Sillet, the English coach who spotted Ndlovu, dies

01 Dec, 2021 - 00:12 0 Views
Sillet, the English coach who spotted Ndlovu, dies John Sillett

The Herald

FORMER Coventry City manager John Sillett, the man who recommended the club to sign Peter Ndlovu, has died at the age of 85.

Sillet guided the Sky Blues to FA Cup victory in 198.

He managed Coventry City, between 1986-90, and was at the helm when the club beat Tottenham 3-2 in the final at Wembley for their first major trophy.

Ndlovu was originally spotted by Sillett who recommended the man who succeeded him, as boss at Coventry City, Terry Butcher, to sign the former Zimbabwe captain.

Butcher went with the recommendation and signed Ndlovu from Highlanders in June 1991.

The following year, the Zimbabwean became the first African footballer, to play in the English Premiership.

“We went on a pre-season tour to Zimbabwe and played against their national side,’’ said Sillet. ‘’Both Adam and Peter were playing for them.

“Afterwards, I said, ‘what chance have we got of getting the two of them to England?

“We were allowed to bring both of them over. I wanted to sign both of them, but the board would only let me sign one of them.

“Adam went off to Switzerland and had a good career, but Peter was the most talented player I have ever seen. They were both cracking lads, and were very, very close as brothers.’’

Ndlovu’s hat-trick against Liverpool in the 1994/95 season stands out as one of his most important performances in a Coventry shirt ever, becoming the first away player to score a hat-trick against Reds at Anfield in thirty years.

Following his incredible performances for Coventry, Arsenal made a £4 million bid for his services which was swiftly rejected.

That transfer would have made him the most expensive player in the English football at the time.

Ndlovu played 154 games for Coventry, netting 34 goals and 13 assists between 1992 and 1997.

Sillet played as a full-back, beginning his career as a player at Chelsea and made more than 100 appearances for the club, winning the First Division title in 1954-55.

He played for Coventry and Plymouth Argyle before moving into management.

“Obviously the family are really saddened by dad’s passing but we are all so proud of him and what he achieved,” a statement from Sillett’s family said.

“His ability to spot things tactically, change them during a game and enhance the abilities of players was top class, the respect he had from top people in the game and the kind words we have already received already underline the high regard in which he was held by the football world.” After starting his career at Chelsea, Southampton-born Sillett became Jimmy Hill’s first signing at Coventry in 1962 for £3,000. He went on to make 128 appearances for the Sky Blues and was part of the team that won promotion to Division Two in 1962-63.

Sillett left Coventry three years later for Plymouth, where he ended his playing career, before being appointed a youth coach at Bristol City.

He moved into management with Hereford in 1974, where he won the Third Division title, and returned to the club in 1991-2 after his time at Coventry came to an end.’’ — Sports Reporter/BBC Sport

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