Jimmy Conway Trivia
Trivia provided by
Dennis O’Meara – Member, Jimmy Conway Testimonial Volunteer Committee
Here is a bunch of interesting trivia about Jimmy and his soccer career. For even more trivia you can check out the Facebook page where you can become a fan and receive regular updates, check it out here.
Despite being a regular in Fulham's lineup for more than a decade, the Cottagers parted with Jimmy in early August 1976, sending him to the Sky Blues of Manchester City. Fulham was on a drive to get to the First Division and needed a gate attraction. Of all the places to look, Fulham went to the old North American Soccer League and signed two former internationals just two days after Jimmy's departure.
Those players were George Best and Rodney Marsh, each signed for £100,000. Eventually, both played together for the Whites and, with Bobby Moore still in the side, produced exactly the types of attendance that FFC was seeking.
Historically, almost every international home fixture for Ireland has been in Dublin. (Several have been played in Cork and one in Limerick.) For many years, Dublin’s Dalymount Park – home ground for Jimmy and Bohemian FC (The Bohs) – served as site of Ireland’s international matches, the first of which was against the USA on June 16, 1924. (The Yanks lost, 3-1.) But Dalymount was never well designed for crowd control and games had to be shifted to Lansdowne Road. [Understand that the average Bohs’ crowd these days is about 2,300 and that the total “modern capacity” is 7,955…but that the record crowd there was 48,000 for an Ireland-England match in 1957.]
Lansdowne Road has now been replaced by Aviva Stadium (naming rights sold to Hibernian Aviva, Ireland’s largest insurance agency), completed this April on the Lansdowne Road site. It will play host to about 10 international soccer and rugby matches annually. The first soccer international will be August 11, 2011, when the Irish host Argentina.
Even though it’s not been the only site of Irish internationals, old Lansdowne Road is often considered the home of Irish football (soccer) because it’s been the most “favorable” home ground: 126 matches, 70 wins, 33 draws, 23 losses.
The first home game at Lansdowne Road was in April 1927, when Ireland lost 2-1 to the Italians. The second game there would not occur for another 44 years, on May 10, 1971, when the Italians again came calling for a European Champions Cup qualifying match. Again, Italy prevailed by a 2-1 score.
Ireland’s scorer in that match? None other than Jimmy Conway.
Under Jimmy’s tutelage, Oregon’s Olympic Development Program numbers (both boys and girls) making the Regional ODP Pool rose from:
2006 21 (Oregon record)
2007 33 (Oregon record)
2008 36 (Oregon record)
2009 53 (Oregon record)
This trivia involves both Jimmy and his brother, John. It's a bit long but an interesting report.
This trivia is courtesy of Morgan Phillips, author of From St. Andrews to Craven Cottage, a comprehensive history of Fulham FC. In his work, Phillips notes that the number of brothers playing for Fulham has steadily decreased over the years. Phillips contacted Fulham FC's official historian, Dennis Turner, who said the decline in Cottager siblings was probably due to more widespread recruiting by Fulham and other top flight clubs. Also, many brothers chose not to follow in their sibling's footsteps because they often are competing for only one available starting position if not exactly the same role on the field.
After Fulham became a professional club in 1898, Albert and Tommy Maile became first team regulars and first brothers to play for the club. In 1904, Percey, Herbert and Gilbert -- three of the six "Footballing Farnfields" -- played for Fulham against West Ham, but it was their sole appearance for the club and was regarded as a probable publicity stunt. Manager Harry Bradshaw later installed his sons, Will and Joe, in the first team in a move so unpopular with supporters that the Bradshaws played only a few times for Fulham.
According to Turner, by far the most successful pairing of brothers at Fulham was Jimmy and John Conway. Jimmy was signed from Bohemian FC prior to the 1966 season. John, nearly five years younger than Jimmy, also came to Craven Cottage by way of The Bohs and at the same age as Jimmy, before the 1971 season. John was never an Irish international like Jimmy, but he was good enough to break into Fulham's starting lineup on occasion. However, he also was a right-sided midfielder like Jimmy, and was more often the first choice to replace Jimmy in the side when Jimmy was injured or on national team duty.
John made two appearances for Bohemians and won the FAI Cup in 1970. Between 1971 and 1975, John played in 38 League games for Fulham and scored 6 goals. After leaving Fulham, John moved to Switzerland to play for FC Winterthur. In Feb 1976 he transferred to play for Shamrock Rovers, the Bohs’ south side Dublin rival. In 1977, John returned to play for Winterthur and retired to live in Germany in 1981.
This piece of Jimmy Trivia involves Jimmy and his brother, John, and another young Cottager, John Mitchell. As noted above, brother John often was the first choice to replace Jimmy in the starting lineup when Jimmy was either hurt or on national team duty. During Fulham's run to the 1975 FA Cup, Jimmy missed some games due to injury. On one such occurrence, manager Alec Stock called on another young player, John Mitchell, who went into Fulham folklore in the Cup semifinals against Birmingham City.
Mitchell had arrived at Craven Cottage in 1972 as a 19-year-old from St. Albans and had seen first-team action only 50 times in three seasons for the Whites. In the semifinal, Mitchell responded with a long-range blast that dipped under the cross bar to give Fulham the early lead only to have Birmingham City score a late goal and force a replay at Maine Road. Stock went with the same lineup for the replay and Mitchell split the defense to score again in a 1-0 result that secured Fulham's place in the Final.
Jimmy was fit for the Final and Stock reportedly had been considering pairing him with brother John at Wembley. On the day, however, he gave John Conway's No. 7 shirt to Mitchell on the strength of his two semifinal performances. Fulham lost the Final, 2-0, to West Ham on a pair of Alan Taylor rebounds inside the six-yard box. But Mitchell played well enough to secure a regular spot in Fulham's lineup the following season.
Mitchell was in the right spot at the right time, playing 169 matches and scoring 56 goals for Fulham until the summer of 1978 when he was transferred to Millwall (for a club record £100,000), where he spent three more seasons before retiring in 1981.
Tommy Conway (Jimmy's brother) is considerably younger (nearly 13 years) than Jimmy and broke into senior football with Athlone Town AFC in late October 1977, just three months before Jimmy was transferred to the Timbers. Reports indicate that Tommy usually lined up at outside back. He spent nine years at Athlone and won two League of Ireland Winners' Medals (1980-81 and 1981-82) and was given a testimonial jointly with Padraig O'Connor in 1985. He transferred to Bohemiams in 1986, where he would represent the side twice in European competition. He eventually moved to Sligo Rovers and finished at Longford Town, having spent his entire pro career in the League of Ireland.
At least one Bohemians soccer site refers to the Conways as one of the "great Irish football families." Bohemians, among its 486 all-time listed players, featured dozens of brothers who played for the side along with father-son, uncle-nephew, etc. combinations. However, it appears the Conways -- Jimmy, John and Tommy -- are the only (or, at least the most significant) occurrence of three brothers appearing in the Red and Black.
According to the database at FulhamNet.com, which details all the playing records of current and past Fulham FC players, Jimmy can lay claim to a rare feat.
Here are the details: Jimmy played his entire English and U.S. professional career -- 15 years, 443 games -- without a single caution or ejection. (We hesitate to say "yellow card" or "red card" since those were invented five years after Jimmy turned pro, for the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.) From 1966 through 1980, it appears that Jimmy's name only went into the ref's book for one reason -- scoring goals. Jimmy was a reliable enough scorer that he frequently was the target of whacks and hacks by the opposition and his career photo album proves it. But not once did Jimmy get up and retaliate. At the same time, no one who ever took the field with or against him would ever call Jimmy a "soft" player.
There's not enough background information to support whether Jimmy established an English League record (373 games) without a bookable offense. Data on games and players from the first half of the 20th Century are very incomplete. But, we would point out, if it's not recorded, it can't be a record.
Here's another interesting detail. It's now widely known that England striker Gary Lineker played his entire 16-year career (567 games) without a single yellow or red, accomplished at Leicester City, Everton, Barca, Spurs and Nagoya Grampus. Lineker was awarded FIFA's 1990 Fair Play Award after Tottenham's 1990 season and after his cardless streak reached 376 games (surpassing Jimmy) but four years before his retirement. (It may be that the FA and FIFA weren’t sure about prior records, either.)
A final piece of irony: After his playing days ended, Jimmy stayed with the Timbers as assistant coach through 1982, then spent five years as head coach at Pacific University and 11 more as the first head coach of Oregon State. In his very last season (1998) coaching OSU, Jimmy was shown his first red card and sent to the locker room.
Only four Republic of Ireland players have ever scored against Italy in either a friendly, qualifying or cup game. Jimmy was first with a goal on May 10, 1971, in Dublin for a European qualifying match against the Italians, just 11 months after they finished runner-up to Brazil at the World Cup in Mexico. It was only Ireland’s third match against the full Italian national team. (Ireland scored against Italy’s “B” team in 1927.)
The next goal came on January 29, 1985, in the next meeting between the countries when Gary Waddock scored in a 2-1 defeat at Dublin’s Dalymount Park.
Host Italy shut out Ireland in a group game at the 1990 World Cup in Rome and Italy again shut out the Irish in a “US Cup” game held in Boston in 1992. Ray Houghton’s stunning goal 11 minutes into the Group E World Cup match at the Meadowlands in 1994 made him the third scorer against Italy. Finally, Andy Reid, then with Spurs, scored for Ireland in a 2-1 loss in 2005 in the last international ever played at Lansdowne Road in Dublin.
Italy has triumphed in seven of its eight matches against Ireland with the only loss coming at the 1994 World Cup in the U.S.
Ireland has two wins and a tie in its six internationals against Chile. One of those victories came in a 1974 friendly at Estadio Nacionale in Santiago before 16,000 partisan Chileans, including the referee. Eoin Hand put Ireland ahead two minutes before the intermission but midfielder Francisco Valdés Muñoz, the all-time leading scorer in the history of Chilean football, equalized in the 57th minute. Jimmy put home the winner in the 76th minute, making it the second of the three goals he scored during his international team duty.
It was the only time during Jimmy’s international career that Ireland played outside of Europe. Ireland opened the trip with a friendly against Brazil at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Playing before more than 74,600 fans, Ireland fell 2-1 on May 5, although Jimmy was not in the lineup. Three days later, he was on the pitch in a 2-0 Irish loss to Uruguay before 40,000 fans in Centenario Stadium in Montevideo, site of the first World Cup final in 1930. That set the stage for the game – and his goal -- against Chile on May 12.
Jimmy’s 20-game international career saw him take the field three times against Poland (including his last two appearances) and two games each against Spain, Czechoslovakia, Austria and West Germany. Eleven of the 20 games were played in Dublin; his career took him twice to Poznan, Poland, and Prague (now Czech Republic).
Half of Jimmy’s 20 games for Ireland were friendlies, including the last six. Four were World Cup qualifiers (from which Ireland got but one point) in 1969. The other six were all qualifiers for the European Championship in 1966-67 and 1971. Ireland scored more than two goals only once with Jimmy in the lineup; that came on March 24, 1976, in a 3-0 triumph over visiting Norway. Ireland’s record during Jimmy’s 20 games of service: 6 wins, 5 draws, 9 defeats. All five of the drawn games were played in Dublin.
In 2009, the Times (London) selected Jimmy as the 38th most famous Fulham player of all time. Fulham fans know better: In their own poll earlier this year, they selected Jimmy as the 13th most famous Cottager, the highest ranking non-English-born player in Fulham’s 131-year history.
[Another Cottager fan website, Friends of Fulham, earlier this year had a thread as to the fastest players to ever wear Fulham’s kit. Some names were offered for their foot speed but ultimately DQ’ed because they lacked ball control, including American Eddie Johnson. The unofficial consensus seemed to be that George Cohen and Les Barrett were among the quickest Fulham players on the ball, but one name came up even more often…Jimmy’s.]
There’s ample evidence in Jimmy’s scrapbook that his speed, which endlessly frustrated opponents, also made him a target of some vicious “professional” fouls. Those, in turn, caused him some serious injuries during his career. On October 12, 1970, Jimmy was forced to withdraw from the Ireland team, along with Oxford’s Mick Keams, due to injury. A depleted Eire side was held to a 1-1 draw by Sweden in the Nations Cup at Dublin. Ten days later, records show Jimmy was placed on the FA’s version of the “disabled list” as he awaited ligament surgery.