Sunday, 20 March 2011

JIM'S COLUMN 19.3.11

The Coventry City manager’s revolving door was in operation last week as Aidy Boothroyd became the ninth City manager to lose his job since the club were relegated in 2001.

The full league record of those nine men is as follows:

Games W D L For Agst GD Points Wins % Goals/game

Gordon Strachan 183 52 52 79 203 262 -59 208 28.42% 1.11
Roland Nilsson 40 19 5 16 56 48 8 62 47.50% 1.40
Gary McAllister 68 17 25 26 73 91 -18 76 25.00% 1.07
Eric Black 23 11 3 9 38 24 14 36 47.83% 1.65
Peter Reid 29 9 8 12 36 45 -9 35 31.03% 1.24
Micky Adams 90 31 24 35 113 124 -11 117 34.44% 1.26
Iain Dowie 43 16 9 18 49 63 -14 57 37.21% 1.14
Chris Coleman 107 30 35 42 112 140 -28 125 28.04% 1.05
Aidy Boothroyd 36 11 8 17 38 46 -8 41 30.56% 1.06

Strachan’s record includes all his games in the Premiership and therefore his percentages are hardly comparable but the ranking (by wins percentage) of the other eight is:

1 Black
2 Nilsson
3 Dowie
4 Adams
5 Reid
6 Boothroyd
7 Coleman
8 McAllister

The frightening statistics show that in the last ten years:

· Only four managers have won more than one game in three.
· Five out of eight managers have been given less than 50 games in charge.
· Only Black and Nilsson have won more than they have lost.
· Only Black and Nilsson have a positive goal difference.
· Only Black and Nilsson have scored more than 1.3 goals per game.

I don’t have to remind City fans that it has been ten years of pain and mismanagement from top to bottom at the club. Goodness knows how much compensation has been paid out over the period to departing managers, not to mention departing directors. Probably enough to build a promotion side!

Aidy, the latest victim, was touted, like all his predecessors, as the one to get us back into the Premiership. Now nine months later he is victim number nine. I am not suggesting that the recent run of poor form does not warrant his sacking but one has to question the club’s managerial selection process. Anyone in business knows that time invested in recruiting staff can save you a lot of money - get the wrong person, spend money on their training and induction only to realise a year later that they are not very good and you have to release them and repeat the whole process. In football it is a double whammy, get the wrong manager and it costs you money and hampers the club’s progress. This is the single biggest reason for City’s failure to get anywhere near the play-offs in ten seasons.

I know it can be a lottery appointing a manager but I don’t believe good managers become bad managers overnight. Nilsson, Reid, McAllister, Black and Adams all have high-profile jobs in the game – in fact Nilsson will be in the Champions League next season after leading Malmo to the Swedish championship last season. Boothroyd will, I am sure, taste success again.

No, it is the Coventry City board that has take a long hard look at its recruitment policy and processes before diving in and appointing someone who has a good powerpoint presentation or comes over well in an interview or is a personal friend of a board member.

Preston North End are the only club that City have played in all ten seasons in this division. North End look odds-on to be relegated and bring an end to those meetings. There has therefore never been a better opportunity for City to win a league game at this bogey ground. In the last nine seasons City have picked up just two points and conceded 23 goals and in total City have never won in 14 league trips to Deepdale stretching back to 1949. A win today would go a long way to guaranteeing survival.

I received more suggestions for players with long careers against Coventry City. As I thought no one can top Peter Shilton’s record of playing against the Sky Blues 23 years after his first appearance but a few candidates for outfield players cropped up.

Last week I thought Teddy Sheringham might have held the record with 19 years and 12 days between his first and last appearance against City but Geoff Moore came up with Clive Walker, who first played for Chelsea in January 1978 and made his last appearance for Woking in the 1997 FA Cup tie (19 years 33 days). But he is beaten by Billy Bonds who played for Charlton as an 18-year old against the Sky Blues in March 1965 and made his final bow in November 1987, like Sheringham, aged 41.That is 22 years and eight months, just shy of Shilton’s longevity.

Last Saturday Hull’s substitute was 37-year old Nick Barmby who first played against City in early 1994. He would have to play for another six seasons to overhaul Shilts and Bonds.

14-year old David Woodfield who sits behind me in the Tesco Stand, celebrated his 100th Coventry City game last week (despite the disappointment of another home defeat). Dave is the third generation of the Woodfield family to be mad City fanatics following in the footsteps of his late grandfather Bert, whose memories of the great Clarrie Bourton could brighten the dullest day at Highfield Road, and his father Richard, the Bantam mascot in the early days of Jimmy Hill. Dave has seen little to cheer about in those 100 games and lets hope he sees some success in the near future. Well done Dave!

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