View from Ryton is the only way you can get a true insight into life at the Sky Blues and there's no-one better than Deano...
TODAY, IT’S HEAD CHEF AND LIFELONG CITY FAN DEAN KIRK’S TURN TO GIVE YOU A VIEW FROM RYTON!
First things first, I love my job.
I’ve been a Sky Blues fan all my life and I have a good rapport with the lads who all abuse me on a daily basis!
I started going to City matches in 1979 and got my first Season Ticket in 1982, in the old East Terrace at the back of Highfield Road. They were quality times. The highlight for me was probably beating Liverpool 4-0, Terry Gibson netted a hat-trick and Nicky Platnauer scored.
Things like that stand out and the local rivalry with Aston Villa and the away days in general. We’d go to all the pubs in Coventry and then onto the inter city football train and that was quality.
But enough of that, I previously worked for a contract agency which catered for AXA insurance. We would cater for 600 people a day and I was there for 16 years. I went into management there but got made redundant. I then went on to be an agency chef at Virgin and that was where Iain Dowie approached me and said ‘do you know any decent chefs?’ Really nonchalantly I just said ‘I’m the best one in Cov’ and next thing you know the next week I started at the club!
I’ve been here for nine years and I’ve seen many managers and many players! Some stand out players are Stephen Hughes - ex-Arsenal, Arjan De Zeeuw who was a top person and a good player and Clinton Morrison, top top lad who was funny, loud but would always look after you.
I enjoy my job, when I first started I was a kiddy in a sweet shop, I couldn’t speak to anyone as I was too shy! I was in awe of cooking for the people I watched on the terraces. It goes after about two months when they do your head in though!
I cook the meals throughout the week and have to do the pre-match before the game. I get there in time for kick off and travel to many of the away games too.
I had a weird experience last week, I did pre-match then went to the game. I was sitting in the stands and you’re looking at the players you fed and talked to about three hours ago, any other fan would be waving to a player if he came close to you and things like that, but Reda’s shouting my name on the pitch – ‘Deano! Deano!’ It was so weird! I should be doing that to you!
I have a good rapport with the players. Currently, we have rice pudding on a Friday because we’re unbeaten at home! Under Mark Robins, I started travelling and doing pre and post-match food and we were undefeated for ten games so I had to keep going! There are some superstitions, some players have fish on a Friday, certain people won’t have pasta on a Friday, everyone’s different. There are so many different aspects of food we have to serve, so we have to cater to everybody’s needs.
I look for deals and offers on food for the week so if I can get good prices that does influence what I cook. But I look at the weather, if it’s a poor day I might do something hearty like a stew or a soup or something like that. I could come in on a Monday morning and the lads come in from the gym and ask ‘can we have this, are you doing a crumble’, things like that they suggest things all the time. We now have Carbonara Mondays!
I also have to go an extra couple of portions for Oggy, he eats for three people, he’s the biggest and greediest! I’ll get slaughtered for this but goalkeepers don’t work as hard so surely they don’t need as much fuel...