Monday, 28 March 2011

JIM'S COLUMN 26.3.11

The Coventry City funfair has a new ride. As the team’s hair-raising drop towards League One accelerates we now have the Chairman’s Merry-go-round to add to the perennial attractions, the Manager’s Revolving Door and the Sky Blues Roller Coaster. According to press reports this week chairman Ray Ranson is set to leave the football club. The stories seem to indicate that he is going to resign because his power has dwindled but who knows what the truth is about goings-on at the Ricoh Arena.

Since SISU and Ranson arrived in December 2007 like knights on a white charger to save the club at the eleventh hour from the jaws of administration information regarding the club has been strictly limited. The new owners saved the club, sure, but from day one the owners have alienated the old shareholders, the supporters and the media. That was their legal right, I know, but no one knows what is going on at the club we all love and care for. Details of SISU’s £20 million plus investment were thin on the ground at the start and little has changed in the intervening 3 ½ years.

A condescending stance to shareholders was evident from day one and a similar approach was taken with the Supporters Consultative Group who, whilst not a powerful group did offer excellent feedback from the club’s customers.

Because of the secrecy surrounding our owners and the absence of plans and accounts no one outside the club has ever really understood what SISU’s strategy was, nor what the plans are now. Fans on the board, Gary Hoffman and Joe Elliott have been sidelined and new unknown men have arrived. The only true City fan left is John Clarke, promoted to vice-chairman this week, the man who holds the record for the shortest tenure as chairman (nine days in 1993). The way things are going this week he might soon hold the record for the shortest reign as vice-chairman! Then again he might be chairman again soon.

At least with Ranson departing the club will save the club some money as I understand he was the first paid chairman since the infamous Bryan Richardson. Mike McGinnity and Geoffrey Robinson, Ranson’s predecessors, certainly had their faults including sharing with Ranson an inability to recruit a decent manager, but at least they did the job for nothing.

City’s chairmen over the last fifty years are as follows:

1960-1973 Derrick Robins
1973-1975 Peter Robins
1975-1977 Sir Jack Scamp
1977-1980 Phil Mead
1980-1983 Jimmy Hill
1983-1984 Iain Jamieson
1984-1990 John Poynton
1990-1993 Peter Robins
1993 John Clarke
1993-2002 Bryan Richardson
2002-2005 Mike McGinnity
2005-2007 Geoffrey Robinson

Next Saturday is the fifth annual Legends Day organised by the Former Players Association and over 50 former players are expected to attend with a number making their first appearance including John O’Rourke, Kevin Drinkell and Ernie Machin. A full list of all confirmed guests can be found on the Former Players Association website at Ensure you are in your seats at half-time next week to see the men who made Coventry City famous paraded on the pitch.

Talking of Kevin Drinkell, the former City striker who had such a bad time at Highfield Road after an illustrious career at Grimsby, Norwich and Rangers, he is hosting a book signing and question and answer session at the Royal Warwicks Club on the ring road next Friday evening from 7.30 pm. His book ‘Drinks All Round’ was published last autumn but the bad weather forced him to cancel his signing session in Coventry at the time.

Next Saturday evening (2 April) sees the return of the Coventry City Quiz at the Queens Head, Cubbington, kick-off 7.30. If you want to enter a team of three (£6 per team) in this fun quiz with prizes and food laid on contact the organiser John Hannon at

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