The first Diamond Club lunch of the year was held today at the Ricoh Arena. The event was also the occasion for the club’s AGM.
Before the lunch was served the AGM was held. Chairman Alan Ludford opened the AGM and thanked the members for their continued support The club secretary Julie Chambers read the minutes from last years AGM and she was followed by the treasurer John Oughton who read his report. The Diamond Club made a small operating loss of £120.73 which was mostly down to the club taking on the responsibility for the upkeep of the Memorial Gardens at The Ricoh Arena.
One new committee member Kevin Randall, was elected on a show of hands.
After the AGM, Joe Elliott spoke about the uncertain future of the club and said he is sure a solution to the current crisis surrounding where the club will play its home games next season will be found. He emphasised that whatever the outcome the Diamond Club will continue to exist and meet for their lunches four times a year.
Joe then spoke to Pete Chambers, curator of the Coventry Music Museum, mentioning the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Two Tone movement and its special place in the history of Coventry’s heritage and culture. While the Diamond Club lunch was in progress, the Coventry Music Museum welcomed its 21,000th visitor. Pete said that the 14 founding members of the Two Tone ought to get far more recognition than they do.
Pete promoted his latest book, Coventry Music Atlas for a City of Culture, which costs just £5. If anyone is interested in purchasing a copy contact the Coventry Music Museum.
Pete mentioned the forthcoming concert by the Two Tone band The Specials at Coventry Cathedral and rued that too few tickets could be bought by Coventry residents and that the tickets that were sold from the museum sold out within 20 minutes of going on sale.
Joe later spoke to club stalwart Billy Bell, who told a few of his groan worthy jokes before talking about the upcoming Coventry City Legends day, which will be on Legends Day on Saturday 23rd March at The Ricoh for the game against Oxford United (KO 3:00pm). So far 48 former players have said they will be attending, it is hoped this number will top the 50 mark. Among those former players attending will be John Tudor, who is flying in for the day from Vancouver in Canada, Ian Wallace, David Speedie (appearing at his first Legends Day), Greg Downs, Dele Adebola, Dave Bennett, Keith Houchen, Nick Pickering, Noel Whelan, Ron Farmer, Carl Baker and Darren Huckerby among a host of others.
Billy said that Coventry City is the only club in the country that hold Legends Days on the scale that they do. He encouraged all of the fans who are at the match to remain in their seats at half time to welcome the former players and thank them for their dedication to the football club.
After the lunch had been eaten and the plates cleared away, Joe spoke to today’s special guest Dele Adebola. Dele joined Coventry City in 2003 from Crystal Palace, when Gary McAllister was managing the side. Dele had suffered a cruciate ligament injury while at Palace and needed time to recover so spent most of 2004 out on loan at Burnley then at Bradford. Once fully fit again he returned to Coventry where he played under Mickey Adams and alongside Stern John, Michael Mifsud and Gary Mc Sheffrey. Dele played 163 times for the Sky Blues bagging 31 goals.
Dele said that the warmth of the fans and staff at the club is something he has not seen at other clubs for which he has played. He said he is always recognised by the City fans whenever he goes to their games and is always very warmly welcomed.
When asked about the current side he said he thought they are playing attractive, attacking football, although a bit inconsistently and if they don’t manage a top six, play off place at the end of this season, then next season Mark Robins will have improved the side immensely and will be among the top contenders for promotion.
Joe asked Dele what he thought the off field problems were having on the players, he replied he though the manager was doing very well in keeping the players focussed, but the problems must be affecting the players and that it may be a contributory factor in their inconsistency.
Joe asked Dele about his international career, or lack thereof. Dele was born in Nigeria, so he qualified to play for the country of his birth, but as he moved to the UK on British passport he was also eligible to play for any of the home nations. He was selected by the Northern Ireland manager Lawrie McMenemy to play against Slovakia but injury forced him to miss out. He was in the Nigerian provision squad for the 1998 World Cup, but failed to make the final selection. He was approached once again to play for Nigeria in the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations, but decline the offer, so despite being picked he never won any international caps.
Finally, as has already been mentioned, The Diamond Club has taken on responsivity for the maintenance of the Memorial Gardens at The Ricoh Arena. Committee member David Birch has been asked to assume responsibility for managing the gardens and wishes to form a small committee to manage the task and has asked anyone interested in helping to contact him through the Diamond Club.
Date for your diary; Next Diamond Club lunch will be held on Thursday 6th June.
Report CNS Sport/RD
Picture copyright of Pete Chambers.