Most Coventry City supporters will be relieved that the 2016/17 season is over. Statistically it has been not just the worst season in living memory but the worst since the club was elected to the Football League in 1919. After a good 2015/16 season, spoiled by a poor recruitment programme in the January window, expectations were high that some shrewd transfer activity would see an assault on the top six but it never materialised. The team started badly and despite a good October lifting spirits, the wheels came completely off in December. There were few highlights with the majority coming in the much-maligned Checkatrade Trophy which the Sky Blues, rejuvenated by the arrival of Mark Robins, the fourth manager of the campaign, won in style on a magical day at Wembley. Most City fans however would have swapped that day for safety in League One but it was not to be and the club now faces fourth-tier football for only the second time in the club's history and for the first time since 1959. That sole season in the basement league ended with the club promoted and we can only pray for a repeat.
Games: Coventry City played 59 competitive games this season, 46 league, 3 FA Cup, 2 League Cup & 8 Football League Trophy (Checkatrade Trophy) .
Points: The Sky Blues gathered 39 league points during the season. This was thirty less than in 2015/16 and the lowest total since the club were relegated from the Premier League in 2001 when they collected 34 points (from 38 games). 25 defeats were suffered the highest number since the club joined the league. The club have the unenviable record of being the only FL club not to have reached 70 points in a season since that three points for a win was introduced in 1981.
Home Form: By City's standards, the home record wasn't that bad: won 8, drew 7, lost 8. The eight defeats came in a run of 10 games between November and March sandwiched between two unbeaten runs of eight and five games respectively. Amazingly Tony Mowbray was unbeaten at the Ricoh and Robins, after losing his first two home games was unbeaten in the final five. 31 home points were won – more than in 2012/13 and 2014/15.
Away Form: The away record: won 1, drew 5, lost 17, earned only 8 points, the lowest total since 1999/2000 (supposedly the season of the Entertainers) when Gordon Strachan's team failed to win away. The 17 defeats was the worst since 1925/26 when 18 losses were incurred. It was another depressing visit to Swindon (last league win there was in 1960), and Rochdale (where City have never won in ten visits now).
Wins: In total therefore, only nine victories were recorded – equalling the total in 2011/12 as the lowest number since the club left the Premier League in 2001. In fact, if you count the Swansea penalty shoot-out as a victory, the team won more Cup games (10) than league (9).
Biggest win: The biggest league win of the season was 2-0 at home to Chesterfield and at Port Vale. In the Checkatrade Trophy they beat Brighton 3-0.
Biggest defeat: The 1-4 losses at Oxford and Bristol Rovers were the heaviest league defeats. In the League Cup however Norwich beat the Sky Blues 6-1. The defeat at Oxford was the biggest league loss for over two years and the first time they had been 0-3 at half time since 2013.
Goals for: The goals for total of 37 was the lowest since 1999/2000 when Strachan's team scored 36 but from only 38 games. For a 46-game season it was the club's lowest ever. City, amazingly, failed to score more than two goals in any league games for the first time ever. Of the 72 FL clubs only Oldham, with 31 goals, scored less.
Goals against: City conceded 68 league goals, less than the 77 let in during 2013-14 but the goal difference of minus 31 was the worst since 1919-20 (-38) . The team kept ten clean sheets in the league, better than three of the previous five seasons, but only two away from home. Reice Charles-Cook kept four and Lee Burge six.
Final position: The final position of 23rd was fifteen places lower than 2015/16 and confirmed the club's third relegation of the 21st century (after 49 years without one). The highest position occupied during the campaign was 18th following a victory over Chesterfield on 1 November. City 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. The club were bottom of the league table for 14 consecutive weeks from 14 January to 22 April – the worst run since 1919/20.
Leading scorers: George Thomas was leading scorer with nine goals, five in the league and four in the Checkatrade. Marvin Sordell was runner up with seven goals (4 league, 3 cup). Since 1919 no City league top scorer has scored so few goals. The previous lowest was six goals. In 2000/01 messrs Hartson, Hadji and Bellamy were joint top scorers with six and in 2014/15 messrs Samuel, Nouble and O'Brien were joint top scorers with six. Fifteen different players were on the score-sheet during the season.
Doubles: City achieved only one double- over Port Vale - but on the other hand seven clubs did the double over City (Swindon, Bradford City, Southend, Scunthorpe, Sheffield United, Fleetwood and MK Dons). This equals the record set in 1985-86 under Don Mackay. For Scunthorpe it was the second season running that they have done the double.
Appearances: For the sixth season running no outfield player was an ever present in the league – the last to do so was Richard Keogh in 2010-11. The two Jordans, Willis and Turnbull, started the most league games – 36 starts. They both also started 46 competitive games. Jodi Jones was involved in 34 league games (11 starts and 23 substitute appearances) and 45 games in total (15 starts and 30 substitute appearances).
Players used: Forty players were used in league and cup games - one more than in 2015/16, the fourth highest in the club's history and four short of the club record of 44 in 2002-03. Of the 40, 23 players made their debuts during the season (one less than the previous season) and one, Devon Kelly-Evans, only appeared in a cup game. Eight loan players were used (two less than in 2015/16). In addition to the 40 players used, two more, Corey Addai and Jordan Thompson, sat on the bench as substitutes but were not used. Michael Folivi, the loanee from Watford finally got his debut at Scunthorpe and came on for three minutes. This means he has the second shortest career of a first team player behind Lee Hildreth who played for one minute in the final game of the 2006/07 season. In the last three seasons 72 players have made their City debuts – that is more than the total number of debutants for the whole decades of the 60s, 70s and 80s.
Home-grown players: Of the 40 players used 15 of them were home grown products of the Academy. It is now more than six years that a City team did not include a home-grown player. On two occasions in the Checkatrade Trophy eight academy products represented the club and at Wembley seven took part. Dion and Devon Kelly-Evans became only the second pair of twins to play for the club (Lee and Craig Middleton were the others) and they were the first pair to be on the pitch together when Devon came on as a substitute against Norwich in the League Cup.
Records: Jordan Willis took his total appearances to 127 & is now 109th on the club's all-time appearance chart, level with Brian Nicholas and Elliott Ward, and one behind John Sillett. No other player has reached 100 appearances for the club.
Substitutes: Jodi Jones made the most substitute appearances (30, 23 league and 7 cup). The league total is only one short of the record in one season, set by Andy Morrell in 2005-06. Kyel Reid was the most substituted player (15 times). Eight substitutes came off the bench and scored: Ruben Lameiras did it twice (Norwich LC a and Northampton CT h) and the others were Andre Wright (Wimbledon h), Andy Rose (Chesterfield h), Marcus Tudgay (Oxford a), Kwame Thomas (Oldham a), Ryan Haynes 2 (Wycombe CT a) and Gael Bigirimana (Wycombe CT a). Haynes is only the fifth City player to score two after coming off the bench and the first since Chris Maguire at MK Dons in 2013.
Average attendance: Home 9,203 (2015/16 12,570), down 26.7% & the eighth highest in League One. Away 8,163 (2015/16 7,665), up 6.5% & the sixth highest in the division. If away fans are stripped out, City's average home following was 8,243 down 29% from 11,633.
Highest home attendance: The biggest league crowd was 11,946 for the Bristol Rovers game in March but this was boosted by over 4,000 Rovers' fans. This is the lowest top gate in the club's league history. If away fans are stripped out the biggest crowd was for the opening home game v Shrewsbury when there were 9,766 home fans in the 10,296 crowd. There were seven home cup-ties and the largest crowd was 11,672 v Wycombe in the Checkatrade Regional final game.
Lowest home attendance: The lowest league crowd of the season was 7,646 for the Southend game in March. This was not the lowest league crowd at the Ricoh - in 2014-15 only 6,885 watched a midweek game versus Scunthorpe. Cup crowds however were generally very poor with 4,976 watching the League Cup-tie with Portsmouth, the club's lowest home attendance since the competition started in 1960. In November only 2,175 watched the FA Cup replay with Morecambe – the lowest home gate in the competition since before the First World War (Sixfields apart). In the Checkatrade Trophy there were three attendances just over 2,000 but the Crawley game attracted 1,338, the lowest crowd at a home competitive game (Sixfields apart) since 1985.
Away followings: For league games City’s away following averaged 814 (2015/16 1,339), a drop of 39% and the lowest since 2010/11. The best following of the season was 1,981 at Walsall, closely followed by 1,956 to Swindon on the opening day. Of course, City's following at Wembley surpassed everything with 43,268 the official number who attended. The smallest was 209 for the midweek trip to Bury which was the smallest since a Monday night game at Ipswich in 2011 when 185 brave souls attended. Bristol Rovers brought 4,069 fans to the Ricoh in March, the largest league away following since Birmingham brought 5,700 in March 2012. At the other extreme, Fleetwood brought only 121 fans to the league game while Crawley brought just 57 for the Checkatrade tie, the lowest away following since the Ricoh opened in 2005.
Highest away attendance: The biggest away league crowd was at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane (24,334).
Lowest away attendance: The smallest away crowd was 2,611 at Bury in March. and the fifth lowest away league crowd since the war. At Morecambe in the FA Cup the crowd of 1,732 (including 546 City fans) was the smallest away crowd in the competition since 539 watched City at Glossop in 1914. At Wycombe in the Checkatrade Trophy (FLT) there were only 912 present and 250 of them came from Coventry. It was the lowest crowd to watch the Sky Blues in that competition and the smallest to watch any City away game since April 1930 when 683 watched a 2-2 draw at Merthyr.
Won from behind: (4) In league games City failed to come from behind to win but managed it on four occasions in cup competitions – Morecambe (FAC) h, Portsmouth (LC) h, West Ham (FLT) h, Wycombe (FLT) a. On four occasions the team came from behind to get a draw Northampton h, Wimbledon h, Morecambe a, Swansea a. Only 2 points were won from losing positions, 13 less than last season.
Lost from in front: (3) City lost three games after being in front: at Bradford, Gillingham and Scunthorpe. In seven games City took the lead only to be pegged back for draws. 23 points were lost from leading positions.
Best run: The Sky Blues went unbeaten in four league games in the second half of October and when including cup games, extended the run to six games before losing to Scunthorpe at home on 12 November. The team were unbeaten in league and cup games at home until the Scunthorpe game, a total of 11 home games and 14 including the previous season.
Worst run: City failed to win any of their first 10 league games - the worst start to a season since 1919 and included five consecutive draws (the first time since 1957/58). They also failed to score in their first three league games for the first time ever. Then from 1 November to 18 February they failed to win any of 15 games – the worst run since Gary McAllister's team in 2002/03 who went 16 without victory. They also lost seven league games in a row in November and December, the worst run since 1972-73 and just two short of the club record set in 1919/20.
Hat-tricks: (0) No City player scored a brace in a league game let alone a hat-trick. Three players managed two in Cup games: Sordell (Morecambe h), Turnbull (West Ham h) and Haynes (Wycombe a).
Opposing hat-tricks: (3) After not conceding a hat-trick for three seasons, three opposing players managed one. Billy Bodin (Bristol Rovers a), Keshi Anderson (Northampton a) and Cambridge United's Luke Berry who scored four in the FA Cup game. Berry is the first player to score four against City since Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in 2001 and the first ever in an FA Cup tie.
This season there were four former players netted against City, Jacob Murphy for Norwich, Chris Maguire (Oxford), and Leon Clarke and John Fleck for Sheffield United. The Sheffield United game was the first ever instance of two ex-players netting in the same game.
Own goals: For City: (1) Adnan Maric of Swansea was credited with an own goal in the Checkatrade Trophy game, although some sources credited the goal to Jordan Willis.
Own goals: By City: (2) Jamie Sterry (Oxford a) and Kevin Foley (Oldham a).
Penalties: For City: (2) City's poor penalty record ended and there were two successful penalties – by Ruben Lameiras (Norwich (LC) a) and Marcus Tudgay (Oxford a) – and no misses. In addition City won the penalty shoot-out at Swansea in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Penalties: Against City: (8) Seven opposition players netted from the spot - Maguire (Oxford a), Bodin (Bristol Rovers a), Clough (Bolton a), Berry (Cambridge FAC a), Main (Portsmouth LC h), McBurnie (Swansea FLT a) and McMahon (Bradford a) who scored two penalties.
Two opponents missed penalties – Lee Burge saved Shrewsbury's Roberts and Peterborough's Mackail-Smith's penalties.
Fastest Goal scored: 20 seconds: Daniel Agyei scored after twenty seconds of the home game with Northampton in the Checkatrade Trophy. It was the fastest goal at the Ricoh and the fastest by a City player for 14 years.
Fastest Goal conceded: 59 seconds: Marc Richards equalised Agyei's goal against Northampton before one minute had gone. This is probably the first time in a City game that there have been two goals within the first minute of a game.
Red cards: Coventry: (5): Turnbull (Bradford a), Page (Chesterfield h), Stevenson (MK Dons h), Willis (Northampton a) and Dion Kelly-Evans (West Ham FLT h). It was the first red card for all five players. Turnbull became only the second player to be sent off on his debut, the other being David Thompson v Middlesbrough in 2000.
Red cards: Opponents: (1) Walsall's O'Connell in the game at the Ricoh was the only opponent to be sent off.
FA Cup: For the third season running the Sky Blues were knocked out by a club from a lower status, League Two Cambridge United. They did at least win a game in the competition for the first time since January 2014.
Bookings: Jordan Turnbull looked to have the award for most bookings wrapped up at Christmas with eight yellow cards but he kept out of trouble in the second half of the season and was overtaken by Gael Bigirimana by the season's end. Gael finished on nine bookings.
The Sky Blues appeared live on television on three occasions, in the league at home to Sheffield United (1-2) and twice in the Checkatrade trophy at home to Wycombe in the semi final and against Oxford at Wembley in the final.
New Grounds: City played competitive games at three grounds for the first time Oxford United's Kassam Stadium, Bristol Rovers' Memorial Stadium and New Wembley. In addition they played a league game at AFC Wimbledon for the first time and at Northampton's Sixfields Stadium for the first time as an away team.
Man of the Match: Bigirimana won top place in Andy Turner's Man of the Match awards with 10 MOM votes. Lee Burge (7), Ben Stevenson (6) and Jordan Willis (6) were the nearest challengers.
With many thanks to Paul O’Connor.