20th Sep, 2018

INTERVIEW: 1987 FA Cup boss John Sillett's inspirational words to team for Wembley where he's Coventry City's guest of honour

Les Reid 31st Mar, 2017

LEGENDARY Coventry City 1987 FA Cup-winning joint boss John Sillett has some words of inspiration for the team on Sunday, when he will be the club’s ‘guest of honour’ in the royal box at the new Wembley.

The talismanic figure, who will also be introduced to the 72,000-plus crowd on the pitch before kick-off, told the Coventry Observer today: “I’d be saying to them, ‘you’ve got the chance of a lifetime to be an idol for the city of Coventry.

“Go out and make sure your game is better than your opponent’s.

“Run more than him. Make more tackles than him. Make sure you make better passes than him. And enjoy the day.

“Stick your chest out as you go out down the tunnel and hear that magnificent roar. It’ll make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

“That shocked me when the lads came out. I couldn’t believe the noise.

“Go and enjoy the moment. And then one day, you can say to your children and your grandchildren, ‘I was there.’ When we were kids we would always pretend we were playing at Wembley.

“Be able to tell them that you never had an ounce left and you gave it your all. Be able to look in the mirror and say to yourself, ‘I did that’.

Alongside joint manager George Curtis, Sillett’s words of inspiration on the pitch at the old Wembley are still fondly remembered by the players who say it helped inspire them to go out and ‘make history’. They won the FA Cup for the first time in the club’s 104-year existence, beating a star-studded Tottenham Hotspur side – a feat which remains a key highlight of the entire city’s and football’s own history.

Asked by us about being the club’s guest of honour for the Checkatrade Trophy return to Wembley for the first time in 30 years, he said: “It was great to have the club’s chairman Tim Fisher phone me and to say I was invited as a special guest.

“I’ve had some things to say about the club in the past, but it was big of them. I do think they will be doing something for the players to mark the 30th year anniversary as well.” added Sillett, who agreed that many parties were responsible for the club’s demise, and for putting it right.

He continued: “So I will go back to Wembley as the club’s guest and I am looking forward to it.

“It will bring back so many memories. I never forget of course, but there are perhaps small things that you do forget. Hopefully, they will come back.

“Going down Wembley Way in 1987 was tremendous. When the boys suspended playing cards, and said ‘let’s put the cards down boys and take this in’, you knew then it was something special! They loved playing cards! It was so magnificent, our fans were magnificent. We want to bring those memories back.

“It’s wonderful for the supporters who have had a shocking year. We’re going to go down, let’s be honest. Even if we won all those games, results for the other clubs aren’t all going to go the right way.

“But Mark Robins is a very good manager. And this is a great opportunity to get the support back into Coventry.

“To have 40,000 fans going to Wembley for a team that’s struggling is amazing for the city.

“It shows the heart is there for the football club if you could only get it back to where it belongs.

“The way to do it in my opinion is to come away with that Trophy. I don’t care if it’s an egg cup.

“Let’s say, ‘this is the start of next year.’

“Let’s say we’re a good team a let’s have a wonderful season.

“If they win their first three or four games, the fans will be queuing up again.”

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