The Observer has teamed up with Coventry City’s Former Players’ Association to bring you all the latest news, events and signings.
We kick-start this exciting fortnightly column with the news that former manager and football icon Ron Atkinson is the latest big name to be snapped up by the association.
Former Sky Blues boss Ron Atkinson has become the latest member of the CCFPA after being tracked down by committee member Frank Pritchard.
Pritchard was invited to present Atkinson with his special association tie and badge at his home in Headington last month
‘Big Ron’ as he is known to supporters came to Highfield Road back in 1995 when he replaced Phil Neal with the Sky Blues hovering just above the Premier League relegation zone.
But a series of impressive results, including a 4-2 home win over local rivals Leicester City and a 3-2 win at Liverpool, saw the Sky Blues maintain their top flight status and earned Atkinson the Manager of the Month Award for March 1995.
The following season he led the Sky Blues to a famous 5-0 win over defending champions Blackburn Rovers in December 1995 but the start start of the 1996/97 season proved difficult for the Sky Blues and by November 1996, Atkinson had handed over managerial duties to Gordoan Strachan and become director of football before leaving for Sheffield Wednesday that same month.
Before joining the Sky Blues Atkinson enjoyed a popular playing career with Oxford United where he became club captain during a 12-year spell between 1959-1971.
He started his managerial career at Kettering Town but got his big break at the Hawthorns with West Bromwich Albion before moving to Manchester United where he won the FA Cup twice.
Another spell at West Brom and a short stint in Spain with Athletico Madrid followed before returning to England where he lifted the League Cup with both Sheffield Wednesday and Aston Villa.
Atkinson told Frank: “I always say I left school at 15 years old and have never worked since; in truth I’ve enjoyed doing the job and would probably have done it for nothing anyway. I’ve been all round the world and met some fantastic people.”
“Ron spoke very fondly of his brief spell with the Sky Blues reflecting on some difficult times in the Premiership.” explained Frank.
“His brief was to bring in a younger coach to groom him for future management and that turned out to be Gordon Strachan.
“But Strachan was so good in training that Ron convinced him to come out of retirement because he was probably better than any other player we had on City’s books.”
Elsewhere, the association are also pleased to announce that the annual Legends Day will return on March 21 when the Sky Blues host Doncaster at the Ricoh Arena.
Last season’s move to Northampton meant there was no Legends Day event so this year the team that won the Division Three title back in 1964 will be celebrated.
A host of former players have been invited including members of the 1963/64 team as well as the likes of Tommy Hutchison, Ian Wallace and Willie Humphries.
Keep up-to-date with all the news from the CCFPA association by visiting ccfpa.co.uk