Saturday 21 February 2015

And the Smell Gets Stronger...

If you can smell fire, brimstone, and burning souls, you're not alone. The annual Coventry City relegation bonanza just became real: we're in the bottom four. The trapdoor to the underworld of League Two is looking perilously shaky beneath us, and we look like we don't have the strength to pull us clear of the danger. 

It has been a strange season. For me, I've been watching from afar, catching up on most results in the very early morning, with the bad news coming all at once via match report bylines: 'Coventry throw away two goal lead', 'Sky Blues crash to loss after three goals in twenty minutes'. The list goes on, and I'm sure we've all read too many of them to linger. 

Each press release and soundbite from the dressing room sounds as if everything is all hunky-dory; 'the team is ready to pull together', 'we just need to see out games properly'. Again, the list goes on, a veritable children's spin-and-talk toy of bullshit. Spin once and hear the cow 'moo', kids. Spin again and hear the manager say 'fantastic performance'.

Which brings us on to the man in the hotseat. Oh, Steven, what has become of ye? Each Telegraph match-preview I see reveals a picture of you deteriorating before my very eyes. Each week a little older, each game a little jowlier, each defeat a lot greyer. The aging picture, just as Wilde described it. You say you've dealt with every challenge that has been thrown at you, which we can't deny. You've never once hinted you'll walk away from the job, which we appreciate. But bravery and nobility will only get you so far in life. You're bleeding from the holes in your apres-match stories, while your faithful charges are running headless on the battlefield.

Our team is an ancient, rusting vehicle at the moment. We fix the brakes, the tire goes flat. We change the tire, and the cambelt goes. Replace the cambelt and the suspension fails. Repair the suspension... You get the drift. Defence is solid, we have no creativity. We find some creativity, we can't score. We score, the defence falls apart. No wonder the mechanic wears the look of bewilderment on his face after each run.

So relegation looms large, and everyone looks powerless to stop it. The manager, the players, the owners, the fans. What numbers of long-suffering Sky Blues will League Two performances draw? Even lower than low? Is it possible to drop into minus-fans? 

Silver linings? We've had to find a lot of those over the years. Can we hope that this poor form will force Sisu to relinquish their death-grip and allow us to stagger away to find a caring, nurturing hand to guide us back to health? Maybe. Should the drop to League Two occur, their record would make dismal reading: no trophies, no top-six finishes, and two relegations. But of course that's not what they care about. I forget who muttered a classic line once: 'I wouldn't care if we drew every game, as long as we won the league.' Sisu wouldn't care how many games we lost, as long as they made a profit. 

We will soldier on, moaning and raging, fighting and shouting against the decay, for we are Coventry fans. It's all we know how to do. And one day, when true success cocks it's beautiful head at us and beckons us near, and we feel the sweet embrace of winning again, we will appreciate it that much more. God knows we have gone to hell and back in search of it.

No comments:

Post a Comment