Those of you of a certain age will recall that part in the cartoon film ‘Dumbo’, where the crows are teasing the poor little fellow about being able to fly. Well, as you’ll obviously remember, he could, and he did. Since 2001, my team – Coventry City – have been on a gradual slide down the league ladder, finding themselves rock bottom of League One at the start of this season with a ten point reduction enforced upon them by the Football League. Going on the previous season’s performance, this did not bode well, and in fact looked like relegation to League Two would be the only outcome of this campaign.
People who read my articles regularly will know I like to compare the present with the past, pointing out comparisons and what happens now may well have happened when your grandfather was in short trousers. The wishful thinking I’m trying my utmost to contain, combined with my rising excitement and keep reminding both to behave as I watch the Sky Blues climb up League One week-by-week, is our manager – the affable Scot, Steve Pressley – could well be beginning something very similar to what Brian Clough and Peter Taylor achieved at Nottingham Forest.
Forest were a very average and ordinary team back in 1975, languishing at wrong end of the old Second Division. Into the City Ground came Clough and Taylor. They achieved promotion to the ‘top flight’ two years later, won the League Championship the year after that, then went onto win the previously unthinkable for two consecutive seasons – the European Cup, now Champion’s League. It may seem quite fantastical to compare the first, initial, tentative steps of a fledgling manager’s career to that of two of English footballs legends, but ever the optimist that I am, lightning can strike twice (hopefully).
The whole of Coventry’s season hinges upon the January transfer window. Since Pressley is achieving miracles with a group of players no-one in their wildest dreams (even the most loyal and ardent Sky Blues supporter) wouldn’t have thought possible, can he keep his young charges under his mentorship ? I really hope the sense of camaraderie and togetherness the Scotsman has instilled into his team will result in them still wearing an elephant on their chest. No doubt several teams will be drooling over Carl Baker, Leon Clarke, Callum Wilson and Franck Moussa, to name a few, contemplating how they will fit into their side. I can see I’m not going to get much sleep for thirty-one nights, come New Year, dreading looking at the back pages of a newspaper or looking on sports websites. February 1st can’t come soon enough for me.
However, I hope the Coventry players are all thinking the same as myself, and everyone else with Sky Blue inclinations. We can win promotion – and the League One title – even with a ten point deduction. After all, it’s only like we started the campaign losing our first few games. It’ll make the rest of League One, including Wolves, wonder what the Dickens they have been up to.
“I think I’ll have seen everything, when I see an elephant fly”