APR 01] THE STUART LINNELL
Time For Positive Thought
Listen to Gordon Strachan talk
about what it takes to survive, let alone achieve anything, in
the Premiership and sooner or later you will hear the words
Gordon's philosophy is built
around his team being mentally as well as physically strong for
the weekly battle for Premiership points. Arguably, it was a
lack of the former, rather than the latter, that let them down
After a fine run of results, bar
the defeat at Old Trafford, which looked to have put them on the
route to recovery, the Sky Blues, according to their manager,
started the match at Portman Road as though they had won it
before kicking a ball. By that, he didn't mean that they were
complacent, but rather that they were not really up for the
challenge, not really up to the task of taking on each of their
remaining matches as a "must-win" affair and being
ready to battle until they were sure of the three points.
The consequence of that, and the
results from the matches involving Middlesbrough, Derby County
and Everton, mean that we are locked into a situation where we
must win at least two of our remaining three fixtures, and might
even have to win all three to stay up.
Yes, we've done it before, but
no, I am not going to forecast what we will do. As most people
say when faced with walking under a ladder, I am not really
superstitious, but I have made it a rule not to predict what
will happen when Coventry City play, just in case it's the Kiss
However, if you are fearing the
worse, bear in mind that Manchester City are still two points
further adrift than we are, yet their 1-1 draw at Manchester
United was hailed with cries of "maybe it's not over yet
for Man City" from the TV commentators. So if it's not over
for them, it sure ain't over for us either!
Nonetheless, the task remains:
(a) take maximum points from a
home match against Liverpool - on a roll right now, with superb
form domestically and in Europe and, with one of those typical
football ironies, Gary McAllister turning himself into an
(b) take maximum points from a
visit to Villa Park where we have enjoyed only brief, though
memorable triumph. Who will forget that Moldevan moment? Hartson
heroics or a Bellamy belter would not go amiss that day.
(c) take maximum points from a
last day of the season home match against a Bradford City who,
although technically still hanging on by their Carbone inspired
finger nails will almost certainly be officially relegated by
then. Talking of ironies, don't forget that their current line
up includes one Eoin Jess.
Not impossible - and three
victories may not be absolutely necessary; a draw and two wins
might be enough.
But now is the time for positive
thought and, yes, the mental strength advocated by the manager.
I may not be prepared to forecast lest I put the proverbial
mockers on the whole thing, but I have to believe that we can do
it, and it will need everyone with Coventry City at heart inside
Highfield Road on Saturday to hold on to those positive thoughts
- players, coaches, directors, supporters and anyone else not
included in that list.
Supporters and players most of
all. So many times in the past we have done it together, and we
Remember how that chorus of
"Go For It City" rolled around Wembley in '87? A song
that the fans had barely given voice to prior to that. What
happened? Ask Lloyd McGrath. Ask Gary Mabbutt. Ask John Sillett
and George Curtis.
We did it then and we can do it
again, but only if we "all sing together" from the
first whistle to the last.
Mental strength is what we need.
It's time to think positive.