Ian Brightwell was born in Lutterworth in 1968, and was the middle son of former Olympic Medallists Ann Packer and Robbie Brightwell who rose to fame four years earlier in the Tokyo Olympics.
He was the longest serving member of the fabulous five (Lake, White, Redmond, Brightwell and Hinchcliffe who all won the FA. Youth Cup in 1985 and became first-team players shortly after). He was a genuine footballer who could play in various positions in the field, although most of his games he played in the back-four, or defensive midfield. Unlike his younger brother David he managed to establish himself in the team, although the couple did play a few matches together.
For many years Ian was a regular, and the clubs most experienced player. In 1992 he probably had his most consistent season as a City player, playing in 40 league games. I watched him in November that year when he scored a wonderful goal in the 4-0 trashing of Leeds United (with Cantona in the team). Ian advanced from his right back position and slotted the ball home after a great run. He had the fortune to play with such City greats as Niall Quinn, David White and Paul Lake, and was a part of the team that reached 5th position twice under Peter Reid.
Despite the highs at Maine Road some lows were sure to follow, especially when Brightwell missed three quarters of the 1993/94 season after snapping his patella tendon, and Citys successive relegations from the top flight to Division two, before being released by manager Joe Royle. Ian endured numerous managers, and even the Ball-post-Ball malice did not see him walk out on the blues. But after the poor 1997/98-season he was given a free transfer by manager Joe Royle, during the big clear out at Maine Road.
I was sad to leave City, but they were going down and I was
out of contract as were Georgi Kinkladze who went to Ajax, Uwe Rosler
to Kaiserslauten, and Kit Symons to Fulham. I didnt want to leave
City because it was the team I loved but Coventry were still in the Premiership.
It was nothing to do with an unwillingness to take a pay cut, it was more
to do with my ambition to play in the top flight and at the same time
City needed to cut their payroll and they hadnt offered me a new
After 321 league games and 18 goals for the Blues Ian will be remembered
for his determination, commanding presence, and his abilities as a team
player. He was a True Blue as good as any.