Members News: Jay Tabb Is Our ‘Special Guest’ For Sky Blues Date With Millers Tomorrow Night!

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Jay Tabb in Sky Blue

Just into his third year as a CCFPA member (signing for us in January 2022) we are delighted to be welcoming former Sky Blue midfielder Jay Tabb for his first stint as our matchday ‘special guest’ at tomorrow night’s Championship game at the CBS Arena. Despite that great recent 5th Round F.A.Cup win against Maidstone United Jay, like the rest of the Sky Blue family, will be interested to see whether Mark Robins men can get their play-off quest back on the rails after two successive league defeats. Their opponents under floodlights tomorrow night are, of course, bottom of the table Rotherham United but the Sky Blues will be anything but complacent about winning the three points necessary from the Millers to close the widening gap on the top six spots.

The diminutive midfielder will be a particularly interesting ‘special’ as he has, since hanging up his boots in 2016, taken up two different professional sporting activities, rugger and horseriding (as a professional jockey)! Between 2006-09 Jay played more than a century of first team games for the Sky Blues netting a dozen times.

Jay Tabb (Ireland U21s)

Born in Tooting to Irish parents on 21st February 1984 Jay began his career as a youngster at Crystal Palace but joined then Second Division Brentford in 2000. Whilst with the Bees he also got a loan spell at Crawley Town in 2003. In five seasons with the London club Jay netted 24 goals in 156 first team appearances which prompted the Sky Blues to seek his signature. His Irish heritage allowed him to earn ten U21 caps for the Republic of Ireland between 2004-06 (plus a call up to the senior squad in 2006 -without being capped). 

In June 2006 Jay signed for CCFC, then a Championship side, on a free, for a three-year term. Given the No.21 shirt Jay made his debut off the bench at Cardiff City on 12 August 2006 (replacing injured substitute Adam Virgo). The following season Jay got the ‘Player of the Year’ award for 2007–08.

Jay in Sky Blue action

After two-and-a-half years with the Sky Blues he joined Championship side Reading for £0.5m in January 2009 and, in his fifth season with the Royals, achieved the first promotion of his career with them reaching the Premier League in 2012-13, a season he also played nine games on loan at Ipswich Town. The Tractor Boys obviously liked the  cut of his jib as they signed him permanently in June 2013 when released from the Royals having played 105 games for them without scoring! Including his loan spell at Portman Road Jay got four seasons with the Tractor Boys netting five times in 85 games for the East Anglian team before hanging up his footballing boots in 2016.

Jay Tabb on the gallops – graduation Day 21 June 2019

After a career total of 41 goals in his 450 games, mostly below the top tier, Jay looked to other sporting pursuits outside football. In 2017 he was reported to have joined a Rugby Union side, Old Wimbledonians in 2017 and in March 2020 was interviewed by ITV at the Cheltenham Festival leading one of the racehorses having become a stable lad!

By 2021 the diminutive Jay had met his ambition of becoming a professional jockey and we have previously reported on his progress on this site. You can also read an article about Jay’s conversion to horse riding/racing in the Guardian newspaper here.

Jay Tabb riding out at the Northern Racing College

Look out for Jay around the supporters lounges in the CBS main stand tomorrow night where he will do some Q&As with fellow member, ex Sky Blue defender and current match-day host, Brian ‘Harry Roberts (who will also have a current CCFC player tagging along). After the game is over, hopefully all having watched a Sky Blue victory Jay is slated to join CCFPA vice Chairman Billy Bell down in Lady Gs supporters lounge in the G-casino for another jovial interview form the lounge’s stage.

If you really can’t get to the game you should be able to listen in to BBC CWR for their live matchday coverage where yo can hear the wise comments and analysis of our member, Club legend Steve Ogrizovic. If you purchase CCFC’s excellent matchday programme PUSB you will also find the latest version of the usual contributions made by CCFPA committee members Jim Brown (chairman) and Mike Young.

With some interesting Sky Blue days behind him as well as his new profession Jay is surely worth a listen wherever you find him at the game with the Millers tomorrow night!

Matchday Memories: On This Day 1969 – Neil’s Brace For Noel’s Sky Blues Makes Mackem’s Miserable!

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ImageOn this day (4th March) in 1969 Sky Blue manager Noel Cantwell was in his first full season in charge at Highfield Road and the Division One season was generally proving a bit of a struggle. However, in the Sky Blues last game they had managed their best win of the season, a 5-0 hammering of Queen’s Park Rangers at the home of CCFC. Therefore, there was a bit more confidence about going into today’s top flight home game, against Sunderland.

The Rokerites had breezed past us by three clear goals in the October fixture in the north east. Gratifyingly, another home win ensued in front of a good crowd of 29,546 with a ruthless Sky Blues display in front of goal seeing off the Black Cats 3-1.

Neil Martin in Sky Blue action

Willie in the Sky Blue

City’s Scottish No.9 (and now CCFPA member) Neil Martin excelled against his old club (aka the ‘Mackems’) and grabbed a brace, a goal in each half. Three minutes before the break he forced the ball in following a free kick only parried by Sunderland‘s goalie Jim Montgomery (only recently then called up for the England squad).

Twelve minutes into the second period the 1-0 half-time lead was doubled and, again, Martin was the marksman netting from a penalty awarded against Cecil Irwin for hands in the box.


Two minutes from the final whistle, the Sky Blues third goal came from Neil’s fellow Scot (and CCFPA member) Willie Carr who drove in a hard cross which deflected off the Black Cat’s Martin Harvey into the net. A minute later the away team’s Malcolm Moore managed a consolation for Sunderland who were well beaten.

CCFC’s Manager, Noel Cantwell

Cantwell’s CCFC that day were:-

Bill Glazier, Mick Coop, Chris Cattlin, Ernie Machin*, George Curtis*, Brian Hill* (sub. Ernie Hannigan*), Trevor Shepherd, Ernie Hunt*, Neil Martin, Willie Carr and Dave Clements

We are pleased to say every member of this team later went on to join CCFPA. *Sadly all three ‘Ernies’ as well as Brian and, most recently, George have since passed away.

Sunderland‘s side was:-

Jim Montgomery, Cecil Irwin, Martin Harvey, Colin Todd, Richie Pitt, Brian Heslop, Gordon Harris, Calvin Palmer, Malcolm Moore, Colin Suggett and Billy Hughes (sub. Colin Beesley)    Referee:- R. Spittle

The Rokerites finished in seenteenth place that Division One season of 1967-68 on 34 points three points and three places above the Sky Blues who drew their last three games, just sufficient to pip Leicester City who went down with Queen’s Park Rangers.

Leeds United took the title by six points from Liverpool.

Thanks to CCFPA’s Mike Young (& Dean Nelson) for sourcing the images.


Members News: Ex Sky Blue Nineties Forward Hits 58 Today. ‘Happy Birthday’, Robert!!

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Robert in the Sky Blue

In August 2022 we announced we had recruited as CCFPA’s latest member former Sky Blue forward Robert Rosario. Now there is another reason to celebrate as the Hammersmith born striker is celebrating a birthday today. Born on 4th March 1966 Robert is 58 years of age today! Congratulations, Robert!

Starting out at Harrow Borough as a youth, it was a fine spell in non-league football for Hillingdon Borough as the seventeen year old forward scored five goals in nine Southern League starts that alerted scouts in the Football League to Robert’s potential. It was Norwich City that completed the deal in December 1983 and he paid back the Carrow Road outfit with 161 appearances across six campaigns though Robert managed just 29 goals for the Canaries. (he also had a short loan spell at Wolverhampton Wanderers in December 1985 where he scored one goal in his two games).

Rosario heads one with Lloyd McGrath looking on

The Sky Blues bought the striker as a replacement for the deeply missed Cyrille Regis (who became a fellow CCFPA member) for £650k in March 1991. Ironically he made his debut against the Canaries at Carrow Road from the bench in a 2-2 draw on 6th April 1991. Despite a slow start to life at Highfield Road the big (though never prolific) striker eventually proved to be a useful asset for Bobby Gould’s Sky Blues as the unselfish player also made goals (especially for forward partner Micky Quinn) as well as scoring some. Both Bobby and Mick are Association members now!

It was something of a surprise when he left to go to the East Midlands toward the end of the 1992-93 season (likely done to boost the ailing finances of the Sky Blues at the time). For City Robert made a total of 67 appearances netting ten times before Brian Clough took him to Nottingham Forest in March 1993 for approaching £0.5m. This turned out to be Cloughie’s last signing as Forest boss!

Robert Rosario in the Sky Blues yellow away kit

In his 27 outings over three years on Trentside, Robert scored just three goals before a serious knee injury all but ended his career. His debut Forest goal came in a 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur under Clough and couldn’t help Forest avoid relegation from the top flight at the end of that season. Under Cloughie’s successor Frank Clark, Robert struggled to get games owing to the form of rival forwards particularly Stan Collymore but contribute enough to collect his runners-up medal before that knee problem saw him retire from English football.

However, Robert did try to reignite his career across the Atlantic in the USA after a loan spell with Greensboro Dynamo whilst at the City ground gave him the taste. Spells with Carolina Dynamo from 1997 (24 games 3 goals) and Charleston Battery in 1998 (22 appearances) were followed by a Carolina return in 1999 this time as player-coach ironically now winning the ‘Defensive Player of the Year’ crown there in 1999. By the time he finally hung up his boots in 2001 and retired from the game in 2002 he had score once in just eleven games with the Dynamo.

 We would love to see you back in Coventry Robert. In the meantime have a great birthday today!

Thanks to Mike Young for sourcing the images.


Members News: Ex Sky Blue Winger Crosses His 72nd Today! Congrats. Les!!

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Les Cartwright in the Sky Blue

Today the Association wishes its member, former Sky Blue winger Les Cartwright, ‘Many Happy returns of The Day’. Born in Aberdare on the 4th March 1952 the Welshman is celebrating his 72nd Birthday today!

Les was with the Sky Blues seven seasons from signing as an apprentice, turning professional in May 1970. Les took a while to break into the first team ranks, however, making his debut (as sub) in a 2-0 win at Filbert Street against Leicester City on 29th September 1973 (some souces credit him with scoring). This was followed up nearly a month later (27/10/73) with a full debut at outside right at Stoke City‘s Victoria ground where the Sky Blues sadly went down 3-0.

With CCFPA member Tommy Hutchinson starring on the left wing it proved difficult to find an effective balance in the forward line with Les also playing. Nevertheless, by the time Les moved on to Division Two Wrexham in June 1977 Les had clocked up 88 first team appearances for the Sky Blues and also netted six times.

Les Cartwright bamboozles a Derby defender

Les also began his international career at Highfield Road, winning all his four U23 Caps for Wales with City and five out of his seven full Welsh caps. With the north Wales club he also gained European experience and a Welsh Cup winners medal in 1977-78. He made 154 appearances for the Wrexham (twelve goals). In March 1982 Les moved on to play for Cambridge United for three years and sixty games (one goal) and had a short four game loan spell at Southend United in September 1983.

Protecting an injured knee, Les finished his professional career at non league clubs Worcester City and Coventry Sporting (both during 1985) before hanging up his boots in 1986. 

On retirement Les ran the Wolvey Post Office near Coventry for many years and joined CCFPA in 2009. Though we have not seen him back at a Sky Blues home game for some time we would love to welcome him back as a guest at a game.

In the meantime have a great day today, Les!!!