Here’s a fact for you: If Championship matches only lasted 70 minutes, Coventry City would be in 13th place, not languishing in 24th.
Okay, that’s a bare-faced fib. But given the outrageous amount of games, goals and points we’ve surrended this year, it feels like something that could be true. Blackpool was yet another case of what-might-have-been. It’s obscenely late/early, but I should be happy to be up writing, oozing with positivity as the Sky Blues are finally off bottom, safe in the knowledge that we could even be a single point from safety by the end of the weekend.
The wallies couldn’t manage it though, and it’s now quite clear that if we’re going to get out of this mess (let’s be fair, we’ve given ourselves a chance over the last month), we’re going to do it the hard way. I mean, come off it, boys. There’s only so long you can blame bad luck and lack of finances for what happens on the pitch – especially when you find yourself in winning positions as often as we do.
As I’m sure you’ve all noticed, we’ve actually been doing better of late. The away form continues to be despicable, mind, and no matter how close we come to grabbing that elusive win, we find a way of fannying it up before the finishing line. Blackpool the other night was surely the most staggering example of this. I thought Crystal Palace was bad, but we shouldn’t have thrown those points away on Tuesday. I’m not unrealistic. This season, I know we’re not going to win every game. But losing in the manner we did was a killer.
No fan’ll ever get used to the feeling, but in Coventry City, we support a club that’s doing its very best to make the emotion of having points snatched at the death, a familiar one.
Once I’d settled down a bit from the swearing and generic V-signs, this horrible habit of ours got me thinking. If we weren’t so useless at holding on to points, just how many could we have this season by now? It’s a difficult one to quantify, as there’s so much ebb and flow and uniqueness about each game. All I know though is that we’ve been ahead loads, thrown away leads loads, and generally fallen asleep for the final 5 minutes.. loads.
So I did some counting and came up with a little graph which shows how many points we would have, if matches finished at different points during games. The graph below shows that ebb and flow I was talking about, but probably more tellingly, shows the trouble we’re causing ourselves through our inherent naffness in the last quarter of an hour.
Some of this has to be down to confidence, but it’s only fair to question Thorn’s decision-making when seeing out games as well. There’s rarely such a thing “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” when managing the dying minutes of a football match.
Ideally, you need a boss who’ll anticipate the issues before they cause you a sustained nuisance, and prevent them from happening. Failing that, you’d certainly hope the boss is able to recognise when there’s a problem developing (such as tired legs), and react to that threat accordingly. Thorn actually did this well against Middlesbrough, and I praised him for it. He seemed worried about changing things and negatively affecting the game the against Blackpool though – you can’t afford to be scared as a boss.
We need someone who is positive and able to make timely and appropriate decisions. Hoping and praying that the opposition won’t score isn’t a strategy for a football team, and certainly not for us; it’s a recipe for tears and mucky language.
We hear after each game how we’re in a false position and how wonderfully we play for large portions of matches. Shame they can’t stop at 86 minutes, isn’t it..
Knowing that we could be eleven points better off makes our position at the bottom very difficult to take. That’s a tremendous amount to be surrendering, and something we’re going to rue far quicker than we’d hoped, if we don’t get our act together.
Get a bloody grip.