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A tribute to great players from the period 1965/66 to 1979/80, particularly highlighting their appearance in football cards.
For more see the Player Pages Index
Ernie Machin

A list of all of the appearances of this player in football cards in the period 1965/66 to 1979/80 appears at the foot of this page.

1967/68 A&BC Gum
Star players (Black backs), No. 34

1969/70 FKS Publishers
Wonderful World of Soccer Stars, No. 57

1970/71 FKS Publishers
Wonderful World of Soccer Stars, No. 72

1971/72 A&BC Gum
Footballers (Purple backs), No. 152

1972/73 A&BC Gum
Footballers (Orange/red backs), No. 34
Ernie Machin was born in Little Hulton, near Salford, Greater Manchester in 1944. In his early playing days he played for Farnworth Boys and was, reportedly, an amateur with Bolton Wanderers.

In November 1961 Jimmy Hill became manager of Third Division Coventry City. Amongst Hill's early signings was inside-forward Machin from Nelson in March 1962, Machin then being 17 years old.

Machin made his League debut as a 19 year old, and was rumoured to be on the verge on England under-23 selection, before a bad injury sustained in 1963 caused him to miss almost 18 months of football.

Coventry finished 4th in the Third Division in 1962/63, then topped the Division in 1964. After a mid-table finish in 1965 they narrowly missed out on promotion in 1966, finishing 3rd. In 1966/67 they topped the Second Division table, securing promotion to the top flight for the first time in their history. Between November 1966 and May 1967 they recorded an unbeaten run of 25 League matches, a club record which still stands today.

In the mid-1960s Machin had established himself in the Coventry City side, and was instrumental in the promotion run of 1967. The 1967/68 A&BC Chewing Gum set of 55 Star Player football cards notes: "Has recovered from a broken leg sustained early in his career and is now a regular member of Coventry's first team. 34 League games last season, 10 goals".

Coventry's time in the First Division was to last for 34 years, though it had a troubled start. They finished 20th (one place above the relegation zone) in 1968 and again in 1969. However, in 1969/70 they finished 6th, still their highest ever finish in the Football League.

In the 1968 season Machin played 44 games and was voted their 'Player of the Season". The 1969/70 A&BC green back card notes "
Coventry's skipper, his hard-working midfield style of play sets a good example to the rest of the team. Took over as captain of the club when George Curtis broke a leg, and proved a real find for Coventry...".

The 1970/71 A&BC orange back card notes "One of the mainstays of the Coventry team, Machin has been mainly responsible for the revival in the club's fortunes, and their push into Europe last season. A hard-driving wing-half, he likes to move up in support of the attack, and has scored some important goals".

In 1970 he was involved in a car accident which put him out of action for some time. He then sustained a playing injury early in the 1971/72 season. The 1972/73 A&BC orange/red back card notes "
Coventry missed the experienced Machin last season who was injured in only the second match in August, 1971. Tall and powerful, Machin has been a vital member of the Coventry defence for some seasons. A strong tackler, he has also played in the attack on some occasions, scoring a number of goals. Machin has won both Third and Second Division Championships".

According to Wikipedia in 1972 he became the first English football player to successfully challenge a fine and suspension by the Football Association in the English courts.

Machin's final League game for the Sky Blues was on October 7, 1972, at Crystal Palace. In December he was transferred from Coventry to Plymouth Argyle, then in the Third Division. He had made a total of 257 League appearances for Coventry.

He stayed at the Pilgrims for two seasons, making a total of 57 League appearances, including 42 of 46 League games in 1973/74. In spite of his short stay he was voted by fans in Plymouth's 'Team of the Century' in 1986.

At the start of the 1974 season Machin was transferred to Brighton and Hove Albion where he stayed for two seasons in the Third Division. His last League appearance was on March 17, 1976 at home to Grimsby Town, a game Brighton won 4-2. At the time Brighton were 2nd in the Division, but a run of nine games to end the season (without Machin) produced 2 wins, 5 draws and 2 defeats and saw Brighton slip to a 4th place finish.

In his playing career Ernie Machin made a total of 375 League appearances as a hard-working wing-half. Had it not been for injuries, he would have made many more.

1968/69 FKS Publishers
Wonderful World of Soccer Stars, No. 57

1969/70 A&BC Gum
Footballers (Green backs), No. 135

1970/71 A&BC Gum
Footballers (Orange backs), No. 179

1971/72 FKS Publishers
Wonderful World of Soccer Stars, No. 39

1973/74 Top Sellers
Football 73, No.
Football cards issued in the period 1965/66 to 1979/80
(note: this is an incomplete list, and will updated as new information is obtained).
Season Maker Set Team Card ref.
1967/68 A&BC Gum Star Players Coventry City 34
1967/68 FKS Publishers The Wonderful World of Soccer Stars Coventry City 57
1968/69 FKS Publishers The Wonderful World of Soccer Stars Coventry City 57
1969/70 A&BC Gum Football Facts, Green backs, Series 3 (117-170) Coventry City 135
1969/70 FKS Publishers The Wonderful World of Soccer Stars Coventry City 58
1969/70 The Sun Calendar Wallchart - Captains Coventry City
1970/71 A&BC Gum Footballers, Orange backs, Series 3 (170-255) Coventry City 179
1970/71 FKS Publishers The Wonderful World of Soccer Stars Coventry City 72
1971/72 A&BC Gum Footballers, Purple backs, Series 2 (110-219) Coventry City 152
1971/72 FKS Publishers The Wonderful World of Soccer Stars Coventry City 39
1972/73 A&BC Gum Footballers, Orange/Red backs Coventry City34
1972/73 Americana Soccer parade Coventry City 52
1972/73 Top Sellers Football 72 Coventry City 66
1973/74 Top Sellers Football 73 Coventry City 54