Coventry City assistant manager Adi Viveash has, without doubt, played a key role in the club’s rise back to English football’s second tier.
The 50-year-old Sky Blues No.2 is often credited for his outstanding coaching which has helped mould Mark Robins ’s men into promotion winners playing exciting and attacking football out from the back.
While the two are completely different characters, it’s clearly a double act that works.
The pair met way back when they were players at Walsall in the late 1990s, with former centre-back Viveash enjoying one of the best spells off his playing career during over 200 league appearances for the Saddlers.
In a new book about the West Midlands club entitled ‘WALSALL MATCH OF MY LIFE: Saddlers Legends Relive Their Greatest Games,’ Viveash recounts the regimented regime he was part of, what now drives him to be a better coach and what makes him angry.
In one extract he recalled an interesting change of managers, saying: “Chris Nicholl left in 1997 and then Jan Sorensen came in, though he only lasted for one season. I was on holiday the following summer, painting my lounge, having just moved to a house in Worcester.
“The phone rang and at the other end of the line was a voice I didn’t recognise, though he had a West Country burr like myself. He asked whether he was speaking to Adrian.
“I thought that was rather formal as only my mother, God rest her soul, ever called me that. So, I replied that this was Adi and the mystery voice simply asked again whether I was Adrian.
“Reluctantly, I relented and said yes, and then he announced that he was my new manager, Ray Graydon.
“I offered him my congratulations but before I could catch my breath, he asked me where I lived and how far I was from the ground. I told him I was half an hour away and he instructed me to be there within the hour. And then he put the phone down.
“I was absolutely livid! Anyway, I drove up to the Bescot Stadium and Ray Graydon was waiting there for me, wearing a shirt, tie, blazer and shoes you could see your face in.
“He looked me up and down and told me he’d given me an hour so that I could get changed, which I deliberately hadn’t done. In fact, I still had paint on my face.
“Clearly, this wasn’t the look he was after from his players. He then explained that he was getting some of the senior players in and wanted to hear what we had to say.
“We talked for an hour, but it was one of those conversations where we discussed things and then agreed that he was right and would do things his way.
“Ray then started going through some of his rules, and I thought I’d joined the army. It was obvious that it was going to be a strict regime, though that was probably what was needed, compared to how things had been under Jan.
“Ray Graydon was evidently a man who meant business”.
Often displaying a gruff exterior himself, Viveash goes on to talk about his time with the Sky Blues.
“In 2017, I became assistant manager at Coventry City, which was a natural progression for me to make in football,” said the coach, who joined after years of success with Chelsea’s youth and development set-up.
“Winning promotion in my first season there was an important achievement for me as it showed that I could be successful at different levels in the game.
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“My drive is to be a better coach than I was a player, and I’ve still got work to do in that regard as I was lucky enough to play in five promotion-winning sides before I hung up my boots.”
There’s a third Walsall connection on the current Sky Blues camp with Saddlers’ legend Chris Marsh City’s kit man.
“Marshy and I met at Walsall and we’ve stayed lifelong friends,” said Viveash.
“When Coventry got to the play-off final in 2018, he and his son were my guests at Wembley. They sat with my children, which was wonderful as it felt like things were coming back full circle, 20 years on.”
WALSALL MATCH OF MY LIFE: Saddlers Legends Relive Their Greatest Games By Simon Turner is published by Pitch Publishing.
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