'Massive loss': Coventry fans react as West Brom hire Richard Stevens

James Maddison of Coventry celebrates after scoring to make it 2-1 during the Sky Bet League One match between Crawley Town and Coventry City at The Checkatrade.com Stadium on May 3, 2015...

West Bromwich Albion have hired the man who brought us Callum Wilson and James Maddison at Coventry City.

James Maddison of Coventry celebrates after scoring to make it 2-1 during the Sky Bet League One match between Crawley Town and Coventry City at The Checkatrade.com Stadium on May 3, 2015...

Coventry City’s loss is certainly West Bromwich Albion’s gain.

At least, that is the feeling emanating from the Sky Blues fan base with the confirmation that Coventry’s academy manager Richard Stevens has left the League One high-flyers to take charge of West Bromwich Albion’s youth department.

The Baggies have been looking for a new academy chief after Mark Harrison defected to join Midland rivals Aston Villa earlier in September. And, in Stevens, they might have just snared one of the best around.

General View of The Hawthorns during the Sky Bet Championship match between West Bromwich Albion and Ipswich Town at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich on Saturday 9th March 2019.

The reaction to his departure, from Coventry’s fans, owners and even manager Mark Robins (as reported by Coventry Live), speaks volumes about how highly Stevens was regarded at the 1987 FA Cup winners.

Established Premier League stars Callum Wilson and James Maddison came through the ranks at Coventry during Stevens’ 12-year reign, while Cyrus Christie, Tom Bayliss and Jordan Willis have all shone in the Football League after making their name with the Sky Blues.

Callum Wilson of Coventry City takes a penalty kick which was saved by Steve Arnold of Stevenage during the Sky Bet League One match between Coventry City and Stevenage at Sixfields...

And with Coventry enduring years of financial strife, their academy has never been more important. No wonder the fans are sad to see Stevens go.

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