Coventry axe leaves Aidy Boothroyd picking up the pieces

14 March 2011 04:20
Before Aidy Boothroyd took his first tentative steps in management, he drew up a seven point plan culminating in taking charge of an international side.

If that plan wasn't already in tatters, it has now been shredded after his dismissal from Coventry.

Boothroyd's latest venture into management is over after less than a year at the helm and the young boss must be wondering just how many black cats have crossed his path over the last few years.

International wilderness: Former Watford boss Boothroyd's plans to one day manage a national team are in tatters after his axe at Coventry

After all, he is the same Aidy Boothroyd who so spectacularly led Watford to the Premier League in his first full season in charge.

The same Aidy Boothroyd who steered the Hornets to an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United.

Feeling blue: Boothroyd lasted less than 10 months in charge at Coventry

And the same Aidy Boothroyd who suffered immediate relegation from the top flight, took it on the chin and set about launching another assault on the Championship, only to lose to Hull in the play-offs.

But somewhere along the line, things went horribly wrong.

Boothroyd only turned 40 last month and was just 34 when he took over at Vicarage Road but must already be wondering where he goes next.

The beginning of his downfall can be traced back to Watford's first season back in the Championship after they finished rock bottom of the Premier League.

Despite facing criticism, Boothroyd remained true to his direct style of play and his decision was initiallyjustified as the Hornets topped the table in the November.

But slowly but surely Boothroyd's long honeymoon period came to an end. The Vicarage Road faithful turned on him as Watford went 13 games without a win and only a last day draw with Blackpool ensured their play-off place.

Although defeat to Hull in the semi-final didn't spell the end of Boothroyd's reign, he did leave a fewmonths into the following season with Watford languishing in 21st place.

Widely tipped to bounce back quickly, Boothroyd was out of the game for almost a year before taking over at Colchester.

The U's were in fifth place in LeagueOne when he moved into the hotseat, but finished outside the play-off zone the following May when he jumped ship back to the Championship withCoventry.

Upon his appointment, Sky Blues' chairman Ray Ranson stated that Boothroyd was the man to lead City back to where they belong. But quite where they belong is anyone's guess.

Promised land: Boothroyd, who guided Watford to the Premier League in 2006 after beating Leeds in the play-off final, was once regarded as the one of the brightest young English bosses

Yes, Coventry played top-flight football for 34 years before they were relegated in 2001; but that was 10 years ago. Since then, there has barely been a whiff of promotion at the Ricoh Arena.

The club's highest finish was eighth in 2005-06 and they have been closer to relegation than the Premier League. Their last three league positions were 21st, 17th and 19th and that trend looks set to continue.

With that in mind, Boothroyd hasn't fared badly compared to his immediate predecessors, Iain Dowie and Chris Coleman. Having been unable to overhaul the squad last summer, he has had to make do with players that weren't good enough in the past. Managers are not miracle workers and Coventry's players were not about to wake up one morning and play like Lionel Messi.

Just last month, Boothroyd admitted he didn't even have the resources to bring in a loan signing for the final weeks of the campaign. It is difficult to know how he was expected to challenge for promotion without even a hint of financial backing.

With a limited budget, the players Boothroyd did bring in have hardly shone. Gary McSheffrey is not the player he was during his last spell at the club, Roy O'Donovan has barely featured and has been shipped out on loan to Hartlepool while young acquisitions Richard Keogh and Stephen O'Halloran have found opportunities limited.

Downward spiral: Struggling Coventry have managed just one league win in 2011 leading to Boothroyd's dismissal

Ranson claims that Coventry's style of play was part of the reason for his decision but every man and his dog knows how Boothroyd sets up his sides.

It shouldn't have come as a surprise to the chairman and certainly didn't seem to earlier in the season when promotion looked a possibility. Ranson also insists that his reaction is not of the knee-jerk variety. The fact that City are now looking for their 10th manager in as many years suggests otherwise.

Coventry seem to a be a club living in the past and neglecting to build for the future.

Boothroyd, meanwhile, could be forgiven for re-living his past in the coming weeks as he considers how he can salvage that seven point plan.

 Struggling Coventry sack Boothroyd after just two wins this yearThe 2010/11 managerial merry-go-round: 35 bosses gone this seasonCoventry 0 Hull 1: Tigers close in on play-off spot with record away win

 Explore more:People: Chris Coleman, Gary McSheffrey, Lionel Messi

Source: Daily_Mail