We catch up with Coven­try City’s 1966-67 Di­vi­sion Two cham­pi­ons

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Neil Fissler

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.

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