The three D’s: a formula that should be as easy to remember for Coventry City players this season as E = mc2.
“To avoid the Drop, stop Dicking about at the Death.”
On four occasions this season Coventry City games have been decided in injury time and on only once – against Leeds United in midweek – has the injury time balance swung in City’s favour.
Against Reading, Blackpool and again this past weekend against Burnley, the Sky Blues have either blown the opportunity for victory, or succumbed to a late goal that loses the kind of point that could so easily split relegatory hairs come May next year.
City players have to learn their clichés, because it’s not over until the fat lady sings and whilst the musical results may not be quite as pleasing to the ear as a blast of Play Up Sky Blues from the Coventry Cathedral choir, it’s hard to know how else to get the message across to City’s youthful squad that the final whistle doesn’t automatically sound on ninety minutes, other than to assign big Andy Thorn, big Micky Quinn and a fat suit wearing Dion Dublin the task of donning wig and make up to give us a bit of Cliff Richard as soon as the actual whistle blows.
Has it really come to “Play on until you hear Devil Woman lads”?
To his credit, Thorn has come out today, shunning his usual niceties to address the issue of general sloppy play, and rightly so.
It’s almost as though the players can’t quite believe in their own ability. Take the Blackpool game for instance. Those who were there will remember a dire first half and a one goal deficit turn into an absolutely spellbinding spell in the second that took everybody by surprise, not least the Blackpool players who soon found themselves a goal down and completely under the cosh with clock winding down.
Ten minutes later though and Coventry flipped, flopped and flapped about in the box at a corner and Keith Southern equalised. Ninety three minutes and you could hear the sound of the two wasted points seep down the Ricoh Arena drains, even over the din of a rowdy Blackpool lot in the away end who thankfully began inform the home fans that “they weren’t singing anymore”.
Are the heights of potential victory too dizzying for the team? They don’t play in the Andes so we can’t blame it on the altitude, but it seems they only play well when under the pressure of likely defeat or when on the bounce-back from a mauling at Barnsley, Ipswich or Bury.
The Sky Blues look at total unease whenever they have the audacity to put their best foot forward and take the high ground in games. It is worrying, whatever the cause, be it the inexperience amongst younger players or a lack of leadership amongst older ones, because the net result is the same: points get dropped, mistakes get made, and one can visually see that Chris Hussey could probably do with half a litre of pepto bismol to stem his nervous bowel.
Andy Thorn is right to read the riot act this week because he knows that a battle nobly fought and lost is simply a battle lost. City need to stop adding insult to injury-time and start playing with a bit more belief in normal time, because if that doesn’t happen then not even Einsteinian levels of number crunching will save Coventry from the rasping clutch of failure.
Written by Paul Martin, We Are Going Up’s Coventry City Blogger
Paul tweets at @AgeSechsLokashn