Friday, 1 December 2017

Coventry City Advent Calendar - My 25 Favourite Players - Day 1 - Gary McSheffrey

Christmas, a time of gift giving, spending time with the family, and altogether all round happiness. In recent times however people seem to have forgotten what Christmas is all about, which is of course the birth of Gary McAllister. Other than making me snigger a lot more than I should have, this poor joke got me thinking, could I do an advent calendar going through my favourite twenty five players to ever to put on that not so famous these days Sky Blue shirt. As a quick disclaimer, I'm fairly young, so don't be expecting the likes of the FA Cup winning squad or indeed those of the Premier League days in the 90s. Another thing, it's not in any particular order, because that would be like choosing between your children. Finally, it's personal opinion, all players within this list I'm going to at least have a small affinity to.

To kick the month off I'm starting with a big gun, and one of the first players to ever get me properly into football, although I wasn't around to see it, in 1999 he set the record to become the youngest ever Premier League player at the tender age of 16 years and 198 days. He became the first really good player of the modern era to come out of our academy. I caught his later days of the first spell, in that first season at the Ricoh Arena as I first learnt the wonders of Coventry City. In fact one of my first memories was being in tears when we announced that we'd sold him to Birmingham, it was horrible, it felt like my heart had been ripped out and given to our geographic neighbours who you don't want to associate with but have to when people ask where Coventry is on holiday.

Upon his return in 2010 I do recall bouncing off the walls in various directions and doing everything I could to try and get his name on my shirt, and then being heartbroken once more when Cov told me that it was too long a name to put on. As a nine year old I was deeply hurt. Do you know who I ended up settling for? Michael McIndoe. Yep, the one who did that thing. He denies all allegations put against him and to avoid trouble I won't get onto the subject but Google is there for a reason, or of course you could ask Craig Bellamy. It's fair to say he's not on the list, I'll have to dig that shirt out at some stage.

Some may call Sheffers' return disappointing but I feel that would be harsh, he came up trumps with good goals here and there, never giving any less than 110% in his time, he loved the club as much as it was possible to. He notched up over 100 appearances and got about 20 goals in his three year spell between 2010 and 2013. I think Steven Pressley made a mistake throwing him to the dogs along with the likes of Kevin Malaga and David Bell, he deserved much more than that given what he offered to the club.

We've faced him many times since he left, for Scunthorpe, Chesterfield and Doncaster, he scored a free kick against us for Scunny (and didn't celebrate) but in some ways, he ended his career where it all started. Whilst at Doncaster we faced them at the Keepmoat towards the end of the 15/16 season, Romain Vincelot injured him for about nine months, leading to his release when Rovers got promoted back to League One at the end of last season. He's signed a short term contract with Eastleigh but it's fairly obvious his career is coming to a close, I hope one day we get him in as a coach.

"He comes from Coventry, he's better than Henry, McSheffrey woaahhoohhh"

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