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FEATURE: The boys of 87

We take a look at the Sky Blues FA Cup winning squad...

16 May 2017

We profile the squad that took the Sky Blues to the FA Cup Final at Wembley, and who beat Spurs 3-2 after extra time on 16th May 1987:

Goalkeeper – Steve Ogrizovic:
The Mansfield born, 6ft 4 keeper signed from Shrewsbury in June 1984 for £72,500. At 29, he was making his first Wembley appearance after being on the bench three times for Liverpool and was an integral part of the Sky Blues defence that thwarted Spurs for long periods on that sunny day.
Rewarded a testimonial in 1994, Oggy made a total of 601 appearances for the Sky Blues before hanging up his boots in 2000. He moved behind the scenes upon retirement from playing with roles including Academy Manager and Reserve Team Manager and is now Goalkeeping Coach for the Sky Blues.
He led out the team alongside Mark Robins at the Checkatrade Trophy win against Oxford at the new Wembley this year.
Right-Back – David Phillips:
A 23 year old Welsh international who started his career at Plymouth, he joined the Sky Blues from Man City for a fee of £100k in May 1986.
Normally a midfielder, the versatile Phillips filled in at right back in place of the injured Brian Borrows and hardly put a foot wrong in the final. 
He left the Sky Blues in 1989, moving to Norwich.  Phillips had spells at Nottingham Forest in the Premier League, plus Huddersfield, Lincoln and Stevenage before retiring in 2001. He is now a commentator on La Liga Football for Sky Sports.
Centre half – Brian Kilcline:
The 6ft 2 captain was signed for £60,000 from hometown club Notts County in June 1984. A hamstring injury meant he had missed 14 games in 1986/87, but he recovered to lead the Sky Blues at Wembley.
He had an eventful Final. Towering and powerful in the air for the most part, it was a coming together between him and Gary Mabbutt which directly lead to the Spurs second goal. Kilcline’s match was cut short by an injury picked up in a foul committed on Mabbutt – but he recovered to climb the steps to the Royal Box and lift the trophy. 
Killer stayed with City until 1991, joining Oldham. He moved onto Newcastle in 1992, where he was Kevin Keegan’s first signing and captain, and lead them to promotion before brief spells at Swindon, Mansfield and Halifax before retiring in 1998. Backpacking, arm wrestling and property renovation in the UK and Spain are among the activities that have occupied Killer’s time since. 
Centre-half – Trevor Peake:
The 30 year old started at non–league Nuneaton Borough, before moving to Lincoln City – from where the Sky Blues signed him in 1983. In an eight year spell at the Sky Blues encompassing 334 appearances, the cultured defender was unlucky not to receive international recognition.
Pinpointed by BBC pundit and former City Manager Jimmy Hill as the Sky Blues’ key man in the build-up, he proved accomplished throughout – even rescuing Oggy when the Sky Blues keeper was in trouble when dribbling too far outside his box in the first half.
Peake retired in 1998, becoming Sky Blues reserve team coach under Gordon Strachan. Following the appointment of Gary McAllister he became chief scout, but left the club in 2003. In the same year, he joined Leicester’s Academy, and is now assistant academy director.
Left-Back - Greg Downs:
The 28 year old had already had a 9 year spell with Norwich City, before joining Coventry City in 1985. He would play 146 league games, scoring 4 times, in a five year spell with the Sky Blues.
Tasked with marking Chris Waddle, Downs kept the England winger quiet and played in the cross for Keith Houchen to set up Dave Bennett’s opener for the City. 
He would move on to Birmingham City and then Hereford. At Hereford, he was brought in by John Sillett but when ‘Snoz’ left in April 1992, it was Downs who replaced him for a two year spell in charge.  Downs retired from professional football in 1995, joining the police force. However, he still played non-league into his forties.
Right-Midfield - David Bennett:
Scorer of the opening goal for the Sky Blues and some people’s man of the match, ‘Benno’ was a lively presence in the City team who kept fans on the edge of their seats with his pace and exciting dribbling ability.
He had already appeared in a Wembley Cup Final, for Man City in their 1981 defeat to Spurs after a replay. He signed for Coventry City from Cardiff City in 1983, making 209 appearances and scoring 35 goals before switching to Sheffield Wednesday in 1989.
An injury hit spell at Swindon followed, before appearing in non league for Nuneaton Borough. ‘Benno’ recently worked as a radio pundit, and is on the committee of the Coventry City Former Players Association.
Centre Midfield - Lloyd McGrath:
A Cov Kid, McGrath’s job was to man mark Spurs’ creative force Glenn Hoddle – a job which he excelled at. In extra time, 22 year-old McGrath found himself free on the right hand side and it was his cross which hit Gary Mabbut’s knee for the Sky Blues winner.
He made his debut for the club in May 1984, and in a ten year spell the hard working midfielder would make 258 appearances. 
He moved to Portsmouth for three years, before hanging up his boots. He now owns the Hawkesmill Sports & Social Club in Coventry. 
Centre Midfield - Micky Gynn:
Signed from hometown club Peterborough, the midfielder made almost 300 appearances for the Sky Blues from 1983 to 1993.
The energetic midfielder was unlucky not to score in the Final, foiled by Ray Clemence. He scored important goals during the FA Cup run, particularly during the semi-final win over Leeds. 
Gynn moved to Stoke City in 1993, but was awarded an overdue testimonial by the Sky Blues in 2005 against Spurs in one of the final games at Highfield Road. After retirement he became a postman, with his patch once including the Ryton training ground, and covers Sky Blues matches for Press Association.
Left Midfield – Nick Pickering:
Joining from Sunderland in 1986, the one-cap England international played 94 times for the Sky Blues and scored 10 goals. 
One of the few City players to have previously appeared at Wembley, losing in the 1985 Milk Cup with Sunderland. He was a regular at Highfield Road, but left in 1988 to join Derby County.
Spells with Darlington and Burnley followed, before retirement in 1994. Pickering has since worked in youth coaching and local radio, before becoming a postman.
Striker – Cyrille Regis:
Regis started his career at West Bromwich Albion, making over 240 league appearances from 1977 to 1984 and was managed by future City boss Ron Atkinson.
A seven year stay at Highfield Road followed for the popular England striker, where he was a strong and powerful presence in the City attack. His form for the Sky Blues led to a Three Lions recall in October 1987. Regis made a total of 281 appearances for the Sky Blues, finding the net 62 times.
His tour of the Midlands continued with spells at Aston Villa and Wolves, before appearing at Wycombe and Chester City too. The Sky Blues faced West Bromwich Albion in a testimonial for Regis at Highfield Road in 1999. He had a brief spell as a coach at West Brom, before becoming a football agent.
Striker- Keith Houchen:
His diving header equaliser will go down as one of the great FA Cup Final goals of all time, and picked up Match of the Day Goal of the Season. Though never a prolific scorer for the Sky Blues, the 26 year old enjoyed the FA Cup and netted five times in the 1987 run.
After playing for Hartlepool, Leyton Orient and York City, Houchen joined the Sky Blues from Scunthorpe in 1986. He would move to Hibernian in 1989, before spells at Port Vale and Hartlepool again. He was ‘Pools’ Manager from April 1995 to November 1996.
After retiring as a player, Houchen spent his time coaching at schools and at the Middlesbrough Academy, collecting football statistics for the Press Association, and renting out properties.
Substitute - Graham Rodger
20 year-old defender Rodger replaced the injured Kilcline in the Final, and it was his ball which released McGrath for the decisive goal.
Signed from Wolves in 1985, he played 43 times for the club before leaving in 1988 for Luton Town.
Rodger finished his career at Grimsby where he became community officer, assistant manager and then Manager before reverting back to being community officer.
Unused Substitute - Steve Sedgley 
Starting his career at the Sky Blues, he was an unused substitute at Wembley but played over 100 times for the club from 1986 to 1989. Similarly long spells at Tottenham, Ipswich and Wolves followed, after which he retired in 2000.
Managed Kingstonian from 2001-02 and was employed as a youth coach at Luton Town from 2005 to 2007. Now runs a watersports shop in Barbados.
Brian Borrows
Borrows twisted his knee seven days before the Final and missed the game – a match in which he would almost certainly have started. His name was chanted many times that afternoon, however he did play in the Charity Shield versus Everton later in the year.
The dependable right back played 488 times for the Sky Blues, scoring 13 goals. Don Mackay signed Borrows from Bolton Wanderers for £80k in 1985 and he was unlucky not to win a full England cap during his career. At the age of 36 he left the Sky Blues in 1997 for Swindon Town, where made 40 league appearances until retirement in 1999. 
He spent time coaching in the Sky Blues and then Derby before becoming a Regional Coach for the PFA in the Midlands.
Dean Emerson
Emerson featured in the cup run, but was also unfortunate to miss out through a knee injury. A powerhouse midfielder signed from Rotherham in October 1986, Emerson played over 130 times for the Sky Blues before leaving the club in 1992. Spells at Hartlepool, Stockport and Preston followed ahead of retirement, after which Emerson worked at Massey Ferguson in Coventry.  
Chief Coach - John Sillett
Began his playing career as a rugged full back for Chelsea, partnering brother Peter. Played for the Sky Blues under Jimmy Hill from 1962-66 (he was Hill’s first signing), then Plymouth. He coached Bristol City, and managed Hereford from 1974 to 1978 before re-joining the Sky Blues as assistant coach in 1979 when invited to return by Hill. He left again in 1984, returning once more in 1985 under Don Mackay. 
When Mackay left in 1986, Sillett and George Curtis were put in charge for the final three games and kept the Sky Blues up. After leading the club to FA Cup glory, Snoz was promoted to first team manager.
In Sillett's four full seasons in charge the league placings were 10th, 10th, 7th and 12th, but he was sacked in November 1990. In 1991, he returned to Hereford for a brief spell which proved to be his final managerial role.
He would go on to be a pundit for Central TV, a matchday host at Highfield Road and a scout for Sven Goran Eriksson’s England side. In 2011, he was made Life President of the Sky Blues.  
Managing Director: George Curtis:
Curtis was City’s “Iron Man” centre half in over 500 games from 1955 to 1969, across five divisions and captained the club for 10 years. He moved onto Aston Villa, hanging up his boots in 1972. 
Curtis became Sky Blues Commercial Manager in July 1974, then Executive Director in 1983 and Managing Director from 1986. 
He took charge alongside John Sillett initially for a three game period when Don Mackay left at the end of the 1985/86 season, but stayed on and he and Sillett ran the team in the FA Cup winning season.
Curtis relinquished first team duties after the FA Cup victory when Sillett was appointed first team manager, but continued as a club director. In honour of a lifetime’s service, a suite at Highfield Road was named after him (the only former player to receive such an honour) and he was made Life President of the club in 2012. 

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