43,000 fans going to Wembley only makes Coventry's plight more heartbreaking

Andy Dillon by Andy Dillon / 31 March 2017, 09:39

MARK ROBINS should make the most of his big day out at Wembley on Sunday, writes Andy Dillon (@andydillon70).

For most managers walking into a job on March 6 and to a cup final less than a month later is the stuff of dreams.

But for Coventry City’s new boss it will be the last day he can genuinely enjoy before setting about his mission to save one of English football’s most understated and underestimated clubs.

The fact 43,000 fans will be roaring on City in the Checkatrade trophy final against Oxford merely underlines the despair which has surrounded the Sky Blues for too many years.

Such a commendable turnout in support reminds us all of the potential in this one club city.

Mark Robins

It also makes us ask where have the fans gone? Given they recorded the lowest ever attendance at the controversial Ricoh Arena this season too when just 1,338 turned up to see them play Crawley in the same competition.

They have protested, invaded the pitch and made their feelings well known at the way the club is run and over the failure to find a settled home.

City have been forced to play at Northampton and even now their future is far from secure as a club once embedded with concrete boots in the old First Division has now become nothing more than a bunch of nomads.

And with all this with relegation to League Two next season to come.

Truly shocking when Coventry City spent from 1967-2001 in the top tier of English football.

The problems only truly kicked off when they left their spiritual home of Highfield Road, a great venue for football, particularly away fans with its compact nature and guaranteed atmosphere.

Coventry is the Midlands town which spawned a musical revolution through The Specials and their gloomy blend of Ska and Reggae which seems to go hand-in-hand with the football team.

City has become a Ghost Town. A club in its death throes from which Robins has to step in for the second time and try to pull off a dramatic salvage job.

This is the guy of course who it is said saved Alex Ferguson’s job as Manchester United boss back in 1990 when he was facing the chop.

One goal at Nottingham Forest and Fergie went on to become the most successful British manager in history.

Dramatic rescue missions are his bread and butter but in one form or another Robins is the 26th man to take charge of picking the Coventry City team since September 2001.

For people who look back on pre-Premier League football with misty eyes the demise of Coventry City is a real tear-jerker.

Those who remember the famous 1987 FA cup win over Tottenham, seeing them back at Wembley with such a swell of support but as a team doomed to another relegation is a reminder that nobody is safe. It also tells us that leadership from the top and a solid plan on and off the pitch is as important as a decent back four.

For Mark Robins it could be well be the last time for a long while that he gets to put on a suit and smile.


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