30 Nov 2021


The LMA is deeply saddened following the death of former manager John Sillett, at the age of 85.

John and his brother Peter began their playing careers by following their father in signing for Southampton. The brothers then moved to Chelsea as teenagers, where John won the First Division title in 1954-55, playing more than 100 games for the club. John joined Coventry City in June 1962 and helped the club to win the Third Division title in 1963–64. In July 1966, John joined Plymouth Argyle, where he ended his playing career.

After retiring as a player, John moved into coaching and was appointed Bristol City youth coach in 1968, taking the team to the FA Youth Cup semi-finals. From 1970 to 1974, John was first team coach and played a significant part in the development of the team that gained promotion to the top flight two years after his departure from the club. In June 1974, he was appointed manager of Hereford United, and in 1975-76, the team won the Third Division title. 

In 1979, Jimmy Hill invited John to join the Coventry City coaching staff, where he remained for five years. After taking a short time away from Coventry, he returned to the club in 1985, becoming chief coach in 1986. John led Coventry to the 1987 FA Cup Final against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley, guiding them to their first major trophy. The team then reached the semi-finals of the League Cup and finished 10th twice and a club high of 7th during his tenure. John remained in charge of the club until November 1990.

In 1991, John returned to Hereford as manager for a short spell and also undertook some scouting work for the England national team under Sven-Göran Eriksson.

Paying tribute to John, LMA Chairman Howard Wilkinson said: “I have been privileged to have known John for many years. He was a genuine, well-meaning gentleman, greatly admired throughout football for his honesty and professionalism.

“Football has lost a great servant and our thoughts and condolences are with John’s family and friends at such a sad time.”

LMA Chief Executive Richard Bevan added: “John was very highly respected as a player and a manager. His contribution to football, as both a player and a coach, was extremely significant. John’s passing is a very sad loss to the game and the thoughts of everyone at the LMA are with all of John’s family and friends at this time.”