John Sillett, FA Cup-winning manager with Coventry, dies aged 85

Sillett masterminded a famous 3-2 victory over Tottenham at Wembley in 1987

John Sillett (second left) with Coventry’s 1987 FA Cup winning side. Photograph: PA

John Sillett (second left) with Coventry’s 1987 FA Cup winning side. Photograph: PA

 

John Sillett, who steered Coventry to FA Cup glory in 1987, has died at the age of 85.

Sillett managed Coventry between 1986 and 1990 and masterminded a memorable 3-2 Wembley final win over Tottenham.

A statement from the Sillett family read: “Obviously the family are really saddened by Dad’s passing but we are all so proud of him and what he achieved.”

The statement added: “His ability to spot things tactically, change them during a game and enhance the abilities of players was top class, the respect he had from top people in the game and the kind words we have already received already underline the high regard in which he was held by the football world.

“Dad will be remembered for his FA Cup win but he also guided Coventry and Hereford to their highest League positions as well as taking Coventry to a League Cup semi-final. He had the ability to galvanise and gel teams — a skill quite rare.”

Southampton-born Sillett was a full-back who began his career at Chelsea in 1954 and went on to play over 100 games for the Blues.

Sillett later played for Coventry and Plymouth before moving into management at Hereford.

He returned to Hereford for a second spell between 1991 and 1992 after leading Coventry to the only major honour in their 138-year history.

Coventry posted a picture of their former boss on Twitter alongside a blue heart emoji, with a full tribute on their website.

It read: “Coventry City Football Club are devastated to learn of the death of Sky Blues icon John Sillett.

“‘Snoz’ will forever be loved and remembered by Sky Blues fans and all who met him, who will remember a larger-than-life character who loved football and Coventry City.

“A hugely respected and loved figure in the game, John Sillett’s name is indelibly etched into Coventry City’s history, and the thoughts and condolences of everyone at Coventry City Football Club and of the whole Sky Blue community are with John’s family and friends at this very sad time.”

The League Managers’ Association said in a statement it was “deeply saddened”.

“I have been privileged to have known John for many years,” chairman Howard Wilkinson said.

“He was a genuine, well-meaning gentleman, greatly admired throughout football for his honesty and professionalism.

“Football has lost a great servant and our thoughts and condolences are with John’s family and friends at such a sad time.”

LMA chief executive Richard Bevan added: “John was very highly respected as a player and a manager.

“His contribution to football, as both a player and a coach, was extremely significant.

“John’s passing is a very sad loss to the game and the thoughts of everyone at the LMA are with all of John’s family and friends at this time.”

Sky Blues cup winner David Phillips also paid tribute, tweeting: “Truly a sad day as the great John Sillett has passed away. A man of greatness who along with George (Curtis) brought the city of Coventry their greatest sporting moment in 87.

“I will miss him as we all will. God Bless you. Thoughts are with Jean, Neil and the rest of the family.”

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