Special Feature
Cyrille Regis recalls semi final sing- song

By Steve Carpenter 16/02 Updated: 01/03 10:24

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Buy photos » Former Coventry City star Cyrille Regis. Picture by Jon Mullis 07.012.035.cov.jm1 (www.buyphotos247.com)

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Coventry City’s famous FA Cup triumph over Tottenham Hotspur, the Observer has teamed up with Coventry City’s Former Players’ Association (CCFPA) to re-capture the memories of players, managers and fans from the club’s greatest day on May 16, 1987.

This week our sports reporter Steve Carpenter spoke with the club's only international player at the time, Cyrille Regis, who revealed how a half-time sing-song during the semi-final against Leeds United helped the Sky Blues lift the cup.

"I'll always remember being 1-0 down at half time at Hillsborough against Leeds in the semi-final," Regis recalled.

"John Sillett was just about to start his half-time team talk and we all looked a bit down.

"And just as he was about to begin talking I heard Lloyd McGrath starting to sing 'Here We Go, Here We Ho, Here We Go'. It slowly went around the dressing room and all of the players picked up on it and start singing.

"Before long all the coaches and staff, even the kit man, got involved. We were all there singing away at the top of our voices for what felt about five minutes.

"That was a very special moment because it allowed us all to let out our emotions together.

"We were all great mates and it's just another example of the great togetherness we had in the squad. It was certainly a catalyst to get us to the final because Keith Houchen, Micky Gynn and Dave Bennett scored and Steve Ogrizovic pulled off some great saves late on to send us through to the final.

"Sillett and George Curtis believed in us even if the papers didn't but I have to say it was a bit of a bitter sweet semi-final for me.

"I think I tried too hard on the day when perhaps I should have been a bit more relaxed but the beauty of football is that if your having an off day your team mates can bail you out."

Regis started his career in non-league football before making a name for himself at West Bromwich Albion. He scored over 100 goals in just over 300 appearance for The Baggies, picking up the PFA Young Player of the Year award in 1978 before making the

move to Highfield Road in 1984.

And although it was a struggle to begin with, the move finally paid of for Regis when he won his only piece of silverware in 1987, scoring in the third round against Bolton and in the quarter final against Sheffield Wednesday.

"Bobby Gould bought me to Coventry along with a lot of lower league players and I have to say it was an experience fighting for relegation having been involved at a higher level at West Brom.

"It was a bit of a culture shock to begin with and looking back it was hard to enjoy your football because you under so much pressure to win and every game was a cup final.

"But we survived and that showed the team had character. We managed to dig deep and won the last three games to stay up.

"The catalyst for us to push on in 1986/87 was the introduction of Sillett and George Curtis so I think collectively we were all unhappy with the style of play under the previous manager so after speaking with us Sillett changed that.

"Like all of the boys back then, we just seemed to excel in the cup rounds and our confidence seemed to grow round after round.

"Spurs had lots of international players in their side and I think I was the only one in ours, but we had the mark over them having beaten them 4-3 in the league earlier in the season so we knew we had a chance.

"The league is always the hardest one to win out of them all but nothing is as glamorous as winning the FA Cup.

"The atmosphere on the day was amazing and you remember all of that, the 98,000 supporters screaming, but that would have meant nothing now had we not won the game.

"I'll always remember when we were on the coach leaving Wembley I was near the back of the bus and I turned round and saw the electric scoreboard inside Wembley.

"It read Coventry City 3-2 Tottenham Hotspur, and that was the moment when we all knew we had won something.

"To have played a part in Coventry's most famous day after 104 years without winning any major trophy was very special and to get the club to Wembley and win was a dream come true."

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