Thursday, 8 March 2012

From Pele to Highfield Road

Nowadays we rarely sign a player for a transfer fee, we’re lucky if we sign one on loan. In the summer of 1978 the wallet was visible for all to see as City conducted negotiations with New York Cosmos, the iconic North American Soccer League side. Pele and Franz Beckenbauer were team-mates of the man whose left-foot was one of the best seen at Highfield Road. Not only did he make two debuts for City, he scored on both occasions, took one of the most blatant red cards ever seen at the stadium and was sent off upon his return with the Albion. Born in Birmingham, his six seasons with City were eventful to say the least and that man was Steve Hunt.

In the summer of 1978 Gordon Milne signed Hunt for £40,000 from the Cosmos. He was that good the USA side took him back on loan in the close season of 1982. It took him 55 minutes to score on his first debut at Derby and just 50 in the 4-2 win against Everton in 1982. A fiery competitor, it was Hunt who hauled the inconsolable Garry Thompson to his feet in the League Cup semi-final with West Ham having put through his own goal. Clenching his fist to the West Terrace to galvanise support, City came from two down to win 3-2 that night (see clip below). You couldn’t put a price on a player of Hunt’s calibre and spirit in current times. The last time we overcame a two goal deficit was 1995.
There was a competitive edge to Hunt’s game as Southampton’s vocal midfielder Steve Williams found to his cost. Williams incurred Hunt’s wrath as they clashed in front of the Main Stand in 1983 and left the field on a stretcher after the City man floored him with a head-butt. Hardly renowned for his heading ability there was no waiting from Hunt, who walked off to a hefty fine and two-match ban. His temper re-surfaced upon his return in 1985 as he saw red following a clash with FA Cup winner Dave Bennett.
Hunt left Coventry after 216 games and 34 goals, many of them spectacular long-range strikes. As you can see from the clip below (Hunt is Goal C - 1:05 mins onwards) he had invention and drive along with the ability to finish. After leaving City he gained two England caps, a reward for his creative talents on the left side. When the chips were down Steve Hunt got stuck in, rallied the troops and made things happen.

No comments:

Post a Comment