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It’s August 1977 and I’m a young lad, hating school and looking for a purpose.

The two main outlets are music and football, particularly Coventry City. One provided as a major boost as punk rock enters my life providing an energy and resentment of authority I can identify with.

Coventry City: Class of ’77 – Sky Blue heavenIn footie, the Sky Blues have just survived a dramatic last game relegation escape the previous season, despite the fact, we really believe we have a decent side. But in the heat of that heady adolescent summer, I’m not sure if this isn’t just boyish optimism.

Then the first game and like the clattering power chords of a classic punk anthem, the Sky Blues demolish Derby at home with a resounding performance. And it’s no one hit wonder. By the end of November, we are fourth in the top flight, playing some of the most accomplished attacking football the club has seen.

The now legendary Ferguson/Wallace partnership are scoring for fun, aided by a system including two wide men. This sees Tommy Hutchison having a field day. Many older fans would argue he was the most skilful player they’ve ever seen at the club and with plenty of service and strikers to provide ammunition for, Hutch was in his pomp. Then there was skipper, Terry Yorath, also Welsh captain. A leader, tenacious tackler and excellent passer, he was what the club had been missing for years.

Even a League Cup last sixteen trip to Anfield, held no fears. A two all draw against the mighty Liverpool saw us young lads at home dancing round a small transistor radio in delight. The replay was lost in an electric atmosphere but Coventry knew now, they could compete with the best. Liverpool were defeated in the League at Highfield Road during a period when a series of high scoring home victories ensued. Man United, Chelsea, Birmingham and Wolves were all on the end of heavy beatings. There some setbacks but the club remained in the hunt for a European place.

One of the season highlights was at Christmas time with a never to be forgotten 5-4 win over Norwich. Wallace scored with a wonderful overhead kick before Scottish keeper Jim Blyth secured the points with a brilliant last minute penalty save. Blyth was a wonderful shot stopper who rarely lost out on a one on one with a striker clear through on goal. He would later be robbed of a dream move to Old Trafford after an injury scare. But for too much time spent in the treatment room, Blyth would surely have won multiple Scotland caps.

Just one draw in the last three games, saw City finish seventh. They needed Arsenal to beat Ipswich in the FA Cup Final for the club to reach Europe but in a big upset, the men from Suffolk triumphed and broke Sky Blue hearts in the process. Never the less, the statistics were impressive. Fergie and Wallace had bagged forty goals between them, terrorising defences. There were other understated stars like hard working midfielder Barry Powell and Bobby McDonald, a marauding full back in the style of a prototype, Leighton Baines.

As a youngster, it was a time of self discovery. Through the music of punk and the new wave of Sky Blue I’d found an identity and pride that would carry me forward. It was my first season as a season ticket holder at Highfield Road. A time of heady excitement in the raw cauldron of the seventies terraces. That the season is still talked about with awe today says a lot about the class of seventy seven, a Coventry side who graduated in style.

Post written by Rob Summerfield
Blog: rob-summerfield.jimdo.com, Twitter: @RobSummerfield1

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