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With the entire buzz around Sunil Chhetri’s trials at Coventry City, all of a sudden everyone is taking a keen interest in the second division side. Goal.com profiles the English championship club in gist for one and all…

Coventry City plies their trade in the Football League Championship, which is the second division of English football.

The Beginning…

Willie Stanley, an employee of Singers cycle firm, started the club in 1883 and the club was known as Singers FC until 1898 when it was re-christened to Coventry City.

Tough Times…

Coventry’s first season in the top division was nothing short of a nightmare as they suffered a shocking 0-5 thrashing at the hands of Tottenham. They only just about managed to save themselves from going down on the final day of the 1919-20 season. Thereafter, they managed to stay in the league for a few seasons before being relegated in 1925.

The Storer Era…

In 1931 entered the footballer cum cricketer in Harry Storer who managed Coventry and helped the club enter the Division Two. During his reign, the club managed to score 100 goals in four seasons. Coventry came to close to being promoted to the top division but in 1938 couldn’t make it by a single point. Post World War-2, Storer left the managerial position and returned in 1951 to see the side in Third Division (South). Storer left the club in 1953 and several managers came and went by.

Enter Jimmy Hill…

This gentleman entered and changed the face of the club.  They unveiled the new Sky Blue jerseys and nicknamed the club ‘Sky Blues’. Hill went on to write the official club song ‘The Sky Blue Song’ and introduced pre-match entertainment for the fans which drew larger numbers. In 1966-67, Hill guided the club into 25 games unbeaten run and won the Division Two Championship. Hill decided to part ways with the club to pursue a career in television.

Top Flight…

1967 saw Coventry miss relegation from top division on the last day as they just about managed a goalless draw. The next season too, they lived on the edge and thanked Manchester United for having defeated Leicester City to help them avoid going down. The following season they finished sixth in the table and qualified for Europe.

Troubled Times…

Noel Cantwell was sacked in 1972 while Jimmy Hill made a comeback to Coventry as a Managing Director and then as the Chairman. But there wasn’t much success then and financial crunch hit the club as they had to seel some of their best players at the end of 1977/78. Thereafter, a few managers came and went by and nothing worth mentioning happened.

Awesome Duo…

In 1986, George Curtis and John Sillett took the club to win one of the most important silverware in England. They beat Tottenham 3-2 and in what is still regarded as one of the finest FA Cup finals. They managed to keep the club in top flight in the mid-table region but as the fans grew ever demanding, they had to make their way out.

Premiership…

Booby Gould in his second term led the club into the Premiership and finished 15th. Gould threw in the towel in the following season while his assistant Phil Neal took over. Another sixteen months and in came former Manchester United manager Ron Atkinson who could only draw more crowds. Gordon Strachan took on the mantle and saved them from going down in the 1996-97 season thanks to a last day victory Tottenham.

In the 1997-98 season, Coventry kept themselves in safe position early in the season and went on to reach the FA Cup quarterfinals. Strachan was hailed as one of the best young managers in England while Dion Dublin was called for the Three Lions.

Coventry signed some good players like the now Liverpool striker Robbie Keane for £6 million - a club record fee though he stayed for only a single season before heading to Inter Milan. Gary McAllister, who excelled in Coventry shirt, was sold to Liverpool and then the club was relegated after 34 years in top flight football in 2001.

New Lows…

Strachan was sacked and so was Roland Nilsson. The club once again suffered a financial crisis and by 2004 the official debt recorded was £23 million. Gary McAllister and Eric Black too had short terms. Peter Reid’s reign in the 2004-05 season and more than a place in the play-offs, it appeared that the club was to avoid relegation.

On January 23 ’05, former player Micky Adams took over and steered the club from plunging further down with a 6-2 win over Derby in the last game at Highfield Road.

Ricoh Arena…

Coventry entered their new stadium and started on a bright note by beating QPR 3-0 on August 20 ’05. There were a few boardroom changes as Mike McGinnity stepped down as Chairman due to ill health while Geoffrey Robinson announced that the club would be back in the Premier League in three years.

Some unprecedented results saw Adams depart from the club in January ’07 and after a while came in Ian Dowie who couldn’t change the fortunes of the club.

Former Fulham manager Chris Coleman took over the club and saved them from relegation at the end of last season. They currently lie 13th in the Championship table.         

Rahul Bali.          

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