Coventry City Football Club.
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In his year as chairman he is credited with re-establishing strong links with the fans and the people of Coventryafter a period during which many believed that those links had been severely stretched. He left the City board in and continued his career in the textile industry until retiring in He ended his working life as managing director of Sperrin Group, sports clothing. A Rotarian and keen follower of current affairs, his lifetime love of sport was undimmed and also extended to golf which, at one time, he played off a handicap of six.
Married three times, to Ann Storer, Ann Hansen and Jane Shaw, he spent his last few years in Dumfries and Galloway, latterly in Kirkcudbright, where he is remembered as a good humoured and engaging conversationalist. It is sad to report the death of former Coventry City player Stan Smith who passed away last Saturday at the age of Born in Coventryon 24 February Stan attended South Street School and Cheylesmore School and was a talented rugby player as well as excelling at the round ball game.
In , aged 17, whilst playing for Nuffield Mechanisation, he was spotted by a Coventry City scout and invited to play a couple of wartime games for the club. He was on board the American-built aircraft carrier HMS Nabob on escort duties in the North Atlantic escorting troop and cargo convoys. In spite of a further attack by the same U-boat she managed to steam into Scapa Flow under her own power, however the ship was judged not worth repairing and was decommissioned.
In particular she provided air support in the Andaman Sea hunting the cruiser Haguro, one of the last surviving major Japanese warships, which was eventually sunk off Sumatra trying to return to Singapore. HMS Hunter entered Singapore harbour on September 10th and Stan fondly told the story that he was the telegraphist who took the message that the Japanese had surrendered and was given the honour of personally informing the captain.
On demob from the Navy Stan signed professional forms with City but could not break into the first team owing to the form of right-half Jack Snape. His cousin Rob tells me that Stan told the story of his meeting with Shackleton, one of the most talented players of the period. Stan only made four appearances the following season but was a regular in a strong reserve team until when he joined Swansea Town.
In early however he was back in the Coventry area and signing for Nuneaton Borough. Over the next four years he made around appearances for Borough and he was captain of the side that pulled off a major FA Cup shock in , defeating Third Division Watford It is believed he may have played for Bedworth Town after this time. He also qualified as a physiotherapist and ran a practice from his home for many years as well as continuing his involvement with local football.
He leaves a widow Stella.
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Ernie made appearances for the Sky Blues, scoring 39 goals and will be remembered for taking over the club captaincy from another legend George Curtis in when George suffered a broken leg. Hill recognised something special about Ernie.
He played alongside new signing, fellow Lancastrian George Hudson in a win over Millwall. Despite playing just six games the previous campaign Ernie was the first choice in the number 10 shirt from the start of the season and was outstanding as the team raced to the top of the Third Division and threatened to clinch promotion in a record time. He ended up having several operations and it was eighteen months before he was fully recovered.
He missed only three games in those first two years of struggle and older fans will remember his stunning goal in the victory over European champions elect Manchester United in March His never-say-die attitude won him the respect of all his playing colleagues and the fans. In he became the first English football player to successfully challenge a fine and suspension by the Football Association in the courts.