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05/06: Preview: Coventry City
Opposition opinion
by Ben Nunn of The Sky Blue Superplex

What happened last season?
We beat the mighty Sunderland 2-0 to go top of the table!!!

Unfortunately that was the first game of the season. A few days later we were 1-0 up at Cardiff at half-time, and it looked as though the Peter Reid era really might be one of pleasure, prosperity and promotion, but the remaining 44.5 games of the season were to dispel that illusion.

Under Reid we struggled to maintain a challenge, and quickly slipped down the table. A dreadful run in the middle of the campaign saw him sacked early in 2005, to be replaced by Micky Adams. Although Adams was popular, he wasn't an immediate miracle worker and a genuine struggle against relegation ensued with the Sky Blues spending a couple of weeks in the bottom three with a month of the season remaining.

It was only the final home game - the last league game ever at Highfield Road - that we made ourselves safe from the drop with a memorable and beautiful 6-2 win over Derby.

On the plus side, we did acquire a number of useful players throughout the course of the season - Stern John, Ady Williams, Robert Page and Marcus Hall for example - but the team only really came together as a unit in the final few weeks.

What's going to happen next season?
It's the dawn of a new era. No, honestly.

After 106 years at Highfield Road, we're moving to the new 32,500-capacity Ricoh Arena, Micky Adams has (hopefully) a complete season in which he can do things his way, and we've got a good squad of players.

This summer's transfer activity was more about retaining out-of-contract players than signing new boys, but Clayton Ince, Matt Heath and James Scowcroft are all proven at this level.

Perhaps more importantly, we've signed up Player of the Season Stephen Hughes and top scorer Gary McSheffrey on long-term contracts, along with seven other players who've all agreed new deals.

After several years in the wilderness, there seems to be good reason for optimism although with Coventry City one can never be sure that disaster won't strike in the most conspiratorial way.

City should finish in the Top 10, which will be our best position since relegation from the Premiership in 2001, and with a bit of hard work and good fortune we're capable of making the play-offs.

Soundbites(from assorted census correspondents)

"Burnely dark horses" (eh? - Ed)

"Roger Mellie is a tosser!"

"Ricoh Arena will have a Christmas Opening Party!!!"

"It'll be a bit like Plan 9 from outer space, where we'll start with one actor and replace him with someone completely different, while pretending everything's just as it was before."

"Dont you think Micky Adams looks like Ralph Wiggim of the Simpsons? I do "

"coventry city pies are made from human dredged out of a filthy lake"

"We need some decent players "