Off the field shenanigans have taken the spotlight for most of the 2012-13 season & have blurred what by Coventry City standards has been a good season. Five managers have been at the helm (two of them caretakers) and 37 players have worn the shirt but the results have been better and there have been more highs than lows.
The home form has been poor but the victories over Birmingham, Walsall & Preston (JPT) were as exciting as we have had in the last five years and the hard won victories over the two promoted sides showed what the team were capable of. Sadly there were too many defeats against lower sides & the disappointment of the Crewe JPT game to swallow.
Games: Coventry City played 58 competitive games this season, 46 league, 3 FA Cup, 3 League Cup & 6 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. This is the most by any City side in history beating the 57 games played in 1962-63. 30 home games was also a record.
Points: The Sky Blues gathered 65 points (reduced to 55 by the 10 points deduction for going into administration) during the season. This equalled the second highest total by a City team since three points for a win was introduced – the highest being 66 in 2001-02.
Home Form: The home record was won 7, drew 7, lost 9 – worse than last season’s record. The total of 28 points was the lowest at home since 2002-03 (24 points) but some way off the all-time low of 19 set in the 2001 relegation season. The goals scored (29) and conceded (27) were almost identical to 2011-12 (28-26) – only the third positive home goal difference since 2006-07. Only once did the team win two home games running.
Away Form: The away form was nothing short of staggering with 11 away wins a club record, topping the 10 wins in 1969-70. 37 points was also a new club record. The eight defeats (from 23 games) was the lowest since 1992-93 when Bobby Gould’s side lost six from 21. The away goal difference (37-32) was the first positive difference since 2003-04 and only the sixth time in 87 seasons of league football. Between 27 October & 29 December the team won six consecutive away league games (seven if you include the JPT win at York), beating the club record of four.
Wins: City won eighteen league games in total – the third highest total in the last 45 years, topped only by 2001-02 (20) and 1969-70 (19).
Biggest win: The biggest win of the season was the 5-0 league win at Hartlepool in November. It was the first time City have scored more than three goals in a league game since 2008. They had last scored four in October 2008 against Southampton at the Ricoh (4-1) and last scored five in April 2008 at Colchester (5-1). Although it wasn't a record away win (that was the 7-0 at Aberdare Athletic in 1926-27) it was amazingly the first time in the club's history that they have won an away league game 5-0. Three weeks later they scored five again in beating Walsall at home (5-1).
Biggest defeat: The 0-4 Easter Monday defeat at Walsall was the biggest league defeat but topped by the 1-6 loss at Arsenal in the League Cup.
Goals: The goals total of 66 was the third highest by a City team since the club came out of the old Division Two in 1967, only 1977-78 (75) and 2003-04 (67) were better. At one stage the Sky Blues topped the League One scoring list but eventually finished fourth highest. They did however top the away scorers with 37. Between September & the end of the year the team scored in 24 consecutive league & cup games, the best such run since 1966-67.
Final position: The final position of 15th was the lowest finishing position since 1960-61 when the Bantams finished 15th in the old Division Three under Billy Frith. It means that the Sky Blues have finished in the top ten only once in the twelve seasons since they left the Premiership in 2001. They are the only club, bar long-serving Premiership clubs and recent promotees from the Conference, not to have been promoted or reached the play-offs since the play-offs were introduced in 1987 nor to finish in the top six of a division. But for the points deduction a final position of 12th would have been achieved.
Leading scorers: For the first time since 2005-06 the Sky Blues had more than one player reach double figures in league games. David McGoldrick finished as top league scorer with 16 (in 22 games) followed by Carl Baker with 12 (in 43 games). McGoldrick’s league total was the best by a Coventry player since 1997-98 when Dion Dublin scored 18 to finish joint top scorer in the Premiership. If you add in Cup games McGoldrick netted 18 and Baker 15 with Leon Clarke netting 10 in all games. McGoldrick’s goal ratio (0.72 goals per game) was only slightly better than Clarke’s (0.62), the best by a City striker since George Hudson in 1963-64 (0.77) but some way from Clarrie Bourton’s record set in 1931-32 (1.19). McGoldrick did smash one of Clarrie’s records however, by netting in seven consecutive away league games (all victories). Leon Clarke later netted in five consecutive away games (six, if you count Cup games). Clarke, who had played for Scunthorpe before joining the Sky Blues in January, finished as the division’s second top scorer with 19 goals in 26 league games and but for his injury would surely have finished top. Clarke also became the first player to score for and against the Sky Blues in the same season since Dion Dublin in 1998-99 (not including own goals).
Doubles: City achieved the double over four sides including the two promoted sides Doncaster & Bournemouth plus Hartlepool & Oldham – the highest number since 2001-02 (5). On the other hand three sides did the double over City (Crewe, Carlisle & Shrewsbury) – the lowest number since 2005-06.
Appearances: Joe Murphy started every league game bar the final game at Notts County, the first league game he had missed in two full seasons. Carl Baker was involved in 43 league games and was missing only through injury & suspension. Two players failed to start a league game but made substitute appearances (Jordan Willis & Roy O’Donovan).
Players used: Thirty-seven players were used in league and cup games. Of the 37, 22 players made their debuts during the season, nine of them loan players and 9 of them came from the club’s academy. In addition to the 37 players used, three more, Lee Burge, Louis Garner and Leon Lobjoit sat on the bench as substitutes but were not used.
Records: Gary McSheffrey reached 281 appearances by the end of the season and is now in 21st equal place in the all-time chart, level with Cyrille Regis and close behind players such as Brian Hill (286), Ernie Machin (289) & Micky Gynn (291). McSheffrey also crept up to 9th place in the club’s all-time goalscorers list having now scored 72 goals for the club. He is no level with & just behind George Hudson (75) in the all-time scorers chart. With Gary’s future at the club seemingly in the balance will he ever add to those outstanding figures?
Substitutes: John Fleck made the most substitute appearances (17 league & cup) whilst Gary McSheffrey was the most substituted player. Gary was ‘pulled’ on 21 occasions in 26 league starts, a new record for the club. Seven substitutes came off the bench and scored: Fleck (at Shrewsbury), Ball (at Arsenal), McDonald (at Oldham), Hussey (at York), Barton (at Hartlepool), Wilson (Colchester), Elliott (Oldham). My records are incomplete but I believe this is a club record.
Average attendance: Home 10,938 (2011-12 15,121), down 27%. Away 6,895 (2011-12 17,619), down 61%. The home average attendance was the lowest since the 1982-83 season when the average was 10,552. In the league City’s tremendous away following, no doubt boosted by new grounds and the away form, actually increased from around 900 per game to almost 1200 (the second highest in the division) with almost 5,000 travelling to Milton Keynes. In Cup games too 8,000 City fans travelled to Arsenal and 5,000 to Spurs.
Highest home attendance: The biggest league crowd was 15,185 for the visit of Shrewsbury Town on New Years Day. In February 31,054 watched the JPT Area Final game v Crewe – the second largest crowd to watch the Sky Blues at the Ricoh.
Lowest home attendance: Only 8,862 attended the midweek visit of Crawley in November – the lowest league crowd at the Ricoh and the lowest City home league gate since March 1992 when 8,454 went through the Highfield Road turnstiles for the visit of Norwich. The Scunthorpe home game four days later attracted 9,892 – the lowest for a Saturday home game since 1993. Cup games attracted the lowest crowds however with only 5,437 at the Burton Albion JPT game, the lowest crowd at a City home game since 1985, and two FA Cup crowds under 7,000 with the 6,339 at the Morecambe second round tie the lowest home crowd in the competition since 1908.
Highest away attendance: The biggest away league crowd was at Bramall Lane for the Friday night game in February – 17,511. A massive 58,351 were at the Emirates for the League Cup game – the largest crowd to watch City since the Old Trafford League Cup game in 2007.
Lowest away attendance: Four crowds under 4,000 watched City’s league games with the smallest at Colchester for the midweek game in November – 3,229. This was the smallest crowd to watch City in a league game since 2002 when 2,077 watched them play Wimbledon at Selhurst Park and the fourth lowest post-war away crowd. At Dagenham & Redbridge in the League Cup only 1,904 were present and 580 of them came from Coventry. It was the lowest crowd to watch the Sky Blues in the competition.
Won from behind: (6) City had failed to come from behind to win for almost three years but broke that record by beating Birmingham in the League Cup second round. Then they achieved the feat three times in December (Walsall (h), Stevenage (a) & MK Dons (a)), once in January (Preston (h) JPT) and finally at Scunthorpe in March. On three occasions they did concede the first goal but won a point. At MK Dons City came from behind twice to win – for the first time since 1997.
Lost from in front: (5) Four at home: Stevenage, Scunthorpe, Crewe & Swindon, & Brentford away. In a further ten games City took the lead only to be pegged back for draws. In total 33 points were lost from leading positions.
Best run: The Sky Blues went unbeaten in ten league & cup games in November & December, the best run since 2002 when under Gary McAllister the team went 10 unbeaten in all games.
Worst run: City started the season badly and failed to win any of their first eight league games. Added to the six without a win at the end of 2011-12 meant a run of 14 league games without a win – the worst since the spring of 2003 when McAllister’s mixture of kids and loanees went 16 without a win.
Hat-tricks: (0) No City player scored a hat-trick but McGoldrick scored five braces (four in the league) with Carl Baker twice scoring two in a game.
Opposing hat-tricks: (0) None. Several players scored two in a game including Leon Clarke (Scunthorpe), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham) & Theo Walcott (Arsenal). Brentford’s Jamie Forrester netted twice at Griffin Park & once at the Ricoh.
Own goals: For City: (3) Robertson (Preston h), Maguire (Sheff United JPT) & Ellis (Crewe JPT).
Own goals: By City: (1) Blair Adams (Walsall h)
Penalties: For City: (6) Kilbane, Fleck, McGoldrick, Baker (2) & McSheffrey scored from the spot. One penalty was missed: McSheffrey (Portsmouth a)
Penalties: Against City: (4) Healy (Bury h), Richards (Shrewsbury a), Cadamarteri (Carlisle h), Clarke (Scunthorpe h), Akins (Stevenage a), Westcarr (Walsall a). One penalty was missed when Joe Murphy saved Arsenal’s Oliver Giroud’s effort in the League Cup game.
Fastest Goal scored: 2 minutes: Frank Moussa scored in the 2nd minute in the home game with Swindon in March.
Fastest Goal conceded: 2 minutes: Carlisle’s Matty Robson in the game at Brunton Park in January.
Red cards: Coventry: (1): Jordan Stewart at Walsall for two yellow cards. This is the lowest number of sending-offs since 1993-94 season. City last went through a whole season without a red card in 1986-87 (FA Cup winning season).
Red cards: Opponents: (1) Butler (Walsall h). This is the lowest figure since 1996-97 when no opponents were sent off.
Bookings: Most yellow cards award went to Jennings (7) followed closely by McSheffrey (6) & Baker (5).
Television: The Sky Blues appeared live on television twice – the home league game against Stevenage & the JPT area semi final at home to Preston.
New Grounds: City played at seven grounds for the first time in competitive games. It was the first ever visits to Yeovil, Stevenage, MK Dons, Crawley & Dagenham & Redbridge. In addition they visited the new grounds of Shrewsbury & Colchester.
Internationals: For the first time since the 1989-90 season Coventry City had no full internationals.
Man of the Match: Frank Moussa won the most Andy Turner Man of the Match awards. The leading contenders were: Moussa 9, Baker 7, McGoldrick & Jennings 6.
With many thanks to Paul O’Connor.