City’s run of good home form continued last Saturday with a 1-0 win over fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest. Since losing to Leicester City on the opening day of the season the Sky Blues are unbeaten in five home games, with two wins and three draws. The current run is the best the club have had since the winter of 2009-10 when Chris Coleman’s team went unbeaten in seven, including six wins. That run, between December and March helped lift the Sky Blues into the edge of the play-off places but once the run was ended Coleman’s team’s form collapsed and they failed to win any of their last six home games.
In the years since relegation from the Premiership in 2001, numerous City managers have talked about building Fortress Ricoh but none have really achieved it. The best home run since 2001 was under Micky Adams just after the move to the Ricoh. Between November 2005 and April 2006 City went twelve home games unbeaten, with the help of Dennis Wise. One interesting statistic is that since Andy Thorn took over as manager in March only one of 10 home games has been lost.
City’s second win of the season coincided with another goalkeeping substitution by the Sky Blues. The other victory, over Derby, also saw the injured Joe Murphy substituted by Chris Dunn. For Coventry City goalkeeping substitutions are a relatively modern phenomenon. During Steve Ogrizovic’s long reign as City goalkeeper he hardly ever had to be substituted. I remember in the days before goalkeeping substitutes were allowed, in 1996, Oggy was injured at Millwall and David Speedie went in goal. Then after the subs were increased to five in 1996, Oggy was replaced by John Filan at Highbury after a blood-curdling challenge by Ian Wright left Oggy out cold on a stretcher.
Since the club’s relegation in 2002 there were only three goalkeeper substitutions in seven seasons. However in the last three seasons and a bit there have been eight goalkeeping substitutions, five of them involving an ‘injury’ to Keiron Westwood and now two to Joe Murphy, the otehr being last season at Watford when loanee Iain Turner was injured and replaced by Michael Quirke. One wonders if goalkeepers are getting soft.
Last week I mentioned that current QPR boss Neil Warnock had managed Scarborough to victory over the Sky Blues in 1992 and Dean Nelson reminded me that Warnock’s involvement with City’s history goes even further back. Warnock was manager of Burton Albion against Leicester City in an FA Cup match which had to be replayed behind closed doors at Highfield Road in 1985 after crowd trouble in the first match. Back in 1972 Warnock was also in the Hartlepool side beaten in a League Cup tie at Highfield Road.
Talking of Dean - the man who has a wonderful collection of Coventry City video clips - he has prepared an excellent DVD of 1960s highlights which will be shown at the G-Casino today at my Sky Blue Revolution book signing sessions, before and after the match against Burnley. For the book signing I will be joined by 1960s City legends Mick Kearns, Dietmar Bruck and Ronnie Farmer.