Skip to main content


Former transport museum worker recalls driving Coventry City's 1987 FA Cup winning squad on victory

15 April 2024

With Coventry City set to take on Manchester United at Wembley this weekend, a local man has recalled the day he drove the victorious Sky Blues squad through the jubilant city streets after the FA Cup Final in May 1987.

Barry Mapperson was a member of the workshop staff at Coventry Transport Museum. Along with the rest of his colleagues, it was his job to get the bus ready for a parade through the city.

The museum had acquired the bus in 1986 and due to damage, the roof was removed to convert it to an open top. This meant it was ideal to be used by Coventry City to parade around city streets after winning the 1987 FA Cup final following a thrilling 3-2 victory over heavy favourites Tottenham.

A parade was planned regardless of the result, and as he had the necessary licence, Barry was chosen to drive the bus on the day. It went on to be a day he would never forget.

Starting on the edge of the city in Walsgrave, the bus, with players and staff aboard, made its way through the city with thousands and thousands of people lining the streets cheering their heroes on.

"At one point I just switched the engine off and the crowd just pushed us along," reminisced Barry.  "It was a bit of a nightmare at times - the crowd were pushing at the bus back and front. It was quite stressful.

“It had been alright to begin with but as you got further in it got worse and worse. On Corporation Street, by the old Telegraph building, it got really busy. We had police standing on the platform when the windscreen was starting to bend - I’d never seen anything like it. I jumped out of the driver's seat before it shattered and luckily the policeman got out and moved the people away.

“All the while there were fans trying to climb up the back of the bus - we were just crawling, walking speed if I was lucky.

“It was by the time we got to Broadgate I just turned off the engine and the motion of the crowd just moved us along, it was frightening at times, but what an experience!”

Barry vividly recalls the challenges he and the rest of the workshop faced getting the bus ready, including fixing the gearbox and painting the bus sky blue. "With the city doing so well we painted it sky blue, but not all of it as we didn’t know if they’d be winners or runners up," he explained.

Because of this, the word ‘Winners’ was painted on days after the rest of the writing. It was so fresh, it wasn’t dry when the bus made its famous journey. As a result, it dried differently, and the word ‘Winners’ is a slightly different colour to the rest of the text to this day.

Taniah Simpson, head of collections at Coventry Transport Museum, said "The Sky Blue bus is a cherished artefact, representing a moment of triumph and community spirit for the Sky Blues, but also for the city as a whole. 

"Barry's account offers a firsthand glimpse into the excitement of that memorable day.

“The bus is one of many iconic Coventry related items within our transport collection that help us to tell the stories of the people of Coventry and the history of the city. We welcome visitors to the transport museum to see the bus in all its glory and to reminisce and share your stories.”

Don't miss out on the latest from the Coventry Transport Museum

Home of Record Breakers

Coventry Transport Museum is home to the world's two fastest cars.

Marvel at these spectacular feats of British engineering.

Get up close to the two fastest cars in the world, Thrust SSC and Thrust 2.



Bring the curriculum to life!

Coventry Transport Museum's interactive exhibitions make the perfect venue for school visits in Coventry.

We offer a wide range of sessions for school groups, all 'Learning Outside The Classroom' quality assured. 


Family Fun

We thoroughly believe there is no such thing as being too old for play! 

Get involved in our ever-growing Family Programme around Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

We also have free to loan family activities which are available at the Box Office.