WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
We catch up with Coventry City’s 1966-67 Division Two champions
RONNIE FARMER almost missed out on Coventry’s first ever promotion to the First Division after Jimmy Hill tried to sell him.
Hill took over as Sky Blues boss when Farmer was out injured in late 1961 – and soon wanted to offload him to help him regain his fitness.
Farmer (pictured inset) played for Coventry in all four divisions and was part of the side that just missed out on promotion by a point, just months before England won the World Cup in 1966.
And the following season, Hill’s side went on a 25-match unbeaten run from November 19 until the end of the season.
It was enough for them to pip Wolves to the Second Division title by a point after goals from Ernie Machin, Johnny Key and John Tudor downed Millwall 3-1.
“I injured my ankle in a game against Gillingham and I just couldn’t get it better,” Farmer recalled. “Jimmy Hill called me into the office one day and said he wanted me to go to Ireland and play for Ards in exchange for Willie Humphries – and he hadn’t even seen me play.
“In the end, he gave me until the end of the season, they got me fit and I scored four or five goals so Jimmy then signed me on for another two years.”
Coventry won the Division Three title in 1963-64 and, after a season of consolidation, launched a bid to win promotion to the top flight.
It was Southampton who pipped them to promotion behind champions Manchester City but they would succeed them a season later.
But despite being a regular at wing-half, making 37 appearances, Farmer was forced to miss the epic promotion run-in through another injury lay-off.
He watched as Ian Gibson, Ronnie Rees and Machin scored in front of 51,452 at Highfield Road to claim promotion with a 3-1 win over fellow title-chasers Wolves before the title was claimed two weeks later with a comprehensive victory over Millwall, again in front of their own fans.
Farmer added: “At the start of the season Jimmy called us all together and said ‘We are going for it this year!’ But then I got injured against Bolton and didn’t play in the last six games.
“In those days if you got injured you had to wait for someone else to get injured before you could get back into the side. Plus, Jimmy never really liked to change the team much, apart from the forwards.
“Although he liked to have a team meeting on a Friday before a Saturday game, he always used to read out his son’s line-up – and I was never in it! But thankfully I was in the team that mattered, the one that Jimmy picked!” 1. Dietmar Bruck: A full-back who managed Weymouth and Redditch, while working as a financial consultant in Coventry. He is now a community champion for Tesco. 2. Mick Kearns: Defender Mick was a partner in Bedworth Palace bingo hall until returning to Coventry as a coach. 3. Bill Glazier: The England Under-23 goalkeeper lives in Sleaford and ran a catering company after owning a hotel and working in swimming pool maintenance. 4. George Curtis: A defender who stayed on at Coventry as commercial manager and then managing director. Still lives in the area. 5. Brian Hill: Still lives in his native Bedworth,where he ended his playing career. Spent 18 years with Jaguar before going to work for HSBC bank. 6. Ernie Machin: A midfielder who settled in the Coventry area where he spent many years working in the transport business. He died in July 2012, aged 68. 7. Johnny Key: A winger, settled in his native London where he worked as a black cab driver until retiring at 65. 8. Ian Gibson: Midfielder Ian settled in Redcar where he fitted seals in gasometers. Has also scouted for a number of clubs. 9. Bobby Gould: Spent over 25 years in management, including spells with Coventry, Wimbledone and Wales, and still works in the media. His son Jonathan played in goal for Coventry. 10. Ray Pointer: An England international striker, he coached at Burnley before opening a sandwich shop. He then managed a sub depot for Gratton Home Shopping. 11. Ronnie Rees: A Welsh international winger, he went to work for the Ford motor works in Swansea and Bridgend until a stroke forced his early retirement aged 51.
NOT PICTURED John Burckitt: A full-back, was living and working in his native Coventry until his death in November 1999, aged 52 Dave Clements: Went on to manage Northern Ireland, he coached in the States where he opened an Irish shop and was a salesman in St Peters, Missouri. Mick Coop: Became an antiques dealer in Leamington Spa and a youth coach at Coventry. The ex-full-back now lives in retirement in the village of Wellesbourne. Ronnie Farmer: Coached at the club before going to work for Massey Ferguson and running a post office. His brother Bill also had a spell at Highfield Road. Brian Lewis: Worked in the furniture trade and was a youth coach until his death in Bournemouth in December 1998, aged 55. Barry Lowes: Returned to his trade as an electrician in a Barrow shipyard until his retirement. Died in May 2012, aged 73. John Mitten: Also played cricket for Leicestershire before managing Sidmouth and Tiverton. Worked as a salesman and ran a cafe in Bristol where he has property interests. Pat Morrissey: Managed a number of Non-League sides in the south-east until his death in February 2005, aged 56. Dudley Roberts: Settled in Mansfield where he spent 21 years with the electricity board before going to work for a local photographer. John Tudor: A forward, was a publican in Derbyshire and Northumberland before moving to the United States where he coached in Minnesota.