Billy Gray RIP (03/12/1931 – 18/07/2014)

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Gray, W (Billy) 1952The Association is very sorry to report the passing of former Bantams defender Bill(y) Gray last week.

Although born in Scotland in 1931 Bill’s family moved to Coventry in his early years and he was first noticed at Binley Youth Club in 1944 before graduating in 1946 to Morris Motors Ltd (Modern Machine Tools) which became effectively CCFC’s nursery side. Billy was spotted playing football there and became one of Harry Storer’s early signings in 1948, joining a host of other talented youngsters at Highfield Road. A skilful wing-half, Billy got his chance in October 1951 as a stand-in for the injured Don Dorman but after just two appearances was back in the reserves. In 1954 he joined Southern League Kettering Town but was soon back in the city playing for his beloved Morris Motors.

Bill lived in the North East and joined the Association in December 2011 attending the following year’s Legends Day celebrations. He is pictured below at that event being presented by CCFPA’s Welfare Officer Bob Eales with his official tie. The  Association sends sincere condolences to all Billy’s family and friends and will pass on funeral details as soon as we receive them.

Billy (left) with Bob

Billy (left) with Bob

 

‘No Game For Girls’ Challenged by Cov Ladies & CCFPA

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logo_cclfcNext month Coventry City Ladies will re-enact a women’s football match between two factory teams at the Butts in 1917. A project is underway, which has received Heritage Lottery funding, to explore the early days of women’s football in Coventry. An exhibition and other events are planned. The project and th game are supported by CCFPA.

Women's game FinalPosterDesignCCFPA committee member Mike Young and Associate Member Lionel Bird, both students of football in the City in the 19th and early 20th century have been assisting the project and it is clear that Coventry was one of the key centres in the development of women’s football with the first known game taking place in 1895 at Singer FC’s Stoke Road ground. Though many contemporary commentators argued that football was at best unbecoming and, at worst, positively dangerous for female participants, the women’s game gathered momentum.

During World War One, with so many men at the front, Coventry women took their places in the munitions factories of the City. The 1914-18 years gave the women’s game a fillip as many ladies took up football with enthusiasm and entered teams in inter factory competition. One such competition Final from September 1917 between Humber Ladies and Rudge-Whitworth Ladies will be replayed in the costumes and conditions of the time – and once more at the Butts.

The date for your diaries is Monday 25th August 2014. After the war women’s football built up tremendous popularity throughout Britain with five figure crowds and well supported women’s internationals often in aid of charity. As far as we can establish Coventry Ladies (below) was founded in 1921 and we need to be reminded that well over 20000 paying customers turned out at Highfield Road in 1921 to see Coventry Ladies take on the top women’s team of the period from the Dick, Kerr factory from Preston. The women’s game went into decline when the F.A. shamefully denied women’s teams access to the professional football grounds of the day in December 1921.

Coventry Ladies c.1921

Coventry Ladies c.1921

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Association encourages all it’s readers to support what should be a memorable day. More information can be found via facebook.com/NoGameForGirls

Tickets priced £5 adults (under 12s free) can be obtained online by clicking here. An early bird discount of £1.50 for tickets purchased before 08th August applies.

 

Steven Pressley says Ricoh Return would give players a ‘huge lift’

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CCFPA Vice Chair Billy Bell signs Steven up last season

CCFPA Vice Chair Billy Bell signs Steven up last season

All this week this website has been featuring the views of former Sky Blues’ players – nearly all CCFPA members – who have spoken publicly in favour of the earliest possible return of CCFC to its Coventry home from the Club’s current exile in Northampton. We have reported the views of Lee Carsley, Richard Keogh, Ron Farmer, Dave Bennett, Ron Farmer, Dele Adebola and Kirk Stephens. Now the Sky Blues’ gaffer, former CCFC defender (and CCFPA member since last year) Steven Pressley has also recently spoken to Sky Sports News (16/07/2014) and this is reproduced below.

‘Coventry City manager Steven Pressley believes his players would receive a “huge lift” ahead of the new season should they be allowed to return to the Ricoh Arena.

The club are currently seeking a solution with the stadium’s numerous owners that would see them play their home fixtures back in the town in which they were formed.

Last season, the League One club were forced to play their home games 35 miles away at Northampton Town’s Sixfields stadium in front of hugely reduced crowds.

The Football League as well as owning parties Sisu, Otium, ACL and Coventry City Council have all expressed a desire to begin discussions to bring the club home. And Pressley told Sky Sports News:

“It would be fantastic for everybody involved with the club but especially the supporters, who have endured a great deal over the last 16 to 18 months. In the last close-season we were dealt the hammer-blow of a 10-point deduction on the eve of the season, so it would be fantastic to receive a boost in this pre-season that we can return to the club’s home.

“It will make a massive difference. There’s no guarantee it would in terms of results but in terms of the feel-good-factor around the club it would make a huge difference. It would be wonderful to play at your home ground and I do think the players would receive a huge lift from that kind of news.”

More CCFPA Members Want The City Back in Coventry

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In recent days we have revealed that two Sky Blues Former Players, recent Club captain (and now doing the same job for Derby County) Richard Keogh and F.A.Cup hero (and CCFPA committee member) Dave Bennett have publicly backed the Coventry Telegraph’s #bringCityhome campaign.

Benno’s interview with the Telegraph followed the massively supported protest march (organised by the Sky Blue Trust) by City fans from Gosford Green to the rally in Broadgate where amongst the speakers were former CCFC players from across the playing generations (and CCFPA members all), Ron Farmer, Micky Gynn and Association President Kirk Stephens supported by CCFPA vice chairman Billy Bell.

Carsley, L (Lee)The Telegraph have also interviewed two other former Sky Blues about their views concerning the Club’s seemingly continuing exile at Northampton Town’s Sixfields Stadium, Lee Carsley and CCFPA member Dele Adebola. Both players, like ‘Benno’ were part of the Sky Blues team who reached the semi finals of the Club Legends Cup in aid of charity last weekend and were interviewed after the tournament. The Telegraph’ report is reproduced below.

‘Lee, who had two spells with Coventry during different parts of his career, was also at the charity event and he urged both sides to find a speedy resolution to the exile. He said: “The main thing is that they try and get the situation resolved as quickly as possible. They performed really well at Northampton last season but it’s a really difficult situation. I, like many other players, remember playing at Highfield Road and the Ricoh Arena and it’s obvious Coventry need their own ground.”

Dele

Dele

The one-time Coventry caretaker manager, added: “The support from Sky Blues fans has been brilliant. I have played in a couple of charity matches there and the fans have come out in their droves. The fanbase is there and the loyalty is there – they just want to get home and support their own team.”

Meanwhile one-time Sky Blues striker Dele Adebola, who last season played for Rushall Olympic, has also backed the Telegraph campaign to take City home. He said: “I loved my time at Coventry and it’s really not nice to see them playing away from the Ricoh. From a perspective of looking in and not knowing the full details, you see that fantastic stadium lying empty and just think Coventry should be back at home”.

Adebola, who enjoyed nearly five years with Coventry, added: “There must be solution which can get the club home as quick as possible. Hopefully the latest talks can prove productive and it is what it takes to see Coventry return to the Ricoh“.’