3rd Jul, 2022

Can Russell Slade deliver some long-awaited cheer in 2017 for us suffering Sky Blues fans?

FOOTBALL: ANOTHER year of promise and success has ended in disappointment and anger for us Sky Blues fans and now we face the prospect of looking ahead to another year where the future of the club remains in doubt.

Just 12 months ago it looked as though our four-year stay in League One was coming to an end after Tony Mowbray’s City side thumped Crewe 5-0 to kick-off the new year in style.

At the time automatic promotion was very much on the cards but what followed was a dramatic fall from grace and an appalling run of just two wins from 16 matches saw the Sky Blues drop out of contention.

We now find ourselves at the opposite end of the table and us fans are now gearing up for something we have become accustomed to down the years – another relegation battle.

The man chosen to lead the Sky Blues into 2017 and perhaps beyond is Russell Slade who was announced as the club’s 14th manager in just 15 years shortly before Christmas.

Some fans I have spoken to are disappointed with the appointment, they see it as a sign of how far we have fallen and the truth is they are correct. We are now a club languishing at the wrong end of the third tier but I think it’s going to take someone with Slade’s experience to try and turn our fortunes around.

We’ve been down the young manager route in Steven Pressley which was unsuccessful for a large number of reasons. We’ve also brought in an experienced manager in the shape of Tony Mowbray and had no joy. Mowbray was possibly our best appointment in recent years yet he failed to deliver his promise of promotion despite seemingly being nailed on for a play-off spot at least this time last year.

Tony Mowbray. (s)

It was important that we hired someone with experience at this level and Slade has plenty having initially guided both Brighton and Leyton Orient to League One safety. At Orient he almost took them to the play-offs the following season and he also helped steady the ship at Cardiff City too in the Championship.

Now us fans have to get behind the experienced Slade and his management team and hope more than anything that first and foremost he can guide us to safety.

One thing the new manager has to address is the morale in the squad which seems to be at an all-time low. The former PE teacher must lift the confidence of his new class of players because we’re certainly lacking in that department at the moment especially after the 4-1 hammering away at Bristol Rovers.

We seem to be setting a series of new lows away from home this season. It started with a 4-1 defeat away at Oxford United and was soon followed by an embarrassing 4-0 loss at Cambridge United in the FA Cup.

The performance at Bristol Rovers on Boxing Day was right up there with one of the worst moments I have experienced as a fan and if Slade didn’t know just how tough a job he has taken on, he certainly does now.

January is a key month for the Sky Blues and Slade’s work in this transfer window will ultimately decide our fate in League One.

He has a good reputation of being able to work with a tight budget, working wonders with free transfers and loans at previous clubs and he will have to use all of his experience to persuade players to move to the Ricoh Arena given the club’s current plight.

I’m hoping more than anything that 2017 will provide us fans with some much-needed positivity but for the early part at least it looks as though we will have to batten down the hatches once more and brace ourselves for another relegation dogfight.

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