AUG 01] THE STUART LINNELL
Lee-Mania Rules OK?
There is one name on the lips of
football fans in Coventry right now – Lee Hughes.
To be described by your former
manager as “the best goal-scorer outside the Premiership”,
in the week following your transfer to a new club is no minor
WBA boss Gary Megson didn’t
have to talk up Hughes as some managers do when trying to sell a
player. He’d already parted company with the famed 'Ginger
Megson didn’t have to say
anything about Hughes at all, yet the fact remains that hardly a
day has gone by since the completion of the £5,000,001 transfer
that set the Midlands, if not the rest of UK football talking,
that Megson hasn’t referred to Hughes in some way.
Much of what Megson has said has
focused on how difficult it is proving for West Brom to replace
the striker, even with the proceeds of his transfer to the Sky
Blues. So much so that Albion are now turning their attentions
to the world of non-league football where they found Hughes,
then with Kidderminster Harriers, in the first place.
The fact remains though that Lee
Hughes is now a Coventry City player and he made the best
possible start by scoring on his debut in last weekend’s 2-0
victory at Stockport.
His goal, and that win, has
raised expectations in Coventry to unprecedented heights.
Suddenly the disappointment and emptiness of last season’s
relegation from the Premiership are not forgotten but certainly
eased more than a little.
With the first home fixture
pairing us with Wolves, in the first of a number of clashes this
season with Midlands rivals, the opportunity will come to
compare Hughes with former striker Cedric Roussel. Cedric is,
thankfully, restored both physically and mentally after a torrid
time with injury and personal traumas dogging him throughout the
last few months.
Fans often wonder why some
players take longer to settle at a new club than others, and few
ever find out what has gone on in the background.
It was only recently revealed,
for example, that Gary McAllister played for Coventry City while
his wife was battling against cancer, one of the major factors
in his eventual transfer to Liverpool.
One can only hope that Lee
Hughes, Keith O’Neill and Youssef Safri all have a
trouble-free switch to Highfield Road. Hughes has only to
negotiate the M6 every day, while O’Neill has to relocate from
the North-East and Safri is moving from another country. Keep
that in mind when you feel moved to yell and tell them what you
think of their performance.
So far for Hughes it’s been a
dream start. But, as his manager has already pointed out and the
rest of us have had to acknowledge after the euphoria of that
2-nil opening day score-line, we have only had one match so far.
But tell that to any Coventry fan
right now. So far as the City supporters are concerned at the
moment – “there’s only one Lee Hughes” – and he plays
for our team!
So enjoy him. Cheer him.
Celebrate with him. Help him – and our other new faces –
settle in well and settle in quickly, if possible, because one
thing is certain – we do not want to find ourselves settled in
this Division any longer than we have to.