Another Manager Gambling His Career On The Poisoned Chalice Of Coventry City

Coventry’s first season back in the third tier of English football is turning out to be a disastrous one and after weeks of uncertainty the Skyblues have finally appointed a new manager in the form of Mark Robins.

The need for a new appointment has been clear for everyone to see as Coventry’s winless run in the league continues. Richard Shaw has been the man to oversee proceedings since the sacking of Andy Thorn and everyone involved was hoping for an upturn in fortunes. The complete opposite has in fact happened, seeing the Skyblues slip to within one place of the bottom of the table being kept off it only by the fact that they have scored one goal more than Bury.

It has been hard to watch for all Coventry fans, who went into this season hoping for a promotion push but carry on playing in the manner we have been and another relegation could be on the cards. We have seen a real lack of heart and passion from the players in these opening weeks and couple that with some truly shocking defensive displays and it is no wonder we are where we are.

We all know that life as a Coventry fan is never going to be easy but just once we were having realistic ambitions of challenging for a place in the top six. This is looking like a distant dream right now but just maybe with this managerial appointment we can once again dream of an upturn in fortunes.

Mark Robins comes to the club with both management and playing experience. He was a striker by trade and I do think it’s a little ironic that we as fans have been calling for an attack minded manager to come in and it happens at a time when we are at our worst defensively. He does have good managerial experience though having managed both in League One as well as in the lower echelons of the Championship which on the face of it seems a perfect fit for us.

His first job was as manager of Rotherham United where he was praised for the job that he did. Rotherham were in the race for promotion in both of the season he was in charge even in spite of the 17 point deduction which was imposed upon them in the second season. All in all it was a successful couple of seasons for both Robins and Rotherham.

He was then given the chance to impress in the Championship with Barnsley. When he was appointed Barnsley were struggling near the foot of the table and he managed to turn there fortunes around and staved off the threat of relegation. The club remained very much at the same level finishing in 17th in his second season, one place higher than in his first season in charge. He then took the decision to resign and stated differences with the board as the reason for his decision.

His record considering he did both jobs on shoestring budgets is a relatively good one. His reasoning for leaving his last job though does worry me a little. Differences with the Coventry board are going to be a given when looking at SISU’s record and unlike Thorn it looks as though Robins would be unwilling to put up with that and would walk away.

This is however the least of our worries at the moment as all us fans want is a win and to see our club begin to move up the table. Any managerial appointment usually coincides with an upturn in fortunes and there is no reason to suggest that this won’t be the case here and for everyone’s sake who is involved with the club I hope that this happens starting Saturday.

Possibly a more pressing question would be do I reckon he will be able to maintain an improvement in form? Of course it is a possibility but with the stats of his teams often losing form and of course Coventry’s record of basically never having any kind of form I would suggest not. I hope this isn’t the case and that finally we have a man in charge who can change the fortunes of this club for the better but when Coventry are concerned I think I will always be sceptical.

All in all Robins seems like a decent guy and a manager who has a lot to offer the club. Coventry however is somewhat of a poisoned chalice when it comes to managers. We have the facilities along with the tag of a big club which seems to attract managers but good managers have come and gone and the majority if not all have left with their reputation in tatters and their career as a manager on the line.

Examples of ex managers are Aidy Boothroyd who has had experience of Premier League football with Watford but after taking the chance of managing Coventry has been left trying to rebuild his reputation at League Two Northampton. Peter Reid is another high profile manager and he ended up having to manage abroad in Thailand as well as at stricken Plymouth Argyle. Iain Dowie is another who came with a great reputation and he hasn’t really had a great time of it since leaving the Ricoh Arena. Chris Coleman is another who struggled to get another job and wouldn’t have had the Wales job if it had not been for the sad passing of the late great Gary Speed.

Managers arrive at Coventry often with glowing CV’s but previous experience tells us that Mark Robins is taking a massive gamble with his career and I hope for his as well as Coventry’s sake that this will change and he can make a success of his time here at Coventry. I for one am fully behind the guy and all I can say is good luck to him as he’s going to need it.



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