Let’s cut to the chase. How much do you remember about Coventry City? It’s not a trick question, honest guv! It’s just that, well, if you don’t remember much about them, you’re going to struggle with our next opponents in League Two. Yes, that’s right. In a coinkydink (whether it’s a happy one is entirely up to you), we’re asking if you can potter around your memory garden in search of a side we’re about to play. Gets you in the mood, like.
Coventry City: Who Are They?
You’ll have to buckle up for this one, as we’ve a lot of ground to cover. That, or just close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears and shout TL;DR from your nearest available rooftop. First known as Singers FC, the club formed in 1883; not as the soccer playing arm of a musical society, but a cycle maker. The name Coventry City was adopted in 1898, and they moved into Highfield Road a year later. Now to pause and gather breath.
It may surprise you to discover that the Sky Blues didn’t join the Football League ’til 1919. Of course, this may not surprise you. Again, that’s really your look-out. For the next 40-or-so years, there’s not too much to write home about; fourth in the Second Division was as good as it got for them. At least, it was until the mid-1960s. Under the leadership of Jimmy Hill (yes, that Jimmy Hill), Coventry City made it up into the top flight in 1967.
Almost immediately, the club started its tradition of flirting with the drop; the first two campaigns saw them finish third bottom, surviving by a single point both times. Things got better, mind. And straight away as it goes. After finishes of 20th and, er, 20th, the Sky Blues finished an inexplicable sixth in 1970 and qualified for Europe. It remains their highest ever finish; closely followed by two seventh-placed finishes (1978 and 1989).
Don’t worry Coventry fans. We haven’t forgotten your 1987 FA Cup win; the club’s first and only major honour to date. By the same token, we also haven’t forgotten how the Sky Blues were dumped out of the 1988-9 FA Cup by Plucky Non-League Underdogs (TM) Sutton United. It’s a bit odd, considering they went on to end the season as the nation’s seventh best club. After the 1980s, however, came the 1990s…
Us And Them…
The 1990s weren’t all bad for Coventry, to be fair. More often than not, though, the Sky Blues struggled in the Premier League and just about kept their heads above water. That was until 2001; relegated for the first time in 34 years. Only Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton had (and still do have) longer unbroken spells in the top flight. They moved to the Ricoh in 2005, before narrowly avoiding administration two years later.
In 2012, the Sky Blues were relegated again; this time into League One. At the same time, we were promoted to League One. Join the dots and what have you got? Our first-ever encounter with Coventry City! In Smiffy’s first full season as Boro’ boss, our first encounter came at the Ricoh – and it remains, to date, our only victory over ’em; Marcus Haber scoring a decisive goal in our 2-1 win in front of Sky cameras. Then it was all downhill.
The return fixture indoor was a comfortable win for the Sky Blues. The next campaign, meanwhile, saw Boro’ lose 1-0 twice; the away one taking place at Northampton’s Sixfields. The reason for this was a rent row with the owner of the Ricoh, which saw Coventry City leave their home for the whole of 2013-4. It was yet another chapter in a sorry tale centred around maligned owners SISU, who still retain control of the club to this day.
And Then What?
After five seasons in League One, 2017 saw the Sky Blues back in the fourth tier for the first time since 1959. On the pitch, some partial joy for Boro’; our 1-1 draw indoors earlier this term stopping a run of three straight defeats against them. And then what? Well, quite. For them, at least, a shot at immediate redemption. As we saddle up the horse for this week’s trip to the Ricoh, Coventry have their playoff destiny in their own hands.
Coventry City: Boro’s Record
P5 W1 D1 L3 F4 A7 – League Points: 4, Cup Meetings: n/a, Win Rate: 20%
• BoroGuide’s Coventry City club profile – for old time’s sake…