It’s said that an infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of typewriters would eventually produce the works of Shakespeare. It’s also said that an infinite number of Sammy Clingans with an infinite amount of chances would not have scored that penalty on Saturday.
I don’t know why he pushed for it. I would never blame the result on a single player – that’s a ridiculous notion – but when he grabbed the ball it was clear to everyone that he was taking a huge gamble, and by not giving McSheffrey the chance, he was fighting logic, and more decisively, his own form.
We have this vision of Sammy as a set-piece expert, but his dead-ball form this year simply hasn’t justified the tag. His corners lack variation, and regularly result in crosses so deep that an extended Inspector Gadget would be straining to reach them. His direct free kicks haven’t been much better – these tend to be scuffed into the midriff of one of the groin-protecting souls in the wall.
It wasn’t always like this though. His first season he was an absolute revelation – can we really be so short-sighted as to forget that? I remember him as a genius at set-plays, and that thumper against Preston will be permanently elevated in my mind as one of the best City goals in history.
I mean it’s not that long ago since Dion Dublin proclaimed (somewhat wildly) that Sammy was one of the best players in the Championship. If you were in any doubt why he’d come to that conclusion, have a watch (not a listen – the sound’s a disgrace) of this crudely cropped video, and the feeling of quality should all come flooding back:
The big issue now is that he already seems to have his eye on a move away, and looking back over the season there’s little doubting that mindset will ultimately have had an impact on his performances.
However, by playing like a bloody idiot, he’ll struggle to get that move to Leeds (or other Championship club) he’s been looking for. His stock at this level isn’t as high as it once was.
The funny thing is, this was never inteded as some sort of Sammy-bashing post. He’s received an awful lot of grief since the weekend, but let’s be clear about one thing: it was not his fault we lost to Leicester. Throughout the game we saved a penalty, won a penalty, and watched as they finished the game with ten men, and still we were unable to have any genuine impact on the game. There’s only so much luck you can get in away games, and we may well have used up a whole chunk of our season’s quota in that one game.
Realistically, Sammy Clingan has got twelve games left in the Sky Blues’ shirt. We all know what that means – he’s got twelve games left to define his Coventry City career.
Nobody wants him to finish the season with a whimper and be forever remembered as someone who bottled it when he was most needed. He’s been too good in previous seasons and doesn’t deserve that, and neither do we.