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10 years in the Championship: 2001/02

10 years in the Championship: 2001/02

Coventry City will be the Championship`s longest serving club next season following the relegation of Preston North End, the 2011/12 campaign being their 11th in a row in the second tier of English football.

The 2001/02 season began with fans in bullish mood about a swift return to the top-flight, backed up by some hefty spending in the transfer market. With Craig Bellamy having departed for Newcastle United upon relegation, Gordon Strachan persuaded Lee Hughes to leave his beloved West Bromwich Albion and come to Highfield Road, paying a cool £5m for the striker.

It took Hughes less than half-an-hour to score his first goal for the Sky Blues but an opening day win at Stockport was followed by three defeats in four games (the other being a goalless draw against nine-man Nottingham Forest).

'mixed bag'

Strachan was axed, Roland Nilsson took charge and the Swede swiftly settled into his first managerial role, a 10-game unbeaten run culminating in a home win against Sheffield Wednesday that took City to the top of the table.

Results after that were very much a mixed bag, every resounding win (6-1 at Crewe for example) being cancelled out by some depressing defeats (Gillingham were winners at Highfield Road helped by a Marlon King goal while Stockport gained one of only ten points on the road at the same venue) which ended automatic promotion hopes but kept alive play-off dreams.

Amidst a gathering black cloud of financial woe and with no sign of the club`s new stadium ever being built, Nilsson`s team fell apart in the run-in despite a brief cameo from Sky Blues fan Tim Flowers in goal and the Swede parted company with City before the final game, another case perhaps of what might have been on the managerial front had the intelligent and popular Nilsson been given a proper crack at the job.



Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:CCFC
Date:Sunday June 5 2011
Time: 10:32AM

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League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Sheff Utd 38 23 9 6 78 30
2 Bolton 38 21 9 8 72 26
3 Fleetwood 38 19 11 8 68 19
4 Bradford 39 16 18 5 66 16
5 Scunthorpe 39 18 10 11 64 20
6 Southend 38 16 12 10 60 11
7 Millwall 37 16 12 9 60 9
8 Bristol Rovers 39 15 12 12 57 0
9 Oxford 38 16 7 15 55 5
10 Rochdale 37 15 9 13 54 4
11 Walsall 39 13 14 12 53 -2
12 Peterborough 39 14 10 15 52 0
13 Wimbledon 38 12 15 11 51 3
14 Northampton 39 14 7 18 49 -6
15 Charlton 39 10 17 12 47 3
16 MK Dons 38 12 11 15 47 -1
17 Bury 39 12 9 18 45 -7
18 Gillingham 39 11 12 16 45 -16
19 Oldham 39 10 14 15 44 -12
20 Shrewsbury 38 11 10 17 43 -12
21 Port Vale 37 10 11 16 41 -17
22 Swindon 39 9 9 21 36 -19
23 Chesterfield 39 8 9 22 33 -26
24 Coventry 39 6 11 22 29 -28
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