Steve Ogrizovic: ‘I enjoyed the police. I was good at clearing bars and clubs’


In the first of a series, Coventry’s former goalkeeper and current coach discusses the team’s shaves with relegation and his father’s escape from the Nazis

“He had a trench coat on, he was fleeing the village, and Nazis were opening up on them. They just ran.” Steve Ogrizovic is explaining why his family settled in Mansfield and how a harrowing journey made by his father – ending in England but starting in Yugoslavia during the second world war – shaped his life. Nicola Ogrizovic had already seen his father shot dead when he fled his home as a 14-year-old in 1942, leaving behind his mother and two sisters.

“That was the last time he ever saw his village and his family,” Ogrizovic says. “There was a lake – he went over it and into the woods. It was only when he felt safe in the forest that he checked himself. His coat had been flapping in the wind, there were bullet holes both sides but nothing hit him. He spent the next two years living rough, on the move all the time, evading capture.”

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Written by Michael Butler
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