The Coventry City Former Players Association Legends Day 2012 (our sixth annual reunion) on Saturday March 24th 2012 proved to be, as predicted, our biggest and best ever. In the end, more than fifty Sky Blues’ and Bantam’s stars of the past representing over 50 years of appearing in the CCFC shirt made it to the Ricoh celebrations. Apologies were sent from ‘regulars’ like Tommy Hutchinson, Kirk Stephens and Ian Wallace and prospective first timers (like Ray Woods and Kevan Smith) who were, for pressing reasons, unable to make it. Greetings were also sent from some of our far flung members like John Tudor and Steve ‘Kalamazoo’ Mokone (USA) and Norm Greenway (Australia). The following FPs (and their guests) gathered together at noon to enjoy dinner together in the Arena’s prestigious (and sold-out) 1883 restaurant, sharing the day with CCFC supporters who had paid to dine with their heroes:-
Bob Allen; Roy Barry; Dave Bennett; Andy Blair; Ken Brown; Dietmar Bruck; Dave Busst; Willie Carr; Chris Cattlin; Howard Clark; Paul Culpin; Peter Denton; Ron Farmer; Ian Gibson; Ian Goodwin; Bill Gray; Alan Green; Micky Gynn; Marcus Hall; Lol Harvey; Jimmy Holmes; Peter Hormantschuk; Ernie Hunt; Lee Hurst; Claus Bech Jorgensen; Trevor Lewis; Ernie Machin; Steve Morgan; Dennis Mortimer; Ron Newman; Graham Newton; Brian Nicholas; Denis Oakes; Bobby Parker; Barry Powell; Billy Rafferty; Brian Roberts; Ken Satchwell; John Sillett’ Gordon Simms; Bill Tedds; Garry Thompson; Alan Turner; Graham Walker; Bob Wesson; Noel Whelan; John Williams; Peter Wyer; Ron Wylie; Quintin Young and Terry Yorath (whose identity as our ’Mystery 200th Guest’ was finally publicly revealed to fellow diners). Terry is pictured (with a ball signed by our FPs in aid of the Association) before being presented with his Association tie.
Welcoming speeches were made by, amongst others, Jim Brown (CCFPA Chair) (who paid also tribute to Members and FPs like Harry Hart, Eric Dobbs, Alf Setchell and Vernon Griffiths who are ‘gone but not forgotten’ had passed away since last year), Joe Elliott (CCFPA Life President); John Clark (CCFPA Patron & CCFC Deputy Chairman) and Tim Fisher (CCFC Director).
The overwhelmingly positive and friendly nature of the day continued with our fifty plus FPs receiving massive applause from the Sky Blue fans at half-time when they went down to the touchline and were than individually welcomed onto the pitch in order of debut – from the 91 year old Trevor Lewis (1948) to Claus Jorgensen (2004) and collectively given a massive cheer by the 15000+ crowd as they lined up for their traditional ’team photo’ taken in the centre circle. It was an also a particularly emotional day for Bill Gray (accompanied by his family) who made his first visit back to CCFC since the early 1950s and renewed friendship with the likes of Association Members Lol Harvey and Ken Brown! Bill is pictured below (left) being presented with his Association tie by CCFPA’s Bob Eales and Howard Clark one of our newest members is pictured right receiving his from Claus (who is now also a CCFPA committee member). The famous fifty then settled down to watch the Sky Blues achieve a vital 2-0 victory over their relegation rivals Portsmouth.
The day finished in as good spirits as it began with most of the FPs appearing to the acclaim of large numbers of CCFC fans on the stage of the packed Lady Gs Show Bar at the G-Casino under the Ricoh Arena. There the CCFPA’s vice chair Billy Bell made sure as many as possible of the Sky Blues’ stars were interviewed in front of their adoring fans and the evening finished with a rousing collective rendition of the Sky Blue Song.
It is clear already from the immediate feedback we have received that this year’s Legends Day was thoroughly enjoyed by all participants. Thanks go to all CCFPA’s patrons and sponsors (including G-Casino; Spectrum Printing; and thejadestudio:) for supporting the day as well to all those at CCFC and Ricoh Arena who helped to make the day a success. Also thanks are due to all members of the CCFPA’s committee (all volunteers) and their helpers for the day for their amazingly hard work in planning and executing a magnificently well organised celebration. Our silent auction, memorabilia sale and raffle brought in a record amount of income for the Association which is entirely self-funded and relies on such proceeds as well as membership subscriptions to continue its work. A big thanks to all those involved!
Please keep checking out our site at http://www.ccfpa.co.uk/ when we hope, within the next week, to post a full gallery of photographs (taken by our ‘official’ photographer Tony Thomas and Membership Secretary Mike Young ) covering all parts of this memorable day.