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John Sillett: 1936-2021

Bristol City is saddened at the passing of former coach John Sillett.

Sillett was recruited by Alan Dicks to join the club as Youth Team Coach in 1968. During his time with the youth sides at City they ventured into Europe to win tournaments in France and Holland, which included victory over Ajax in the final to win the Blauw Whit Trophy. His young City side also reached the FA Youth Cup semi-final in 1970.

Sillett played a major part in in the development of young talent coming into the club in the late 1960s and early 1970s, many of which would go on to play for the first team.

Gerry Gow, Tom Ritchie, Ray Cashley, Gary Collier, Keith Fear, and David Rodgers became regulars for many years after and also played a part of the promotion winning squad of 1976. 

Sillett was promoted to First Team coach in 1970, alongside Alan Dicks as the pair began to forge a side for the future, with signings such Gerry Sweeney and Donnie Gillies adding further quality to the team.

Dicks today paid tribute to Sillett saying: "John was a fantastic character and coach. He loved a bit of fun and would liven a room up but he could also instil discipline which is very important for young players. He taught them the right way to do things. John had the strengths you need as a coach and he went on to great things and his record speaks for itself." 

City celebrate their FA Cup Fifth Round win over Don Revie's Leeds United in 1974

Improvement in City's fortunes was evident during their 1974 FA Cup run, in which they famously beat Leeds United in the Fifth Round. Don Revie's 'Mighty Leeds' were top of Division 1 at the time and unbeaten in 29 matches.

John Sillett with Donnie Gillies after the victory over Leeds United at Elland Road

Following Sillett's departure from City he had spells as manager at Hereford Untied (1974-78), where he won the Division 3 (League 1) title in 1976.

Sillett then returned to Coventry City, where he had previously played, to take up various coaching roles with the Sky Blues between 1979-84. He would then become manager between 1986-1990 and guide Coventry City to a famous FA Cup title in 1987.

Our thoughts are with John's family and friends at this difficult time.

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