They Won’t Forget Ernie!

Memories Of His Magical Moment Exactly Half A Century Ago

Ernie Hunt in the mid-1960s.

Ernie Hunt’s name has again been in the news two and a half years after his death – especially around Coventry.

It was 50 years to the day on Saturday since the chunky forward joined forces with Willie Carr to conjure up his famous free-kick goal for the Sky Blues against reigning League champions Everton.

His stunning volley, after a ‘donkey flick’ by the red-haired midfielder, was voted BBC’s goal of the month and goal of the season but FIFA subsequently banned the manoeuvre,

But that was too late to prevent Hunt’s second goal of the game going down as one of the 20th century’s most talked-about finishes.

Everton boss Harry Catterick was quoted afterwards as saying he had seen the set-piece attempted only once before – ‘in a circus’ – and Coventry historian Jim Brown has let us in on the background and sequel to the sensational set-piece.

“The kick had been the idea of City coach Bill Asprey and was developed and practised on the Ryton training ground that summer,” he wrote. “The trick had been tried in a pre-season friendly at Blackpool – an attempt Ernie Hunt later described as ‘pathetic’, saying: ‘I almost hit the clock on the stand’.

“A few weeks later, I was present at a Youth Cup tie against Shrewsbury and Alan Green and Johnny Stevenson repeated the trick and scored in a 6-0 victory.

“And later that season, Willie and Ernie had other attempts, at Stoke and in a home game with Tottenham. In the latter, Pat Jennings was left flat-footed by Ernie’s volley but the ball hit the angle of bar and post and bounced to safety.

“Poor Ernie sadly passed away in (June) 2018 but I hope Willie can raise a glass to the most memorable Coventry City goal of all time.”

Both players also served Wolves with distinction, of course, Hunt top-scoring in the 1966-67 Second Division promotion season and Carr remaining much longer at Molineux in amassing approaching 300 senior appearances.

A kneeling Ernie Hunt watches Derek Dougan’s header go in during Wolves’ 2-1 win at Fulham on their first day back in the First Division in 1967.

While we are talking about Ernie, how about this for a unique claim to fame – one given a topical edge given who Wolves’ weekend Premier League victims were?

In 1967-68, he played at Fulham for three different visiting clubs, starting with newly-promoted Wolves in a 2-1 win on the opening day. Three Saturdays later, he was back at Craven Cottage for a defeat by the same score as an Everton player and, in the April, turned out in a 1-1 draw for the Sky Blues there after quickly moving on from Goodison.

All of which gave him a nice symmetrical record on the ground of one win, one draw and one defeat.

Thankfully, footage of the donkey-kick goal survives on YouTube, one version having attracted over one million views.

 

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