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Cooke's of Coventry c.1898

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tobaccoman
Essex
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16 of 23  Mon 13th Jan 2014 5:43pm  
Member: Joined Dec 2013  Total posts:7

Cooke's of Coventry match striker attached.
Cooke's of Coventry c.1898
the vocalists
coventry
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17 of 23  Wed 24th Sep 2014 2:06am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:44

Hi Tobaccoman I know some of this information has already been posted but I will state what I know about David Cooke. I hope this helps. David Cooke was born in Coventry in 1865. His father, also named David, was a silk dyer and born in Coventry circa 1831. His mother, Fanny, was a silk winder and also born in Coventry circa 1831. David had a brother called Harry and two sisters, Ann and Emily. In 1861 the Cooke family lived at 9 Primrose Hill street. By 1871 they had moved to 36 White Friars Lane. David Cooke junior married Poly Cooper Ludgate in Coventry in 1887. Polly was born in Bulkington circa 1870. The couple had no children. In 1891 they were living at 81 Far Gosford Street. David Cooke was apprenticed to Aviss Brothers, cigar merchants of Gosford Street. In 1891 he commenced business on his own account as a wholesale and retail tobacconist at premises situated at 28A Burges and 81 Far Gosford Street. He launched the "Three Cups" brand in 1892 after Singers F.C. had won the Birmingham Junior Cup (19 March), Wednesbury Charity Cup (11 April) and the Walsall Junior Cup (20 April) He later moved to premises in Smithford Street. In 1896 he purchased the business of Charles Kelsey & Company, situated in Cross Cheaping. Four years later he acquired the business of J. Wrist & Company of Hales Street. In 1908 he took over the business of Griffiths & Aviss Limited, opposite the Craven Arms Hotel in High Street, the firm of whom he was originally apprenticed. David Cooke was the principal owner of Cooke's Tobacco Company. In 1928 he commenced a partnership with Harry Olliver, who later became a director of Coventry City Football Club. David Cooke was well known in the local Freemason's circles. He was a Grand Master of the Stoneleigh Lodge. In February 1930 he gifted 70 water colour paintings of old Coventry, created by the brush of his old school friend H. E. Cox, to Coventry Corporation. They hang proudly today in the Lobby of the Council House. It is believed that David favoured the handling code of football, so it is surprising he became a major benefactor of Coventry City Football Club. He joined the football club in 1908 with a donation of £25. He was appointed to the CCFC Board in March 1909 and elected chairman three years later. Prior to joining the club he said: " What money I possess, I have made in Coventry and if I can do anything to promote the interests of Coventry City Football Club, together with recreation of men, I feel I should do it". Southern League Coventry lost 2-0 against First Division Everton at Highfield Road on 3 March 1910, in the quarter-finals of the F.A.Cup. A record crowd of 19,095 generated huge gate receipts, coupled with the generosity of David Cooke, enabled the club to erect a new Main Stand in the close season of 1910. Times were particularly difficult for CCFC during the First World War. Cooke continued to work hard to keep the club going and this entailed further financial assistance. In 1917 he paid three years rent to safeguard the club's Highfield Road Ground and properties, effectively becoming tenant. The following year he bankrolled the club's entry into the Midland League. In March 1919 the Bantams were elected to the Second Division of the Football League and Cooke paid the club's application expenses and deposit. The "Bury Affair" as it became known was indeed a disgraceful event in Coventry City's history. Former Coventry City captain George Chaplin, speaking in the Coventry Herald in 1938, confirmed that both matches against Bury had been fixed, with him handing the bribery money over. Three points from those last two games preserved City's Second Division status and consigned Lincoln City to the Third Division North. Chaplin, when interviewed, confirmed he met David Cooke, had a "chat", and duly armed with £200 did his ugly deed. I cannot condone the actions of Chaplin and Cooke. Coventry City should have been thrown out of the League. The only explanation I can offer is that David Cooke was desperate to maintain the club's Division Two status and would use unscrupulous means to preserve it, especially having invested so much money. Cooke was banned for life by the Football Association in 1923. This was lifted on 12 October 1931, much to his delight. The football club faced severe financial difficulties in March 1922 and it was David Cooke who saved it from extinction. During his long association with CCFC, he gave the club in excess of £20,00, a huge amount of money in those days. He also presented a Daimler car as a gift for use by the club's directors. His popularity with supporters was illustrated perfectly when he was appointed first Life Member of the Coventry City Supporters Club on 7 October 1920. The following month he was presented with a gold medallion featuring a "bantam" by the same organisation, Cooke receiving a standing ovation for his services to the football club. He really was regarded as a true local hero and respected philanthropist. David Cooke died at home, "Queenswood" 7 Park Road, on 17 February 1932. He was 66 years old. His funeral took place at Coventry Cemetery (London Road) five days later. The Midland Daily Telegraph paid the following tribute: "David Cooke would have desired no further tribute from his fellow townsmen then they should remember him as a first-class sportsman , and few men have earned the title more completely. He made football his hobby, the welfare and advancement of Coventry City Football Club his personal concern. Mr. Cooke's interests were deeply founded and his sole incentive was that of placing the club among the foremost in the country. We have not the slightest hesitation in expressing the opinion, that had he not shouldered the colossal losses of the earlier years, the football club would have gone under". RIP DAVID COOKE.
Cooke's of Coventry c.1898
MisterD-Di
Sutton Coldfield
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18 of 23  Wed 24th Sep 2014 12:45pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2011  Total posts:881

Thanks for that. I was aware of the 'Bury Affair' of course, but that is a very interesting insight into the background with David Cooke and the way he tried to protect his investment. In some ways nothing has changed in club owners being prepared to stop at nothing to ensure their teams survive and prosper. And I think we are quite aware that the fixing of such important games has not been unique. The one observation I would make is that the consequences of losing to Bury were potentially worse than relegation. The probability was that City would have lost their place in the Football League after one season. This was what happened to Lincoln, as they sought and failed to secure re-election. There was no Div.3N in 1920-21, just a single Third Division comprising mainly southern teams. Ironically, though, Grimsby were in it despite having finished bottom of Div.2 below City and Lincoln the previous season. Lincoln regained their League status a year later when they gained entry to the new Div.3N. I think it is fair to say that had City lost to Bury, they would probably have failed to secure re-election, being a new team of one year's standing, and there would have been no guarantee of regaining the status, whereas Lincoln did so having previously been in the League for many years. So it could be argued that David Cooke did more than stave off relegation. He actually secured the very existence of the club. History shows that several teams who fell out of the League in the 1920s simply disappeared. As you say, his actions cannot be condoned in isolation, but history may have been very different without that one brown envelope. What do you think?
Cooke's of Coventry c.1898
the vocalists
coventry
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19 of 23  Wed 24th Sep 2014 6:27pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:44

Hi Mister D-Di Thanks for the correction, you are absolutely right. Grimsby competed in Division 3 for 1920/1921 season. I can only assume Lincoln went into the Northern Premier League for 1920/1921. They joined Division Three North the following season, which saw the introduction of north and south leagues for third division clubs. I absolutely agree with your sentiments regarding David Cooke. There is no doubt in my mind he saved the club from extinction. The total debt was astronomical and his actions alone put the club on a secure financial footing. It was a massive personal sacrifice by him which had repercussions many years later. I have traced descendants of the Cooke family. One of the first questions they asked me was: "Where did the money go"? My answer was simple: "To the football club". His descendants knew he was a very rich man and yet they inform me that very little of his estate was left when he died in 1932. Should myself and Joe Elliott eventually establish a football museum at the Ricoh Arena, I will ensure David Cooke receives the recognition he deserves.
Cooke's of Coventry c.1898
tobaccoman
Essex
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20 of 23  Wed 24th Sep 2014 7:54pm  
Member: Joined Dec 2013  Total posts:7

Hi The vocalists, Thanks for all the information you have taken the trouble to upload, in response to my search for facts about the company Cooke's of Coventry, it is much appreciated. Much of the detail you have supplied is new to me, and goes a long way in helping me compile facts about how this company originally got started. I now have quite a lot of information about David Cooke, and would love to know more about his company and the brands of cigarettes, cigars and tobacco that they either produced or imported. The other big question is, when did the company cease trading. Hopefully somebody will be able to provide some of these answers one day. Thanks again for your fantastic input.
Cooke's of Coventry c.1898
the vocalists
coventry
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21 of 23  Wed 24th Sep 2014 10:24pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:44

Hi Tobaccoman Glad to have helped. Thanks again for that great photograph. Good luck!
Cooke's of Coventry c.1898
MisterD-Di
Sutton Coldfield
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22 of 23  Thu 25th Sep 2014 11:20am  
Member: Joined Sep 2011  Total posts:881

On 24th Sep 2014 6:27pm, the vocalists said: Hi Mister D-Di Thanks for the correction, you are absolutely right. Grimsby competed in Division 3 for 1920/1921 season. I can only assume Lincoln went into the Northern Premier League for 1920/1921. They joined Division Three North the following season, which saw the introduction of north and south leagues for third division clubs. I absolutely agree with your sentiments regarding David Cooke. There is no doubt in my mind he saved the club from extinction. The total debt was astronomical and his actions alone put the club on a secure financial footing. It was a massive personal sacrifice by him which had repercussions many years later. I have traced descendants of the Cooke family. One of the first questions they asked me was: "Where did the money go"? My answer was simple: "To the football club". His descendants knew he was a very rich man and yet they inform me that very little of his estate was left when he died in 1932. Should myself and Joe Elliott eventually establish a football museum at the Ricoh Arena, I will ensure David Cooke receives the recognition he deserves.
Lincoln actually went into the Midland League, which they won in 1921. The first Div.3N teams came from there, the North Eastern League, the Lancashire Combination, the teams from the Central League that weren't reserve teams, and a couple from the Birmingham & District League where City's reserves were playing at the time. (This takes me back to my quizzing days when Football League History was my 'anorak' subject! Blush ) Interesting comparisons to be drawn between Cooke and Sisu, I think. It seems he was willing to risk everything for the club he loved, including reputation as well as money. Sisu, despite claiming to be bankrolling the club, seem to have no affinity at all and have never understood what a club means to its fans. This is a large factor in why we are in such a mess now. I am pleased to see that there are plans for a museum, something I know Jim Brown has suggested in the past. I may even have some items of interest for it in due course. I hope it happens, and also that the club don't abandon the Ricoh again. Having visited a few stadium museums, I am aware of how some clubs value their heritage, something City have never really done. I wish you luck.
Cooke's of Coventry c.1898
the vocalists
coventry
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23 of 23  Thu 25th Sep 2014 6:26pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:44

I do not doubt for one minute that we will need a lot of luck to get the Museum concept up and running! The idea for a Museum was mine and Joe Elliott's, and obviously Jim will be very much involved. I liked your comparison between Cooke and SISU. You probably know my feelings towards our current owner. In my opinion the move back to the Ricoh was purely a financial one to eliminate Seppala's ongoing substantial personal losses due to playing at Northampton. She is only concerned about getting her investment back. Debt to her (ARVO MASTER FUND) at the moment approximately £18 million. How many pies and pints do you have to sell at the Ricoh to get that amount back? Or will she just keep asset stripping (selling players for undisclosed fees) and syphon the money off via ARVO's legal charge on Otium? I think you know the answer.
Cooke's of Coventry c.1898

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