FA Cup Week continues with a look back to a final that the legendary John Motson said was “the finest Cup Final I’ve had the pleasure of commentating on”. 1987 saw Coventry City (aided by Keith Houchen’s famous goal) defeated Tottenham 3-2 after extra time to win their first and only FA Cup in a match that featured no bookings. Let’s continue with a look at the side that won Coventry their only FA Cup to date…
Note: There were only two named substitutes in the squad
1. Steve Ogrizovic (Goalkeeper)
Considered by many to be the best keeper never to play for England, “Oggy” went on to make 601 appearances for Coventry in all competitions which is still a record. Throughout his time at Coventry, the club flirted with relegation from the top flight seven times but survived each time. He was the oldest active goalkeeper in Premier League in the 1997-98 season when he was first choice before eventually being replaced by new signing Magnus Hedman. He retired in the summer of 2000 after playing his final game for Coventry at the age of 42. He moved into coaching at the club and has held a number of positions including caretaker manager, reserve team manager and his current role – goalkeeping coach.
2. David Phillips (Right Back)
A versatile and hard-working midfielder, Phillips was deployed at right back in the cup final. The Welsh international remained at the club for another two seasons before he was sold on to Norwich in 1989. He was Norwich’s record signing and helped the side to a memorable 3rd place finish in the Premier League in 1993. He left that summer after a contract dispute and joined Nottingham Forest who had recently been relegated. He helped the club back into the Premier League and stayed with the club until 1997. He had two seasons at Huddersfield and a season apiece at Lincoln and Stevenage, Phillips retired in 2001.
3. Greg Downs (Left Back)
A dependable left back, Downs stayed with Coventry until 1990. He had a disappointing spell at Birmingham in the Third Division before joining Hereford in 1991. Downs was at Hereford for three seasons, two of which he was player-manager before being replaced and released in 1994. After leaving Hereford, he had a number of spells at non-league sides but retired from being a professional in 1995. He joined the police after his retirement and his most recent stint in football was as assistant manager at non-league Wroxham between 2006 and 2007.
4. Lloyd McGrath (Centre Midfield)
McGrath, who started his career at Coventry, provided the assist for Gary Mabbutt’s winning own goal in extra time. A hard working midfielder, remained at the club until 1994 when he left for Portsmouth. He spent the rest of his career at Portsmouth and retired in 1997. McGrath now is a licensee at Hawkesmill Social Club in Coventry.
5. Brian Kilcline (Centre Back/Captain)
Possibly the definition of a no-nonsense centre back, Kilcine was substituted with just a minute of normal time to go due to an injury sustained in an earlier clash with Gary Mabbutt. He remained with the Sky Blues until 1991 when he joined newly promoted Oldham. His time there was short and uneventful and he moved on to become Kevin Keegan’s first signing at Newcastle in 1992. He was appointed club captain immediately and is regarded by Keegan and others as his most important signing as Kilcline’s leadership and bravery helped keep them up. He left Newcastle in 1994 for a brief spell at Swindon. He joined Mansfield in 1995 and had a spell with Halifax before retiring in 1998.
6. Trevor Peake (Centre Back)
Kilcline’s partner at the back, Peake remained at Coventry until 1991. He left the club and saw out the rest of his career at Luton where he slowly began to transition towards coaching during the 1997-98 season. He returned to Coventry in February 1998 as a youth team coach before moving up to coach the reserves. He, alongside Ogrizovic, was caretaker manager for one game in 2002 before he became the chief scout. He was made redundant by the club in 2003. He immediately found work at Leicester City under former teammate Micky Adams. He started as a youth coach with the club before moving up to his current role as assistant academy director at Leicester. He also takes charge of the under 18 side at the club.
7. Dave Bennett (Right Midfield)
The man of the match of the 1987 final, Bennett scored Coventry’s first goal after 8 minutes and supplied the cross for Keith Houchen’s famous equaliser in the second half. Bennett was a regular for the Sky Blues until 1988 when he lost his place in the side. He left Coventry in 1989 for Sheffield Wednesday and was part of the side that was relegated in 1990. He moved to Swindon that year but, in only his second game with the club, he broke his leg. Out for a year, Bennett was sent on loan to Shrewsbury to get match fitness. In a cruel twist of fate, he broke his leg again in his second game on loan and in 1992, Bennett called time on his career. He is immortalised in Convetry’s Hall of Fame at the Ricoh Arena and currently works as a radio pundit for local radio covering Coventry matches.
8. Micky Gynn (Centre Midfield)
A diminutive figure in the Coventry midfield, Gynn spent a decade with Coventry. He appeared in over 250 games for the Sky Blues before leaving in 1993. He joined Stoke and played 29 times for them before retiring in 1994. He began working as a postman in the Coventry area following his retirement and now works as a match statistician for the Press Association.
9. Cyrille Regis (Striker)
An England international and one of the key figures in the acceptance of black footballers into the English game, Regis played the entire match against Spurs. His goals were crucial as Coventry established themselves in the top tier in the 1980s. He left Coventry in 1991 to reunite with former boss Ron Atkinson at Aston Villa. He was Villa’s key man in his first season at the club but his opportunities were limited as Villa finished second in the inaugural Premier League season. He moved to Wolves in 1993 but again struggled for game time. He left in 1994 and, after seasons with Wycombe and Chester, Regis retired in 1996. Regis moved into coaching for a while before becoming an accredited football agent.
10. Keith Houchen (Striker)
The scorer of arguably the most famous Cup final goal in history, Houchen is a cult figure amongst Coventry fans. Oddly, his famous goal (the 1987 Goal of the Season) helped to reduce his game time as he was replaced by David Speedie. Houchen rarely got a run in the side after the final and by 1989 was off to Scotland with Hibernian. His spell north of the border was moderately successful but after run-ins with fans and management, he returned to England with Port Vale in 1991. He helped Vale to the play-offs in 1993 but left after falling out manager John Rudge. He returned to first club Hartlepool in 1993 and by 1995 was player-manager. After injury ended his career, Houchen left Hartlepool in November of that year due to poor performances and general frustration with the club. Following his departure from Hartlepool, Houchen did some youth coaching as well as moving into the property business and collecting statistics for the Press Association.
11. Nick Pickering (Left Midfield)
An England international in his teens, Pickering was a key component in Coventry’s midfield. He left Coventry only a year after the final for Derby County where he had three reasonable seasons. He joined Darlington in 1991 before moving to Burnley in 1993. He retired from football in 1994. Following his retirement, Pickering has done some youth coaching and radio work in the North East of England.
12. Steve Sedgley (Midfielder)
An unused substitute in the final, Sedgley was developed by Coventry in the mid-late 1980s. He moved to Tottenham in 1989 and was a first team regular throughout his time there as the top tier developed into the Premier League in the early 1990s and helped Spurs to the FA Cup in 1991. He moved to Ipswich in 1994 and made over 100 appearances for the club before joining Wolves in 1997. He finished his career at Molineux and retired in 2000. He moved into coaching and was appointed manager of non-league Kingstonian in October 2001. He lasted just over a year before resigning citing differences with the club. He also did some youth coaching at Luton between 2005 and 2007.
14. Graham Rodger (Defender)
A late substitute for injured captain Kilcline, Rodger supplied the pass for McGrath to cross for the winner in extra time. A bit part player with Coventry, Rodger left Coventry to join Luton in 1989. He was again a backup player and left Luton to join Grimsby in 1992. Rodger was a regular at the heart of Grimsby’s defence up until his release and retirement in 1998. He returned to the club in a community coaching role in 1999 before moving onto the coaching staff shortly after. He was made assistant manager to Paul Groves in 2001 and served as caretaker when Groves was sacked in 2004. He stayed on the coaching staff through two managers before being appointed boss in 2006. His spell in charge was disappointing and he was sacked after three months in charge. Rodger was brought back shortly after to be a community coach and scout at Grimsby, a position he still holds to date.
George Curtis (Manager)
The former holder of most appearances for Coventry, Curtis is an undoubted legend at the club. Appointed alongside John Sillett as co-managers, Curtis only spent a season in charge, leaving not long after the cup final. He is also a member of the Coventry Hall of Fame along with a number of other members of the Cup final winning team.
John Sillett (Manager)
A former Coventry player as well, the Cup victory saw Sillett appointed manager on his own following the victory. He led the club to its most successful years in the top flight with the lowest league position he achieved being 12th. He was sacked in November 1990 while at home recovering from an illness. He returned to Hereford (his first managerial job) in 1991 but his only season there was a disappointment as he struggled to revive the success of his first spell in the 1970s. Following his departure from Hereford in 1992, Sillett became a TV pundit for a while where his larger than life character made him a success. He has also done some scouting work over the years, most notably with the England national side when Sven-Goran Eriksson was in charge in the early 2000s.
Stay tuned for more FA Cup Week on The Long Ball with a new final covered tomorrow. Can you guess what year it is?