Mind-numbing mediocrity masks City`s plight
In the middle of a long winless run, with a mounting injury and absentee list and the potential summer departure of their star players, the story of Coventry City`s season is becoming depressingly familiar to every other campaign since relegation in 2001.
Just about good enough to avoid the drop but with promotion to the top-flight looking a million miles away, the Sky Blues plight lacks the sharp focus associated with those clubs who have been deemed to be 'in crisis` over the past decade.
Unlike the Leeds supporters whose banners read 'We don`t deserve this` or the Pompey fans who earned the sympathy of many while those who ran their club were derided, there is no-one for the City faithful (who are no less passionate or proud about their club) to focus their unhappiness on and harness that as a means of eliciting change.
The transfer window saw some grumblings about the lack of new signings and the potential sale of Conor Thomas to Liverpool but Ray Ranson and SISU have an easy answer to any criticism aimed at them: we saved a club which was going into administration, we inherited a club who did not own their own stadium and with that club losing thousands of pounds a week we stand between that club and administration.
'Sack the board` is not a chant that we have heard at the Ricoh too often and similarly there hasn`t been a campaign to get rid of any of the managers the club have had since Gordon Strachan`s departure.
Gary McAllister was applauded by all sides of Highfield Road after the final home game of the 2002/03 season despite just one league win being recorded since Boxing Day. Eric Black, whose side had been entertaining but inconsistent, was the subject of a protest to get him re-instated one season later. Even the abject ending to last season when Watford won 4-0 at the Ricoh didn`t see groups of fans outside the main entrance demanding that Chris Coleman was given his cards.
Of course tactics and team selections have been questioned but the vast majority of managers have been seen to be working hard within tight financial constraints to turn things around.
Players? Players never get the blame it seems no matter what the plight of the club and at Coventry it is no exception.
Not on the mega-money of those in the top division, the majority of those who have passed through the doors of the Ricoh over the past few years have been like the managers who signed them, willing but ultimately not good enough to lift the club towards promotion. Lack of effort or passion are easy things to throw at them but taking the current squad as an example there are lots of good, honest professionals there who don`t enjoy losing games.
Stay-away fans, Sky TV, Gordon Brown, the EU? There`s no-one to blame because there is nothing as such to blame anyone for. City haven`t been relegated during the last decade , they haven`t gone into administration as many other clubs have done, they have an excellent stadium and a hard core following of 15,000 with many others waiting in the wings to lend their support should things improve.
And yet the club`s plight is as bad as that which Leeds, Portsmouth, Sheffield Wednesday have gone through if not worse because the mediocrity that has engulfed the club shows absolutely no sign of ending. There`s no rock-bottom point to come back from, just the constant keeping of our heads above the water and the hope that Aidy Boothroyd`s eternal optimism is borne of something tangible that he sees in his squad and his own ability to break the cycle.