If you travelled to the arse end of England to watch us on Saturday, you have my upmost respect. That is not a nice journey.
A trip like that requires a strong level of dedication at the best of times, but with an away record like ours nobody would have thought less of you for taking your missus up on that trip to Central Six instead.
For once though, you got your rewards with a deserved victory. Splendid.
We spoke prior to the game about how crucial three points was becoming, especially if we entertain any aspirations of not being shit for the entire season. The word in the Colchester trenches was that we fully earned the win with an upgraded performance in the second half.
And that’s great; it really is. But you know what comes next…
A solitary victory can’t be enough. Sure, there’s loads of work still to be done for this group of players to convince us that they’re truly capable of reaching the standards their reputations dictate they can hit, but that shouldn’t act as an excuse to accept appalling form while they attempt to get there.
It’s been a poor period, but without realising it we’re very slowly regaining some sense of resilience. One defeat and two wins out of four is a reasonable return, but what’s key to note is that it’s only the start of resurrecting our season. We absolutely can’t stop here. Saturday’s win means little if we don’t back it up with a second one. And a third. That’s not being greedy – most teams in this league justifiably demand that, and regularly achieve it.
That’s what’s most frustrating about our time in this Godforsaken division to date. It’s such an inconceivably long time since we strung a concerted run of wins together, surely the false dawns have to stop eventually? Even our most devastating periods under Robins and Pressley only really resulted in groups of wins punctuated with tame defeats. There’s never been the dominance and table-thrusting form that a solid run of wins gives you. I’m not sure I’ll ever be truly happy with the team until I see a flurry of results that spans more than two or three games.
It’s for this reason that I felt a little taken aback by the post-match tweets from the BBC Coventry and Warks who felt inclined to call out fans for not bombarding them with endless joy during the phone-in. Clearly there was a hint of reverse-psychology at play in an attempt to get someone on the line, but I think we all know by now that the excitement gets us nowhere. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for support and urging our players on when they win – but there’s been so much talk of turning points and springboards over the last few years you’ll forgive me if the response is a little less manic this time.
We’re delighted with the win, we’re supportive of the players, but it was actually refreshing to see us for once refraining from excessive delirium and instead setting a tone that the job isn’t done after one victory. It’s a not a bad thing for the players to feel that we’re not content.
How about five wins in a row this time, eh? That’s right, other teams manage it without even blinking. Maybe that’s what we should looking for from Coventry City in League One?
Because it’s us and how we’ve played so far this season, I know some of your will see that as the ramblings of a fantasist. But let’s face it – nobody’s really any good in this league, the opportunity is always there for the clubs that genuinely want to grab the league by the scruff of the neck.
We’re not going to become title-challengers overnight or on the basis of one victory. But from the good things we’ve seen so far, Nouble, Madine, Fleck, Haynes, O’Brien, Johnson are the sorts of players who can dominate if they really want to. We can ponder over the teamsheets, tactics and formations all we like, but the desire to win comes from expectation. The players, the staff and the fans – the entire club needs to start expecting better.
What are our intentions this season? I’ve asked this a few times and the answers are always non-committal, as if we’re scared to ask for better than survival in case we jinx it. Being positive and expecting better does not jinx anything. It’s actually crucial to altering what is a pretty rotten culture of acceptance we’ve built up over the last couple of decades.
My intentions? Even after this period of woeful form, I intend for us to be a team that is involved in the play-off picture at the end of the campaign. The squad is more than strong enough to compete with the best teams in this league. Another bottom half finish will be a travesty.
So let’s lose the excuses and deferral. I’m fed up of wishing my life away. Yes, we’ve had a rough ride over the last few years, but just ask the likes of Notts County, Oldham, Rochdale and Chesterfield what they think of their chances in the league this season? Or ask them whether they’d like Gary Madine or Frank Nouble leading their line? They’re perfectly happy to keep churning out the three points. Winning doesn’t scare them; it shouldn’t scare us either.
Same time next week, yeah?
And the week after…
And the week after that.