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Monday, December 27, 2010

The QPR Report Interview: A Coventry City Fan's Assessment of Coventry and QPR


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Coventry City Fan Interview: Q&A re Coventry & QPR
- Coventry City Fan, Kev Monks has very kindly responded to a series of questions re Coventry prior to QPR's game against Coventry tomorrow (hopefully). Very, many thanks to Kev for doing this.

COVENTRY CITY FAN, Coventry-Mad's KEV Monks

How long have you supported Coventry?
It's been 41 years since my first game. Tuesday's game will be my 1914th Coventry City first team match.

Did you believe Coventry would ever get relegated. I remember over the years, time and again, Coventry seemed doomed and then made miraculous recovery. So when that day finally came, how was it?

It was always a case of riding our luck and then putting in a big finish on the last day or relying on results elsewhere to keep us in the division. However, relegation which came at Aston Villa was something we could prepare for, as the team under Gordon Strachan had been the worst for a few years.

City supporters were a bit like all the lads who joined up in the first World War thinking it would be a short-lived affair and we would soon be back. However, it has proved not to be the case and ten years on we are still trying to get back into the top flight.

You have a new stadium? What was it like making the change from Highfield Road? Have you become accustomed yet? How about the financial burden of the new Ricoh Stadium?

In my book, moving to any stadium that you don't own unless your own ground is having a sell-out every week was a bad move. Granted we now have excellent conference facilities, two decent gig venues etc but Coventry City FC don't get anything from them. With income steams being severely curtailed, it led to the club twice being hours away from administration and losses have been announced every season since.

Unlike, Arsenal and Cardiff, who have retained the location of the stadiums by moving across the road, meaning that match going habits are not changed, moving to a new stadium on the city's boundaries without adequate transport links such as a railway station, is going to be fraught with problems.

If the ground is not full, it takes a lot of effort to make any atmosphere, something that smaller grounds such as Loftus Road can easily generate and this has put some people off going on a regular basis.

After five years, most of the City support is now used to the Ricoh and although, going to a home game requires planning rather than walking up on match-day as you could at Highfield Road, most go because it is where the team play rather than somewhere they want to be.

What do you think of the current Coventry manager?

Aidy Boothroyd is certainly his own man. He is not the lap-dog that Chris Coleman was and is determined to get what he wants.
Some of his methods have not got down well but he is giving the Coventry manager’s job a good go.

What do you think of the current Coventry Chairman and Board of Directors? Why are they involved with Coventry? Could they realistically have done more?

Coventry’s board can be split in two. On one hand, we have the private behind closed doors world of hedge fund SISU and their front man Ray Ranson, who had been trying to get a foot in a number of clubs before he showed an interest in Coventry City. Then we have the public side with two main directors who are City supporters of very long standing and are highly respected in and around the Coventry & Warwickshire area.

They have made some difficult decisions in what is a very difficult climate and at least the club are currently in a stable position where they can account for every penny unlike in the past.

What is your view and the general Coventry view of QPR?

To be honest, if QPR had not had their silly and in my view completely pointless phase of Sack The Manager every other month, you would have probably been promoted by now.

We could see the seeds of a good side when we played at Loftus Road last season and I have not been surprised by QPR topping the table with some good performances this season.

How are Coventry doing this season? Are your currently at your peak? Are you surprised by how Coventry doing this season? Do you genuinely believe Coventry will make the top six?

Coventry supporters are well used to the New Year or later in the season slide down the table and after defeats against Norwich and Cardiff, there have been comments that the bubble has burst.

However, having seen every Coventry game this season, all the sides apart from Cardiff are much the same. Although, we have probably already lost too many matches to mount a serious threat to the top two, we are have as much chance as being in the play-offs come May as any other team in the division.

To what do you attribute the Coventry Success?

Aidy Boothroyd must take his share of the credit for changing some of the ethics in the club and making the Sky Blues a more difficult side to play against. We have had years of teams coming to Coventry and being allowed to walk away with the points but this season, apart from Cardiff on Boxing Day, we only lose after putting up a fight.

Who are you Dangerman/Most valued/most overrated/most underrated players?

Marlon King, now he is back to fitness, has a big part to play. He’s good at deflecting attention from opposing players (and fans!) and this means other players get their chance to shine.

Keiren Westwood is our current player of the year and yet again he is having a fine season. With the transfer window opening next week, there is the worry that the right bid may see him sold but as long as he is in goal, there is always hope for City.

James McPake and youngster Nathan Cameron who last season was captaining our U18’s team are both under-rated players. Hopefully, both will have good futures in the game.

What are your past Encounter Memories - Best Memory/Worst Memory of Past Coventry-QPR Encounters? Who is your favourite QPR Player? (And your least favourite)? Ditto any view of Neil Warnock?

That’s a lot of matches to think about. There was winning on the plastic pitch, one David Speedie Boxing Day goal, a Keith Houchen header, Dion Dublin’s City debut, the game in Ibiza, City beating QPR in the opening game at the Ricoh, Gary McSheffrey winning a penalty for a 1-0 win, Kevin Kyle scoring, and even the excellent 2-2 draw at Loftus Road last season

Worst was probably the 5-1 defeat in 1993 which cost Bobby Gould his job and the 4-1 defeat where the City supporters turned on the likes of Tim Sherwood and Steve Staunton.

My favourite QPR players certainly include Gerry Francis, Phil Parkes, John Hollins, Stan Bowles and Rodney Marsh. Worst is Danny Shittu for his behaviour in Ibiza. He certainly let his team-mates and Ian Holloway down that night.

As for Neil Warnock, he is like Aidy Boothroyd in that he is not employed to be popular, he is employed to get results. There is no doubt that he is good at what he does and anyone who has read his autobiography will see why.

Over the years, we've shared, Dave Sexton, Gerry Francis, Alan Brazil, John Beck, Gary Bannister, John O'Rourke, Paul Furlong (a QPR hero), among others:
QPR currently have an ex-Coventry player, Gareth Borrowdale. We're not quite sure why we have him. He certainly has played very little. Did you have any impression of him at Coventry?

Gary Borrowdale is a nice lad, very quiet I seem to remember. He scored the Reserves goal of the season with a cracking run and finish from thirty yards in the last season of City Reserves playing in a competitive league at Shrewsbury.

He did struggle against fast wingers though and this and his wages limited the amount of appearances he made for Coventry.

Prediction for season promotion/relegation places - And how would that compare with pre-season prediction?

Well I was hoping for a mid-table finish but the expectation levelled has now raised, so most City supporters are now predicting something a little higher. I’m going for QPR and Cardiff to be automatically promoted (I had QPR for a top six finish at the start of the season). As for going down, I still fancy Palace, Sc**thorpe (my original two tips) and now Preston.

Are you looking forward to playing QPR?

After having the floor wiped with us by Cardiff and seeing the highlights of your demolition of Swansea (and the red card for Clint Hill was a disgrace), the answer is No!.

QPR look back to form after a slight blip whilst City probably need a week to prepare for this game and if the Sky Blues cannot step up their game, it could be a long afternoon.

I would be very happy with a draw if you are offering it.

Once again, many, many thanks to Coventry City Fan/Coventry-Mad's, Kev Monks

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