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INTERVIEW: "He'll be truly missed"

Mark Robins pays homage to former City boss...

4 December 2021

Sky Blues boss Mark Robins reflected on a difficult week for the football club with the passing of FA Cup winning manager John Sillett.

Sillett initially joined the club in 1962 as a player, helping win the Third Division title in 1964 before departing two years later and after returning in a coaching capacity between 1979 and 1984. He then returned the following year before being installed as First Team Coach in 1986 ahead of the greatest season in the club’s history and Robins spoke of Sillett’s love for the club.

“Firstly, it was really sad, I’d seen him a couple of weeks ago and spoke to him and as always, he was unbelievably supportive, loved the football club and loved the role he played throughout his career and being Life President, so it was just sad news when I heard it.” Robins said.

“Obviously I’ve spoke with his son Neil and Jean his wife and it was really sad and he’ll be truly missed.

“People don’t see it but he was really supportive, he’d come and have lunch with me from time to time and we’d speak, not frequently but frequently enough.

“He’d come to the games, and he was a larger-than-life character, he had loads of different interests horse racing one of them alongside football, but his main topic of conversation was Coventry City.

“I enjoyed having our conversations and we’ll miss him no doubt.”

Robins praised the ‘unbreakable bond’ Sillett and his side created along the way to FA Cup glory, with the side still meeting up to this day almost 35 years a true testament to this.

“I spoke with Steve Ogrizovic in the week and that was one of the things that leaves that feeling with you, the fact that they all meet up regularly and get together and sadly there are some of them no longer with us.

“But all those lads have got an unbreakable bond and he put that together, both him and George (Curtis), and to lose them both in such a short space of time is really sad and his legacy is there for everybody to see.

“There is a tangible one there with the players and the bond that he built with the players and the spirit within the camp that remains to this day.”

Robins believes it will be an emotional day for the club when his players step out against West Bromwich Albion at the Coventry Building Society Arena and hopes his side can put in a strong performance like that one on that day at Wembley.

“I think the people that knew him and the supporters that obviously knew him and loved him, they’ll want to pay their respects and rightly so, like we did with George, and it’s sad that two such big characters with a big history with the football club we’ve lost them in such a short space of time, so it’s been a difficult week for us really.

“The importance of the club to everybody connected is there for everybody to see, the supporters have followed through thick and thin it’s been thin and thin for some years and 1987 was a big, big year for the football club and obviously when we talk about John Sillett and George Curtis that’s the date everybody remembers, and it was such a good Cup Final as well.

“The players will concentrate on the football there is no doubt about it but some of them knew John and met him, some of them haven’t but everyone will know him.

“The fact the support is there, and you’ll get that feeling, you’ll certainly get that feeling but I’m hoping it’ll be a celebration because I am sure that is what he would have wanted but whatever the family want is paramount.

“He is held in such high regard by everybody and with his passing this week everybody will feel that keenly and hopefully we can win the game for him and in a week as poignant as this one we want to give a good performance again.”


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