Total Nightmare as Fans turn on Sky Blues

Last updated : 29 September 2004 By Kev Monks

The Stranglers once had a hit called "Something Better Change" and they are words that Mike McGinnity and Peter Reid would do well to heed after City put in their worst performance for a number of seasons with a 4-1 defeat at Queens Park Rangers.

This was our first visit to Loftus Road since November 1995,and I'd forgotten how bad the traffic in West London. Not helped by the A40 being closed for the best part of the day due to a fatality,it took us four and a half hours to make the 98 mile trek from Coventry and even then we still had to ditch the car at Ealing Broadway,get the tube to White City and walk from there. We made it on the stroke of 7.45pm to the ground only to find the kick off had sensibly been delayed by fifteen minutes.

For City's second away game in four days Peter Reid fielded a side that had one change with Graham Barrett replacing Neil Wood who dropped to the bench.

Rangers boss Ian Holloway fielded former Sky Blue Paul Furlong and Marcus Bignot. Now,Bignot leads a double life in that,when his duties with QPR,for the day end,he takes on another role as manager of Birmingham City Ladies.

He has been successful in the few years he has undertaken this role and is now being groomed as a future England women's team manager. Although he may need to sort his hairstyle out to appease FA Bosses.

Ian Holloway's side attacked early when Steve Staunton was taken apart,the ball was swung over and Luke Steele made a fine block,the ball fell to Jamie Cureton whose close range shot was punched away by the Coventry custodian.

With the rain starting to come down on some of the 800 City supporters camped in the front rows of the South Stand, Coventry's first chance of the game came in the seventh minute when Andy Morrell burst down the right to flash a shot across the goal.

Their next chance came in the 23rd minute when Barrett linked with Staunton and Jorgensen to find Stern John unmarked on the right of the goal. All the striker whom Birmingham boss Steve Bruce admitted he should not have sold (£500,000 and he's yours Mr Bruce) fired wide with another bad miss.
As the City supporters telling London Mayor Ken Livingstone exactly where he could stick his integrated traffic system and Olympic bid, Rangers sensed that Steve Staunton was the weak link and Matty Mills was clearly struggling.
The home eleven pushed forward and Jamie Cureton went wide from a free kick in the 29th minute.

They attacked a minute later with Danny Shittu heading wide a Bignot cross.

In the 32nd minute, Rangers turned their possession into a goal when Jamie Cureton got inside of Staunton and hit a low shot past Steele from twelve yards.

The mood amongst the City fans was one of miserable as Jorgensen missed from a Doyle corner as chants of "4-4-2." were directed at the Sky Blues bench.

Five minutes left and the City fans finally turned on the team as Mills was dispossessed by Jamie Cureton who hit a sublime shot from twelve yards which flew hit into the net.

That was it. Chants of "Sack The Board", "Reid out" and "We're Shit And We're Sick Of It", left some of the City players in total disbelief.

On the stroke of half-time,the abuse or totally fair comments depending on your viewpoint,got to Steve Staunton. Rather foolishly,Staunton told the City fans to "f**k off".
With many having nightmare journey's , this was not the right thing to say but thankfully, the half-time whistle blew and Staunton was able to get away from the City fans and into the sanctuary of the changing rooms.
Not helped by Rangers catering outfit running out of food and drink during the half-time interval, the mood was lifted slighted when City pulled one back thanks to Claus Jorgensen finding Graham Barrett who been pushed into the middle with Morrell taking his place on the right side of midfield on the "D" on the edge of the penalty and the Irishman rifling in a shot which beat Chris Day on his left hand post in the 48th minute.
For a few minutes,City started to play some football but it was just for a few minutes as another error gave QPR a throw on the right, the ball was hoofed up to Furlong who rounded Mills with ease and hit a shot which thankfully Luke Steele was able to save with his feet.
Holloway made a double change in the 57th minute bringing on Lee Cook and Matthew Rose who had only been on the pitch for eight minutes when he was booked for pulling back Claus Jorgensen.
The City fans were screaming for Rose to walk however, referee Mr Kaye took pity on the substitute and waved a yellow card in his face despite Rose being the last man.
Michael Doyle took the resulting free kick and curled the ball inches round the post.
Luke Steele made a good one handed save from Jamie Cureton in the 68th minute but was helpless five minutes later when the former Bristol Rovers and Reading striker completed his hat-trick.
Steve Staunton lost the ball, Michael Doyle won it back only to be dispossessed by the poorly coiffured Millwall and Celtic reject Marc Bircham. He played a through ball to Furlong who passed to his right for Cureton to beat Steele with another good finish.
A few City followers got up and left,some had already headed for the pub at half-time as Patrick Suffo replaced Claus Jorgensen. The Faroe Islander had been one of the better City players and this change was met by a chant of "You Don't Know What You're Doing"
The only time that Staunton dared to venture towards the end where the City supporters were housed was with ten minutes remaining and the Irishman hit a poor cross in the direction of the hapless Stern John. It was far too close to the home keeper who gratefully accepted this easy collection of the ball.
Tim Sherwood was having a poor game and in the 81st minute,some of the Coventry fans were calling for him to be sent off as he was beaten to the ball by Danny Shittu. The former England international looked clearly frustrated and shoved the defender. Those demanding his dismissal were not rewarded as the City skipper was only shown the yellow card.
Just after this, Matthew Mills was replaced by Andy Whing with Louis Carey moving to centre back.
Chants of "Eric Black's Sky Blue Army" were filling the air as Reid made his final substitution taking off Andy Morrell who had picked up a knock and replacing him with Eddy Johnson.
The chants from the severely p*ssed off City supporters continued with "What A Waste Of Money" aimed at Stern John and calls for the return of Gary McSheffrey as Graham Barrett flashed one across the face of the goal and Patrick Suffo saw his deflected shot caught by Day.
As if to totally rub more misery into the noses of some very irate Coventry fans, Rangers added a fourth in the 89th minute when a cross from the left was met by the head of Paul Furlong who beat Steele with an excellent header from six yards.
More "Sack The Board" and "Reid Out" chants followed as the final whistle blew to end a total nightmare. Thankfully,there was no traffic on the way back.
Now whatever your view point on whether the chants were justified or not, one thing we all agree on is that things cannot go on as they are. City, who have confirmed they will play at Middlesbrough in the Carling Cup on Wednesday October 27th at 8pm face a difficult few weeks convincing us why we should bother travelling 180 miles from Coventry up the M1 and A1M knowing we face a certain defeat, when so many of the players simply don't care or in the case of Staunton and Sherwood are here for one last pay day before they retire.
Action has to be taken and let's hope it is quick and effective.
ATT 14
GOALS - Jamie Cureton (32,40 & 73)
Graham Barrett (48)
Paul Furlong (89)
Booked Matthew Rose,Tim Sherwood
Man Of The Match - Graham Barrett won the votes.
Mare Of the Match - Steve Staunton ripped to pieces all night.
Steele,Carey,Shaw,Mills (Whing 81), Staunton,Jorgensen (Suffo 76),Doyle,Barrett, Sherwood, Morrell (Johnson 85),John SNU Shearer,Wood