‘Benno’ Welcomes ‘Wally’ to Legends Day
Mercurial former Scottish Sky Blues striker of the seventies Ian Wallace was one of the nearly forty former players that graced Legends Day 2015 last Saturday. After a year’s enforced gap the Association’s major former player reunion brought ex Bantams and Sky Blues stalwarts from over five decades back to meet each other and the fans at the Doncaster Rovers game at the Ricoh. We have had fantastically positive feedback from our ‘fantastic forty’ guests, fans and other participants on Saturday in what is clearly an eagerly anticipated and thoroughly enjoyed event in the Sky Blue calendar. ‘Wally’ had a particularly busy time!
Chris Cattlin mobbed by autograph hunters on arrival
Ian shared in all aspects of the reunion which he said was unsurpassed by any similar events mounted by his other clubs in both professionalism and the warmth of welcome provided by club, CCFPA and fans alike! ‘Wally’ also had the additional duty of ‘riding the airways’ as guest of BBC CWR assisting their matchday commentary team of Clive Eakin and Stuart Linnell in analysing what eventually proved to be a disappointing 1-3 home reverse for the Sky Blues. BBC CWR were also pleased to be able to gain a live interview with Sky Blue stalwart full back and crowd favourite Chris Cattlin on the Friday before the game as he and his wife had travelled up early. Ian’s Legends Day, therefore, can be used to exemplify the experiences of his former colleagues as detailed below.
Ian with Stuart
Ian and partner Anne had flown down to East Midlands airport from their Scottish home earlier in the day and, when they arrived at the Ricoh well before noon, Ian, Chris and the rest of the former players had to run the same gauntlet of fans and autograph hunters in the Arena’s Atrium whilst being formally welcomed by the CCFPA team and picking up their documentation. Ian was welcomed by CCFPA committee man and fellow Sky Blue forward star Dave Bennett (at top). The guests were then escorted to the Ricoh’s top floor E.ON Lounge where, after more welcomes and signing some personal memorabilia and raffle/auction items for the Association, Ian and Anne renewed friendship with other arriving guests in the hospitality area. Eventually around 300 former players and fans sat down in a packed E.ON., and new Sky Blues gaffer Tony Mowbray said a few words and toured the former players tables for a chat before leaving to continue preparation for the game.
Corporate Member David Shortland (Shortland-Horne) & Ian
CCFPA’s chairman Jim Brown made a speech welcoming all the participants in Legends Day 2015 and thanking all those who had made it happen. Each one of our ‘fantastic forty’ was then asked to stand up to be welcomed by the assemblage and each was warmly applauded.
Over the period of the three course meal (courtesy CCFC & Compass) CCFPA’s Billy Bell toured the lounge and did brief light-hearted interviews with some of the Legends present. Sixties legend George Hudson in a rare Ricoh appearance received particularly noisy acclaim as did Ian when he stood up! Introductions to some of CCFPA’s Corporate members were also made (above right). Ian also was happy to facilitate ‘selfies’ with fans during the Day – as proved by one sent in by Stuart Cosgrove (above left) wearing, on CCFC’s ‘Retro Day’ the famous brown tramline kit as worn by Ian in the 1970s and featured in the Club’s excellent matchday magazine PUSB!
Ian welcomed by the Sky Blue army at half time
Members of the 1963/4 Third Division Championship squad were also called up to the E.ON stage to be presented with commemorative medals recognising their achievement by Association Life President Joe Elliott and the whole room responded with generous applause as the veterans had their team photo taken along with CCFPA’s Jim Brown and Mike Young (covered in more detail in a later news item). Ian departed to do his media stint whilst Anne joined everyone else in some of the best seats in the house to watch the game unfold.
Ian (& fellow Scot Willie Carr on the Ricoh turf
At half-time, with the Sky Blues 1-0 in the lead, Ian came down from the press box to join his colleagues in the traditional pitch-side welcome as each Former Player (in debut order, from fifties to noughties) was given a wonderful ovation by the Ricoh faithful as they walked to the centre circle to assemble for the traditional team photo and the ‘fantastic forty’ waved to all sections of the Arena in turn before returning to their seats to warm applause to watch the second half.
After the disappointing result was confirmed Ian stayed a while ‘wrapping up’ his media contribution to the BBC CWR post match coverage before rejoining the other members of the ‘fantastic forty’ for the announcement of the raffle and auction results (on behalf of CCFPA funds) before all the former players were escorted down under the Arena to a VIP champagne buffet courtesy of the G-Casino at the Ricoh.
There the social gathering continued for the rest of the evening broken only by the advertised appearance of the ‘fantastic forty’ on the stage of Lady G’s in front of a packed house of Sky Blues fans, who made sure the former players felt firmly part of the Sky Blue family once again! Ian was one of the ‘legends’ singled out for an extended chat with master of ceremonies, CCFPA’s Billy Bell who made sure the exuberant and friendly occasion was conducted in good order with plenty of banter and humour and, as can be seen by the big smile on Ian’s face on all the photos, a great time was had by all! The formal part of Legends Day was concluded by Billy conducting the Legends Choir and the Lady G’s chorus in a stirring rendition of the Sky Blue song.
Ian with CCFPA’s Mike Young in Lady Gs on Legends Day evening
When everyone dispersed some former players left to return home, many stayed for some time in the Casino area mixing with friends and former colleagues (and fans) both within and outside the hospitality area. A few of the former players, like John Tudor, Chris Cattlin and Ian were staying the Saturday night in local hotels so lingered longer. Ian and Anne along with CCFPA committee man Mike Young and his wife Jill were booked in at the De Vere hotel at the Ricoh so were able to enjoy the facilities offered in the G-Casino until late in the evening. Ian and Mike chatted until the volume of the very good tribute act booked into Lady G’s (‘Black Eyed Teaz‘) got too high!
And so another fantastic Legends Day ended. Keep checking out this site as more stories and photos emerge from Legends Day 2015 as thoughts of FPs and committee alike start to drift towards Golf Day 2015 on June 4th and what everyone hopes will be another memorable occasion next year, Legends Day 2016!