Off-field soap opera spills over for Sky Blues
Another week where off-field activities have dominated the Coventry City landscape started with former chairman Ken Dulieu giving his version of the events of the past year or so, then saw the Coventry Telegraph issuing a plea for SISU and Gary Hoffman to get together for talks and ended, improbably, with Dulieu in his new role as head of football operations making more waves (and national headlines) by sitting on the bench alongside Andy Thorn for the defeat against Hull City.
Thorn's comments when asked about Dulieu`s presence gave an indication of his fury at seeing his own position undermined and it is clear that the off-field soap opera is now spilling over onto the pitch.
Not only are the Sky Blues unrecognisable from the side that ended last season they are a shadow of the team that less than two months ago defeated Nottingham Forest and then drew away to Leeds. Thorn hinted at players being affected by the sideshow and confidence has clearly drained away (although the kind of dreadful defensive mistakes that his side have been making come down to the players and coaching staff alone).
Vital Coventry has commented before that the state of the Sky Blues is not solely down to SISU.
The club were in a mess long before they arrived on the scene and although our league position has never been as desperate as this, what little success we have had over the past decade has been achieved with unsustainable levels of wages and outgoings compared to the money coming in from a stadium that is rented by the club and that was half-full for many matches since well before SISU`s arrival.
In the past two weeks both Bristol City and Nottingham Forest have announced losses for the year ended 31 May 2011 of over £11m. In the 2010/11 season, Forest`s wage bill was over 100% of their turnover, a situation that is impossible to maintain. Plenty of clubs are going to have to take similar hard decisions about slashing their expenditure to meet their income.
However they have dramatically failed to stop the City juggernaut from running out of control, their PR has been disastrous and the various people who have come out to speak for SISU (most recently Mr Dulieu) have made the case for their opponents far better than their opponents could have done. Speaking to BBC CWR on Saturday, John Clarke gave the impression that he keeps up to date in the same way as the fans, speaking vaguely about 'billionaires` he had heard about who may want to invest.
Andy Thorn aside, everyone has now had their say, from Richard Keys to Leonard Brody.
Tuesday`s Telegraph plea is a bit reminiscent of a cheesy chick-flick where the respective children of a warring couple get their parents back together by dragging them to a restaurant where the other party happens to be. They were right to balance the call for SISU to instigate talks by asking Hoffman to show the colour of his money.
Any takeover (or co-investment) still seems a long way away but, as even Steve Claridge noted from a distance on the Football League Show on Saturday night, the club is currently rudderless, lacking a figurehead behind whom people can rally around.
Thorn looked as though he could be that man but the rug has clearly been pulled from under his feet. Mr Dulieu will never be that man and SISU have become such damaged goods that the role has become a poisoned chalice for anyone who may fit the bill.
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