Legends Day 2016 will be a tad earlier than is traditional and will take place on Saturday 13th February 2016 surrounding the Sky Blues game against Bury and the day following the celebration of the life (at Coventry Cathedral) of former CCFC manager, chairman and managing-director Jimmy Hill who was also one of the Association’s members.
The date for CCFPA’s Golf Day 2016 will be on Thursday 9th June 2016 and once more will take place at Stoneleigh Deer Park Golf Club . We strongly suggest you put the date in your dairies for another chance to enter a team to play 18 holes on a great course with one of your Sky Blues stars of the past followed by an awards dinner with raffle and prizes. CCFPA’s Golf Day Organiser Frank Pritchard will be finalising prices and inviting entries early in the new year.
Look out for details in our news pages of participants at both events nearer the respective dates. Charity fixtures involving the Sky Blues Legends XI continue and a Former Players Waiters Evening took place in November 2015 (see news pages).
News of the ‘Ricoh Return’ announced after the start of the season was welcomed by (nearly) all. A members’ survey taken before the announcement of the return would have underpinned a similar stance by CCFPA as the previous season but the results thankfully became academic. Though arrangements for our members and guests to rendezvous and watch the game this season have been a bit of a variable feast due to existing bookings/commitments at the Arena it has been a pleasure to see particularly our veteran former player members renew a sense of community at the stadium as they meet up and share their memories and matchday thoughts (albeit not yet in the restored Legends Lounge).
CCFC were accommodating and keen to restore and develop links with the Association. Our ‘Special Guest’ programme was restored and there are plans for next season to enhance the presence of our former players around the ground. We also renewed our support of BBC C&W’s matchday commentary by making our special guest available to them. The entertaining after match sessions in Lady Gs at the Casino with our guest in the company of CCFPA’s Billy Bell and Sky Blues fans, once more, proved popular. CCFPA’s page in the Club’s award winning programme PUSB written by Mike Young was also restored.
Charity fixtures involving Sky Blues Legends organised by FPs Dave Busst (of SBITC) & Dave Bennett continued to take place (and committee man Dean Nelson now helps to get these organised). In September the Association’s Mike Young & AM Lionel Bird were also instrumental in underpinning an important marker of the heritage of women’s football in Coventry through the playing of a re-enactment of a WW1 Ladies Works Cup Final by members of Coventry Ladies, once more at the Butts. Mike also liaised with researchers at Nottingham University to faciltate survey research amongst our members on the health risks of osteo-arthritis for former professional footballers.
We celebrated a great returning Legends Day 2015 at the Doncaster Ricoh home game on Saturday March 21st 2015 and nearly 40 former players (or their representatives) turned up to join the celebrations including John Tudor who flew in from the States for the event. On the same day we also belatedly celebrated with survivors the 5oth anniversary of the Third Division Championship squad with a guard of honour and special commemorative medals.
Most recently on June 4th 2015, Golf Day 2015 took place with 19 FPs (17 playing) at Stoneleigh Deer Park GC once more and a similar number of teams played with their heroes and enjoyed an evening meal and auction after the 18 holes. The team led by recent Sky Blue skipper Carl Baker took both team and individual prizes on the day, Carl wresting the Buildbase Cup from the winner of the last two years, Andy Blair!
The Association’s newsletter ‘Legend‘ and this website (both edited by Mike Young) go from strength to strength. The web typically has an average daily hit rate of over 10k and over approaching 5000 unique users.
This was a momentous year given CCFC owners’ decision to abandon the Ricoh and ground-share at Northampton Town. The committee’s disquiet at the decision was backed by an email poll of our Former Players in August and a decision not to supply our former players as special guests for Sixfields games. The committee throughout endeavoured to keep contacts going with all parties in dispute and we firmly upheld the right of individual Association members (and committee members), just like Sky Blues fans, to support CCFC in different ways (reiterated in our new style newsletter issued for the start of the new season). Committee members spoke at a supporters protest march/rally from Gosford Green to Broadgate in July.
The Club’s Northampton experiment created real difficulties for CCFPA performing its constitutional functions and services for its members and affected the number of events we can offer. However, the Association was instrumental in organising an emotional Charity friendly (CCFPA Legends v Midland All Stars XI) on August 11th 2013 at the Ricoh attended by 6000 Sky Blues fans which raised over £21k for the benefit of 16 charities. This celebrated the Club’s 130th Anniversary in a particularly poignant way.
Though our ability to mount Coventry based events was limited by circumstances wherever possible we mounted Q&A – video reminiscence sessions in a number of Coventry pubs and venues during the season and our members supported a number of other Charity football games. Though regrettably we were neither able to mount our traditional Legends Day in Spring 2014 nor fully recognise the 50th Anniversary achievement of the 1963/4 Div.3 Championship squad through a reunion we did manag two entertaining ‘away days’ at Peterborough and Notts County where our members of all types could get together. The Association’s website and newsletter have been even more important than usual in keeping open communication channels with our and between our members and the wider Sky Blue Family.
None the less our traditional annual Golf Day 2014 once more did take place on Thursday 5th June 2014 at Stoneleigh Deer Park Golf Club and proved another great success.
Legends Day 2012-13 was originally planned to be brought forward to earlier in the season than usual and was planned to take place surrounding CCFC’s home game against Carlisle United on Saturday 22nd September 2012. In the event the occasion was subsumed into a tribute for the late Ernie Machin and thirty former players were our guests (many of them former colleagues of Ernie). Special guests Dave Clements who had flown in front the States and Ernie’s daughter Dionne (representing other members of the family present) released. A host of balloons into the Sky Blue in memory in front off the Fps and Ricoh crowd.
In the event the reconstituted Legends Day 2013 was another enormous success with nearly 50 Sky Blues stalwarts coming together at the Ricoh to celebrate the past at the Swindon Town home game on March 2nd 2013. Please see the relevant news items on this site for reports of what went on and over 200 photographs of the day can be found under the ‘Galleries‘ tab.
The 50th Anniversary of the Sky Blue Song was celebrated with a mini reunion at the MKDons home game on 29th December 2012. CCFPA’s Billy Bell conducted a stirring rendition of the song at half-time by the Sky Blue Army and a former player choir (made up of five veteran FPs from the sixties birth of the song augmented by committee members Mike Young and Bob Eales and Special Guest for the day, John Williams).
Golf Day 2013
Once again, a tidy number of the members and guests of Coventry City Former Players Association graced the fairways at Stoneleigh Deer Park Golf Club for our annual golfing reunion bash, Golf Day 2013 held on Thursday 6th June 2013. The Competition Course was the Club’s renowned Tantara 18 hole course and it provided good competition amongst the many CCFC stars of the past that attended plus a welcome visit from current player Carl Baker.
The main competition was for the ‘Buildbase Cup’ (won by Andy Blair this year) and Ron Farmer got the wooden spoon!
Season 2011-12 for CCFPA kicked off in July 2011 with the Association playing a significant role in the unveiling of Jimmy Hill’s statue outside the Ricoh. As well the Association running other events and fans forums during the season, the year 2012 was also the 25th Anniversary of the Sky Blues’ great F.A.Cup win in 1987 and various events involving CCFPA sought to commemorate this. We helped organise a major reunion of the victorious F.A Cup squad at Nailcote Hall on 20th April 2012 and several members of that squad also joined with representatives of the winning F.A.Youth Cup squad of the same season at their CCFPA organised reunion at the Doncaster home game, the following day. Nearly all of the CCFPA committee also attended the VIP launch of a major exhibition ‘From Highfield Road to Wembley Way’ celebrating the Cup win at the Herbert Museum the same month. All these events and more have been covered on the news pages.
We also held our biggest and best yet Legends Day 2012 at the Portsmouth home game (with the usual pitch parade at half-time and pre-match meal) on March 24th 2012. Over 50 Sky Blue and Bantams stars of the past attended and enjoyed the warm appreciation of a packed 1883 Restaurant and Lady G’s Showbar after the game. Our Annual Golf Day 2012 was held on Thursday 14th June 2012 at the Stoneleigh Deer Park Golf Club. Pictures from both these successful events are available on the Gallery pages as well as action photos from all previous years.
The 2010-11 season saw a full year of significant events undertaken by the Association. Highlights included, in pre-season, hosting the JH Tribute Reunion, hosting European Sky Blue (a great Reunion of the 1970 squad which took the Club into Europe) at the end of September 2010, helping set up Bobby Gould ‘s book launch in October 2010 and earlier in 2011 we also hosted a mini-reunion of the FPs who took the Sky Blues to the League Cup Semi-final in 1981. In April we held our biggest and best ever Legends Day and in June 2011 we held our latest annual Golf Day 2011. All these events are covered in the news pages and the relevant photo galleries.