Saddlers mates are reunited as Marsh gets City kitted out
WALSALL legend Chris Marsh has swapped driving a lorry for a living to become Coventry City’s new kit man.
The 48-year-old’s first game in charge of the Sky Blues strip was at the Banks’s Stadium in the FA Cup just a few weeks ago, and now he’s preparing to go back to the club he loves again this weekend when the two sides meet in the league.
Marsh, who played 479 games and scored 30 goals for the Saddlers over a 13 year spell between 1988 and 2001, caused a bit of stir when he turned up with the Coventry City crest on his shirt, including when he bumped into current boss and former team-mate Dean Keates.
Marsh and Keates both played in the same side along with City manager Mark Robins and Sky Blues No.2 Adi Viveash.
“Dean was my boot boy actually. He was bad at that as well – a dreadful boot boy,” joked the former winger turned right-back.
“My first game in the job was back at Walsall.
“I turned up at the Banks’s and Dean saw me wearing the badge and he said, ‘What on earth are you doing?’
“I told him that Robbo – I call him gaffer now – had given me an opportunity and he was pleased for me.”
Marsh couldn’t be happier to be back in the game, revealing the offer came out of the blue.
“I was on holiday and I got a call from Mark Robins and he asked me if I could come and help,” said the bubbly character, who also played for Northampton Town and Wycombe Wanderers.
“He said there was a vacancy and asked if I fancied getting back into football.
“Obviously being a kit man you are not on the training ground but you still see the lads every day and it’s great getting back into that environment which I enjoyed all those years ago.
“I had 18/19 years as a professional so it’s great to be back in the game and the lads are fantastic.
“I know the manager and Adi Viveash from our time at Walsall. I played with both and Adi, especially, is a very good friend and Mark is a great man so I am really grateful of the opportunity and I’m loving every moment of it.” He added: “I only live down the road, quite literally from the training ground, at Bubbenhall. “Although I am from the Black Country I have been settled in Warwickshire for the last 15 years and I love the county. “And it just so happened that I ended up a mile and a half away from the training ground, which is brilliant. It couldn’t be better and obviously I am on tap now to open up and lock up, so maybe there’s a caretaker role in there as well! “I am chuffed to bits, to be honest, because I have always wanted to get back into football. Being back in football is brilliant. I can’t speak highly enough about the lads who have been making me feel really welcome.
“I made almost 500 appearances for Walsall but no-one ever gave me an opportunity so I am so grateful for being given this chance.”
Up until recently Marsh was driving lorries for a living after a being involved in various catering businesses with varying degrees of success.
“Since I retired from playing I invested in a sandwich shop in the Black Country that did really well and then I invested in a restaurant which went belly up,” he said.
“I coached abroad in Australia and America for a while and then came back and became a HGV driver, which is what I have been doing for the last five or six years, driving for a living.
“But being back in football, health-wise, this is just brilliant for me. There’s no more sleeping in my cab and although I am working weekends now it’s great being involved with the first team on a matchday.
“I can’t speak highly enough about the lads who have been absolutely fantastic, all making me feel welcome.
“Doyler is a great player who keeps the team ticking and he has been brilliant with me.”
So having a foot in both camps, where do his loyalties lie as City attempt to made amends for their 3-2 defeat Cup exit this weekend when they return to take face the Saddlers in the league?
“It’s a difficult one for me because obviously I have been back to Walsall loads of times and I love watching them,” he said.
“You don’t play nearly 500 games for a club and not feel anything for them.