Coventry case highlights just how bad things can get

Football fans without question are a dramatic bunch, more often than not over reacting to the first sign of choppy of waters. Further to that they are also undoubtedly a population of serial moaners – for should anything negative happen at our beloved clubs we can whine and whinge as well as the best of them.

However, next time you are bemoaning your sides latest misfortune and wondering just when the misery will end, it is worth remembering that whilst it might seem that things are bad – it could be much worse. For evidence of that just look at Coventry City – a once permanent fixture in the Premier League who now seemingly find themselves stuck in an ever growing bottomless pit of doom. Yes there are other clubs who have experienced similar hardships over the years for example Portsmouth recently, however right now you would be hard pressed to find a more depressed football fan than a Sky Blue.

Since their relegation from the Premier League in 2001 following a quite remarkable 34 year stay, there has been very little to cheer about for Coventry. A genuine push for promotion back to the promised land never really materialised in the years that followed, with a playoff semi-final the best they could muster. More recently things plummeted to new lows on the pitch, as after a couple of near relegation misses City were consigned to League One in 2012. Their dismal fortunes have been mirrored by those off the field, with the Sky Blues only narrowly avoiding administration in 2007.

Those troubles though now look like mere bumps in the road compared to the financial mess the club now finds itself in. Having been docked points following administration last term the club was unable to negotiate a rent arrangement with the owners of the Ricoh Arena – leaving the club homeless. There has been reported offers of ACL lowering the rent demands, with reports not too long ago indicating that a rent free package was put forward, yet nothing has secured a return to the Ricoh. These problems led to an alternative temporary home outside of the city being used, unsurprisingly a move met by vociferous discontent. The initial belief that a ground share with Walsall was hard enough to stomach, however what has resulted is a share of the Sixfields Stadium with Northampton – a location not exactly within comfortable travelling distances to be making regular trips.

On Friday things plummeted to yet new levels of despair as it was confirmed the club were to go into liquidation, meaning a second successive deduction of points – in the process ending any hopes that the side might rise above this tragedy and put together a decent season. There was some hope (perhaps blind) that the outcome of the meeting between new owners Otium Entertainment Group and the main creditors ACL that the club might even be able to exit administration, but inevitably the parties could not come to an agreement and the nightmare took yet another dark twist for Cov supporters.

You could write a pretty hefty book and more on how and why the club has fallen to such stunning depths and who should take the blame for this demise. It is difficult to see where on earth this mess will end and it would take a football fan with the coldest of hearts not to feel sympathetic to their situation – so extreme are their troubles that you would not wish them on your fiercest rivals. So bad is this situation that it represents a footballing equivalent of the most frightening of horror films to a football club supporter, one which unfortunately for Coventry has come to life in the most distressing of fashion.

Nevertheless football is filled with stories of sides rebounding from the brink, just look at the likes of Hull, Swansea, Cardiff – all sides who just over a decade ago formed the bottom quarter of League Two yet now are Premier League clubs. Add to that Portsmouth, who after suffering years of similar heartache now finally appear to be on the right track again, which hints that the pain does not last forever. These stories will of course offer little comfort to Coventry fans right now and their case is as extreme as it gets, but even the most downward of spirals do not last an eternity.

For the rest of us who will undoubtedly moan and wish for change in our sides fortunes we would do well to remember the plight that Coventry fans are in as evidence that we should perhaps be happy with what we have. Plight and turmoil are words used to often in football but in the case of Coventry City they could not be more accurate and we can only hope that this once great club can at least begin the road to recovery in the coming years.