Robins draws on former glory
Mark Robins hopes Coventry will revive the spirit of 1987 by wearing replica shirts of their proudest day against Tottenham in the FA Cup.
The Sky Blues upset fancied Spurs 3-2 at Wembley in what was the club's first and still is their only domestic cup final, clinching the finest moment in their history. A Tottenham side boasting the likes of Ossie Ardiles, Glenn Hoddle, Clive Allen, Chris Waddle, Richard Gough and Ray Clemence, among others, were undone by Gary Mabbutt's injury-time own goal. And the romance of the FA Cup has not been lost 26 years on after the two sides were again paired together for a third-round tie at White Hart Lane. Manager Robins has himself pushed the idea of donning the club's famous Sky Blue and white stripes from that day, and they will do so in front of around 5,000 travelling City supporters.
"The thinking behind it is that it evokes the memories and it's special for the supporters," said Robins, who will be assisted in the City dugout by goalkeeping coach Steve Ogrizovic, an integral member of the club's FA Cup success.
"It's not every day you play against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, it's a great fixture for everybody involved at the club.
"It's a big game, the FA Cup is always a big deal, we want to try and remain in all the competitions for as long as possible. We're realistic as well, we know we're going into the game as massive underdogs and if we can get something then fantastic."
Coventry captain Carl Baker, 30, does not even remember City's skipper from 1987, Brian Kilcline, and admits to never having watched the final, although that may possibly change on the team coach travelling down to London. Talking about the change of strip, Baker added:
"It's a nice little touch from the club, obviously it's a nice feeling for us to play in that kit and it brings the history back. I'm sure the fans will like to see that."
Robins was fortunate enough to win the FA Cup himself as a player with Manchester United in 1990 - three years after Coventry. The former striker scored the winning goal in United's semi-final replay against hometown club Oldham, before later stepping off the bench in the famous 3-3 draw against Crystal Palace in the final at Wembley although taking the role of an unused substitute in the replay, which United won 1-0. It was Sir Alex Ferguson's first success of a now trophy-laden spell in charge, but it is an earlier round of that year's competition for which Robins is most remembered. United, struggling in the league, went to Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest in the third round. It is widely reported Ferguson's job would have come under threat had they lost, something since denied by several leading figures at the club, but Robins duly headed home a memorable winner. Asked if Ferguson ever said thank you, Robins replied:
"Would you have expected him to? I was just doing my job."
Expanding on his FA Cup memories, Robins added:
"I was 20 years of age and I had broken in, for me the cup competition was good because it gave a me foothold in and around the (United) squad.
"I scored 10 goals that season I think from Christmas time through to the end of the season. I was used sparingly, off the bench quite often.
"But that particular season was outstanding and obviously the culmination was winning the FA Cup. It was a great feeling, it's something you always remember. Something which is special and stays with you, without a shadow of a doubt."
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