As John Lennon sang “another year’s over a new one’s just begun.” 2011 will go down as one of the, if not the worst year, in the history of Coventry City. With a failing side stuck at the wrong end of the table and a board nobody likes, administration or worst just around the corner, inability to bring in any new players and any decent player up for sale. The previous decade was bad but it seems to be worse now. Is there any hope of an upturn? In 2011 we have used 34 different players the lowest number since 2000 when we used 33. Only one of those was a loan player. Twelve players including McSheffrey came through the youth set up. This year we have earned 40 points compared with the years 2002 63 points, 2003 42 points, 2004 54 points, 2005 51 points, 2006 68 points, 2007 54 points, 2008 54 points, 2009 49 points and 2010 60 points.
January (Nothing changes on New Years Day)
City started the year in a healthy position of 7th only goal difference behind Reading in a play off place and 11 points ahead of the bottom three. Things could have been a lot better because City had not won for four games including three straight defeats. First game of the New Year came on New Year’s Day as we entertained Ipswich. Manager Adie Boothroyd promised to mix up the style of play and not relying so much on the long ball game. First line-up of the year was as follows in goal Kieran Westwood with Richard Wood, James McPake, Nathan Cameron and Richard Keogh in defence, Lukas Jutkiewicz, Michael Doyle, Lee Carsley and David Bell in midfield with Marlon King and Freddy Eastwood up front trying out a new striking partnership. City came from a goal behind only for the second time that season to earn a point with an Eastwood goal. It was the officials however who stole the show King was red carded with a two footed tackle, McPake seemed victim of an elbow but his assailant received a yellow, McPake then had a goal ruled out as Eastwood was off side but not active and finally Jutkiewicz was brought down but no penalty. Clive Platt and Martin Cranie came on as subs and City slipped to 8th. Points seemed guaranteed at the next game as City travelled to Oakwell to face Barnsley looking for a record fifth consecutive victory there. Gary McSheffrey and Aron Gunnarsson played for the first time that year. The fifth win didn’t come as City put in a poor performance and McPake limped off with another injury another City slipped to a 2-1 defeat and moved down to mid table. With the transfer window opened there were plenty of rumours flying around mainly concerning Westwood, as Premiership Wigan seemed to be the latest team interested in our keeper. The FA Cup was next and only 8,000 bothered to turn up for a 3rd Round tie against Palace. Not quite the lowest crowd at the Rioch but close. Making his full debut was defender Stephen O’Halloran, Roy O’Donovan came off the bench for his first game of the year and promising young midfielder Connor Thomas made his debut as a sub. City coasted early on with Eastwood’s third goal of the year and one from Baker but later on Palace pulled one back before a clumsy tackle from O’Halloran gave away a late penalty but thankfully Westwood saved the spot kick preventing an arduous trip to Croydon for a replay. It was the very first victory against Palace at home 6 ½ years. City’s were rewarded with a plumb tie away to Premiership Birmingham City. City attempted to end the long run without a league victory by hosting relegation threatened Sheffield United, who had recently appointed Micky Adams as their manager. It ended scoreless mainly thanks to United’s keeper Simonsson but many City fans thought it was the best football played by the club that season. A tough trip next as we travelled on Sunday to face promotion candidates QPR, a lucky ground for us, unbeaten in the last five consecutive visits. Rumour of the day was Michael Doyle was about to join Sheffield United with a manager Micky Adams he apparently never got on with. Despite King back from suspension giving City the lead the winless league run stretched to 8 games as QPR inspired by Moroccan Taarabt won 2-1, Sammy Clingan made his first appearance of the year coming on as sub after a long lay off with an injury. Two days later Michael Doyle ended his long stay at City by going on a free to Sheffield United he played just under 300 games for us putting him 16th on the appearance list, he played more game than any other Irishman for City. Days later he rang the Friday phone in to say his goodbyes to the fans. It was reported that City were willing to sell Westwood whilst it was reported that Norwich were interested in Eastwood. Last game of the month saw all roads lead to St Andrews and the “band wagon jumpers” were out in force for the 4th Round of the FA Cup. City stunned the League Cup Finalist by racing into a two goal lead thanks to King and Wood both beating Colin Doyle who played for City on loan in an embarrassing league cup defeat away to Morecambe early in the season. The lead wasn’t to last as Birmingham fought back to win 3-2 and dump City out of the Cup. Transfer deadline day came with no club taking Westwood and no players came in but the only piece of transfer news was a real shock. Liverpool had come in for Connor Thomas for a loan period until the end of the season paying City an alleged £1,000,000 with a view to a permanent move. Fans were up in arms at the selling of such a prospect as Thomas. Many questioned the board and wondered how desperate for money City must have been. We ended the month in 13th place 7 points behind the play off place and 10 points ahead of the relegation zone.
February (Month of purification, City are purified of points as the slide continues)
City started the month badly losing a goal lead at home to Forest to and going down 2-1 a rare mistake by Westwood didn’t help matters; Jordan Clarke came off the bench for his first game of the year. We were now nearer the drop than a play off place and general apathy had set in amongst the fans. City then went extended the winless league run to ten games as we lost comfortably 1-0 away to Leeds the score line flattered City. The loan window opened without any new signings but things were rumbling at boardroom level as Gary Hoffman resigned from the board on the 10th mainly over the loan selling of Thomas but it turned out he wanted to resign when we sold Dann and Fox a few years previously. Things at board level seemed to be in turmoil and on the field as well as some fans were calling for the head of Boothroyd. We welcomed Palace back to the Rioch and it was almost a carbon copy of the Cup clash as City took a two-goal lead and conceded late on but this time no late penalty and City had the first league win of the year. Promotion chasing Swansea were next in town could a City revival be on the cards? The Telegraph had started a campaign to stop the tasteless songs about top scorer King; it didn’t work as the “Naughty Corner” were the most guilty. Referee Mr Stroud dominated the game by giving several bizarre decisions, he refusing to give City a penalty when Jutkiewicz was clearly dragged down by the keeper but in the end luck was out as City lost 1-0 but they put in a fine performance. It wasn’t all doom and gloom as the Transport Museum held a nostalgia night showing old clips of games and a question and answer session with former player Ronnie “don’t ask me about that penalty miss” Farmer. A big match next as City fans travelled across the M69 to face Leicester. There couldn’t be a bigger contrast in the two nearby teams Leicester had just sign Yakubu and were paying him £50,000 a week whilst City couldn’t even afford a loan player. The away fans were in good voice as King fired City into the lead and sang “Take me home Highfield Road” to the tune of a John Denver hit “Take me home country roads”. Leicester levelled and Cranie was sent off late on but City hung on to an excellent point. We ended the month in 17th place 14 points behind the play off and 9 points above the drop zone.
March (The month of the god of war as Boothroyd is a casualty as a battle is fought in the board room)
First game of the month was at home to Bristol City as City attempted to do the double over the Robbins for the first time since the 1960’s and to win for the first time at the Rioch against the club. It was not to be as City slipped 3-0 behind before half time. The second half saw a change in keepers as the injured Westwood was replaced by Danny Ireland making his first appearance in three years making his league debut but the Australian injured himself with his first goal kick things got worse as King received his second straight red card of the season for retaliation. Chris Hussey came on for his first game of the year as City went down 4-1 and dropped to 19th. Next up was a trip north to a place we have never won at Doncaster. With Westwood and Ireland out City were forced to give Michael Quirke his full debut in goal as 258 Coventry fans saw a late Rovers’ goal to force a 1-1 draw. The usual players were rumoured to be targets of others club with Ipswich supposed to be interested in King and Villa apparently after Westwood. Hull were in town next and City put in a pretty poor performance to loose 1-0. The next news was a real bolt from the blue despite the bad form not many fans predicted what would happen next as Boothroyd was sacked. Many fans were not happy at losing yet another manager especially one that had been given precious little backing from the board. As normal plenty of rumoured candidates for the managers role including Roberto Di Matteo, Lee Clarke, Richard Shaw, Dion Dublin, Chris Houghton, were all mentioned in the press whilst City old boy Bobby Gould said he would do the job for nothing. The next day City travelled for a difficult game against Burnley chief scout Andy Thorn and coach Steve Harrison were put in charge. Only 152 Coventry fans braved the midweek trek to the moors and many predicted a gloomy night. The new men in charge changed the formation to the diamond fans and Lancashire Radio were impressed with the ability to pass the ball from the visitors. City came from a goal down to lead with a goal from Jutkiewicz only his third from open play and then the goal of the season from McSheffrey a great way to celebrate his 50th league goal for the club, unfortunately the home side equalised and the points were shared. The management and board were so happy at the backing that each of the 152 fans that travelled to the game received a free black and green away scarf for their efforts. Next up Coventry tried to do something no other Coventry team has done before and win a league game in Preston and since they were bottom there never seemed to be a better chance. Michael McIndoe played for the first time that year coming on as a sub but a late goal condemned City to a defeat. The next night dedicated fan Kev Monks picked up the award for National Fan of the Year. One rumour that wasn’t true was Clive Platt joining Premiership bound Norwich on loan. The next day brought unexpected news as Chairman Ray Ranson resigned. Some say it was over the lack of money Sisu had pumped into the club another rumour was former board member Gary Hoffman had teamed up with Formula One entrepreneur Eddie Jordan in a joint takeover bid. Meanwhile it was King’s turn to be rumoured to be on the move in a loan deal this time to Cardiff proved equally untrue. Four days after Ray Ranson stepped down board member Ken Dulieu became chairman. The new chairman soon held a press conference and claimed that Sisu had spent five million pounds to stop the club going into administration. City ended the month in 20th place seven points clear of the drop zone.
April (The month of the fool. No Fools in the City)
City moved up to 17th after a straightforward 2-0 home victory against Watford. For the second time in a year City gave up a two goal lead against a midlands side as we drew 2-2 away to Derby. The following game as a midweek trip to Portsmouth as City put in their best display of the season and for some time by romping to a 3-0 victory with King scoring twice from the penlty spot leaving him in double figures and McSheffrey scoring despite being injured the City fans sang “Thorn in” hoping the temp would get the job on a full time basis. Another King double saw off ten-man Millwall at The Rioch as City became mathematically safe from relegation. After the game Andy Thorn claimed this squad was the best since relegation this caused some raising of the eyebrows from some fans. The next home game saw a disappointing draw against relegation threatened Scunthorpe the game ended 1-1 and the visiting keeper a certain Joe Murphy gave his gloves to some City fans in the Telegraph Stand after the game. A long trip to Middlesbrough next for the penultimate away game of the season the way things were going many wished the season had just started. King was out injured preventing being the first Coventry player in 34 years to score in 5 consecutive league games. City took the lead with a Jutkiewicz goal but couldn’t hold on it conceding an injury time goal to loose the game. On that day Preston were relegated from The Championship leaving Coventry as the longest serving members of the league. Near the end of the month Andy Thorn was named as permanent manager. The last home game of the season saw City’s second biggest home gate as the home team paraded next year’s all sky blue home kit. For the last few seasons the final home game has been a misery but despite a scoreless draw City fans were happy at the improvements made by Thorn.
May (The month of new hope?)
Last game of the season was away to Norwich. The locals were celebrating back-to-back promotions and there was a party atmosphere at Carrow Road. Young keeper Quirke played but before the game he was told that City would release him in the closed season this baffled many City fans. City slightly spoiled the party with a credible 2-2 draw. Gary Deegan ended a long time out with an injury with his first game of the season. Goals coming from Jutkiewicz and the a first goal of the season from Richard Keogh who played ever minute of every game and was voted Player of the Season deservedly so as he won twice as many votes as his nearest rival Marlon King. City ended 18th. Tickets for away games that season cost just under £600 whilst City fans travelling from Coventry spent around 235 hours on the road and watching away games. Olympic Tickets for the Football at the renamed City of Coventry Stadium were on sale but it was a quiet month as City chased a certain goalkeeper and a player called Stephen Sunday.
The Closed season
Early in June many City fans got very excited as Marlon King promised Andy Thorn he would sign a two-year deal. The next day everyone came down to earth as King backtracked on the story preferring to join Birmingham City instead. Sisu then announced the club was still massively in debt but had enough for the next season. This left many fans wondering where the money would come for the season after that? The fixtures for the new season came out and City would kick off against Leicester before a chance for revenge against King as the first away game was against Birmingham. With King gone both Southampton and Millwall were reportedly interested in Jutkiewicz. Westwood a player that always seemed to be on the verge of a transfer finally left after just under 140 games for City he certainly was the best goalkeeper we had signed since relegation. He left for Sunderland who gave him double his wages and a chance to play Premiership football, which he would achieve to some rave reviews. Gunnarsson also left after three seasons, a player discovered by Andy Thorn his first season was the best being voted Player of the Season the next two were not so good but Cardiff City got a bargain. Finally at the end of June City signed a player, he was a goalkeeper but no the one expected as Northampton’s Chris Dunn became Andy Thorn’s first singing as manager. Going out of the door was a player that made his debut in 2003 and played only 130 + matches for the Sky Blues as he was bedevilled by injuries he travelled to Scotland to play for Aberdeen were he has become a regular. Two days later the signing that was in the waiting for at least three years as Scunthorpe’s Joe Murphy was signed, two singings both goalkeepers no outfield players even rumoured to be on there way, City fans were getting worried. City spent pre-season training in Portugal thanks to Chairman Ken Dulieu who let them train nearby where he lived but he did come into some criticism by have a track suit made with his initials on. Deep into the closed season and with the departures and the lack of players coming in City were made relegation favourites by the bookies. City started the preseason with a 2-2 away draw against Nuneaton Town with both goals coming from forgotten forward Roy O’Donovan. Things were not looking too good and a rumour that Leeds are almost certain to sign Sammy Clingan soon didn’t help matters. City’s 2nd pre-season game was a 3-0 win away to non-league Hinckley United with goals from O’Donovan, Eastwood and Connor Thomas who had returned from his loan at Liverpool with an injury. Another victory against another non-league side this time 1-0 against Kettering, McSheffrey with the only goal this was followed by a 2-2 in Chesterfield with Hussey and Jutkiewicz scoring. Final pre-season game was a “glamorous” home tie against Premiership big boys Norwich City! As normal City try to humiliated their fans by playing a recently promoted team. Norwich meanwhile strolled to a 3-0 win and many City fans concluded if signings do not come soon it could be a real struggle. One highlight of the summer was the unavailing of the Jimmy Hill statue a fitting tribute to the legend.
August (the month of honour, no honour for Sisu or City)
For the first game of the season against Leicester who were joint promotion favourites a attracted 21,000 fans for the opening game. With no outfield players coming in Andy Thorn was forced to switched to youth and gave a debut to a player many had not heard of Gael Bigirimana, also playing for the first time that year was full back Cyrus Christie who last played against Morecambe in the previous season’s League Cup and making his long awaited debut in goal was Joe Murphy. One of the major talking points was how David Bell managed to land a new four-year contract when many would have been happy to see him leave. Things started well as Leicester had Vassell sent off after ten minutes but near the end of the half Baker was harshly sent off. City went on to loose 1-0 but played well without a cutting edge. A chance for a cup run next as City took on Bury away in the League Cup. Andy Thorn promised to respect the competition and sent out a full side but City fell to the latest in a long line of Cup upsets by losing 3-1, O’Donovan scored his very first goal for the club. It was the first time ever our first two league games have been against Midland clubs as we travelled to Birmingham as many predicted Marlon King was injured for the game. City narrowly lost 1-0 but played well there was the first “Sisu out” chants during the game as City went a goal down and again we lacked a cutting edge Jutkiewicz couldn’t shoot straight, O’Donovan looked out of his depth and McSheffrey just looked poor. Shaun Jeffers came on as a sub for his first league game of the year. Not for the first time in recent seasons the fixture computer pulled out Palace away as a midweek fixture. City’s lack of goals was no the verge of setting a new record as we have never played the first three league games without scoring. Before the game three City fans travelled early to protest outside Sisu’s HQ in London. The three activists couldn’t gain entry to the building but they did receive a phone call from director Leonard Brody claiming the club had no transfer money and were not going to sell the club. Others contented themselves with just ringing the office everyday for a chat and to waste their time. The game had Connor Thomas making his full league debut whilst Bigirimana was already attracting interest from Premier League teams. If City’s midfield wasn’t young enough soon it got even younger as McSheffrey picked up an injury and Josh Ruffles made his debut leaving City with three teenagers in midfield and four in the team. Near the end of the first half Palace had the ball in the net but was ruled off side by the referee Mr Miller but his signal wasn’t very clear leaving CWR to claim Palace were winning at half time. Minutes into the 2nd half the goalless duck was broken as Jutkiewicz scored. Just entering injury time Palace levelled and then the minutes later Murphy let a tame shot through his arms and Palace won. New keeper Joe Murphy had started to receive a fair amount of flak for his performances so far and many wanted him to be dropped. A day later City hit rock bottom of the Championship. The fans big hope was the meeting between Gary Hoffman and Sisu that took place on the 19th but confusion reigned when both sides put out contradicting press statements. The takeover was over and the board suspended Life President Joe Elliot for his part in the coup. Next up was Watford at home and the City fans were in a revolting mood. A mini anti Sisu protest by fifteen was held near the Jimmy Hill statute and was film by The Football League Show. Before kick off it was rumoured that Sisu had magically found some money and had a bid for Adam Le Fondre of Rotherham turned down but were close to buying two other players. The game ended 0-0 but the action was in the stands as fans had brought in Sisu Out banners but as soon as they revealed them the “Response Squad” of stewards charged in and snatched the banners from the fans with one steward throwing the banner to the ground. Later Sisu excused the action saying the banners were a fire hazard whilst fans complained about heavy-handed actions and an abuse of their freedom of free speech. After the game more protests near the Jimmy Hill statue. At the end of the month Gary Hoffman had pulled out of his takeover bid as Sisu had questioned Sam Alladyce’s involvement in the bid since he was manager of Bolton at the time. Meanwhile Adam La Fondre, City’s number one target had joined Reading. A long trip to Middlesbrough was next on the agenda and most fans travelling were predicting a defeat. Some City fans were prevented from taking “Sisu Out” banners into the ground the home stewards claiming they were political, I thought we lived in a free society, maybe it doesn’t count when you are a football fan. More bad news Ben Turner had a medical at Cardiff that day and for a change he past it and was soon on the move. Turner had made his debut four years earlier but only played 83 games for City as he spent a lot of time out injured he only had one half of a season when he played well. Mood was lifted somewhat as City prevented Middlesbrough going top with a battling 1-1 draw with a goal coming from City’s only threat up front Jutkiewicz. End of the month saw the transfer deadline and Jutkiewicz seemed to be the prize asset, as Middlesbrough seemed to be the favourites to buy him. City were looking for reinforcements up front and two targets emerged Sam “The Beast” Parkin and Norwich’s reserve striker Cody McDonald. City ended the month in 23rd place.
September (Month of atonement? City can’t atone for injury time mistakes)
Cardiff paid three quarters of a million plus add-ons for Turner whilst we failed to land Parkin but Thorn managed to buy his first outfield player in the shape of Cody McDonald for £400,000 the player scored for fun at Gillingham when he was loaned out and there was considerable excitement of having a natural goal scorer on the books. No other players left much to everyone’s relief. The City board promised to “leave no stone unturned” to bring in loan players. McDonald made his debut in the home fixture against Derby. More anti Sisu protests in the stands and the Response Squad were in action again but this time the fans were determined to hold onto the banners and several scuffles broke out. A scuffle in the “Naughty Corner” lead to one fan questioning why a policeman wasn’t wearing an ID number the fan was arrested and banned for three years many a totalitarian state couldn’t of done better proving again football fans have fewer rights then anyone else. Despite the disturbances arrests all around the league were at the lowest since figures were kept during the 1984-1985 season. On the pitch there were no goals at half time but Murphy injured himself pulling off a brave save after a bad pass from Clingan leaving Chris Dunn resplendent in his head gear to make his debut and he played well. City soon won with a dodgy penalty converted by Jutkiewicz for the first home goal of the season and in the rain Baker added a second and City finally won. City had their second game on Sky in a row when we made a Monday night trip to Ipswich. Ipswich fielded an experienced side and despite McDonald having a better game then on his debut City were outclassed and were lucky to only loose 3-0. Reading were next in town and despite McSheffrey scoring City’s first league goal of the season in the first half it ended 1-1 Murphy saved a penalty but Jutkiewicz blasted a spot kick over the bar in injury time and City re-entered the relegation zone. A midweek home game against Blackpool and for most of the game the visitors were in front until from nowhere sub Deegan scored his first goal for over a year followed by a fine effort from Jutkiewicz but yet again City conceded in injury time and only earned a point. City ended the month in 21st place.
October (Halloween horror as City fail to break out the bottom three)
First game of the month was away to Barnsley and despite singing “I just can’t get enough” City went down to a 2-0 defeat that included a controversial penalty, City were back in the bottom three. On the day England qualified for the European Championships City were rumoured to be trying to loan Wolves’ Michael Knightly. Only four managers in our history have had a worse first twenty games as Thorn as the slump continued. Meanwhile the rumour mill was turning before a home game with Forest as Chief Executive Paul Clouting resign and the club being very quiet about it whilst rumours flew around about dressing room unrest and Thorn resigning. Also it was rumoured that Lee Carsley was to replace Thorn after the next six games. Better news on the field as City beat Forest 1-0 at home with Dunn going on for an injury Murphy after City had taken the lead. Next up a daunting trip to Leeds as with Stoke and Newcastle interested in Christie and still no loan players it looked a home banker. City trailed at half time by a goal but the small contingent of away fans sung “Andy Thorn’s Sky Blue Army” constantly for the first 14 minutes of the 2nd half. City totally dominated the second half and a late mistake by the Leeds’ keeper allowed Wood to score late on and earn a great away point. Meanwhile Baker signed a three-year deal whilst Connor Thomas was linked again to Liverpool. Burnley were the next visitors to The Rioch and despite McDonald finally breaking his duck firing City into the lead City again conceded in injury time to lose having Bigirimana sent off didn’t help and the referee Mr Scott came in for heavy criticism from CWR. A real relegation six pointer next as City visited Doncaster and despite a cracking goal by Clingan City could only draw with Doncaster. We ended the month in 22nd place.
November (City are a damp squib as no fireworks go off)
Another trip to London allowed some fans to diver to Sisu HQ for another protest. Despite only being a handful of fans there Sisu called in the Police riot squad who sympathised with the City fans there. The game was at Millwall were a handful of City fans were but only one board member bother to make the trip as City fell apart in the 2nd half and lost 3-0 leaving the club 4 points from safety. Rumours started again that City were on the verge of signing a loan players not many fans believed the story. Next up were leaders Southampton at The Rioch and the leaders raced to a half time lead of 2-0 and it should have been much more. City fans were fearing a real hammering but the second half provided to be different as Jordan Willis made his debut after Jutkiewicz had pulled one back before sub Platt levelled but it was not to last a defensive mistake followed by a goalkeeping mistake allowed The Saints to win 4-2. More protests in the ground and a “Sisu Out” banner was left untouched by the stewards. Gary McSheffrey then signed a contract extension along with “the kids”. The real drama was behind the scenes as Leonard Brody resigned from the City board the Canadian who never saw a game said the rent at the Rioch is too much at £1.2 million P.A. three times as much as any other Championship team the club later deigned the rent was that high. After playing the leaders next up were 2nd placed West Ham at home. The major rumour doing the rounds before the game was we would go into administration on Monday 21st November at 10am. There was a minute’s silence for the blitz 71 years ago. City took the lead against The Hammers but then had no luck as shot deflected off Cranie and another ball hit a West Ham player who scored. City played their third home game in a row as we entertained Cardiff next. The rumoured administration never happened just like the rumour that City were to sign a loan player. Southampton were again rumoured to be interested in Jutkiewicz wanting him on loan before paying three million for him. The game itself saw City pick up a point as Cardiff took the lead after a long throw in by Gunnarsson. It is only the 6th time City had been in the drop zone after league game 18 but none of them had seen us so far adrift. New ground syndrome struck as a large away following turned up at Brighton to see the City play for the first time in the impressive Am Ex Stadium. Making his debut that day was City’s first loan player for over a year Villa’s Gary Gardner and he made a great start equalising after 9 minutes after Keogh had scored an own goal after Murphy parried a ball off him. In fact Murphy hadn’t kept a clean sheet away from home in the league since 28th of December. City couldn’t capitalise on the goal and lost tamely 2-1 with Murphy coming in for some considerable flak for another poor performance and the team looked disjointed. The diamond system came under criticism not for the first time this season. Results near the end of the month left City 7 points from safety.
December (Happy Christmas, for once, for City fans.)
Early December and many fans were celebrating as Ken Dulieu resigned as Chairman but it was short lived as he announced he would be now be “Head of Football Operations” what ever that meant, now he was in charge of transfers and negotiating contracts so what had changed? Mr Dulieu moved over from Portugal to be closer to the club and took up plush residents at Coombe Abbey. On the field City next visited Portsmouth and it only start to dawn on many that City had only one away victory this year. Before the game it was announced that Sammy Clingan would be given a wage increase of up to £8,000 per week. It also was rumoured that coach Steve Harrison tells the players to pass the ball six times before it is secure. The game itself saw another defeat yet another error by Murphy before a fine team goal finished off by Jutkiewicz and finally the defence falling asleep. Results else were meant City were now bottom of the league. The FA Cup draw next and City made had landed a tie that could be described as the most uninteresting of the round as we drew Southampton at home. The group of fans that protested outside Sisu HQ wanted City fans to boycott the Saints Cup game but after many fans told them the idea was silly they changed their minds to a protest and entering the ground 15 minutes later for the publicity. “The best laid plans of mice and men”, they say as any publicity by singing, banners, and protests against Sisu was totally upstaged by Ken Dulieu as he appeared on the bench for the Hull game forcing Andy Thorn to deflect questions about Mr Dulieu and not about another defeat leaving City 7 points from safety. The actions from the Head of Football Operations even grabbed the attention of the national press. Neil Moxley blogged on the Dailey Mail web site about the decline of the Sky Blues since 1987 laying a lot of the blame on Brian Richardson’s days, the boards that followed and how they stopped various managers from spending on players like Stephen Hunt and Kevin Doyle who Peter Reid wanted to sign before the plug was pulled. Andy Thorn revealed he has no full time scout or fitness coach the latter maybe the reason for so many late conceded goals. The manager equated being the City boss as like “swimming the Channel with a stove on our backs.” Some good news at last as the Government finally agreed to a train station at the Rioch to be finished by the end of 2013 far too late for the Olympics. Games now were becoming more and more important as City played Peterborough away next, a team that scores plenty but also concedes plenty. Before the game again the rumours were flying around again, one was Dulieu had resigned another was that a takeover from Gary Hoffman would take place within ten days. The game itself saw many Sisu Out banners, which were noted and reported on by members of the National Press. A very familiar half time score of 0-0 the eleventh of the season. City fell to a one-goal defeat but didn’t seem to have any luck at all. After the game forgotten midfielder Gary Deegan tweeted that he was fully fit why wasn’t he playing “what is going on!” he typed. Three days after the Peterborough game it was confirmed by Sisu that Dulieu had resigned and City were looking for a local personality to take his place, both John Sillett and Bobby Gould were rumoured. Boxing Day saw one of the biggest league games in recent history as City played 4th from bottom Bristol City the first half was poor and Bristol should have been in the lead but an improved second half saw a goal from sub Deegan who raced over to celebrate first with his manager, that left City still bottom but closing in on the teams above. The board then appointed Charlton’s former Chief Executive Steve Waggott to help with transfers in the New Year. City must be the only club in the country to have signed more board members than players. Final day and final game of the year was at home to Brighton and the strongest rumour yet of a takeover emerged before the game. The game itself for once saw City end the year with a comfortable 2-0 win with a goal of the season contender from McSheffrey running the length of the pitch before setting up Jutkiewicz for his 9th of the season equalling last season entire haul for the forward. Nine league goals before the New Year in a season hasn’t been bettered since Dion Dublin scored 10 in the 1997-1998 season. City moved off the bottom 5 points from safety but with renewed hope.
So another year over and we can all say “good riddance” to the awful 2011 we started the year on the verge of the play offs and ended it adrift of safety. Richard Keogh was in my opinion the player of the year consistently outstanding throughout at fullback or centre back. City fans have stuck with Andy Thorn despite a very poor record and hopefully the fans will be rewarded in 2012 but will it be with or without Sisu? Will City survive? Will City stay up? Will Sisu go? Will the Olympics bring positives to Coventry? 2012 will be the 25th anniversary of lifting cup and will a bald man lead us to more glory? One thing is sure it is long over due as the last top six finish was over forty years ago. Maybe the corner has been turned in late December but if nothing else 2012 will be a fascinating year.