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 have been accommodating and keen to restore and develop links with the Association (and we hope to announce developments in due course). Our ‘Special Guest’ programme has been restored and there are plans to enhance the presence of our former players around the ground. We have 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 are, once more, proving popular. A CCFPA page in the Club’s award winning programme PUSB has also been restored.
Several charity fixtures involving Sky Blues Legends organised by FPs Dave Busst (of SBITC) & Dave Bennett have already taken place and more will follow (and committee man Dean Nelson will now also be helping these to get 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.
Legends Day 2015 is now fixed for the Doncaster home game at the Ricoh on Saturday March 21st 2015 and application forms for our full members have been distributed in our January 2015 Newsletter. CCFC will be making an announcement before February 2015 on how you can book a table in the EON Lounge at the stadium and share your day with up to 50 club Legends.
The date for Golf Day 2015 next summer has also been fixed for June 4th 2015 and application forms for our former players and others who wish to share a round of golf with their heroes will be made available in due course. Watch out for announcements on this website about this and the other events and reunions we plan as the Club’s situation at the Ricoh becomes more normalised.
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.