February 2 2007
All the previous award winning Coventry Eveni .... Coventry Telegraph contributions from this season in one helpful, handy place. And the good news is, they want me to continue throughout the 2007/8 season! So let's hope we still have a team to support....
CET Article 8 Despite deserving it, Mr. Dowie didn't win the 'Manager Of The Month Award' for March, but has been struck by the curse that goes with picking up said accolade - not winning your next few matches! Instead, Roy Keane won it, because his ever improving Sunderland side are still improving. Maybe I'm biased, but I think managing to turn around the disaster that was Coventry City in such a short time, was a bigger achievement than keeping a team expected to gain promotion at the first attempt in the Top Six (Top One after Monday's fixtures!). CET Article 7 How nice it is to actually write a fanzone section, and have something positive to say?! And for that, I have to say a big thank you to Mr. Dowie and Mr. Flowers (And possibly one or three others) for restoring my faith in Coventry City. Charlton's loss is definitely our gain! Dowie's mission almost impossible, following Alan Curbishley into the Charlton hot-seat, and not being given a realistic amount of time to show what he could do, has allowed Coventry City to employ the talents of one of the most forward thinking young managerial talents around.... CET Article 6 Just how big was the against win Luton? For a team so badly off form (Us and them!), and with confidence so low, this really was a six-pointer (Despite the fact Mickey Adams said there's no such thing!) - especially with the bottom three all winning on Tuesday too. Our next four fixtures: Sunderland away; Cardiff at home, Leicester away; and Southampton at home, are all lose-able, so we've at least given ourselves a bit of breathing space. CET Article 5 CET Article 4 CET Article 3 CET Article 2 CET Article 1
If there are any positivies to be gained from defeats against Birmingham and QPR, it's that a few players that might have conned Iain Dowie into believing they were worth keeping on for next season have now proved they are not! Momentarily last weekend, I thought I was having a 'Life On Mars' moment, dipping back to the past and watching a Mickey Adams team! (Or is it 'now', with Iain Dowie's managerial stint here still to happen in the future?!).
If Saturday really was the best response the players could manage after another local derby drubbing, then I hope Mr. Dowie's budget for the summer is as big as the points difference between us and the top two in our division, because the gulf in class sometimes seems to be. We were appalling.
QPR were poor, and In Lee Camp, they had a keeper that has recently conceded six goals - twice! - against us. Shoot on sight, not shoot off target, should have been the tactic. It's an over-used line when the season reaches April, but it was as if the Coventry players had already gone on their summer holidays....
I'm sure the majority of us know which players we would like to see stay, and who we would willingly drive to their next club, but such is my disappointment with the current squad, there are very few players I would shed a tear over should they wander through the exit door this summer. And that includes some that seem to have massively improved under new management.
We have a (Fairly) new manager, with new ideas, and I would like to see a lot of new faces that would give us real hope of a serious challenge for next season. While changing an entire squad is unlikely, and highly extreme(!), we know what the current crop of players can or cannot do, and in my opinion they are well short of a proper Top 6 challenge - unless a pre-season of Mr. Dowie's scientific approach to football really can improve the players game by 50%!
While I am realistic enough to know we are light years away from performances like Manchester United's awesome midweek demolition of Roma, they did show that there is no real answer to pace, so it should be a necessity of any summer signing that they can do the 100 metres in around 10 seconds!
In McKenzie and Mifsud we have two players with pace and trickery, so probably the most important task of the summer is trying to bring in a midfield player (Or two) capable of helping to exploit those qualities (Or getting Kevin Thornton to regularly perform to the high standards he often shows). They are potentially fans' favourites, and Mifsud is our best chance of having an entire nation (Malta) supporting the club!
In Marshall and Ward, there is the makings of the defensive part of the spine of the team. Reading the blurb on Marshall pre-season, I was worried that - like most of the horses I've backed recently! - he would fade in the latter stages of the marathon that is he Championship race. Thankfully he has proved me wrong, and seems to be a front-runner for 'Player Of The Season' .... not that there are many contenders for said award this term.
Colin Hawkins has also done well since re-joining, and has been a real unsung hero at the back. Whether or not he will be part of next seasons assault on the Top 6 remains to be seen though.
The top and the bottom of the Championship looks like having an exciting run-in this season, though the only thing Coventry City have to play for is pride, and a top-half-of-the-table finish. Let's hope season two of 'Operation Premiership' gives us more hope of a return to the promised land that is the Premiership....
The seven points we've taken from the nine on offer since ID took over are absolutely invaluable, as most of the teams below us are showing signs of improvement. Well, almost all!
Maybe this is a 'honeymoon period', and maybe we might not take another point this season, but at least it wont be for the want of trying. I'll enjoy it while it lasts - and long may it do so! It's nice to actually look forward to visiting the Arena, rather than looking forward to leaving it!
Colchester away on Saturday will be a good test of the improved Coventry City.
Almost as importantly as the points, the players look as if they care about Coventry City again, and it's clear to see that effort levels have risen, as has the quality of the football .... if you don't count the second half against Hull!
As a result, I've kicked nearly every ball of the last three games, have started leaping from my seat during matches again (Not to mention letting the odd expletive slip!), and I'm enjoying watching Coventry City since Mr. Dowie took over. Up until recently I'd been mentally unlocking the exits throughout matches!
I'm not getting carried away, and am not naive enough to believe we are already safe from the drop, but we are in a far healthier position than I believe we would be had things not changed. I do wonder where we might be had decisions been made slightly earlier though....
My current spell on the sidelines (Or unemployment, as it's also known!) has allowed me the time to watch the team train at Ryton a few times, and the players are definitely being worked harder now - they actually come off the pitch sweating now! They also look as if they're quite enjoying training.
I've also watched a fair few reserve games recently, and, although the standard of opposition might not as good as some would like, I've seen enough to believe we have some decent youngsters, that with the right coaching, might just make the grade. Once we're mathematically safe, it would be nice if some of these players are given a run-out or two.
Rumours suggest that season tickets might be cheaper next season. Not that my opinion will persuade anybody to open their wallet, but I hope if there is a drop in price, this gesture is rewarded with a massive increase in season ticket holders. I also hope if the club do try to increase sales by dropping prices, they make sure everybody knows about it!
Apathy has ruled in Coventry for as long as I can remember, and it's time it stopped. We have a fantastic stadium, but it looks far better when it's almost totally full. I would say 'totally', but it hasn't happened for me to comment on yet....
Somebody once made ' I saw Harry (Brian Roberts) Score' badges, and, after Tuesday's result, I'm almost tempted to see if I can make a profit selling 'I Saw Luke Steele Keep A Clean Sheet' badges! He's conceded an average of three goals a game since re-signing. While the faults might not lay just at his door, I'll be disappointed if we don't bring in another keeper should Marshall not be back soon.
I bumped into somebody at half-time versus Luton that said: 'You got your wish then, with Adams going'. He was wrong. I would rather Adams had stayed and been a success, but I've been a football fan long enough to recognise when somebody has gone past the point of no return, and Adams had. The rumoured £300,000 pay-off isn't a bad reward for such a dismal season though, is it?
My only disappointment was that he didn't go a game earlier, as getting rid of him before the Bristol City replay might have added a few thousand to the attendance, and might have affected the result. That said, the team that faced Plymouth looked every inch a Mickey Adams side, so maybe we would have lost to Bristol anyway.
The lack of a cup run has probably cost us much needed funds for transfers, and with the window about to close, I can't see us bringing in a crowd pleaser, or anybody that will boost attendances. For that reason, it's imperative that we get Thornton fit, and ready to play for the first team from the start - he is as positive a player as we have at the club.
Hughes should be the inspirational player in the side, but for me he's still not. It will be interesting to see if the new boss can get the best out of him, or whether they will merely be added to the list of 'tried and faileds'. I still can't work out what he brings to the side!
As for out-going players, if we really did get £250,000 for Stern John, this is a superb piece of business. Add that to £500,000 we got for Scowcroft last summer, and you have to wonder how our club could possibly be in such debt, getting such decent amounts for players that seem to have little value!
SJ will almost certainty score on Saturday, but if it isn't him, it will be another Sunderland player. Apologies for sounding negative, but to get a result at the Stadium Of Light, we need to go full confidence, which I doubt we will on the back of a mere one win in seven weeks, and that against a poor Luton side.
Quite were our season goes from here is anybodies guess, with three of the first names on the team-sheet either gone or possibly going (Thanks to Doyle and Page's fall-out). Let's hope this is the making of us, not the breaking of us, as dropping into League One is unthinkable.
Well done to Mickey Adams and his Merry Men for managing to put a dampner on my birthday celebrations with defeat against West Brom, a dampner on Christmas celebrations with a defeat against Luton, and for spoiling Boxing Day by losing to Ipswich. I can't wait for the New Year matches....
And he feels upset by the current situation? Welcome to my world!
One goal scored by a Coventry player in open play throughout December is garbage. In fact, our scoring record throughout this season is garbage. No matter. At least we can still depend on the So Solid Crew at the back to help us get a result.
Some blame the strikers for our failings, others blame the lack of supply. The blame lies at the door of Mickey Adams.
He has had plenty of time to get rid of the shot-shy strikers he inherited, and has brought in others he thinks are capable of improving the situation. And the same goes for improving or replacing the midfield. He hasn't.
MA chooses the team and the tactics. Whether or not he is doing this for much longer is upto the board .... and possibly the supporters if they start voting with their feet. The Boxing Day result saw a few more people move to the 'Adams Out!' side of the fence.
I've criticised Kyle before, and can see no reason to change my opinion. What he offers the side, is a mystery to me. I think I've more chance of catching Santa eating the mince pie my daughter left out for him than spotting it. I want him to come good, because it's a hell of a lot of money wasted if he doesn't. The same as I want Adams to get things sorted. But I just can't see either happening myself.
McKenzie is currently suffering the same problem as Gary McSheffrey faced while playing for Coventry City: being moved around the pitch every twenty minutes, so not being able to make any position his own. As a result, he is being unfairly criticised by some Coventry City fans. Keep going people - it's only a matter of time before you totally shatter his confidence, and he stops trying to take players on....
Our poor results have coincided with a return to the 16 of Stephen Hughes - usually our own version of 'Where's Wally?' in midfield (I am aware that we beat Stoke, when, to everybodies surprise, Hughes made it onto the pitch, and that he didn't actually get onto the pitch versus WBA!). I'm sure it's only a coincidence. As I'm sure it was only a coincidence when he was out of the side last season and results improved.
And can somebody please explain the logic behind this:
Cameron plays poor out wide, Hughes plays even worse in the middle. Hughes is thankfully dropped. Cameron moves into the middle, and looks more than decent. Coventry go five games unbeaten with Hughes out of the side. So Adams brings back Hughes, and moves Cameron out wide again.
It just doesn't make sense. Then again, a lot of what MA does doesn't make sense.
The transfer window is set to open very soon, and I hope a fair few people at this club are shown the door when it opens. But, with no money to spend, we might be wise seeing if we can bring Harry Redknapp in on loan for a few days, to see if he can wheel-and-deal a bit, and bring in some better players at no expense....
Almost two years ago, defeat against Leeds saw Peter Reid leave his post as Coventry City manager. What chance of history repeating? Or will we take enough points off two teams in the bottom three, and paper over the cracks for another few days....?
Apart from a ten minute spell after half-time, we were even second best to nine-man Sheffield Wednesday last Saturday! Just not good enough.
Well, it's not pretty to watch, is it? And more recently, trying to bore the opposition into submission was failing as a tactic too.
The three recent home defeats have left me asking: whatever happened to 'Fortress Ricoh'? They might have been slightly easier to take had we at least put up a fight in those games.
I keep waiting for our season to spark into life - sadly, I think this is probably it. Eighteen matches in, not much to report....
How many performances home or away have we seen that made fans proud to be Coventry City supporters this season? Not many as far as I'm concerned.
There might well be a three year plan to get back into the Premiership, but I can't help wondering at which point playing football, or at least competing, will be introduced into the equation.
In my opinion, with the amount people are charged to watch football, entertainment has to be a part of the matchday experience. Coventry City can play football, but for some reason, at this moment in time, they're choosing not to.
It's almost as if the players no longer want to play for Mickey Adams .... though I'm sure they do.
The fact that nearly every defeat we've suffered has been by the odd goal is of little consolation. A defeat is a defeat.
Seven of our defeats have come against teams above us in the table (Plus we've had the compulsory defeat to Ipswich), while every victory has come by beating teams (Currently) below us. We're strictly a mid-table side, and no more.
The forthcoming fixtures don't look like they will result in enough points to surge up the table either, especially as three are against teams above us, so defeat looks on the cards! A place in the bottom six wasn't on my Christmas list....
The side has supposedly improved over the summer (Though I'm yet to be convinced Kyle is better than Scowcroft, Adebola, or Craig Reid!), yet the standard of football has gone backwards. Adams frequently reveals the type of player he's looking to bring in, yet always brings in somebody totally different to that description.
Adams recent response to criticism (At Barnsley) seems to have cost him a few supporters that were in the pro-Adams camp, and it was interesting to note on the internet message board I frequent that those that backed Adams response were not at the match, those that didn't were! If you don't have to suffer it, I guess only the result matters.
Having recently watched us fluke victories at Southend and Barnsley, with two dire displays, the travelling support had every right to voice their displeasure for a few seconds. It is worth noting than for the other 179 minutes of those matches, the supporters were fantastic!
But if you dare to not bask in any and every victory you're accused of moaning! I can take the odd 'ugly victory' or two, but I can't think of many that have been anything better than 'David Gest ugly'!
On the grounds you're apparently not a real fan if you moan, or don't see everything through Sky Blue tinted glasses, I'd better finish with some positives....
Unbelievably, we're still only four points off the Top 6. Just how poor is this division?!
Also, defensively we look okay (Kiss of death!), McKenzie looks like a decent signing, and Jay Tabb looks a decent prospect too.
Off to see if I can find a Leonard Cohen record to play to cheer myself up....
We've failed to score in six of our first twelve league games, and our average of just under one-goal-a-game this season is not good enough - especially when you consider that over half of our goals came in two games (With most fans that travelled to Roots Hall not quite sure how we scored three last Friday!).
McKenzie, Kyle, John, and Adebola should have far more goals between them than they have so far managed, while the midfield's contribution has also been poor regards setting up and goal-scoring (Again!).
There are enough decent midfield players at the club (Though I still think we should have brought Lee Hendrie in on loan), and we have some decent strikers too - it's time they properly justified their places in the starting line-up. Or maybe it's the tactics that need changing?
Mikael Forssell, recently linked with Coventry City, is the calibre of striker I would love to see at the Arena - though if the service to our front players doesn't improve, we might as well bring back Tommy English.
The cheap surrender of our impressive home record was hugely disappointing, especially as Plymouth were every bit as abysmal as Coventry City on the day. The England U21 side beating the German U21 side six days later slightly made up for it though! Baines' winner was worth the entry fee alone! (Coventry players would do well to learn from his effort from distance - if you don't shoot, you don't score!).
The cost of a ticket for that match was far more in keeping with what matchday prices should be: adults £10, children £5, and even cheaper for groups of 15 people or more! A pricing policy that was surely worth experementing with against for our Sky TV match versus Colchester on Monday? Just how many fair-weather fans do the club expect will bother going?
The quality of some of the players on view that night (Ferdinand, Reo-Coker, Milner, etc) is what we could get from our youngsters if they concentrate properly on their day job. Or if they are given a chance (Which, to be fair, Adams is doing more than previous managers).
Of the best of our youngsters, if Kevin Thornton would stop trying quite so hard, and play the game more simply as he did in his substitute appearances last season, he might just become a permanent fixture in the side. It's almost as if if the fact he is so close to being part of the starting XI is playing on his mind. If he allows it to, it won't happen.
He is better than some of the players being selected, but needs to go back to basics if he wants to replace them...
The last two Coventry City matches (Before Wolves) were severely lacking in quality, and it's been a struggle to stay awake at times! It was twenty minutes into the second half versus Plymouth before I found anything to write about for the second period of that game! On the plus side, I slept well that night....
And, apart from three goals and the final whistle, the next highlight of an evening in Southend was somebody (Who shall remain nameless!) standing at the bar of a pub after the match, complaining to the barmaid about the awful noise coming from the girl singing karaoke, only to find out it was her daughter! Said girls father was none to happy when the comment was forwarded either....
So far this season Coventry City have helped get three mangers the sack (Quinn, Blackwell, and Worthington), and it would be nice to see a few more receiving their P45 after we've played them - because it more than likely means we got a result. The Colchester and Barnsley bosses jobs are probably safe whatever they do this season, so Steve Bruce in just under a fortnight would be a decent addition to that list....
Well what do you know? Life does go on without Gary McSheffrey! Three clean sheets on the trot, and seven points from nine following his departure.
I still await the apologies of those that criticised me for not agreeing his leaving was the end of the world....
Tuesday versus Ipswich was disappointing, but not unexpected - it's thirteen games without a victory against them now. The sooner they get relegated, or we get promoted, the better.
Had results gone our way midweek, we could have topped the table following the match at Portman Road! Maybe it's for the best we haven't reached the top yet, as would hate for us to peak to soon.
While it might be too early to get excited about our league position, it is also worth noting that we haven't really performed particularly well so far, and there are hopefully a fair few more gears to go through before we hit our best form.
There are also a fair few players in the squad that have yet to challenge for a first team place, and the more competition for places, the better.
For most of our summer signings, you could be forgiven for thinking they are cursed! Virgo, Tabb, McNamee, Andrews, and Bischoff have barely managed a game between them, while Colin Cameron is not yet showing the form that persuaded Adams to bring him in.
Releasing Morrell, and replacing him with Kyle and McKenzie, can only improve the side, though bringing in both of these players might not have been necessary had we used Scowcroft properly! Suddenly he's looking a bit of a snip at £500,000 for Crystal Palace.
The signing of Kyle wasn't best received by all, though this was mainly due to thoughts we might have signed another Keith O'Neill!
I would suggest buying a job lot of cotton wool, and wrapping Kevin Kyle in it! Fully fit, he could be a big asset; injured, and he could become the £600,000+ of treatment table dweller some feared he would be.
Following Saturday's win, Darren Huckerby, possibly slightly bitter after being on the wrong end of a hammering, suggested we were totally reliant on hoofing the ball upto Kyle - I disagree! Whing, Hall, Thornton, and Burchill all saw plenty of the ball in the attacking half of the pitch, as they have in most matches this season.
There's nothing wrong with route one, as long as it is used alongside football played how it should be played too - with the ball being played to feet every so often.
How nice that when we do hit glorious 50 yard passes up front (Well that's what they're called when Chelsea and Manchester United rely on said tactic!), we finally have a player capable of heading the ball!
Some have pointed out that Kyle has a poor scoring record, though I think Thierry Henry's average would have took a bit of a battering had he been in Sunderland's side last season! I'm fairly sure Kyle burst into tears after his goal on Saturday! (The picture in the Daily Star would back this claim up too) - a slightly more original goal celebration than most!
Leon McKenzie looks a decent addition to the squad, with Adams' refusal to give up the chase, and Norwich's absolute reluctance to sell, suggesting he is a good quality player. Norwich supporters seem upset that he's gone too!
Leeds this weekend will be a big test, with our recent record against them being as poor as our record against Ipswich - no wins in the last dozen games when playing against them - while Crystal Palace away will also be a tough test, as they beat us three times last season.
Before you read on, it is worth noting that this was written last week, a day before I went on holiday, and before I had the time to include it on this website!! With that in mind....
We're into double figures with new signings, but not many players have gone through the door marked 'exit' this summer. If Birmingham City had their way, there would be at least one player leaving us....
If Coventry City are serious about rejecting all offers for their star player, I would suggest Mickey Adams gets himself a phone with 'caller display', and ignores any attempt by Steve Bruce to contact him!
The reality is, every player has their price, and once the money on offer becomes ridiculous, difficult decisions will have to be made - with the outcome of those decisions fairly obvious.
While there will be a few people fearing the worst should McSheffrey go, it is worth remembering that the season after Everton sold boy wonder Wayne Rooney, they qualified for the Champions League!
His match-winner, thanks in part that to dopey defending from Sunderland (Though he still had plenty to do!), gave us the perfect start to the season - despite the fact we were missing a few players from our probable starting XI.
And while I would never try and detract from any victory, quite why anybody would consider Sunderland as a good bet to go up I don't know! Their first XI is average at best, while their squad looks strictly mid-table.
With so many new signings, it's fairly understandable that some players aren't yet used to how team-mates will play, though it was Adebola and John who looked like they were on the footballing equivalent of a blind date on Sunday!
It's a shame Hutchison isn't a 90 minute player, as he really does have the ability to change a game. I guess if he was, he would cost far more to buy than we're expecting to get for McSheffrey, and wouldn't be playing in the Championship!
Southampton and Cardiff away will provide bigger tests, though with both sides having brought in plenty of new players over the summer, it's to be hoped we catch them both during their 'getting to know you' period.
I was disappointed to see ticket prices rise this season. While I understand the club needed to raise funds, a slight lowering of prices might just have sent out the message we really do want to encourage more people to come and watch us.
The Arena is a cracking stadium, but there are far too many empty seats! Asking fans to pay more money doesn't seem like the solution to that problem to me....
I also wasn't overly impressed with the new 'smartcard' system at the ground - turnstile operators tearing the tickets and letting people in seemed far quicker to me!
My expectations for the season are realistic (Anywhere between first and 21st!!), but I am more than happy with the squad Mickey Adams has built - though another striker is a necessity!
We now have a big squad, capable of competing, yet thanks to the greed shown by the Premiership (Again), wanting the reserve league for themselves, those not selected each week only have training sessions to push their claims for a place in the first team.
The Chelsea side that played our reserves last season was virtually unrecognisable, despite the fact they have two a squad that contains two sides that could play in the Premiership!
Just a small obstacle in our push for the Premiership - two years ahead of schedule! Told you my expectations were realistic....
CET Article 8
Despite deserving it, Mr. Dowie didn't win the 'Manager Of The Month Award' for March, but has been struck by the curse that goes with picking up said accolade - not winning your next few matches! Instead, Roy Keane won it, because his ever improving Sunderland side are still improving.
Maybe I'm biased, but I think managing to turn around the disaster that was Coventry City in such a short time, was a bigger achievement than keeping a team expected to gain promotion at the first attempt in the Top Six (Top One after Monday's fixtures!).
CET Article 7
How nice it is to actually write a fanzone section, and have something positive to say?! And for that, I have to say a big thank you to Mr. Dowie and Mr. Flowers (And possibly one or three others) for restoring my faith in Coventry City. Charlton's loss is definitely our gain!
Dowie's mission almost impossible, following Alan Curbishley into the Charlton hot-seat, and not being given a realistic amount of time to show what he could do, has allowed Coventry City to employ the talents of one of the most forward thinking young managerial talents around....
CET Article 6
Just how big was the against win Luton? For a team so badly off form (Us and them!), and with confidence so low, this really was a six-pointer (Despite the fact Mickey Adams said there's no such thing!) - especially with the bottom three all winning on Tuesday too.
Our next four fixtures: Sunderland away; Cardiff at home, Leicester away; and Southampton at home, are all lose-able, so we've at least given ourselves a bit of breathing space.
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