Sunday, 3 May 2015

Jim's column 2.5.15

Tomorrow at Crawley, for the 16th time in Coventry City's Football League history the club's future is in the balance on the final day of the regular season. The Sky Blue Army will make the long trek to Sussex to see if their team will survive. On 13 of the previous 15 occasions the club has survived relegation on the last day (and re-election twice, in 1920 & 1928). Only in one instance has the club suffered relegation on the last day (from Division 2 in 1952 at Leeds). Let's hope City's final day record is maintained at Crawley's tiny stadium tomorrow lunchtime.

It is seven years since City had a last-day 'experience' when, Chris Coleman's team gave a lack-lustre performance at Charlton, losing 1-4, but were saved from the drop because Leicester could only draw at Stoke. Carlo Nash, the Potters' keeper made several fine saves to save Sky Blue blushes & send the Foxes down to League One. I have to say it was one of the worst days of my life as a City fan. We all knew after 20 minutes that we were going to lose & just had to pray that other team's results kept us up.

The full list of the 15 final day adventures is:

Bury (h)
Won 2-1
Re-election to League avoided.
Crystal Palace (a)
Drew 1-1
Relegation avoided
Northampton (a)
Lost 1-2
Re-election to League avoided.
Leeds (a)
Lost 1-3
City relegated.
Southampton (a)
Drew 0-0
Relegation from Div 1 avoided
Liverpool (h)
Drew 0-0
Relegation from Div 1 avoided
Bristol City (h)
Drew 2-2
Relegation from Div 1 avoided
Nottm. Forest
Drew 1-1
Relegation from Div 1 avoided
Norwich (h)
Won 2-1
Relegation from Div 1 avoided
Everton (h)
Won 4-1
Relegation from Div 1 avoided
QPR (h)
Won 2-1
Relegation from Div 1 avoided
Aston Villa (a)
Lost 0-2
Relegation from Div 1 avoided
Leeds (h)
Drew 0-0
Relegation from Premiership avoided
Tottenham (a)
Won 2-1
Relegation from Premiership avoided
Charlton (a)
Lost 1-4
Relegation from Championship avoided

It should be noted that in the 1925, 2001 & 2012 relegation seasons, City were doomed before the final day of the season.

The final home game against Crewe saw the Sky Blues fail to win & ensured one of the worst home records in the club's history. Only six home games were won – equalling the club low for a 23-game home season, set in that horrible season 2002-03 when the team didn't win a home game between Boxing Day & the season's end. There have been lower number of victories, but all in a shorter season. In 1927-28 only five of 21 home games were won and in both 1996-97 & 2000-01 (the Premiership relegation season) a miserable four games were won at Highfield Road.

I wrote about the changing statistics for home & away wins some weeks ago but came across an interesting statistic for the club. In the 31 league seasons between 1930 & 1967 City failed to reach double figures in home victories in only two seasons but in the last eight seasons the Sky Blues have not reached double figures once.

My piece on George Mason a few weeks ago prompted regular reader Keith Ballantyne to ask when George left the club. He remembers as a child, having a cigarette card of him with a write-up on the back where opposition players were quoted as saying 'keep the ball away from Mason'.

George left the club at the age of 38 in the summer of 1952 after a 21-year playing career. He went for a spell to Nuneaton Borough and later became a publican and worked at Jaguar Cars before retiring in 1978.

With the club's season over this weekend look out for my statistical review of the season next Saturday. Apologies if I haven't answered your questions. I shall endeavour to do so early next season.

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