If Manchester City are this and Plymouth Argyle are this, then surely Coventry City in it’s present state looks something like this (my most sincere apologies to those with arthritic clicking fingers).
But, as humorous and as demonstrably witty a sailing-cum-footballing analogy that is, Coventry City’s precarious state both on and off the field at the moment certainly isn’t a matter for laughing.
And where do you start on the road to endless despair?
Why not try 22nd in the Championship table at the time of writing, or one win in ten including two squandered victories in injury time against Reading and Blackpool. No? How about away day misery at Birmingham, Ipswich and Barnsley, no money for loan signing wage bills, or why don’t you just cut out the gumph and go for the jugular, with the needless waste of countless bed sheets by Coventry’s metrosexual finest in the making of “ILLEGAL” SISU OUT banners?
Whatever your chosen tear inducing muse; it quickly becomes clear that cumulative woes seem to spell out the words DOOM and OBLIVION and HOLY SH… WE’RE GETTING RELEGATED.
But temperance, because some members of our diaspora are calling for manager Andy Thorn’s head.
I’m sorry, but are these people clinical? Thorny is about the only semblance of leadership that this sinking ship has at the present time; what with the alarming lack of transparency on the business side discrediting any effort from SISU’s name to face Onye Igwe to build bridges; and also, more to the point, Thorn’s brand of football and his utilisation and nurturing of our youth players hasn’t in anyway merited his dismissal.
To sack Thorn would be to sack our one ray of sunshine and one positive force. We mustn’t under any circumstances do that. What’s more, the skip hire costs in removing Thorny’s lopped off baked potato would surely tip us over the edge financially so let’s stick to what we know eh?
It’s a results business, sure, and it is true that on that score we’re not really having a good day’s trading right now, but truthfully I’d like to see under whom’s set of circumstances we would be. City fans, we have to live within our financial means, as ambiguous and as limited and as frustrating and as mirth inducing as they are, and we have to support those brave enough and willing enough to lead the club and to put themselves in the firing line, now more than ever.
We shouldn’t support, however, those who don’t stand up to their roles, and I’m sorry to be harsh (because I like the guy) but City’s new captain Sammy Clingan has to do much, much more if he wants things to remain that way.
With the influx of a continental approach to the national game throughout the post-Premier League years, where technical and tactical astuteness has slowly but surely won out over a bit of old fashioned English brutality, I think it’s fair conjecture to say that the role of the football captain has gotten a bit confused. This is not a complaint, or a criticism of the way that football has gone, we now pay witness week in-week out to a much, much sexier game, and whereas we used to sleep with Rod Hull, we now tend to find ourselves tucked in with the lovely Dame Judi Dench, or you do if you’re watching Manchester United or Chelsea or… Norwich… But the reality for us lot away from these bastions of the footballing elite is that Coventry City do still play in a league that has Hull in it (awful, sorry) and in a league like that, a bit of grit is the eye goes a long way.
We do not live in a world where Fernando Torres can captain Atlético Madrid at the age of 19 just because he’s their star player, if you get my meaning, and at this level of the football, no matter how stylized your playing style might be, the role of captain has to remain important.
For me, Clingan is not doing the role a service.
I watched him very closely against Reading and Blackpool and the truth is is that you don’t hear him bark on the pitch, you don’t see him rallying around a younger set of lads and you don’t see him as a calming influence when it comes to the crunch. I can’t say I’m privy to the way in which he carries himself in the role during the week on the training pitch at Ryton, or before the game in the dressing room, or on the team coach, but at times like this when the chip’s are down, a Captain should not only communicate with his fellow players but he should also communicate directly with his team’s public.
With that in mind, and I don’t want to be one of those armchair tits who starts bigging up the merits of a 4-5-1 formation or that we should put Oggy up front or something (although have a look at the nosy bugger when he’s warming up’s City’s current crop of keepers pre-game, pinpoint), but I really do think that if he gets fit and starts games, Gary Deegan, otherwise known as the Bulldog should be Coventry City captain. As soon as he came on against Blackpool he roused the crowd, he scored a goal, and it’s a role he could so easily grow into. It’s a more natural fit. Him or Joe Murphy, the goalkeeper who for a man of slim pickings will shout over and above the din of the crowd to get his point across.
With a lack of leadership off the field, and in troubling times, fans need their leaders to make themselves known.
Written by Paul Martin, We Are Going Up’s Coventry City Blogger
Paul tweets at @AgeSechsLokashn