|Gordon Milne holds the record for being Coventry
City’s longest serving manager since the war but is largely
remembered for managing City teams that failed to fulfill their
apparent under-achievement caused regular disquiet on the terraces
but he could perhaps complain that he never had much money to spend.
Unlike almost every other City manager, however, Milne couldn’t
say that he wasn’t given time.
Born in Preston in March 1937 he was the son of the famous
Preston North End player and manager Jimmy Milne, and played for
North End before transferring to Liverpool in September 1960 - Bill
Shankly paying £16,000 for his transfer.
Milne was a regular in the Anfield side for seven seasons,
playing over 250 games and winning two League Championship medals
(1964 and 1966) but missing the 1965 FA Cup final and European Cup
semi finals through injury. A polished wing-half, who would be
called a box-to-box player these days, he won the first of 14
England caps in 1963, against Brazil, and was a member of the
England squad for the 1966 World Cup.
In May 1967 he was released by Liverpool and spent two years at
Blackpool before becoming player-manager at non-league Wigan
Athletic. Milne guided them to the Northern Premier League title and
an FA Cup run that ended with a narrow defeat at Maine Road. He also
became part-time manager of the England Youth team in 1972, helping
them to win the European Youth Championships that year.
Milne was appointed team manager at Coventry under Joe Mercer and
remained in charge of playing matters until May 1981, when he
reluctantly moved upstairs to deal with contracts and transfers
whilst Dave Sexton took over the coaching side.
During his years at Highfield Road he showed great skill in the
transfer market in a generally difficult financial period. The
purchases of Stein,
were shrewd. Simultaneously the young players rolled off the youth
production line so that whenever he was forced to sell one of his
best players he had a young replacement ready to step in.
were all sold to keep the books straight but, with the exception of
1976-77, Milne’s teams were rarely in relegation trouble. That
year he was expected to be made the scapegoat for the poor season
but he survived and the next season took the club to the verge of
European qualification with a magical brand of attacking football.
After the sale of Wallace in 1980 he gave youth its head and his
risk was almost rewarded with a League Cup final place but the young
side’s inexperience was exposed in the second half of the season
and the verdict was that the kids needed Dave Sexton to develop
them. Gordon was given the title General Manager and was responsible
for players contracts and transfers.
In 1982 Coventry released him to become manager of Leicester
City, who won promotion to Division One the following year. In 1986
he similarly stepped aside at Filbert Street but left a year later
after relegation. There followed a successful seven-year period as
coach of Turkish club Besiktas where he won three successive league
titles in the early 1990s. After a spell as chief executive of the
League Managers Association he is now employed by Newcastle United
as Director of Football.
|Tottenham (a) : won 1-2
|Nottingham Forest (a) : drew 1-1
SKY BLUES HIGHPOINT
|The spectacular form of 1977-78 when the team
just failed to qualify for Europe
SKY BLUES LOWPOINT
|FA Cup defeat at Blackburn in 1980
|played 378 : won 123, drew 108, lost 147 : win