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Club News

OBITUARY: Ronnie Rees 1944-2023

31 October 2023

Club News

OBITUARY: Ronnie Rees 1944-2023

31 October 2023

Coventry City are deeply saddened to learn of the death of the former player Ronnie Rees.

Ronnie, who has sadly passed away at the age of 79, was widely considered one of most exciting talents of the 1960s and the Sky Blue Revolution – starring in Third Division and Second Division title triumphs.

The winger was born in Ystradgynlais in Wales on 4th April 1944. He was spotted playing for Merthyr Boys by Coventry City’s scouts and manager Billy Frith brought the young talent to Highfield Road in September 1960.

Frith would be replaced in November 1961 and it was his successor Jimmy Hill who would had Rees his first professional contract in April 1962.

He impressed Hill to usurp much bigger names in the Manager’s pecking order and Rees made his debut at outside left in a goalless draw at home to Shrewsbury on 15th September 1962.

Ronnie Rees.jpg

Hill's gamble in promoting the slightly built Welsh youngster to the first team paid off and for the next six years he was a virtual ever-present in the team making 262 appearances and scoring 52 goals for the Club, developing a reputation for his close control and pacy, jinking runs down the flanks.

International honours soon followed - Ronnie first won Under 23 honours and in 1963/64 he earned the first of his 39 full caps.


1967-68Tranmere FAC (h) Rees goal.jpeg

Rees scores against Tranmere in 1967/68


That same season saw Ronnie star as an ever present in City’s Division Three championship side. In that promotion season he scored 15 goals, including a hat-trick in the 8-1 thrashing of Shrewsbury.


Three years later he was a major influence as City won promotion to Division One in the 1966/67 campaign.  He was the provider of many goals with his speedy wing play and he scored a vital goal in the famous 3-1 victory over Wolves before Highfield Road's record gate in April 1967, when victory in the ‘Midlands Match of the Century’ all but sealed promotion to the top-flight for the first time in the Club’s history.

With Hill gone from his post, in 1968 new manager Noel Cantwell was keen to strengthen the side and Ronnie was deemed the only saleable asset and allowed to join West Bromwich Albion for a fee of £65,000.

Leaving the Hawthorns in February 1969 for Nottingham Forest, Ronnie ended his career in his home country with first Swansea Town (1972), then Havorford West (1975) and Merthyr Town, before hanging up his boots at the end of the 1975/76 season.

Ronnie became a car worker with Ford at Swansea and Bridgend before working as an administrator at Cardiff City.  Sadly Ronnie suffered a major stroke at the age of 51 which affected both his speech and mobility in his later years, spending his final years in a care home in Swansea where he continued to follow the exploits of his former sides.

Our condolences are with family and friends of Ronnie at this sad time.


Ronnie on the middle row, far right of the 1966/67 Sky Blues team. 

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