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.
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”.
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.