Blast From the Past: Caesar & the First Former Players Association

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Jenkyns, CA (Caesar Augustus) c.1901

Caesar in his playing ‘heyday’

The current CCFPA has been going since December 2006. Not many people know about an earlier incarnation well over 100 years ago and CCFPA’s Mike Young has recently uncovered even more information about the organisation and its founder!

In September 1910 a former City player with the splendid name of Caesar Augustus Llewellyn Jenkyns (pictured), in a letter to the Midland Daily Telegraph floated the idea of forming a former players association in Coventry. As a defensive player Caesar was described as unorthodox, ‘most robust, a kick with a powerful range, and an exponent of safety first‘!

A Welsh international (8 caps), Jenkyns had experience with Walsall Swifts and Unity Gas as an amateur before turning professional with Small Heath in 1888. He developed his career with Woolwich Arsenal (1895) and Newton Heath (precursors of Manchester United)(1896) before joining Walsall in 1897. The ‘Mighty Caesar’ finished his senior career at Coventry City in its Birmingham League days playing 6 games at centre half in 1902-03. By 1910 he had settled in Coventry as a licensed victualler, becoming ‘mine host’ at the ‘Black Dog’ which used to exist on Whitefriars Street.

Old Citizens v Old Heathens (h) 2-1 MDT 24-04-1911 (MDT 25-04-1911)

Match Report (MDT 24-04-1911)

He wanted to build an organisation similar to those at other Midland Clubs like Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham (formerly Small Heath) – Indeed Jenkyns was a past Secretary of the ‘Old Heathens’ which had over 60 members. Finding positive support from both CCFC and past players Caesar quickly set about making his desire come to fruition.

The ‘Old City Players Club’ – as it became known- had substantially the same aims as its current counterpart. It aimed to promote ‘brotherhood and good fellowship amongst old Coventry City players; to help in any benevolent object which the members may desire’ (including assistance to former players); ‘host social events using Club funds and play matches for charitable purposes with other clubs old players’.  A retrospective piece by ‘Veteran’ in the Midland Daily Telegraph (02/12/1933) claimed, “Frequently the boys would meet and talk of different phases of the game to the delight of the fans whose appetites for the latest ‘straight from the horses’ was just as keen as it is today……… it brought about understanding and comradeship which counted for a lot”.  Times have changed for CCFC players a lot though since than as over a century ago “players worked at their everyday vocations, trained in the evenings once or twice a week and, in consequence, the opportunities for meeting were welcome”.

Jenkyns,, CA (Caesar Augustus) Ad from prog 1920-1

Ad in a 1921 programme

There are records of the desired charitable fixtures being brought off during the 1910-11 season. Though at this time the City team were known as ‘the Bantams’ the former players team was billed as the ‘Old Citizens’ after one of the Club’s previous nicknames. On 4th January 1911 before 1000 spectators they took on Caesar’s previous colleagues ‘the Old Heathens’ and were defeated 0-3 at St. Andrews. Most importantly a considerable sum was raised for the ‘Police Aided Association for the Clothing of Destitute Children’ Both teams included ‘a goodly sprinkling of grey heads’! A former player of both clubs Frank Mobley scored two for the Birmingham team. The return fixture was played at Highfield Road in April and the Old Citizens gained revenge by a score of 2-1 (see match report above).

There are records of another fixture involving the Old Citizens and Old Heathens in the following season (1911-12) but it appears that after the Black Dog was closed and Jenkyns left the city for Birmingham (where he was later also a publican at the Coach & Horses, Bordesley Green) the Club ‘fell through’. In any event it is unlikely it would have survived the outbreak of the Great War in 1914. Caesar finished his playing career with Unity Gas in Coventry in 1903 and Saltley Wednesday (as a guest) in 1904. Apart from being in the licensed trade Caesar also served as a Birmingham police constable for 20 years and died in Birmingham in 1941.

If any readers have any further information we would be delighted to hear from them.

‘Curse of the Former Player’ Strikes Again!

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Michael with CCFPA's Frank Pritchard after a previous gmae with the Blades

Michael & CCFPA’s Frank Pritchard at a 2013 game with the Blades

It seems that the ‘curse of the former player’ has hit the Sky Blues for a third time already this year. Three of the Club’s former players have scored against the Sky Blues so far in 2015. As it happens, all three are also members of this Association. United’s skipper Michael Doyle scored the first Blades goal yesterday (21st February) in a ten man Sheffield United’s fightback at Bramall Lane. A ten minute nightmare for CCFC late in the game saw the Blades score twice to salvage a point. Up to then the Sky Blues had looked comfortable in defending a 2-0 lead (with both of our goals scored by Dominic Samuel) achieved after the Blades had a man red-carded early on. The Sky Blues had to settle for a 2-2 draw which dropped them into the League One relegation zone for the first time this season.

Sheffers signs for CCFPA in Nov.2014

Sheffers signs for CCFPA in Nov.2014

In the Sky Blues’ last game on 10th February against Scunthorpe United at the Ricoh an injury time goal from Marcus Tudgay salvaged a point against a side for whom Cov kid and former CCFC striker Gary McSheffrey had earlier scored from a well taken free kick outside the box.

The third in the trio of FP strikes came in the previous month (17th January) from ex Sky Blue forward Cody McDonald who, from an 87th minute penalty, nudged Gillingham in front for the first time after the Sky Blues had led for 80 minutes. Another desperate 10 minute spell for CCFC late in a game saw Gillingham score three times and run out 3-1 winners.

Carl becomes a CCFPA member Nov.2014

Carl becomes a CCFPA member Nov.2014

Cody presented with his Association tie earlier this year by CCFPA's Frank Pritchard

Cody is tied up to CCFPA  earlier this season

Given the currency of this apparent ‘curse’ (which to be fair also seemingly affects many clubs in the same way) the Sky Blues need to be expecially vigilant in their next game on 28th February against MK Dons at the Ricoh when they are likely to come up against  former skipper Carl Baker (who is also a CCFPA member) and who has been having a good impact on the Don’s promotion aspirations!

Kevin MacDonald Completes ex Sky Blue Take-Over at Villa!

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MacDonald, K (Kevin) 2013Former Coventry City midfielder and CCFPA member Kevin MacDonald is reported to have joined ex Sky Blue Tim Sherwood as his assistant at Villa Park.With Chris Ramsey staying at QPR, Sherwood moved quickly to bring in MacDonald who has been assistant manager with Villa before (2003-12) and also caretaker (following the resignation of Martin O’Neill in 2010) .

Kevin MacDonald 1989 b&w

Kevin in his Sky Blue playing days

Kevin who joined the Association in 2010 gaining a substantial reputation as an energetic midfielder both with Leicester City and Liverpool (where he was part of the 1986 League & F.A.Cup ‘double’ squad). At the Sky Blues Kevin made 31 appearances for City between 1989-1991. At the end of his spell at Highfield Road a brief loan spell at Cardiff followed and eventually Kevin moved to Walsall where, from 1991-93, he finished his playing career. Kevin’s previous managerial c.v. has also taken in spells with Leicester City (caretaker 1994); the Republic of Ireland (assistant manager 2006); and Swindon Town (manager 2013) where his first ever game in charge was against the Sky Blues!

Sherwood, T (Tim)

Tim in the Sky Blue

Tim, who we have not yet managed to capture for CCFPA, finished his playing career during the Sky Blues last season at Highfield Road having achieved England international recognition during an illustrious career with Watford, Norwich City, Blackburn Rovers and Tottenham Hotspur. He was signed for CCFC from Portsmouth in July 2004 by CCFPA member Peter Reid on a two-year deal. However, by the end of the 2004–05 season the Club made Sherwood available on a free transfer and he parted company with CCFC by mutual consent on 1 July 2005 having made 11 appearances for the Sky Blues. He cut his management teeth from 2008 with Tottenham Hotspur as successively assistant first team coach, Technical Director (2012) and first team head coach (2013) until he left the Spurs in May 2014. Tim took the vacant Aston Villa manager’s chair after Paul Lambert was sacked a week ago.

Post Script

The managerial duo had a chastening experience yesterday (21st February 2015) when Villa lost at home to Stoke City to drop them into penultimate position above only Leicester City at the bottom of the Premier League

 

Doyler & Bakes Stand in Sky Blues’ Way

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CCFPA member Steven Pressley‘s Sky Blues are in desperate need of a win and to maximise points in the next two Saturdays as they remain precariously perched above the relegation zone.  Unfortunately, they successively face two sides in good form at the moment, both in the top six. Both are likely to field a former Sky Blues of good repute (each a CCFPA member) who will be trying to stop CCFC picking up anything from the two games.

Doyler in the Sky Blue

Doyler in the Sky Blue

This Saturday (21st February) City face a daunting task in bringing points away from Bramall Lane, with fifth placed Sheffield United in a good run of form at the moment with three wins on the trot including an impressive 3-1 win at table toppers Bristol City. In the other two games they did City a favour by defeating our fellow strugglers Colchester and Notts. County. A key component of the Blades’ success, of course, has been their club captain and former Sky Blue Michael Doyle.

Michael was picked up by the Sky Blues as a promising young player from Celtic in 2003 and in seven seasons (broken only by a loan spell at Leeds United in 2009-10) Doyler totted up over 250 appearances for the Sky Blues (25 goals). The Irish international midfielder, signed by former Sky Blue player and manager (and now fellow CCFPA member) Micky Adams from the Ricoh in January 2011, has since been a regular in the Blades engine room with over 200 appearances for them to date.
Bakes in the Sky Blue

Bakes in the Sky Blue

A week later (28th February), the Sky Blues take on high flying MK Dons at home (on a day when the Blades could do us another big favour by beating Crawley Town)! This may well mean the return to the Ricoh of fellow Association member Carl Baker whose well known affection for the Sky Blue family I am sure will not diminish his desire to return to Milton Keynes with points for his team to help them improve on their current second place in League One. As it happened the Dons also helped us out last Tuesday night by gaining a 1-0 win at Colchester.

Brought to the Ricoh from Stockport County by Chris Coleman for the 2009-10 campaign, in five seasons the midfielder who possesses mazy (if unpredictable) skills clocked up 182 appearances for the Sky Blues with 28 goals (many both crucial and spectacular). When his Coventry City contract was cancelled by mutual consent on 1 September 2014 Carl moved to MK Dons and has already turned in some influential performances with 6 goals in his 24 appearances so far.

 

All Sky Blue fans surely will wish them both well, hope they have a good game but in a losing side!  Both CCFPA members, of course will be very welcome to return to the Ricoh as Association guests any time their playing commitments will allow.