Traumatic and disappointing pretty much sums up our season which has now finally come to an end as we went down 4-0 to Southampton.
The team selection from Thorn was a clear indication of not only the lack of depth in our squad but also indications of players which will definitely not be at the club come the start of next season.
By the end of the match it was almost like we were watching our youth team play and whilst it has been good to see the youngsters in and around the first team squad it has definitely come too early for some. For the likes of Willis, Henderson and Roberts it was a baptism of fire, facing arguably the best team in the league.
They held their own for large parts of the game which was good to see but they clearly lacked the experience needed to really mount a challenge against a really good Southampton side.
Saturday wasn’t really about us though; it was about Southampton and their fantastic achievement of reaching the Premier League through back to back promotions. Everyone involved at Southampton has done a brilliant job to achieve what they have. Their fans deserve massive praise for sticking with them through the tough times and for them to show the respect they did to the Coventry fans on Saturday was fantastic.
They were in our position just a few years ago and they have come back stronger for it. We as a club should be striving to emulate their success in every way we can although the situations are very different in many ways. They were a club with foundations and a youth academy that produced youngsters which big clubs were willing to spend big money on. We on the other hand; and whilst I am immensely proud of them; have youngsters who lets be honest are average youngsters and we won’t be seeing anywhere near the amount of money that Southampton have got in the past for theirs. We are clearly in a transitional phase in the clubs history but our hope has to be that we come out the other end better for it.
We need to stay positive that we will progress and have a future as a club. We can potentially look ahead to next season with a lot of promise. It is a chance for us to start a fresh with a new and hopefully hungry set of players. The deadwood in the team can leave, the likes of Clingan and Bell and can hopefully be replaced with players who are still full of passion and hunger for the game.
There is every chance that we will lose the heart of our back four which is a shame because both Cranie and Keogh have been good this year, with Keogh being exceptional at times. His passion and desire is what we need throughout the team and if there is any chance that he will stay, we need to make sure that we as club make sure he knows that he is not only wanted but is very highly regarded. He really would make a fantastic leader for next season and could ultimately be the deciding factor in us having a successful season.
I think the majority of the rest of the squad will remain intact; the likes of McDonald, Platt, McSheffery, Baker etc could be the platform to build from. Add a little bit of League One experience alongside our exuberant youngsters and I think we will have a hell of a chance next season. In terms of the qualities that potential new arrivals will need, I think it is clear for everyone to see that a lack of pace has been a problem for a long time.
To have a player with pace in the team is essential as it gives the opposition defenders more than one thing to think about. The last real experience of pace we had was Michael Mifsud and we can all remember the excitement he brought to the football club, we all loved to see him use his pace and go past defenders with ease. Nimley has shown small signs of it this season and we clearly missed that something a bit different in the last few games of the season when he was unfortunately injured and unable to play.
We as Coventry fans should be keeping our hopes up for next season. With the players we look like we will be keeping and potential new additions I do think we will have the potential to be a threat next year. Again it all comes down to the owners and how they are going to continue running the club. If they decide to stay then they have to make some funds available, even if it is only the funds made through losing the likes of Clingan, Bell, Craine etc. Thorn clearly has an eye for talent and given a little bit of backing I do believe we could be successful with him at the helm. A winning mentality is key and a new start in league one could be just what we needed to reinvigorate us as a club