They Played For Both: Yeah, Cheers Coventry.

Looking back over the list of players to feature for both the Imps and Coventry is a hard task to undertake. If you try to ignore the obvious Trevor Peake reference (and having done him for Luton, I had to), we’re not left with a rich collection of talent and skill. I’m also skipping the obvious inclusion of Darren Huckerby too as I suspect everyone else will remind you he played for both.

We’ve had a couple of ex-Coventry youngsters through the club who never made anything more of their career. There was Rory May, signed after the first play-off final to boost our attack in place of Dene Cropper. He ended up with less games than Cropper, especially as we signed Gary Fletcher early in the season. There was another young lad too, Robert Betts, who signed on loan for a short period. He had 75 minutes across four matches in Imps colours before heading back to Highfield Road. From there he played for Hereford, Forest Green and Quorn.

Without further ado, here are three players that found their way to Lincoln after Coventry, starting with the worst and getting (mildly) better from there.

Dave Phillips

Phillips was a veteran Welsh international who had a strong career in the top flight, but caught himself a late pay-day at Sincil Bank at the end of the 1990’s. He played just a handful of times in a season blighted by injury and never showed anything of the ability he’d clearly had at one time in his career. After City continued the downward trajectory.

His career had been one built on success and achievement. He’d been a member of the Plymouth side that reached the 1984 FA Cup semi-final before going one better in 1987 with the Sky Blues. He then moved to Norwich for £550,000 which was a club record for the Canaries. He had a UEFA Cup run with them before moving on to Forest where he helped them win promotion to the Premier League and won Player of the Year. Phew, what a player! He made 62 appearances for Wales too, debuting in 1984 against England.

In 2000 Deranged Ferret probably summed up Dave Phillips Imps career much more succinctly than I can  be bothered to attempt; “At least we have a yardstick to measure how poor (I’ve changed that from an expletive) player he is. He supported Bridgend Rugby Football Club as a boy and this may explain why does nothing but kick the ball into touch or over the crossbar. It doesn’t explain his inability to tackle though”

Nicky Platnauer

Another ageing veteran who rocked up at Sincil Bank in the twilight of his career, but unlike Phillips I suppose Platnauer wasn’t actually that bad. He was signed by Keith Alexander in 1993/94 and settled in at left back after overcoming an injury early in his City career. He was injured again in a 1-1 draw at Sincil Bank with Carlisle under Sam Ellis, and never fought his way back into the side. Made one more appearance on the opening day of the 1995/96 season against Preston before the John Beck revolution started.

He had featured for Coventry in the 1983/84 season after joining from Bristol Rovers for £50k. After ten games of the following campaign he joined Birmingham City, helping them get to the First Division the season afterwards. Whilst a Sky Blue, he won their Player of the Year award, something he didn’t get near at City!

A bulk of his career was spent at Cardiff as they struggled in the basement division as well as spells at Notts County, Mansfield and Scunthorpe United. In his early days it appears he had a fantastic head of hair, an eighties haircut not out of place in the bands of the era. He did still sport it whilst at City, although it didn’t quite suit a middle-aged man in the mid 90’s as much as a young man in the 1980’s.

Gary Bannister

Another veteran, this time a forward, who came to the club towards the end of a successful career in top flight football. Despite not troubling the international scene Bannister was a feared striker in Division One during the 1980’s with prolific spells at Sheff Weds, QPR and a short stay at Coventry (43 games, 11 goals). He continued to score well in the lower divisions and even when he reached us he was still sharp in front of goal. He scored over 100 goals in a seven-year spell in the 1980’s at Loftus Road and Hillsborough.

On his arrival at Lincoln, manager Sam Ellis commented that; “Gary has scored goals consistently throughout his career and is an important addition to the squad”. He ignored the spell out in Hong Kong which pointed to him maybe being past his best.

He had a satisfactory return of a goal every three games or so and was adequate if not spectacular for a player nearing the end of his career. He netted on the day the Linpave Stand (now the Coop Stand) opened as we beat Hartlepool 3-0. He managed another season after Sincil Bank, playing at Darlington where he was unsurprisingly amongst the goals. Spent time in property development in Cornwall after he finished playing.

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