We Need a Change

My first Coventry City post, one of many more to come!

So there is currently a clear divide between City fans as to whether Andy Thorn should be replaced as manager.  Without going into the gory back story of how the club arrived at this painful point, it’s fair to say that most clubs that are bottom of the league with such a poor record would have replaced the manager a long time ago with very limited disagreement from the fans.  We are of course a club in crisis and the sheer volume of extenuating factors make this a far from clear-cut subject and represents the key dilemma, why blame a man who has to work in such an awful situation?

Up until Saturday I was broadly in the Thorn should stay category.  He is someone who has had to deal with what can only realistically be described as a ‘shit-storm’ of circumstances which would have tested the patience of any football manager and seen many men walk out in disgust.  Thorn has kept his dignity and also attempted to maintain a relatively (although not as  ‘Brazil-like’ as many would have you believe) entertaining style of football, considering he has had extremely limited funds to work with and seen the infrastructure of the club and it’s hierarchy lurch from crisis he has shown admirable restraint.

But the facts do not lie; our record is atrocious, we have failed to score enough goals and have consistently conceded goals and points in the final third of games.  The defeat against Ipswich in the final minute was the final-straw for me, not because I was particularly angry with Thorn or the players, but because in my view it confirmed us as ‘down’.  The test of a truly effective manager is to be able to push players that little bit further and compensate for a lack of quality with honesty, work-rate and fitness – the last few games have shown that Thorn is incapable of deilvering that.  I do not advocate that for one minute with ANY other manager we would have been able to survive in this division, from day one it was clear that our lack of depth and the impending departure of any effective players would stimie any possible momentum.  However, I do maintain that another manager would have seen us compete more effectively, concede less silly goals and ultimately grind out points where Thorn has failed – we would have still gone down but at least have been within touching distance.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, we cannot change the past, we are where we are.  Therefore by accepting relegation and given the wider situation the club is in I would advocate what some have been calling for in that we replace Thorn with Lee Carsley.  The laughable suggestions by some deluded fans that we should ‘get Warnock’ or ‘Steve Bruce would do a job’ are comical and still surprise me – the concept of us being bankrupt in all but name seems to be too hard to fathom for some!  Carsley seems to have an appetite for the job, an affinity with the club and the area and also a crucial relationship with the youth players which we will need next season.  Needsless to say he would also be a low-cost option with only a modest increase from his current package (I imagine).  If we do follow this course and replace Thorn with Carsley I would still not expect us to do anything other than be relegated, but this is one of my primary points – building for next season to allow us to have a solid League One campaign is vital.  Given how battle-scarred and weary Thorn already appears with the job I don’t think there are many fans who would have the confidence in him being able to deliver a succesful season next year – and I even think Thorn would agree with us.

Make the change now, give Carsley the time and experience ahead of what should be the club’s true focus – aside from the ownership of the club which I have deliberately not brought into this – next season and League One.  I will always be grateful to Thorn for the way he grasped the nettle last season and would like to think he could be offered his previous scouting role in a new management structure, where in the main he seemed to be pretty effective, whether he would accept would be another matter.

Thanks Andy, I’ve never booed you or your players, but circumstances have conspired against us all and the time for us to change is now.

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One comment

  1. David Trussler (@davidTrussler)

    First of all, let me say I know exactly how you’re feeling. At the end of the Ipswich game I too felt, for all my apparently unlimited capacity for optimism, that our stay in the Championship had effectively ended. I think you’re right as well that Andy Thorn probably wouldn’t still be manager under a different board or ownership, given the results we’ve had. He’s probably still there through a combination of being cheap to employ, expensive to sack and anyway there’s no-one in charge that is able or willing to take that decision.
    But I, for one, am quite pleased that – for whatever reason – he remains the manager of Coventry City Football Club. Although most fans will have an opinion on Thorn as coach – and there is a slow but steady groundswell against him – I think most will agree that because of the ownership situation his abilities have not really been tested. But nonetheless there have been a number of factors that have convinced me that in Andy Thorn we have stumbled upon a bit of a gem.

    Firstly, the quality of the football has been pretty good. Sure it ain’t quite like watching Brazil and, given the choice between losing with style and winning without, most would opt for the latter. But I don’t think it’s necessarily an either/or. The players look comfortable playing the game the right way and I think that breeds confidence.

    Secondly, I think it’s important that he has stuck at doing what he believes in despite the results. The easiest think in our situation is to panic and make a bad situation worse and I think he, and the players, know this.

    From what I see at games, the players still buy into what he is trying to do. The last game of the season under Chris Coleman was particularly painful in that regard, but that he had lost the respect of the players had become clear long before. When that happens it truly is over for the coach.

    I think Thorn has been good at man-management. It is noticeable that he drops players, especially the young players, if they’re not performing – I’m thinking particularly of Bigi this season. He doesn’t appear to have favourites who get into team no matter what or, Eastwood included, players that can’t get in the side no matter what – a trait of almost every manager I can think of at this club. Cody MacDonald, although injured right now, had a long wait on the bench before getting a game.

    When we get new owners they will sack Thorn – that’s what they do. It also might still happen under the current regime in a late desperate bid to salvage the season, although I find it hard to believe they even care enough.

    Finally, I think appointing Lee Carsley would be swapping one inexperienced coach for another. It might work but who knows?

    In 1997 we stayed up against the odds and were the fortunate beneficiaries of a points deduction. Pompey could yet be hit with a ten point penalty which could be enough to save our skins. Yes I know it’s grasping at straws but I refuse to give up on this division just yet! And I we survive – or even if we don’t – I would be happy to see Andy Thorn still in charge.

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