February 2009 Archives
IT'S FA Cup time folks and Coventry Telegraph Online offering you a special service for tonight's game against Blackburn Rovers.
We will be reporting live from the ground in an online blog. We will have Coventry City reporter Andy Turner on hand to bring you the latest updates, he will be joined by two of our multimedia team Dave Higgerson and Martin Smith.
Dave will be alongside Andy at the Ricoh bringing you the action as it happens and coventrytelegraph.net website editor Martin will be joining in the fun to make sure you know exactly what's happening not only at the Ricoh but from around the grounds...
I was initially amused by the appearance of a Valentine's day-themed streaker at last weekend's FA Cup match against Blackburn. Not just for his dedication to the role (the bow and arrow, the roses he was giddily dispersing - those ain't cheap around Valentine's, y'know...), but for his sobriety in keeping his underwear on. A decision which spared us all, but failed to keep in spirit with streaking etiquette. Perhaps he felt he didn't have the necessary anatomic qualifications to belong to that crowd, or maybe it was just too cold.
His appearance was the prelude to Michael Doyle's refreshingly lucky goal that gave City the lead. But soon after the match, when the true despair that arises from conceding stoppage-time goals had truly set in, I realised that it was plausible, if not fair, to blame this impromptu character for our team being pilfered of a quarter final place.
Now, it's not that I think the whole psuedo-streaking episode gave Blackburn the extra few minutes they needed to score that goal. No, the match length wasn't altered. But there is a big difference when time gets taken out of 'normal time' and added to 'stoppage time'. Because when a fourth official holds up his board and it indicates 3 added minutes, that's pretty normal. But hold up the board with 5 minutes on it and it's a different story.
When the big 5 was displayed the dulcit and dreary Blackburn fans were suddenly galvanised and erupted in an orgy of cheers at this news of their team being given a lifeline.
"5 minutes! Cor blimey, we can actually win this thing!"
The team, on hearing their fans newfound belief, were all of a sudden of a similar mind that all was not lost, and that one final push might salvage something.
It bloomin' did. I won't go into details.
The closest thing to a comforting thought that I can cling to is that this team feels as peed off about it as I do. I knew when my head was down after the game, their heads were down with me, chewing over the cold determination that justice would be served in the replay. I know this because only a team that cared that much could give that kind of gladiatorial performance.
Next time it'll be at our place, and we don't indulge in letting morons onto our pitch.
JAMES McPake headed south because he was eager to test himself in a higher standard of football and the Scottish defender's Coventry City career could hardly have got off to a more demanding start.
He was pitched straight into a debut against Championship pace-setters Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend, winning rave reviews from the management and the media for his performance against the potent double act of Chris Iwelumo and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.
And after the glamorous distraction of yesterday's FA Cup duel against Blackburn Rovers, he is facing up to two more high-octane league games in the space of four days, with a trip to promotion-chasing Burnley on Tuesday followed by Saturday's Ricoh Arena clash with derby rivals Birmingham City.
But it's a prospect he relishes and he's delighted that his protracted move from Livingston was sorted out in the last few hours of the transfer window, so he can face those challenges now rather than having to wait until next season.
"They will be tough games," he admitted, "but I prefer it that way. and I'm really looking forward to it.
"It has been an unsettling time for me, which is maybe one of the reasons why I haven't played many games since the start of January.
"I made it clear I wanted to come here - Livingston knew that and Coventry knew that - so I'm glad everything was finally sorted out and I was able to sign six months early.
"That gives me time to get some games under my belt and get a feel for the place before next season ."
A time of change is taking place
and a fan needs to show some faith
for the comings look very good indeed
as our club begins to take shape
The Deadwood is slowly drifting away
and the chancer's time has passed
no more passengers in Sky Blue
thank heaven's, at long last
The likes of Birchall, Miffy & Kyle
have all been shown the door
The hopes and dreams of City Fans
have turned around once more
The new boys all show lots of hope
for a future clear and bright
they play with lots of confidence
Fear of failure, none in sight
The likes of Westwood, Wright, McPake
Gunnarson, Morrison & Bell
show that Cookie has an eye for class
for youth with style as well
With Dann, Turner, Fox & Ward
A defence and a sturdy spine
the midfield will definitely start to gel
The whole team just needs time
So stick with them all and keep the faith
keep abreast of what's in print
because as the old adage says:
"It's a marathon, not a sprint!"
There's no rubbish from this chairman's mouth
no empty promises or trash
just the building of a good young team
And he's spending lots of cash
So in these days of overnight success
Some might want a faster pace
just take a look whats going on
The building blocks are all in place
So exactly what may lay ahead
No - one can be really sure
But the way that things are shaping up
looks a lot better than it did before!
Managers seem to come and go through doors: in through the front door or out through the back door. Players, it seems, come and go through windows. Transfer windows to be precise, and this latest one has just closed leaving players stuck inside gazing out, perhaps.
The two City players who made their exit through this last window had a helping hand from Chris Coleman who opened the window as wide as he good to get rid of these two misfits (Julian Gray and Michael Mifsud in case you missed last week.) In fact I wouldn't be surprised if Coleman opened all the windows, including the French ones to let them out.
Thankfully the rest of City's squad were kept well away from any windows. Danny Fox worried me the most. There comes a point where so many rumours fly about that they seem to amalgamate into some kind brothy truth.
In the end there wasn't even a bid for our left-back lieutenant and my fears turned into mere mild embarrassment at how worried I had become over his fictional exit.
Keiren Westwood and Aron Gunnarsson are City's other prize possesions and were kept away from the window by wise Coleman. Gunnarsson even got shipped off to sunny Tenerife. I think that was in case of this scenario:
Mr Ranson: "Hello"
Big-club Supremo: "I'd like to speak with Mr Gunnarsson about a possible move please."
Mr Ranson: "Sorry, my friend, Aron's off in Tenerife. You could go find him, but I guess getting a flight might be a problem with all this snow..."
Mr Ranson: "Hello?"
Actually, all he had to do was get onto Facebook. You can find Aron there. I know because I, like many City fans, am officially his Facebook 'friend'. One of two-and-a-half-thousand odd at the last count.
How many other footballers would invite that kind of attention on themselves? Not only that, Aron even takes time to read and reply to messages (which, judging by the volume of messages, must take some time) as if he was having a chat down his local.
He says it's important to keep in touch with the fans. In doing so he's elavated himself from fans' favourite to fans' hero. Aron's on his way back to Coventry as I type. It's safe now, all the windows are closed.