2012 will forever be remembered as the year we eventually fell to our footballing knees. League One football is now a reality after a frankly shoddy attempt at saving Championship status. I love my dramatic statements, and as far as life as a City fan goes; it has never felt worse than the months that followed the drop.
Fluffy Thorn tried to fix what’d been broken on his behalf, and failed in tepid fashion. So did Richard Shaw. But now, finally, we’re getting a feel for what life supporting a trustworthy football team is actually like. Going to the match is becoming ever such a treat.
So here’s to you, Mr Robins. They said you were boring, uncharismatic and most definitely not Dennis Wise. But, what do they know?
I couldn’t be happier to have ignored the clambering for caricature managers with their flailing arms, dustbin gobs and cliché ridden platitudes. We went for someone who is ambitious, determined, and who it would appear proved over the course of the interview process that he’s technically and tactically qualified to develop our football team. The focus is on the football with him, and that is crucial.
But before we can move to what might happen over the next 12 months under this exciting new stewardship, the wannabe psychologist in me would like to gain some closure.
Most of 2012 was the footballing equivalent of putrid. All I want to do is lock it away in the same cupboard as Paul Trollope – never to be spoken of again. But amongst the dross, there have been some telling contributions to an regrettably memorable year. These must not go without recognition.
So welcome to the Sky Blues Blog Awards 2012. Celebrating the good, the bad, and the despicably ugly across the latest year of supporting Coventry City.
The Mo Konjic award for outstanding lunacy: Richard Wood
2011 winner: Richard Keogh
Last year’s winner Richard Keogh did enter my thinking, but his form fell away along with the rest of his team mates come the end… and then he buggered off anyway. So he was out.
Woody on the other hand has acquired a squashed head for his troubles this season. He’s conceded a raft of penalties, scored some vital goals, and played on while his face has been on the verge of collapse. Yet he’s still going, fighting for the cause. He may not be as loud as you may expect given the standing he has in the team, but in many ways he is the peoples’ captain.
A deserving winner, but I just can’t help worrying about his poor smudged nose.
The Craig Bellamy award for being a git: Stuart Linnell
2011 winner: Marlon King
Git’s a strong word, because I do respect Mr Linnell as a broadcaster. But back during the turmoil of Thorn’s dismissal, there was only one view that listeners of BBC Coventry and Warwickshire were allowed to hear, and that was the one of Stuart Linnell.
He was adamant that he was had the definitive opinion, and the majority of his callers and texters were wrong to think in the way they did – Thorn needed to stay. He ignored surveys of hundreds of people, claiming them to be scientifically inaccurate and “self-selective”, then pushed the personal emails he’d received and conjecture from the guys down by the coffee machine as the voice of the “majority”.
This all culminated in the infamous Why I was right… post, in which he detailed precisely why his view was correct, without any acceptance of a difference of opinion, or more importantly, a different perspective.
Poor Stuart was passionate, but did little but rudely dismiss others and treated the phone in as his outlet to discredit the wide and varied views of the Sky Blue army.
Bang out ov orda, ennit.
The Michael Doyle award for making it look like you try really hard: Carl Baker
2011 winner: Aron Gunnarsson
Carl has turned it all around in the final few months of 2012. He’s gone from a ruddy nuisance, to captain and the most-improved member of our team.
Last season he was fundamentally naff, and he carried that form on all the way until early November of this campaign. Of course, there were fleeting moments, but one thing he always did whether he was playing like a plonker or not, was run. Run like the wind, looking like a footballer/daddy-long-legs hybrid. It may be the bare minimum you’d expect, but so often, it’s a part of the game that many players neglect.
Not Carl though. That manic behaviour did a good job for many of masking the mistakes he was making with the ball. Not ideal, but it’s the least he could do.
That was then; but now he’s added the quality, and if he continues in the same vein of his recent form, he’ll be a strong candidate for player of the season.
The Onye Igwe award for being a dipstick: Richard Shaw
2011 winner: Onye Igwe
I said it at the time – you shouldn’t have come back, Richard.
At the risk of being mean to a club “legend”, I wasn’t his biggest fan while he was playing, so having read of the circumstances behind his removal from Millwall, I certainly wasn’t sold on his return. It was clear he was failing to impress those around him, so quite how he earned a job back at City I will never know.
I don’t blame him exactly; the club was sinking and it needed a massive shift in mindset to halt the slide. Unfortunately, Richard is Coventry’s losing mentality personified. We have spent the last 20 years losing and expecting to achieve nothing. Bringing back a player who spent that period doing exactly the same was only going to end in tears.
The Clarrie Bourton award for goalscoring: David McGoldrick
2011 winner: Lukas Jutkiewicz
There could only be one winner. He ain’t even our player, but it’s Christmas and David McGoldrick is top scorer. If there are any statto-types out there who can tell me the last time that happened, do get in touch, because I haven’t a bloody clue.
Either way – he’s breaking records we’ve never seen broken before. He’s also soon to break our hearts by returning back to Forest. That’d be fair enough – they’re a big club in a bigger league. But Peterborough, or Barnsley, or any of those other guys languishing at the bottom of the Championship? Get a bloody grip of yourself, Dave. You’re much better staying here, firing us to promotion, and immortalising yourself in our history.
The Chris Coleman award for being fancied by men: James Bailey
2011 winner: Carl Baker
Another loanee, but he’s the slickest of the slick. Forget the jazzy hairdo for a moment, he’s all about the sleight of foot, drop of the shoulder and effortless gliding around the middle of the pitch.
We all love him. He looks like a modern footballer, and while that’s usually a bad thing, on this occasion, I’ll happily make a swooning exception. He’s a right touch of class with genuine substance behind his play.
We need this man in our lives.
The Cobi Jones award for best haircut: Adam Barton
2011 winner: Gael Bigirimana
Bigi was a hard act to follow, plus everyone is so bloody sensible nowadays. I think it’s something to do with the new boss.
There are a couple of fashion renegades within the squad mind, and while Bailey has certainly made a statement, Adam Barton takes the prize this time around for having the balls to be genuinely cool.
The Darren Huckerby award for best goal: Franck Moussa v MK Dons
2011 winner: Gary McSheffrey v Burnley
We’ve amassed a hell of a lot of goals during the second half of the year, many of which would’ve been definite goals of the season in previous campaigns.
But I have to pick one, and while McGoldrick has caressed his fair share from the edge of the box (and beyond), I simply can’t look beyond Franck Moussa’s wondergoal in our final game of 2012 at MK Dons. Who cares if it was two days ago – it was a mirror image of Giggs v Arsenal all those years ago. The main difference being that he had the ball fully under his control. There was no luck, no bobbles. It was the best.
There’s an honourable mention to Moussa’s classy finish against Doncaster, too. Yep, it’s another recent strike, but I have no control over our improved capabilities. We’ve got these goals in us now.
The Roland Nilsson award for being a class act: William Edjenguele
2011 winner: Martin Cranie
Speaking of class, there’s one fella who’s made a massive impression on the fans since he’s arrived at the club. Mr Edjenguele, Billy Edge, or simply L’Edge. Whatever the monocle, he’s doing the business on and off the pitch.
As a general rule, William plays solidly and commands the back line. Let’s be fair; we may all coo over him due to his kind and courteous manner on Twitter, but that alone is not enough to gain the adulation. There’s a player behind the relentless niceness. A very good player.