Kitman Chris Marsh overcomes illness to help support Coventry’s promotion push

By Sports Desk May 12, 2023

Coventry have been preparing for their Premier League assault as popular Sky Blues kitman Chris Marsh fights sepsis.

The former Walsall defender was admitted to University Hospital Coventry this week with the infection which stemmed from a problem in his neck.

He missed Monday’s final day 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough but will be in the dressing room for Sunday’s Championship play-off semi-final first leg against the same opponents at the CBS Arena on Sunday, although cannot work as he recovers.

The effervescent Marsh credits club doctor Ganeshan Ramsamy for acting quickly and knows there could have been a very different outcome.

He told the PA news agency: “I thought it was a wasp sting but I had a really bad night’s sleep so when I came into the training ground the next day (Sunday), I saw the club doctor and he said ‘we need to rush you to A&E’.

“He was worried it was Mastoiditis (a serious infection that affects the mastoid bone behind the ear).

“I was in overnight and they released me so I watched the Boro game on TV before the doc asked me to send him a picture of my neck.

“He told me I was still in trouble – my neck was blistering – and I needed to go back to hospital. I went back and they’d given me the wrong medication so kept me in and it was sepsis.

“They got to it quickly. If I had left it which I probably would have done, it would have been serious. The club doctor was outstanding. He is top-drawer. He cares and I’ve got a lot of time for him, he’s brilliant.

“I’m back home and feeling better. My appetite returned on Wednesday so that tells you you’re on the mend. I can’t work for the next week but they want me in the dressing room on Sunday which is great.”

It is not the first time Marsh has survived a traumatic experience having suffered a slow bleed on the brain on Christmas Day in 2016.

Three days later wife Sabina took him to a walk-in centre where – after she demanded treatment – his blood pressure was found to be dangerously high and he was rushed to hospital. It was a decision which saved his life.

“I was in hospital for a week and on the fifth or sixth day when I was better the consultant sat on my bed,” said Marsh.

“He said ‘I’ve heard all the stories, heard off your wife that she kicked up a fuss at the walk-in clinic and you wanted to go home. Categorically, had you gone home that night and slept like you wanted to do, you weren’t waking up’.

“The bleed was that bad, I would have been gone.

“I’ve always said my wife saved me then. They always know, right? She sensed there was something wrong and she acted upon it right away.”

Soon after his recovery, and unable to do his day job as a driver, the ex-Northampton man joined the Sky Blues as kit man having played with manager Mark Robins and assistant Adi Viveash at Walsall.

There, he was a key part of promotion squads, including the Saddlers’ famous 1998-99 season when they finished runners-up behind Fulham and ahead of Manchester City in the old Second Division.

Coventry are now seeking to end their 22-year exile from the Premier League.

They have never been closer since their 2001 relegation, despite playing seven of their opening nine games away because the Commonwealth Games’ Rugby Sevens wrecked the CBS Arena pitch.

“One thing with this management team, not just Robbo, it’s Adi, Dennis Lawrence, everyone, they don’t take anyone for granted,” said Marsh, who has been a restaurateur and sandwich shop owner since retiring from playing.

“The players are not allowed to take the foot off the gas. Especially with the start we had, we were bottom, the pitch, we had to play so many away games at the start.

“To climb the table and be consistent, every single member of that team has played a part, every single one.

“Talk about David v Goliath or whatever analogy you want. We haven’t just swum The Channel, we’ve swum the Atlantic already – there and back.”

Related items

  • ‘It was Gordon Banks-esque’ – Gareth Ainsworth hails John Ruddy save in QPR draw ‘It was Gordon Banks-esque’ – Gareth Ainsworth hails John Ruddy save in QPR draw

    QPR manager Gareth Ainsworth likened John Ruddy’s late save to England great Gordon Banks as goalkeepers took centre stage in the 0-0 draw against Birmingham.

    Asmir Begovic, the former Chelsea, Bournemouth and Stoke goalkeeper, and ex-Wolves shotstopper Ruddy – both 36 – produced a string of saves as Birmingham missed the chance to climb into the Sky Bet Championship’s top six overnight.

    But Birmingam keeper Ruddy’s late stop to deny Lyndon Dykes’ downward header from Albert Adomah’s cross was the pick, after Begovic denied Scott Hogan in a one against one.

    “I thought there were some fantastic blocks from us, two magnificent saves from Asmir – the one where he came out and smothered (from Hogan) was world class, and it was,” said Ainsworth.

    “But then John Ruddy at the other end – it was Gordon Banks-esque; he put the ball up in the air and away from people.

    “When Lyndon headed it, you’re hoping it’s going into the side of the net. It was further out than I thought and a great cross and great header.

    “I’ve said Lyndon is going to get double figures this season and it’s going to be his biggest haul.

    “But when you come up against someone as good as Ruddy it’s tough to get past him – as Birmingham saw with Begovic.”

    Only a desperate, acrobatic goalline clearance from QPR midfielder Sam Field prevented Blues taking a 21st-minute lead, after Lee Buchanan’s fierce cross flicked off centre-back Steve Cook and looped over Begovic.

    Ruddy denied Paul Smyth and Field before his late heroics to prevent Dykes’ heading home, while Begovic matched him by foiling Cody Drameh, Krystian Bielik and Jay Stansfield.

    Birmingham head coach John Eustace agreed the two goalkeepers were on top in a game of chances at both ends.

    “I think that’s why John won Player of the Year last season. John’s a very good experienced goalkeeper,” he said.

    “He’ll be disappointed with a couple of goals he’s conceded this season but tonight he showed his class and that’s what top goalkeepers are all about.

    “So to not concede is also very good and very encouraging because we’ve had two very tough away games and to keep our levels of concentration in difficult moments was very pleasing.”

    Birmingham’s Hogan missed the game’s other standout chance when Begovic denied him.

    “You’d have to ask Scott (about his confidence) but what is pleasing is his workrate and his effort is still there,” said Eustace.

    “He’s still working his socks off and we have to create more chances for him as well – he can’t just be having one or two.

    “We have to create more opportunities for our front players. But Scott will score goals as long as he keeps going and keeps believing.”

  • Erik ten Hag seeking solution to Manchester United’s defensive dilemma Erik ten Hag seeking solution to Manchester United’s defensive dilemma

    Erik ten Hag admits he is at a loss to explain Manchester United’s poor defensive performances.

    The Red Devils have conceded 14 goals in their last five games and 10 in the last three, with three goals against Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday not enough even to earn them a point.

    United boss Ten Hag said: “We have shown that we can do it because last year we had the most clean sheets in the Premier League because of the team, because we defended very good as a team, so we have to get back to that standard.

    “Of course I am pushing the team and demanding from the team, and from the start of the season, but they are human beings, not robots, so, why they are not doing it, I try to find out and I try to give the solutions and try to motivate the players to do the job.

    “When you are in a period like we are in always as a manager you are asking yourself these questions. My job is to get them to do the job.”

    On United’s tendency to concede goals soon after a restart, Ten Hag added: “(We’re) not concerned but we are aware of it. Of course you can’t close your eyes for things like this so we coach the players, we coach the team in that fact.”

    Question marks have been raised about the attitude of United’s squad, with clips from the Bayern game apparently showing players not chasing back as hard as they might.

    Ten Hag does not believe a lack of willingness was to blame, though, saying: “It’s always a concern when we didn’t run but I think against Bayern it was not the case.

    “In certain situations yes so it’s also to recognise in which situation is it about they didn’t recognise it and didn’t make the right decisions or is it about willingness?

    “Against Spurs, we didn’t run too much. But I think against Bayern we did our best from physical outputs but we didn’t always run in the right moment.

    “If we bounced back like we did in Munich, you can’t say the spirit isn’t right. I think we have other problems than that.”

  • Ange Postecoglou points out the differences between himself and Mikel Arteta Ange Postecoglou points out the differences between himself and Mikel Arteta

    Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou is full of admiration for Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, but fails to see many similarities between the pair.

    Postecoglou’s youthful Spurs side face the biggest test of his early reign on Sunday when they make the short trip to the Emirates for the first north London derby of the season.

    Second-placed Tottenham travel across the capital in high spirits but face an Arsenal team that are into a fifth season under Arteta, who also took over a club in the doldrums and has overseen a cultural change from top to bottom.

    While Postecoglou is at the start of the same type of rebuilding job at Spurs, he poked fun at suggestions he is alike his 41-year-old opposite number.

    He said: “I think Mikel has been outstanding, really strong right from the start by having a real vision for the football club and the club’s backed him, but I don’t think that’s unique.

    “I think Liverpool did the same with Jurgen (Klopp). Most clubs that end up having a successful period do it on the back of having a really clear idea of what they’re trying to create.

    “The only problem is that a lot of clubs jump at shadows at the first sign of things not progressing at the rate they were hoping to. Credit to Arsenal and credit to Mikel that they backed each other and they’re reaping the rewards of it but that’s not a blueprint for us to follow.

    “We’ve got our own blueprint. You don’t have to follow anyone else’s timescale, you don’t have to follow anyone else’s processes. What you’ve got to do is have a clear idea about what you want and provided along the way you see progress, stick to it.

    “In terms of similarities, I’m 58, he’s whatever (41). I’ve had 26 years, he’s five years into it. He’s managed in one country, I’ve managed in a few. I’m not sure how he’s got a great head of hair!

    “He’s a lot fitter than I am. I don’t know, there’s not a lot of threads I can sort of join between us. I wouldn’t say we’re opposites.

    “We’re different. Even in the way his team plays. Yes he does have a very attacking philosophy but it’s different from mine and that’s the beauty of the game. That’s what you love about it.

    “It’s why you can’t copy. If you’re an artist and you see a Picasso, yeah you can copy it, but it’s not going to be a Picasso is it? It’s the same with football.

    “You can see that somebody does something really well, but don’t bring your own personality into it. I have great admiration for the way he’s gone about things and how he’s stuck to his beliefs. It’s a credit to him.”

    Postecoglou did not claim to have any type of personal relationship with Arteta, but he did reveal a time when he got to view the Spaniard up close.

    The former Celtic boss watched Manchester City training not long after he was appointed manager at Yokohama, who are part-owned by the City Football Group.

    “I spent a week at City when I first got the Yokohama job because they were part of the group and were generous enough to invite me in,” he revealed.

    “I didn’t speak to anyone but I observed training and you could see then how passionate Mikel was about the game and that he was itching to get going and become a manager himself.

    “He’s had a different journey but he’s made the impact.

    “As I keep saying, there’s no real defined way to get here.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.