Preston North End v Coventry City Dec 26, 2020 9:53:45 GMT PNE From Afar, walburghian, and 8 more like this
Post by bigtpne on Dec 26, 2020 9:53:45 GMT
Preston North End
Tuesday 29th December 2020 7.45pm
After a disastrous home start to the season losing our first 5 games on the bounce, things have picked up over the last 5 games, winning 3, drawing 1 and a sour tasting loss to the Venky's where lots of fans thought that Alex Neil had lost the dressing room. The downside to our upturn in home form is that our fantastic away form has taken a hit of late losing 4 out of our last 5 (written before Derby match), after being the best away team in the Championship over the first 5 away games.
We really are the ultimate Jekyll and Hyde side this year. Its virtually impossible to predict which side will turn up from one game to the next.
Coventry don't possess the best away form going (of course all games are away to them playing at home games at Birmingham, but would think they are quite used to it now, to call home), having won 1 (Wycombe), drawn 3 and lost 6, goals tally 8-15.
Having said that their away form is very similar to our home form, in that they lost 5 out of their first 6 away games but have faired better lately although they have played against the bottom 3 sides!
They don't seem to possess a prolific goalscorer as such with nobody hitting 5 yet, but they can also be very tight aswell with nearly half of their matches ending up in binary scores of 1-1 or under. To be fair, they have probably been finding their feet over the first half of the season and don't think personally, they will get dragged into a relegation fight.
Cant really predict teams news as both have boxing day fixtures before preparing for this match but early prediction is a low scoring game with probably the odd goal deciding it. Hope I'm wrong though and its a goalfest, but can see another difficult match in store.
A history of Coventry City (it goes on a wee tad)
Early years to pre WWII
The club was founded in 1883 by Willie Stanley, an employee of local cycle firm Singers.
The club as a result was known as Singers FC until 1898 when the name was changed to Coventry City.
Early matches were played at Dowells Field, off Binley Road until a move to Stoke Road in 1887 before the move to the Highfield Road site in 1899.
Having been members of the Birmingham League since 1894 the club progressed to the Southern League in 1908 before being elected to Football League Division Two immediately after World War I.
In 1910 they enjoyed one of their finest moments when as a non-league club they reached the FA Cup quarter finals, beating First Division Preston and Nottingham Forest en route.
Throughout the Twenties City struggled, with managers coming and going, until relegation finally caught up with them in 1925.
It was not until the arrival of manager Harry Storer in 1931 that fortunes improved and the 1930's were a golden period for the Bantams, as the club was nicknamed. Storer developed a side which scored 100 goals in four seasons out of five, with the club's greatest ever goalscorer Clarrie Bourton netting 49 goals in 1932 and 40 the following season.
In 1936, they won the Third Division South championship after a nail-biting final day 2–1 victory over Torquay United and returned to Division Two after eleven years in the lower division - with crowds averaging over 20,000. The three seasons prior to World War II saw the club come close to promotion to Division One. In 1938 they missed it by one point, and many observers believed that but for the war City would have achieved that target.
The post-war years brought troubled times, Storer left for Birmingham City in 1945 and returned in 1951 but his ageing side were relegated to Division Three South in 1952.
That decade witnessed many false dawns before the team embarked on the slide, which touched rock bottom in 1958 with membership of the newly formed Division Four. Fortunately, one season was enough to clamber out of the league's basement.
It was the arrival of Jimmy Hill as manager in 1961 that sparked the revolution at the club. A new sky blue kit was unveiled, the nickname was changed to the Sky Blues, trains were laid on for fans to travel to away games and pre-match entertainment became commonplace, plus many more innovations.
On the pitch the team delivered. In 1963, after a feverish FA Cup run, City lost out in the quarter-finals to Manchester United, but the following season were champions of Division 3, boasting average crowds of 26,000.
The Highfield Road stadium was substantially rebuilt in the 1960's with three new stands erected in four years. Hill, with the backing of Chairman Derrick Robins, was the Pied Piper and after three exciting seasons in Division 2 he steered the club to the title and promotion to the promised land of Division 1 in 1967.
In that promotion season, 1966-67, the team went 25 games unbeaten, and the campaign reached an exhilarating finale in what was dubbed the 'Midlands Match of the Century', when nearest rivals Wolves were beaten 3-1 in front of a record 51,455 Highfield Road crowd to clinch the Division 2 championship.
On the eve of their baptism in the top flight Jimmy Hill announced that he was leaving the club to pursue a career in television, a blow which many people - inside and outside Coventry - thought would sound the death knell for the club's ambitions.
The first season in the top flight was long and hard and serious injuries to key players George Curtis and Ian Gibson made new manager Noel Cantwell's task all the harder. The relegation battle went to the final game of the season at Southampton, where a goalless draw kept City up.
The following season was almost a carbon copy apart from the ending when City finished their games leaving FA Cup finalists Leicester City still to play five matches and needing seven points to send the Sky Blues down. Rumours of favours for old friends circulated as Cantwell's former team, Manchester United, beat Leicester in their final game to save Coventry.
No one would have predicted that twelve months later virtually the same team would finish sixth and qualify for Europe.
The place in Europe being clinched on a passionate night at Molineux when a Brian Joicey goal beat the old enemy Wolves. Alas the European experience was disappointing.
After easily overcoming the Bulgarians, Trakia Plovdiv, City without their injured keeper Glazier, slumped to a 6-1 defeat to Bayern Munich.
Cantwell was sacked in 1972 and followed by the Joe Mercer/Gordon Milne regime and their signings of Stein and Hutchison brought two of the most exciting players of the era to the club. A good league run, three FA Cup wins and a high level of entertainment, raised hopes but Wolves shattered the Wembley dream in the quarter-finals. Jimmy Hill returned as Managing Director in 1975, and later became Chairman but failed to spark his magic a second time.
Milne was replaced by Dave Sexton in 1981 and the ground was made all seater, a disastrous mistake, which combined with lacklustre performances on the pitch, saw average crowds down to 10,000.
In 1983 Hill resigned as Chairman and Sexton was replaced by Bobby Gould but on the field the team struggled, with relegation avoided on the last day of the season three years running.
In 1986 however Gould's successor Don Mackay was replaced by John Sillett, alongside MD George Curtis, who supported by Coventry-born chairman John Poynton took the club to their finest hour twelve months later.
A team without star names won their way to Wembley with outstanding teamwork, a gritty determination and above all a sense of fun. They defeated Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 after extra time in one of the finest post war FA Cup Finals, with goals from David Bennett, Keith Houchen's diving header and a Gary Mabbutt own goal.
After taking sole command after the Cup victory, Sillett kept the club in mid table respectability for three seasons but the fans wanted more and after two Cup banana skins at Sutton and Northampton he was sacrificed in 1990 and replaced by the former England captain Terry Butcher.
The inexperienced Butcher lasted 14 months and his temporary successor Don Howe style of play was unpopular, before Bobby Gould returned in the summer of 1992.
Gould's first season was relatively successful with the team rarely out of the top eight but tailing off to finish 15th. Two months into the following season, after a 1-5 mauling at QPR, Gould threw the towel in, citing the imminent sale of Peter Ndlovu as the reason.
Gould's assistant Phil Neal was promoted but lasted only sixteen months as manager and was replaced in February 1995 by the former Manchester United, West Brom and Aston Villa manager Ron Atkinson.
Ron generated lots of interest and increased gates by 5,000 but despite having substantial funds at his disposal City always struggled under him and in November 1996, with another relegation battle looming he was moved upstairs with his assistant Gordon Strachan taking over.
Relegation was avoided on the final day of the 1996-97 season with a nerve-wracking win at Tottenham when anything less would have seen them go down.
The post Wembley years were dogged by poor signings, sales of their best players, a merry-go-round of managers and empty promises.
Between 1993 and 2001 much occurred both on and off the pitch. Major ground improvements were made and attendances increased by 50%.
In 1999 City pulled off a major coup by signing Robbie Keane, pictured, for £6 million - a club record fee.
In 2000, Keane's departure to Inter Milan for £13 million and McAllister's move to Liverpool left City in disarray and in May 2001 the club were relegated after 34 years in the top flight.
The decline and rise
Despite shelling out £5 million for Lee Hughes, Gordon Strachan paid the price for relegation just weeks into the new season and was replaced by Roland Nilsson.
Roland's reign started well but the season petered out with five defeats in a row after a place in the play-offs had looked achievable. Roland left at the end of the season and was replaced by former player Gary McAllister.
Financially the club was in dire straits. Huge cost cutting was required to prevent the club from going into administration and this was achieved mainly through the sale of the highest earning players, while the collapse of ITV Digital hit clubs in the First Division hard. Hughes and David Thompson left for cut price fees.
McAllister's first season in charge ended in 19th place and halfway through the 2003/2004 campaign he left due to personal reasons.
His number two, Eric Black, was offered the caretaker role and in January 2004 took over full-time, supported by Archie Knox. City fell short of a play-off finish but after a 5-2 win at Gillingham on the penultimate day of the season Black was surprisingly sacked with Peter Reid taking over.
The 2004/2005 season started poorly and by the New Year, City were looking at a relegation battle. Peter Reid departed, with former player Micky Adams taking over. His main task was to steer the team clear of relegation - a job he completed in some style when City thrashed Derby 6-2 in the final ever game at Highfield Road after 106 years on 30th April 2005.
On August 20, 2005, the Sky Blues played their first ever game at their new stadium, the Ricoh Arena, when they beat QPR 3-0 in front of a safety capped capacity of 23,000.
Progress struggled to continue in 2006/07 and an unprecedented run of results between December 2006 and January 2007 saw Adams leave the club. In February 2007 the club appointed Iain Dowie as its new manager. Dowie had an instant impact, ensuring consolidation in the Coca-Cola Championship for another season.
In February 2008, the club relieved manager Dowie of his duties - and on the same day the appointment of Chris Coleman was announced. The Sky Blues escaped the threat of relegation, but a 4-1 final day defeat away to Charlton Athletic saw nerves aplenty.
Coleman's first full season in charge saw an impressive FA Cup run, only stopped by Quarter Final defeat at a sold-out Ricoh Arena against Chelsea and in 2009/10 saw the Sky Blues in the Play-Off spots during March, but an 11-game run without a win saw Coleman dismissed at the end of the season.
Aidy Boothroyd took charge in June 2010 and his early efforts saw the club scaling the heady heights of the play-off spots, although a post-Christmas slump ultimately called time on his nine-month stay at the Ricoh. Andy Thorn, club chief scout of three years, took up the role of caretaker manager for the remainder of the 2010/11 season. New chairman Ken Dulieu, made it one of his first jobs to formally offer Thorn the permanent manager's position two days before City's final home game of the 2010/11 season against play-off contenders Reading.
Thorn's first full season in charge was a tough one though as the Sky Blues were relegated in to League One, English football's third tier, for the first time in 48 years. Thorn's spell as manager lasted four games into the 2012/13 season after three consecutive draws in League One with Thorn departing after a 2-2 home draw with Bury, before Mark Robins was appointed as manager in late September 2012.
Robins' appointment revived the Sky Blues' league campaign as they embarked on a run of form that brought them to within touching distance of the play-offs. The turnaround of results under Robins' reign also attracted attention from Championship side Huddersfield Town who moved to convince Robins to make the move north in February 2013, leaving the Sky Blues to look for a new manager.
Former City defender Steven Pressley was named as Robins' successor in March. Pressley's first few days in the job were not smooth ones as the club were handed down a ten-point deduction by the Football League after an arm of the club was put into administration following a rental dispute with the Ricoh Arena management company.
The off-the-field situation continued to develop as the club was forced to look for a temporary home to play their home games from 2013/14. A deal was announced to groundshare with Northampton Town.
The 2013/14 campaign saw City start with a further point deduction and playing in front of considerably smaller crowds at Sixfields Stadium.
Having begun the season at Sixfields, on 21st August 2014 a deal was agreed which saw the Sky Blues return to the Ricoh Arena. The memorable first game back saw a 1-0 win over Gillingham, in front of over 27,000. In February and with the Sky Blues just outside the relegation places, Pressley was dismissed and replaced by Tony Mowbray. Mowbray would guide City to survival, with a last day win at Crawley Town proving decisive.
In 2015/16, Mowbray's side were in the upper reaches of League One - hitting the top of the table in November. However that form fell away, and the Sky Blues would finish the campaign in 8th. City's poor start to the 2016/17 season saw Mowbray leave in September 2016. Technical Director Mark Venus took temporary charge and there was a slight upturn in fortunes, but poor winter form saw Russell Slade appointed as permanent manager in December 2016. Slade was sacked in March after only one league win, in a season that would eventually result in relegation to League Two.
After relegation was confirmed, Robins set about rebuilding the side in League Two. Ambitions of promotion were set and after exciting football throughout the campaign, the Sky Blues finished the campaign in 6th place - the Club's highest position in a league since 1970, and enough to secure a Play-Off place. After a thrilling two leg semi-final win over Notts County, the Sky Blues beat Exeter City 3-1 in the Play-Off Final at Wembley Stadium (with another 40,000 City fans in attendance) to secure a first promotion in 51 years. The 2018/19 season saw the Club consolidate in League One, finishing just outside the Play-Off positions in 8th place.
The 2019/20 campaign would be historic. The Sky Blues played some of the most attractive football seen by the side in many years, and were rarely outside of the Play-Off places and often in the upper echelons of the league table. After an earlier spell at the summit, City reached the top again on 1st March. After the Coronavirus pandemic swept the world and reached the UK, football was initially suspended on 13th March. As the suspension continued, the likelihood of the season being completed on the pitch diminished.
On 9th June 2020 Coventry City were confirmed as League One Champions, after the season was concluded based on 'Points Per Game' and the Sky Blues were clear winners in unprecedented times.
Coventry certainly have a chequered history with several accusations a 'favours' over the early years. Post war seemed to settle them down before making it to the Premiership, where they was a mainstay for many years before their decline down the leagues, leaving Highfield road and the fiasco around the Ricoh and SISU'S (far to intricate to cover in this thread) from moving in to leaving and looking for foster homes. Throughout the decline they seemed to swap managers like a school kid would swap panini cards in the playground. They certainly do seemed to have had a rough time over the last decade or so but thing do seem to be on the incline as there are currently ongoing talks about them moving back to the Ricoh arena aswell as their upturns and rise through the leagues on the playing front.