John Sillett has died aged 85, his family has announced. Sillett led Coventry between 1986 and 1990 and led the club to FA Cup glory in 1987 when Tottenham were beaten 3-2 in a memorable final at Wembley.
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 has accomplished … His ability to spot things tactically, to changing them during a match and improving the abilities of the players was high class, the respect he had from the best players and the kind words we have already received already underline the high esteem he was held by the world soccer.
“Dad will be remembered for his FA Cup victory, but he also guided Coventry and Hereford to their higher league positions and took Coventry to the League Cup semi-finals. He had the ability to galvanize and freeze teams – a fairly rare skill. “
Born in Southampton, Sillett was a full-back who started his career at Chelsea in 1954 and played more than 100 games for the club, winning the Premier League title in 1954-55. He also played for Coventry, helping them win the Third Division title in 1963-64, and Plymouth before becoming coach at Bristol City and then manager at Hereford.
Sillett won the Third Division with Hereford before joining the Coventry coaching team, where he later became manager. In addition to leading Coventry in the only major honor in their 138-year history, he has finished seventh and finished 10th on two occasions.
He returned to Hereford for a second stay between 1991 and 1992 and searched for England during Sven-Göran Eriksson’s tenure.
League Managers Association President Howard Wilkinson said: “He was a genuine and well-meaning gentleman, much admired in football for his honesty and professionalism. Football has lost a great servant and our thoughts and condolences go out to John’s family and friends at such a sad time. “