WELCOME to a new feature called City Favourites as former players recall their favourite things from their time at Valley Parade. We kick off with JOHN HENDRIE.


“I bet not one City fan will come up with the answer.

“We played Carlisle at Odsal on a freezing cold Friday night just before Christmas, it was wet and windy, absolutely Baltic.

“Added to the fact that the pitch wasn’t conducive to playing good football, it sounds a funny choice for my favourite ever goal for City.

“But it was the best strike that I’ve ever done with my left peg.

“Because it was Odsal stadium, it must have bobbled up just right. More often than not, it would have ended in row Z but I hit the ball as well as I’ve ever done.

“I was 30 yards out and it helped that it was wind-assisted but the shot just flew into the top corner. It was a terrible game but that was the winner.

“I’m always telling kids when coaching them to just give it a go on their weaker side.

“I scored more goals with my left foot than I did with my right for the simple reason that I didn’t know where the ball was going to go so what chance for the goalkeeper?”


“This is tough and I can’t split between three of them.

“The obvious one was when we came back to Valley Parade and played an England XI in December 1986.

“It was so emotional for everyone involved coming back to the ground for the first time since the fire.

“We had a new kop and stand and credit to Bobby Robson and his England team for coming to open it. It was a real tribute to everyone who had suffered.

“Another memorable game for me was a month or before the fire, when we beat Brentford 5-4 having been 3-0 down.

“We were within touching distance of winning the third division title in my first season.

“We were top of the league so there is more pressure on you and found ourselves three down at home in about the first half hour.

“Everyone is looking round thinking, ‘what is happening here?’

“But then we get it back – I got a couple just before half-time and should have had a hat-trick. I went on a long run and the easiest thing to do was score but I put it wide.

“That saved us a bit of a rollicking at half-time, Taff (Terry Yorath) would have been absolutely slaughtering us otherwise, and straight after Mega (Mark Ellis) made it 3-3.

“Then they made it 4-3 so we had to come back again. The next goal was an OG and John Hawley got the winner with about 15 minutes to go.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Stuart McCall shakes hands with England captain Peter Shilton at Valley Parade Stuart McCall shakes hands with England captain Peter Shilton at Valley Parade

“My other favourite was when we beat Oldham 5-1 in the FA Cup third round in 1987.

“Oldham were always rivals at that time. Joe Royle was in charge and they had some big hitters like Andy Linighan and Denis Irwin – some good players.

“We drew 1-1 at Boundary Park and Litchy (Peter Litchfield) let one run through his legs. The whole home end were giving him the 'hee-haw' donkey noises and caning him.

“We took them back to Valley Parade on a night when most games got called off because of the snow. But Stafford Heginbotham had invested in pitch covers so we went ahead.

“It was treacherous, to say the least, and slippy but we went in at half-time 5-0 up. I got a couple and so did Big Stix (Ian Ormondroyd).

“Litchy gets his little glove bag from the back of the net in front of the Oldham fans and shouts, ‘hee-haw’ at the lot of them!

“He couldn’t get off quick enough because he was getting pelted with snowballs!

“After the game, Stix was doing his first-ever TV interview right down by the tunnel. It was absolutely hilarious because all the away fans were chanting ‘haemorrhoid, haemorrhoid, haemorrhoid’!

“You could hear it in the background the next night on Look North and Stix was also getting hit with snowballs – but then he wasn’t hard to miss.”


“I played under two City managers and I can’t split them.

“Trevor Cherry picked me up on a free transfer and he was brilliant to me. It was always a case of, ‘give it to John’, and let me express myself.

“He was so supportive. I’d been treated like a dog by Bobby Gould at Coventry so it was great to play somewhere you felt wanted.

“Doly (Terry Dolan) then came in and changed the system to a back three and I was given a free role, rather than being pigeon-holed as an out-and-out winger.

“Mega would be out on the left and I’d just be roaming around. When you’re a winger, you’re relying on other people to get you the ball but I had the freedom to get more involved.

“I loved being up against big centre halves through the middle. I had a low centre of gravity and could play to my strengths running at them – it brought a different dimension to my game.”


“We had such a tight-knit squad at that time. We were a good group and we were all on peanuts.

“I’d like to think they were all good friends but initially I’d say the ones you were closest with were those you lived with, Greg (Abbott) and Martin (Singleton).

“We were in the same house when we first moved up from Coventry and did everything together.

“The one I see most regularly now is probably Mega because I work with his Riasa programme and do a bit of coaching.

“But after what we’d all been through with the fire and everything, I think that bonded us all closely.”

John Hendrie will be the special guest in the Whitney’s Legends Suite at Valley Parade for the Forest Green game tomorrow.