Tag Archives: Mick Quinn

Premier League Files: Mick Quinn

Premier League Career: Coventry City (1992-1994)

Mick Quinn made 64 Premier League appearances for Coventry City and his return of 25 goals in that time is very impressive figures.

He was born in the Everton area of Merseyside but grew up as a Liverpool FC fan. He began his career in the late 1970s as an apprentice at Derby County but would turn professional with Wigan Athletic in September 1979. He made 69 appearances for Wigan, scoring 19 times for them as they were toiling at the time in the old Fourth Division.

Despite helping Wigan to promotion in 1982, he was given a free transfer and moved to Stockport County, before a spell at Oldham Athletic. At both of these clubs, he started to become a prolific goalscorer.

Totals of 54 goals in 121 appearances for Portsmouth and 57 strikes in 110 appearances for Newcastle United showed his instincts of finding the back of the net. Between 1985 and 1992, Quinn was one of the top strikers outside of the top-flight. He did have one season with Portsmouth in the First Division in 1987-1988 but it ended in relegation. During his Pompey spell, he also spent two weeks in jail after breaching a driving ban which had been handed down to him for a drink-driving charge.

At Newcastle, he scored 34 times in the 1989-1990 season, including four on his debut against Leeds United. Quinn ended up as the Football League’s top goalscorer for that season. Newcastle’s form in the Second Division dropped off after 1990 as they missed out on promotion via the play-offs. He fell out with Kevin Keegan on his arrival as manager and was sold to Coventry City in November 1992 for £250,000.

Coventry manager Bobby Gould got an immediate payment back on Quinn’s signature as he scored 17 goals in his first six months at Highfield Road. Nicknamed ‘Sumo’ by the supporters, he scored braces against Manchester City, Southampton, Liverpool FC and Aston Villa. The latter two sides lost heavily (5-1 and 3-0) respectively as the Midlands side reached the dizzy heights of fourth in the table. They couldn’t maintain their early season tempo and faded to 15th in the final standings.

Quinn made a rip-roaring start to the 1993-1994 campaign, scoring a stunning hat-trick on the opening day as Coventry stunned one of the title favourites, Arsenal 3-0 at Highbury. Another five goals followed as the Sky Blues improved to 11th under the guidance of Phil Neal, who had succeeded Gould in October 1993.

He started the first three games of the next campaign but his Coventry career effectively ended after an unnecessary red card at Ewood Park against Blackburn Rovers. When he left the field midway through the second half, the game was firmly in the balance at 0-0. By full-time, Blackburn won 4-0. Neal was furious with Quinn and signed Dion Dublin for £2 million in the aftermath of this defeat. He never started a game again for Coventry and made his final appearance on New Years’ Eve 1994 in a 4-0 loss at home to Tottenham.

Unproductive loan spells followed at Plymouth Argyle and Watford before a brief spell in Greece with PAOK. Shortly after his signature in Greece, his younger brother died at the age of just 25. He left the Greek club in February 1996 and decided to retire from the game with immediate effect.

Today, he has racehorse stables in Newmarket, does some scouting work for Wigan Athletic and covers football and horse racing for radio station talkSPORT.

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Shock Results: Arsenal 0-3 Coventry City (August 1993)

Goalscorers: Mick Quinn 34 PEN, 62, 65

Teams:

Arsenal: David Seaman, Lee Dixon, Andy Linighan, Tony Adams, Nigel Winterburn, Paul Davis, John Jensen, Paul Merson (Eddie McGoldrick 67), Anders Limpar (Martin Keown 73), Ian Wright, Kevin Campbell

Coventry City: Jonathan Gould, Phil Babb, Peter Atherton, Tony Sheridan, Stewart Robson (Steve Morgan 10), David Rennie, Sean Flynn, Roy Wegerle, John Williams, Mick Quinn, Peter Ndlovu

Referee: Alan Wilkie, Attendance: 33,016

Optimism was high at Arsenal ahead of the start of the 1993-1994 season. The Gunners’ might have finished a distant 10th in the first Premier League campaign but were the reigning holders of both the FA Cup and League Cup. Manager George Graham had won the league championship twice before so expectations of a title tilt were well-considered.

Although beaten via a penalty shootout in the curtain-raising Charity Shield against Manchester United, Arsenal had performed very well. They were expected to brush aside a Coventry City side that had been beaten in both head-to-head encounters the previous season without scoring. Coventry were among the favourites with the bookies’ to be relegated but they also loved to prove the punters wrong and they did so spectacularly on the opening day at Highbury.

Arsenal started brightly but if there was one criticism of Graham’s management, it was he had a perfect Plan A, but no back-up solution if his side got into trouble. Within 10 minutes, they had slipped back into their comfort zone. David Seaman was the playmaker with long punts up the park towards Ian Wright and Kevin Campbell. However, David Rennie and Phil Babb had a comfortable afternoon, dealing with anything the Gunners’ frontline had to offer.

In Mick Quinn, Coventry had an unpredictable presence upfront but someone who knew where the back of the net was. He put the Sky Blues’ infront on 34 minutes from the penalty spot and from that moment on, Bobby Gould’s side were always in control. Only the injected pace of Anders Limpar gave them the odd concern. When he was replaced by defender Martin Keown in the 73rd minute, you knew that Graham simply had no clue with what to do.

Arsenal had been linked seriously with the England international Andy Sinton who was destined to leave Queens Park Rangers. On this evidence, Sinton made the right call to join Sheffield Wednesday instead because this brand of football would have simply bypassed him. Quinn, nicknamed “Sumo,” doubled his tally on 62 minutes, firing a shot into the top corner after the tricky Roy Wegerle had bamboozled Tony Adams with his skill and flair. Three minutes later, almost a carbon-copy move occurred with Wegerle the provider and Quinn producing the perfect finish. The ball went through Seaman’s defences. Graham said afterwards: “Football is about more than ability. It is about application and it’s about winners. Coventry seemed to have more desire than us.”

Arsenal bounced back from this opening day setback to finish fourth and beat Italian giants Parma to win the European Cup Winners’ Cup in Gothenburg. Gould resigned from his Coventry position two months later but ex-Liverpool FC defender Phil Neal comfortably steered them to a top-half finish. This was a day where underestimating the opposition was the fable. Arsenal did and paid a heavy price.