Date:Sunday July 10 2011
Coventry City's transfer targets usually merit them a paragraph or two in the Sunday newspaper gossip columns but the Sky Blues have barely featured in those pages so far this summer.
Plenty of Championship clubs are being linked with players, from the relegated trio of Blackpool, Birmingham and West Ham, through beaten play-off sides Nottingham Forest, Reading and Cardiff and cash-rich Leicester and Ipswich, right down to promoted teams Brighton, Southampton and Peterborough United.
To all intents and purposes City have dropped off the national radar as they prepare to become the longest-serving side in the Championship, a combination of their mediocre decade, the knowledge that they cannot afford to compete with all of the sides listed above for players and also of the fact that Andy Thorn has come into the manager's job from outside of the usual channels.
The likes of Iain Dowie, Chris Coleman and Aidy Boothroyd attracted attention in their own right and in their transfer dealings, as former Premier League bosses who when they took over at the Ricoh Arena still fell into the category of youngish, ambitious managers.
For the first time since Gary McAllister took charge City have an untried manager at the helm but unlike McAllister it is someone who is not coming straight off the back of a high-profile playing career.
That means, outside of the club the Sky Blues' profile has never been lower and the lack of transfer activity, loss of a top player in Marlon King and the financial situation means most supporters have little in the way of expectations for the coming season.
But at least there are no unrealistic expectations such as those which Dowie, Coleman, Boothroyd, McAllister and Peter Reid failed to meet.
Thorn's audition for the job whetted the appetite of what could be achieved when team spirit is good and creative players are given the freedom to play in a way that suits them best. He spoke in an honest, straightforward way about what he wanted his team (without any of the managerial double-speak that afflicted Dowie and Boothroyd in particular) and gave a sense that, as he harboured no particular managerial ambitions, was able to enjoy the job and do it with some freedom.
These are his trump cards for a season in which the gap between the haves and the have-nots will be starkly illustrated by the opening game when Leicester will come t CV6 with a side containing a host of big-money summer signings such as £4.5m former Sky Blues loanee Matt Mills.
Going into the season with hopes only of seeing some positive, attacking football from a side giving their all for each other and their manager (and containing a good number of homegrown talent) should be easy targets to meet. Anything else will be a bonus.
Date:Sunday July 10 2011
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