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Brian Kilcline lifts the lid on his FA Cup memories

By Steve Carpenter 16/05 Updated: 16/05 11:28

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Buy photos » Captain Brian Kilcline collects the FA Cup on behalf of the Sky Blues in 1987. (S)

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.

In our final interview of the series, our sports reporter Steve Carpenter was invited along to have an exclusive chat with iconic skipper Brian Kilcline, whose inspirational leadership led his team to glory.

The images of Kilcline leading his squad up the famous Wembley steps to collect the FA Cup trophy is one that will be forever remembered amongst Sky Blues supporters.

But despite a series of courageous performances en-route to the final, 'Killer', as he was nicknamed by supporters, refused to take any individual credit for the club's famous cup win.

And instead insisted on paying tribute to his “wonderful” team mates, including his defensive partner Trevor Peake.

"I don't feel I was a leader, our team didn't have a specific leader, we had 15 leaders that season," Kilcline told the Observer.

"If one player was having a problem, somebody else would look after them, so I don't think there was one person that stood out as a leader.

"Trevor Peake was one of the most underrated players I have played with because he was a very, very good player and he needed to be a good player to play alongside me!

"We also had an understanding. I went up and tried to play football and he picked up the pieces.

"And when anyone else came into the team it just seemed to carry on and work really well.

"But I don't think 1987 was about leadership or camaraderie, it was just something that happened.

"We were 15 people, as the players and management, that were very lucky because we were together at the right time and in the right place and did the right thing."

The Sky Blues picked up momentum round by round as they knocked out Bolton, Manchester United, Stoke City, Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United en-route to the final.

But Kilcline revealed how his feet remained firmly on the ground and he didn't think about his side's chances of lifting the cup until it became a reality at the final whistle.

"The only time I realised we had won the FA Cup was when I was actually walking up to collect the cup.

"I didn't think about winning it once throughout the earlier rounds or during the final.

"But at the same time I didn't think we were down and out when we went 1-0 down.

"And to be fair we were a bit of a bogey side for Spurs back then having been involved in a number of close encounters both at home and away, so you never quite knew what could happen.

"Football is a funny old game. In football winning is a habit and for some reason Coventry got into the habit of winning that season.

"The games couldn't come around quick enough and we were enjoying every minute of it.

"At the end of the day I was a person that just loved playing football and nothing else really mattered.

"The supporters were brilliant too. They came out in their numbers for every game we played.

"I don't know what the rest of the lads think but there's that old saying 'it's never over until the fat lady sings' and that was the case for Coventry City in 1987."

Kilcline joined the Sky Blues from Notts County in 1984 and spent seven years at the club before joining Oldham in 1991.

He still looks back on his time at the club as some of the most enjoyable of his career and when asked what the most memorable moment was he simply grinned and said "3-2."

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Buy photos» 1987: Captain Brian Kilcline of Coventry raises the trophy aloft after their victory in the FA Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium in London. Coventry won the match 3-2. \ Mandatory Credit: David Cannon/Allsport

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