Vital Coventry Sky Blue Season Preview
The thought that things cannot get any worse has been a sustaining feature of the summer for Coventry City supporters over the past decade, many of the seasons that have followed, unfortunately, proving them wrong.
Two relegations, two points penalties, a revolving door of loanees and free agents, the sale of many more of the club's academy products.
And that has just been the on-pitch headlines over a period when the club's owners have moved CCFC out of Coventry for over a season, the arena purpose-built for the club has been sold and fans have had to take a crash course in the language of the courts as SISU have pursued increasingly fruitless cases against their perceived foes.
But now, surely, the bottom has been reached. Not literally, as League Two has a wide open trapdoor to the National League that most recently claimed Leyton Orient and Hartlepool, but in the sense that, one way or another, something has to give and the owners may finally admit defeat.
Until they do the Ricoh will remain two-thirds empty for much of the coming campaign unless Mark Robins' side establish themselves in the promotion race come the turn of the year but away followings will be large and loud whatever is happening on the pitch.
And they should have something to cheer after a pre-season marked by sensible, early recruitment and the establishment of a settled side playing a system they are comfortable with.
That is a huge contrast with a year previously when the Sky Blues were scratching around for signings until the very last and then abandoned the formation they had played in friendlies in a desperate bid to stop an abysmal start to the campaign.
Nine new faces arrived at the club before the return to pre-season training and all have made impacts of various sorts in the matches played to date.
Crucially, the likes of Michael Doyle, Rod McDonald, Liam Kelly and Marc McNulty all have experience of the division they are set to spend the next nine months playing in, a 46-game slog where results are everything and the manner of those results means little.
The blend of this experience with the bulk of the youngsters, who so enjoyed their day at Wembley for the Football League Trophy final but struggled to put together any kind of consistency in the league, should make for a team that is solid, maybe unspectacular, and able to mount a serious challenge for promotion.
Partnerships have already been put in place in the key areas of central defence (McDonald and Jordan Willis) and the centre of midfield (Doyle and Kelly) and there is good competition for places in both full-back areas.
Further forward, the re-signing of Stuart Beavon should prove as important as any of the new arrivals if the former Burton man can match his form in patches after joining in January over a whole season.
And there remains the possibility that Robins can bring in one or two wild cards on loan before the transfer window closes, the difference from last season being that any such signings will be genuine additions to a settled squad rather than frantic last-gasp deals done simply to put bodies onto the pitch.