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Coventry Sphinx Football Club
Coventry's Premier Non-League Football Club




Paul Gibbons


To add your message email tribute@coventrysphinx.co.uk


Gibbo was a tremedous player, person and friend who will be sadly missed. Rest in peace Big Man.

Longy (Neil Long, Club Chairman)


A truly nice person who always put others before himself! I like many others who were fortunate enough to meet and spend time with Gibbo. I have some great memories that will stay with me forever.

Lee Knibbs


I alwI always used to travel to away games with Gibbo in Willie Knibbs car and he was the life and soul of the car. He could lift the spirits after a defeat and was the perfect man to have in any dressing room.

When he donned a Sphinx shirt, you knew you were going to get a steady performance from someone who could always be relied upon. Never loud, mouthy or offensive on the pitch, Gibbo always got on with the job in hand.

A top player and a top bloke.

Kev Monks (Covsupport News Service)


Gibbo, you were an inspiration on and off the field, in and out of the bar and will be sadly missed. God bless you.

 Rich Hopkins


Its been a few days since your tragic death Gibbo and I am still stunned, but the tributes that have been pouring in from far and wide over the internet etc prove what a popular and admired man you are. I for one am glad that I had the privelage to have known you. Very funny, approachable and warming man. My thoughts are with your family. R.I.P. Gibbo.

Lynton Wilkinson


My deepest sympathies go to Gibbo's family, friends and the lads who played for him. We will make sure your legacy lives long at the club.

 Lee Evans


Gibbo; an amazing selfless and caring man. A true club man whose passion for our football club was never surpassed by anyone. Whether it was the Under 7’s or the first team, his passion for Coventry Sphinx was evident for all to see. A fantastic character who will be very sorely missed.


A tragic loss to all that knew him.

 Steve Cranage and the Under 12’s


Words can not express the sad loss everyone is feeling. A real gentleman and always made time for everyone. Rest in peace Gibbo. The McGowan Family


Gibbo my old mate there will be a massive void at Coventry Sphinx
without your smiling face. You never had a bad word to say about
anyone and you were always upbeat and positive in everything you did. Thank you mate for being part of our lives for so long.

Jonah  (Vic Jones, Club Vice Chairman)


It was a pleasure knowing you Gibbo and a pleasure to play alongside you. Always a great laugh and for a big man,you had such a pleasent nature and not one nasty thing about you, a real top man. My thoughts are with your wife and children and the rest of your family.RIP big man.

Ian Brooks


Gibbo was a very special man, he was a truely gentle giant. He was
kind, supportive and caring, always had a joke on and off the field.
His passion for the Sphinx Seniors and Juniors was there for all to
see. He was a man who was held in the highest regard by his peers. Our thoughts and hearts are with his family at this tragic time. Rest in
peace Gibbo.

Jez Tiff and Family and on behalf of the U15's


Gibbo; A wonderful warm and friendly man, an inspiration to many and a role model to all the boys he managed and my god how he loved his role as a Junior manager. Paul was a true professional in his job and on the football field a player who you could always depend on. A gentleman in every sense of the word.Your presence and kind words will be sadly missed in the club. We will miss you.

 Rod and Paula (Lomas)


A sad sad time for football across the city, especially for the Sphinx, a top bloke who will missed on and off the pitch. Our thoughts are with his family at this time , rest in peace Gibbo.

Louis and Stuart Guest


Please pass on our deepest sympathies and thoughts to Paul's family, from all at Leamington Football Club. Many of us will remember the performances he put in during the many battles Brakes had against both Sphinx and Rugby Town during our time in the Midland Combination, and it was so very sad to hear of what happened to him. Rest in Peace.

Paul Edwards (Press Officer, Leamington Football Club)


In a kit we were team mates. In a uniform we were colleagues. In my broken heart you will always remain a true friend. There is so much to say but the words just won’t come, but the special memories are with me to keep. I want you to know that I will always be proud to have been 'chummy with this Brummy'. God bless Big Gibbo you will never be forgotten!

Steve Harris


Gibbo, you are a true legend in my mind and always will be! You were a rock to me on and off the pitch and you brightened up every day no matter what the occasion. I am devastated by the way you have been taken from us and you will always have a special place in my heart. I love you mate.

Danny Mac (First Team Manager)


I was privilaged to have known Gibbo. He was dedicated in everything he did. I could go some time without seeing him, but when we saw each other again he always had a smile and a joke and it was like we saw each other last week.
Cannot believe that I'm not going to see you again big guy! My thoughts and prayers go out to all his family at this tragic time.
On a personal note, I'm glad I had the opportunity to both know you,
play football in the same team as you and play against you. Every time
I think of Paul Gibbons I will always remember the good times.
A perfect gent. RIP Gibbo
Rob Masefield (Mase)


Gibbo, a pleasure to play alongside you. Always remember the headed clearances turning into great through balls! Shocked at what has happened and will always have fond memories of you. My thoughts are with your family at such a tragic time.


Gibbo as you will see from the tributes was an extremely popular chap, I even met the great man working once and again his same likeable character shone through. RIP mate.

Tom Thacker and family


Gibbo, I am still stunned at your passing!
I had the privilege to be able to call you a colleague as well as a true friend. In knowing you I have learnt alot, including the meaning of being a 'True Gent'. You will be sadly missed but never forgotten!
 My thoughts are with your family.
 Rest in Peace Mate! God Bless.
 Richie Moore and Family
Gibbo, we will remember you by playing with the same passion and enthusiasm you always showed on and off the pitch!
God Bless.
Coventry Sphinx Under 10's
Gibbo you were a LEGEND and I know where ever you're watching down from you still are. I'll always remember you making me laugh and smile, be it at football or around the town. I know the people you're with now will feel the same as you made myself and others feel in your company. I will always remember playing against you before coming to join the Sphinx and how I used to dread it, but you were a true gentleman on and off the pitch. Thank you for your words of wisdom to me when I was captain of the Sphinx, following in your footsteps. I'm glad and feel blessed to have known you. I still can't believe your gone, though never forgotten.
Dave Drennan (D.D.)
Pure passion for football brings us all together at Sphinx but characters such as Gibbo truly makes the club inspirational.  For one man to devote his time, experience and heart makes the youth of the club feel very privileged.  You could always bring a smile which is a rare and cherished quality and am sure this tragic loss will be hard for all who knew you but in time the joyful memories of such a true gentleman will prevail.  A special prayer for your wife and family.
Colin and Wayne and all from Under 12's (blue)
I would just like to say how devastated I was when I heard the news about Paul. Me and Gibbo would speak at least once a week about his football team and how things were going. Gibbo was someone I would class as a real friend and I will miss him. My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.
Pat McEnery

It was a pleasure to both play against you but more of a pleasure to play alongside. The respect you gave to all of us younger lads will never be matched and always remembered. You brought out the best in us all and thoughts are with your family at this terrible time.

Daffs and family


'Gibbo Gibbo' was always the chant I'll remember! He was formidable to play against and magnificent to play with. I'll never forget the humour that followed him and know he is still making people laugh right now. My thoughts go out to his family
Terry Ward


Gibbo just when I thought the year could not get any worse I heard the news of your very sad passing.

Paul you were big man on and off the pitch, always gave the team 100%, when you weren't available I was devastated as the heart and soul of my defence was not there.The big shout " Gibbos " would come and we knew the ball would be headed half the length of the pitch and the opposition on the back foot again, and I will never forget the mazy runs you would go on sprinting into their area then saying "Sorry Gaffer" as you ran back again. A true Sphinx legend and I will never forget the support you gave me as a manager at the Sphinx.

There are too many good people up there. God bless to you and your family Paul. RIP.

Ash (Martin Ascroft)


Gibbo a true legend, proud to have known you and played with you.
Although you're gone, you still bring a smile to my face as I think back to the different stories and some of the best memories on and off the pitch.
Luke Hopkins


Gibbo, it was a pleasure to play alongside you on the pitch and a pleasure to sit beside you in the bar.

A true Legend, you will never be forgotten Big Man!

Mark Owen


Having played Gibbo`s junior team numerous times in the past I always admired how passionate he was about the game, having got to know him personally I will miss seeing his bubbly personality around the grounds in our local league. He was a true ambassador for kids football.
From everyone at GNP SPORTS our sincerest sympathy's to his Family and everyone at Coventry Sphinx Football Club.
Satnam Ark 


Gibbo; such a great bloke.  I knew you back in the days when you were in the Royal Navy.  My thoughts are with Michelle, your children, family, friends and colleagues at this truly devastating time.  I can only begin to imagine the immense pain they are suffering. 

God bless you.

Diane Wall


Gibbo – our boys were so fortunate to have you as their manager. You brought them such a long way – from the U9's Green League to standing today second in the U13's A league.  But more than any success on the field – and leading your green league side out at the Bedworth Oval in your very first season was a spectacular success  – what you have given the boys is a shining example of how to approach sport and life.  You combined so many wonderful qualities: you were always kind, gentle and patient; irrepressibly enthusiastic and fun-loving; professional, dedicated and hugely caring. You taught the boys to be passionate about the game, loyal to their own side and respectful to the opposition. Paul, you leave a massive void in all our lives and you had so much more to give. We are in shock and will miss you enormously, but we’ll treasure forever the memories you’ve left us with.

Robin, Gianna and Matty.


Gibbo; You and I became Junior Managers at almost the same time and regularly shared our experiences. I will miss our weekly phone call to discuss our respective game the previous week and I will never forget your infectious character, your outstanding commitment and your total dedication to Coventry Sphinx.You were a true gentleman who wore his heart on his sleeve, yet you always had time for others. You were an inspiration to all. God Bless.

Neil Pickard and Under 14s Blue


Gibbo, we always looked forward to your calls, your enthusiasm was always so infectious.  One of the most genuine, generous men we ever met, you will be sadly missed.  Our thoughts are with Michelle and the boys at this sad time.

Adrian & Lesley Flynn and family


Gibbo, there’s not many people around who had your special qualities mate.You were a rare breed. I only have happy memories of you Gibbo and every one brings a smile to my face….


I remember the day when you said that this was going to be your last season and at the Presentation night you were very upset that the boots were finally going to be hung up for good. We spoke at some length, over several pints!!!, and at the end I managed to persuade you to become a manager in our junior section taking on the under 8’s. You were so up for it and from then on the phone calls started.. “how do you do this Dan? and how do you do that?”  You carried out several trials and became concerned about how to tell some of the young lads that they were not needed. I know you had several sleepless nights worrying how they would take the news but you and they came through it.


 I remember your 1st Tournament as manager at Brinklow and you asked me if I could go over a help you. Just standing there and watching you as your lads played was memorable. You kicked and headed every ball for them running up and down the touch line, sometimes on the pitch!!!! Then shouting instructions like “man on” “turn” “time” etc, etc, the 8 year olds, understandably didn’t get it and you grew more and more frustrated but you enjoyed the whole experience and said that this was even better than playing football. The time you spent coaching your players from then on speaks volumes about your commitment and your players are a credit to all the hard work you have put in.


Your passion for football while caring for youngsters is to be commended. All football clubs need inspirational characters like you and you were most definitely ours.


 May god bless you Gibbo and your family during this very sad time

Dannie Cahill (Chairman, Coventry Sphinx Juniors FC)


It was a pleasure to have played with you Big Man and a greater pleasure to have called you a friend. I remember the chats we had on the bus to away games, non stop talk of football. You were always great fun to be around and always had time for everyone. Our thoughts to the family.
I will never forget you mate.
Pulf and family


What are we going to do without Gibbo? Games will never be the same. The club will never be the same. The tour will never be the same. His energetic, enthusiastic and ever optimistic personality kept us all going through the good and the bad times. Never a negative word to or about any of his team a truly loyal and genuine manager.

 You taught our son Theo so much, gave him so much time and showed him so much kindness. He will never forget you neither will we. Sunday's won't be the same without a drink in the bar with you and Michelle whilst the boys wrecked the bowling green!(sorry bowlers). The world is a poorer place without Paul Gibbons.

RIP Paul .

Derek, Emma and boys


Gibbo, I was fortunate enough to play on the same side as you on a few occasions; a quality player and a true gent. The sort of guy you wanted on your side and not the opposition! My thoughts go out to your family, RIP God Bless.

Nev Thompson


Gibbo mate, I only got to know you over the past 3 years, but felt I had known you all my life. That was down to your character and the friendliness that you had. I am finding it difficult to come to terms with what happened. Thanks for some great times. You were a true gentleman and will be so sadly missed.  R.I.P.



Gobbo - fond memories of you visiting the Frain household on many occasions, also had a great day out on my Brothers Stag Do, off which John was proud to have you as his Best man.
You will be sadly missed by many a person from the South side of Brum. God Bless . R.I.P

I remember speaking to Gibbo only a week ago and I can't believe what has happened. All this support shows that Gibbo was a great person and was loved by everyone! I remember after we won the Under 16's BCFA cup I was speaking to Gibbo at the club house having a great laugh and I will never forget him. I hope he rests in peace .Gibbo you will always have a place in all our hearts at the Sphinx!
Adam Robertson, Sphinx Youth Team


Gibbo, Your enthusiasm, company, smile & laughter will be sorely missed. Our Sunday management meetings will never be the same, memories we hold dear. God bless mate, our thoughts rest with your family.

 Wayne, Darren Whitehouse & families

Big Man I’m lost for words, I hope heaven is ready for you!
Rest in Peace mate, you will be missed.
Darrell Lennon

Gibbo, I will miss you're smiling face around the gym. You lived for your football and fitness. You helped us when we started our junior team, giving us advice and even travelling over to Bedworth and taking our first training session. You will be sadly missed and our sympathies go out to your family, God Bless.

Ray Hurley and all at Nuneaton Griff Under 14s


I used to joke with you and call you, "the big daft Brummy", it has been such an honour to have known you as a friend and as a team mate. It was only the other week we stood next to each other watching the F.A. cup game at the Sphinx, which seems years ago now, after what has happened a week last Sunday. I am so angry Paul for what has happened to such a gentle giant. As a catholic I ask myself WHY?  As a human being, I can only imagine the heartache your family must be going through, which should give us all strength to support and get them through this devastating time.

"Gibbos Ball" was the call and no one else in a blue shirt went near it, neither did the opposition if they had any sense....  I will never forget travelling in the back of the car when I first met you years ago travelling over near Wolverhampton before a game and you never shut up from the minute we left the sphinx, instantly we got on and had a laugh. After we both finished playing you said to me many times that you loved coaching the kids and I should get involved, which I never did or have done but I and everyone else could see the pleasure that it gave you.

Rest  in peace big man, our love and support go to your family at this terrible time. Life is so unfair.

James McNulty

Gibbo, I remember when you and Steve Harris first turned up at the Sphinx. That was a very funny season, especially when you wanted a cup of tea and people thought you were talking about a Kipper Tie, not sure we did very well though. You are gentleman, an awesome centre half and probably one of the best dancers ever to grace the floor of IKON / DIVA. Mate not only could you head the ball a country mile but the after grunt was always a pleasure to hear. It was a pleasure to have known, play football and dance with you.
I haven't been in England for 6 years or played football for the Sphinx for 8 years yet I always thought of you when I thought about the Sphinx and funny times. You'll be missed by all Gibbo, my thoughts and wishes are with your family and friends.
Damo McDade & Family

"Trust me Gibbo" was one of the first sentences I ever said to you as you nervously placed the now famous Blue and White striped Coventry Sphinx shirt on your back, you then stepped out to make your  debut which was the opening day of the season against Highgate in the MidComb back in 1999.

I am so proud and thankful you did, for what was to come after became so special to people who had you pass in and out of their lives leaving nothing but love and admiration in their heart for you.

Not just because you were a good player and would win us games with whole hearted defending and presence and  with technical grace that even a past Sphinx legend Willie Knibbs (The both of you now must be talking football together whilst Pongo is probably gone to the bar for you both) would stand up with praise.

It would be the input you gave to the Sphinx Club at Senior and Junior level, for the 10 years that followed, as days/years past from what we now know was a significant moment in Sphinx history you grew and became a member of a very sought after group called the Sphinx Legends. Many tried and failed but you in your own special way of love for the game and the love of people became a Sphinx IKON.


Guidance   on the field to every player old and new , then educating the future ;

Inspirational as a leader of example with the love of the game to those around you, young and old;

Brother to all team mates, staff and friends on and off the field;

Brighten up any team nights out or dull moment;

Over whelming excitement and energy for no matter how big or small the challenge.


A pair of Size 12’s Copa Mundials never to be filled again, but certainly steps to be admired and followed.

RIP Gibbo.

Marcus (Law)


Gibbo, you were a true gentleman and the nicest person anyone could have wished to have as a friend. I can still hear that accent of yours giving me encouragement at times when as a manager I was low and I  am proud to have had you as a friend mate. God bless and rest in peace my friend.

Charns (Paul Charnley)


We have lost a friend, colleague and dedicated family man. Speaking as a friend, I had the pleasure of experiencing his character as a player at Senior level and then as a manager and coach within the Sphinx Junior ranks. Gibbo embraced our dream to work and produce kids for the Senior teams. A man of great football knowledge, integrity and passion, we talked at length about the art of expressing that knowledge and working to improve our young players. His phone calls and texts are legendary, with him it was not just about him and his team, it was about his beloved Sphinx club. He always started with “didn’t the club have a good weekend”, “I think we are getting there Nige” and he would finish with “I will let you get off now” and then he would continue to talk for another 15 minutes!

I was personally not ready to “get off now” and we have lost a big, funny, infectious character from the family Sphinx and my heart goes out to his wife, Junior Gibbo’s and all his family and friends, wiping the tear from our eyes. Miss You Mate!

Nigel, Linda, Kerri and Tom (Coventry Sphinx Youth)


Not just a manager

Or a coach to the lads

But a friend to the boys

And the mums and the dads


Always enthusiastic

When leading the boys

Stood on the sidelines

You'd make lots of noise


When the boys scored a goal

You'd leap in the air

Or if they were upset

You'd show that you care


You were proud of your boys

Of your team and your club

And you would talk all about them

To your mates at the pub


They'd talk of Cov City

Or of the Premier teams

Then you'd tell them "Yes but"

"At Sphinx Under 13's"


You'd hate missing matches

When at work- as we knew

And even turned up once

With a full fire crew


You taught our lads values

And sense of fair play

Lessons they'll take with them

And use every day


The team that you built up

Just won't be the same

But we know you'll be there

Watching the game


If we play as a team

And all pull together

We can get through the tough times

Whatever the weather


And if the boys start to struggle

The parents will scream

"Come on the Sphinx"

"We're Gibbo's team!"


Jakey, Paul, Wendy and Sian Shufflebotham


Always wanted to do things for other people, a gentle giant and class footballer!  Never too busy to chat and put others first, take it easy Big Man.

Patto (Mark Patterson)