By Neil Fissler
STEVE OGRIZOVIC admits he still gets ribbed every day in the Coventry coaching room for his FA Cup-winning exploits with the Sky Blues in 1987.
And he expects Monday morning to be no different after doing this interview, talking about the greatest day in the history of the club.
Ogrizovic is currently in his 30th year serving Coventry but says he is still to watch a full re-run of the May 16 final, which saw his side famously upset Tottenham 3-2.
The Wembley showpiece was best remembered for Keith Houchen’s flying header, but the day didn’t exactly go to plan as Ogrizovic and every Coventry fan well remembers.
Clive Allen, on 48 goals for the season, gave Tottenham a dream start by putting his side ahead within two minutes and the nation sensed a massacre.
“The last thing John Sillett said before we went out was that we must keep it tight for 15 minutes and that went out of the window after 88 seconds,” said Ogrizovic.
“It was the worst possible start. Spurs were heavy favourites but we were made of sterner stuff and were confident of our own ability.
“The goal never knocked us out of our stride –in fact it was probably the opposite. We started to play some really good enough stuff after- wards and were level again quickly.
“Dave Bennett set up what a lot of people say was an exciting cup final with the equaliser. Some people have even thought it was one of the best cup finals of this era.”
The one thing a meeting between the two clubs guaranteed was goals. A meeting at Highfield Road over the Christmas break saw Coventry win 4-3 with Bennett scoring twice along with goals from Houchen and Cyrille Regis.
“We had already beaten them over Christmas. The one thing about Coventry-Spurs games were they were always very entertaining as we both liked to play football,” added Ogrizovic.
“So we knew it would be a good football contest. We had belief in our own ability even though Spurs had an incredible side. The midfield alone contained Glenn Hoddle, Chris Waddle, Ossie Ardiles and Steve Hodge.
“It had crossed our minds that if Clive got to 50 goals for the season we might lose the game and there he was on 49 after less than two minutes,” he adds.
Houchen’s diving header pulled Coventry level for a second time after Gary Mabbutt put Spurs ahead at the break. Mabbutt scored again in extra time but at the wrong end and City held on, but Ogrizovic admits it was Houchen’s goal which still lingers in the memory.
“A lot of people have said this to me and I have to agree, not just with my Sky Blues blinkers on, but that was one of the finest goals seen in a cup final,” he added.
“It was a classic British goal. I punted it up long up to Cyrille, who laid it out wide to Bennett and he put in a great cross for Keith’s diving header. It was a great goal and fitting for that final.”
1. Cyrille Regis: After coaching WBA’s reserves he became a self-employed agent before joining the Stellar agency then Cadmans IFA.
2. Steve Sedgley: Managed Kingstonian and was employed as a youth coach at Luton Town until 2007. Now runs a watersports shop in Barbados.
3. Graham Rodger: Finished his career at Grimsby where he became community officer, assistant manager and then manager before reverting back to being community officer.
4. Nick Pickering: Returned to live in the North-East where he has worked in youth coaching and on local radio before becoming a postman.
5. Keith Houchen: After managing Hartlepool he is now living in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, where he works as a football statistician, property developer and a children’s football coach.
6. Trevor Peake: Stayed with the Sky Blues as first-team coach then chief scout, before becoming assistant academy director at Leicester where he is also the Lead Pro Development Coach for the under-18s.
7. Dave Bennett: After being forced into early retirement following two leg breaks he works in the warehouse for Pearson Shared Book Company and has also appeared on local radio.
8. Ian Painter: Lives in Wombourne in Staffordshire where he has owned a sports shop IJP Sports. Also managed Bilston Town, Stafford Rangers and Hednesford Town.
9. Brian Borrows: He spent time coaching the Academy sides of Coventry and then Derby before becoming a Regional Coach for the PFA in the Midlands.
10. Jake Findlay: An Aston Villa season ticket holder who has his own business – the Jake Findlay School of Motoring.
11. Brian Kilcline: After spending time in the building trade in Spain, ‘Killer’ later became a property developer.
12. Steve Ogrizovic: After retiring he worked in the Sky Blues academy and had a spell as caretaker manager and is now the goalkeeping coach.
13. Dean Emerson: Missed the final through injury but now lives in Finham, near Coventry, and has worked for Massey Ferguson.
14. Lloyd McGrath: Lives in Coventry, where he runs a sports development company and the Hawkes Mill Social Club and recreation ground.
15. Paul Culpin: Based in Nuneaton where he works locally and coaches Barwell FC.
16. Greg Downs: Spent three years as manager of Hereford, later coaching in Norfolk where he works as a policeman in Great Yarmouth.
17. John Sillett: Remained as Coventry boss until 1990, then took charge of Hereford and scouted for a number of clubs and entertained corporate guests at Highfield Road but is now retired.
18. George Dalton: Was Coventry’s physio for over two decades but is now living in retirement near Newcastle.
19. Dave Phillips: Has worked at Coventry’s and Derby’s academy and worked in local radio and for Sky TV. His son Aaron now plays for the Sky Blues.
20. Mickey Gynn: Became a postman with his round taking in Coventry’s training ground at Ryton-on-Dunsmore and he also works as a stats man.