City's poor start continued last weekend with a goalless draw with Oldham, making it eight league games without a win. It is the worst run since 2014 when Steven Pressley's side failed to win any of their last seven games and then lost at Bradford City on the opening day of 2014-15. You only have to go back to 2012 for the last time there was a longer run – 14 games without win - the last six in the Championship and the first eight games of the 2012-13 season. That bad start in 2012-13 was when Andy Thorn was relieved of his duties after three draws and Richard Shaw took over temporarily until Mark Robins arrived and ended the slump.
Lots of readers wanted to know if the current bad start is the worst by a Coventry City side. The most horrendous start was in City's inaugural Football League campaign of 1919-20 when the Bantams went 19 games without recording a single victory. With 14 defeats and just five points on the board, City were bottom of Division Two, five points adrift of the 21st placed team. Finally, on Christmas Day, Stoke were defeated 3-2 for the first victory. The team's form picked up after Christmas but they only avoided re-election (there were only two divisions at the time) by bribing Bury to lose the final game of the season.
Since 1919 the club has failed to gain a victory in its first eight games on three occasions – this season, the afore-mentioned 2012-13 and 1974-75. On 21 September 1974 City were bottom of Division One having drawn three home games, and lost one and drawn one and lost three away games. On paper the Sky Blues had a strong team with Dennis Mortimer, Tommy Hutchison, Colin Stein and David Cross all regulars but things didn't gel. Game nine saw City entertain Luton Town, the only other team without a win, and the knives were being sharpened against Milne. One of the lowest crowds at Highfield Road since promotion seven years previously, under 16,000, saw City gain their first victory, 2-1 with goals from Stein and Cross. The win sparked a six-game unbeaten run that lifted them well up the table and they finished the season comfortably in 13th place and Milne went on to manage City for a further six years.
I'm always looking out for some positives and although the team haven't won a league game yet they are now unbeaten in nine home league and cup games. They won the last three home games last season and two cup-ties this season plus the four home draws. It may be clutching at straws but it's home defeats that gets me down the most!
At the Diamond Club lunch this week (which I unfortunately couldn't attend) another great servant of the club, Willie Carr was the guest of honour. In preparation for the lunch Diamond Club chairman Alan Ludford
asked me where Willie stood in the all-time list of midfield goalscorers for the club. The top 10 all-time list is:
1. Peter Hill 78
2. Ronnie Farmer 52 (including 21 penalties)
3. Micky Gynn 45
4. Ernie Machin 39
5. Gary McAllister 38 (including 16 penalties)
6. Willie Carr 37
7. Steve Hunt 34
8. Don Dorman 31
9. Dave Clements 30
10= Barry Powell 28
10= Carl Baker 28
Some of these players were, in the old days, better known as wingers but it is interesting to compare goals to games ratios. Most of the above played 250 or more games including Hill who made over 300 appearances. The best ratio (0.32) was Dorman who scored 31 in 94 games between 1951-54, although some fans may argue he was a forward not a midfield player. He and Peter Hill (0.25) played in an era where there were a lot more goals. The best ratio for the modern era from the top ten is a close run thing between Steve Hunt and Barry Powell (0.16), closely followed by Micky Gynn and Carl Baker (0.15). Gerry Daly doesn't qualify for the top ten but managed 22 goals in 101 games, a ratio of 0.22!