CCFPA Sends Belated Birthday Greetings to Our Member Ray Graydon!

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CCFPA sends its best wishes to our member, former Sky Blues player of the 1970s, Ray Graydon. He was 69 yesterday (21st July).

Born in Bristol on 21st July 1947, Ray came to CCFC for just the one season (1977-78) from the Villa – where, in six seasons Ray scored 80 goals in 229 first team outings). Arriving in the close season of 1977  for £35k he provided the forward line of Sky Blues manager (and CCFPA member) Gordon Milne with width on the right hand side.  Though appearances were limited he made an important contribution to an exhilerating campaign as part of a 4–2–4 formation with both Ray and fellow CCFPA member Tommy Hutchison playing as out and out wingers. That side also featured (all fellow CCFPA members) the likes of Mick Ferguson, Ian Wallace, Terry Yorath, Bobby McDonald, Graham Oakey and Jim Blyth. City recovered the transfer fee when Ray departed for the NASL in the United States in March the following year, signing for Washington Diplomats. By then he had clocked up 24 first team appearances and six goals for the Sky Blues.

Ray (left) with Bob

He returned to the UK later in 1978 and finished his playing career with Oxford United before embarking on a coaching career with first Oxford and then the likes of Watford, Southampton and latterly with Leicester City (2006) – as well as a spell in China. Ray has also gained managerial experience with Walsall and Bristol Rovers between coaching roles. In July 2009, he was acknowledged for his legendary status amongst Walsall fans with a star on Birmingham’s Walk of Stars on Broad Street after topping their fans’ votes in competition with other Walsall ‘legends’.

Late CCFPA Committee member Bob Bromage caught up with him in 2012 at the Golf Day of our sister organisation at Aston Villa and Ray put pen to paper for the Association. Bob is pictured right welcoming Ray and presenting him with his official Association tie. We hope Ray will come to the Ricoh as our guest at a future home League game.

Happy 80th Birthday for Yesterday John!

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John in the Sky Blue 1963

John in the Sky Blue 1963

Happy Birthday for yesterday from CCFPA goes to veteran former player and co-manager of the Sky Blues John Sillett.

Curtis, G (George) & Sillett, J (John (fac 1987)Along with fellow CCFPA member (and ‘Iron Man’ former defensive stalwart) George Curtis, John formed the Sky Blues management team in 1986-87 when the pair’s name became indelibly linked with the Club’s glorious F.A.Cup run of 1986-87 culminating in that exciting 3-2 extra time Wimbey victory in May 1987 over Spurs.

John had started his coaching career at Bristol City and after successful spell at Hereford United he was first invited to rejoin the Sky Blues as youth team coach in the late seventies by former manager (and also former Sky Blue player and CCFPA member) Bobby Gould. After an initial stint as coach in 1983-84 at Highfield Road, Sillett was offered the role as first team coach by then director George Curtis at the end of the 1985/86 season and that was the beginning of what became a perfect Cup winning partnership and co management until the pair left the club in 1990.

Jimmy's No.1 especially with George Curtis and John Sillett

Jimmy is Always No.1 with George and John (right)

Born near Southampton on 20th July 1936, son of Southampton’s Charlie Sillett, John first moved into the professional game to join his brother Peter Sillett at Stamford Bridge from 1953. After over 100 1st team appearances at Chelsea, John joined our late member Jimmy Hill‘s ‘Sky Blue Revolution’ in April 1962 and as all Coventry folk will know over four seasons John was an integral part of the club’s rise from the third tier of English football to the top. By the time he left for Plymouth Argyle in summer 1966 John had clocked up 128 first team league and cup outings (2 goals). John hung up his boots in 1968 and since then has also gained coaching, scouting and management experience with Bristol City (1968), Hereford United (1973-78 & 1991-92) and Portsmouth (1994-95). John has also scouted for the Sky Blues in both the 1980s and 90s.

In all he did John was hugely influenced by JH and after his playing days were over they became firm friends until sadly interrupted by Jimmy’s death late last year.  John, himself, has not been in the best of health and underwent major heart surgery earlier this year. All at CCFPA wish John ‘Happy Birthday’ and all the best of Sky Blue days in the future!

Big Sam To Become England Boss: Completes A Former Sky Blue Quartet!

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Sam in the Sky Blue

Sam in the Sky Blue

BBC Sport is reporting this evening (20th July 2016) that former Sky Blue defensive stalwart (and very recently signed up CCFPA member) Sam Allardyce will be named as the new England manager – with confirmation expected in the next 24 hours.

According to the BBC Sport website (full article at Sam will leave Sunderland after nine months with the Black Cats in the Premier League having been instrumental in keeping them in the top divsion last season. As the web article says,

Frank Pritchard Presents Sam With His CCFPA Tie

Frank Pritchard Presents Sam With His CCFPA Tie

The 61-year-old replaces Roy Hodgson, who resigned after the surprise defeat by Iceland at this summer’s Euro 2016 finals in France” and the “former West Ham, Newcastle and Bolton boss, spoke to the Football Association last week and has been chosen ahead of Hull’s Steve Bruce. The only remaining issue to be settled is compensation to Sunderland, with Allardyce having a year left on his contract at the Stadium of Light. The FA board meets on Thursday, when it is expected Allardyce’s appointment will be officially confirmed………..”

“His first competitive game in charge will be a World Cup qualifier in Slovakia on 4 September. Allardyce will become the 15th permanent England boss, the pinnacle of a managerial career that started at Blackpool in 1994 and has taken in 467 Premier League games – behind only Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Harry Redknapp. He has never won a major trophy but did secure promotion to the Premier League with both Bolton and West Ham, and won Division Three with Notts County in 1998. As a player, Allardyce started at Bolton in the 1970s before spells at Sunderland, Millwall, Coventry, Huddersfield, West Brom, Irish club Limerick and US side Tampa Bay Rowdies before ending his career at Preston…… Sunderland will now be looking for a ninth permanent manager in less than eight years.”

‘Big Sam’ who was signed to the Association just last May was brought to Highfield Road by now fellow CCFPA member Bobby Gould from Tampa Bay Rowdies in the USA and he skippered the Sky Blues in 1983-84 making 32 first team appearances for CCFC (scoring 1 goal) before leaving for Huddersfield Town.

Manager- Strachan, G (Gordon)b

Gordon Strachan

Chris Coleman

Chris Coleman

Big Sam’s presumed appointment produces the remarkable situation that the gaffers of all four of the UK’s four national sides are men with Sky Blue connections. Former Sky Blue player and manager Gordon Strachan is the current Scottish manager, former player Michael O’Neill is the Northern Ireland gaffer and former Sky Blue manager Chris Coleman looks after the Welsh national squad.

Michael O'Neill in Sky Blue playing days

Michael O’Neill in Sky Blue playing days

Both the N.Irish and Welsh teams under their respective former Sky Blues bosses won much praise at the recent Euro 2016 Tourney with England having a poor competition and Scotland not even qualifying!

I’m sure CCFPA speaks for all Sky Blue fans in wishing ‘Big Sam’ every success in his new challenge!



Reminder: No Walking Football at St Finbarr’s Tomorrow

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SBiTC Walking Football A5 1pp (print)Walking Football BedduthJust to remind regulars and possible new participants that SBiTC’s ‘Walking Football’ is on a short Summer holiday break this coming week and next. For the rest of July the Walking Football gang will not meet for either its regular Tuesday slot at the Bedworth Oval or its regular Thursday slot in Coventry at St.Finbarr’s Sport & Social Club. Bedworth is not running ‘Walking Football’ on the 26th and St.Finbarr’s takes a break tomorrow and on the 27th.

Don’t worry, its only a short interlude! By the start of the proper football season ‘Walking Football’ will be up and running again and the first new sessions will begin in the first week in August, Tuesday 2nd at Bedworth FC and Thursday 4th in Coventry at St.Finbarr’s Sport & Social Club  303 Holbrooks Lane, Coventry CV6 4DG.

The sessions are designed to offer gentle but competitive exercise for the over 50s, and start at 10.30am running through to around noon costing £3 (including hot and cold refreshments).

Both sets of friendly events are run by CCFC’s Sky Blues In The Community run by former Sky Blue defender (and CCFPA member) Dave Busst and have always been supported by the Coventry City Diamond Club, Coventry City Former Players Association  and Covsupport News Service and their members.

For more information about the sessions at both sites you can contact Sky Blues in the Community’s Health Manager, Hiedi Sloan (telephone: 02476 786 314 Text: 07813 455 531 or by email: SBiTC can also be contacted at