NOV 01] THE STUART LINNELL
Old Boys - New Jobs
In the space of just a few days,
Coventry City football club have said goodbye to three players.
Williams and Paul
Telfer, the latter out of contract but training with the Sky
Blues up to the end of last week, have both moved to Southampton
to rejoin former manager Gordon Strachan.
Palmer has finally realised his ambition to become a
manager. He is now player-manager at Stockport County.
Until his “elevation” into
the Stockport hot seat, Carlton remained a Coventry City player,
despite a spell on loan at his former club Sheffield Wednesday.
Indeed, at Hillsborough, Carlton
managed to upset caretaker manager Terry
Yorath – another Sky Blues’ old boy, of course – by
staking his own claim to the vacant job as manager of Wednesday.
Carlton’s ability to say just
that little bit too much, at the wrong moment, has landed him in
hot water many times before, not least of which was the incident
last season when he told the Coventry City Vice-President’s
club just what he thought of the club, its manager and chairman
and what he regarded as the clubs lack of ambition.
That he is entitled to hold his
views should not be doubted by anyone. That he should keep his
opinions to himself while being paid well as a servant of the
club is a point of view shared by many.
That, however, is not Carlton’s
way. Apparently, he can’t help but speak his mind and it will
be fascinating, now that he is a manager, to see how he copes if
any of his players speak out against him.
He has one massive boost already
in place as he embarks on his new career, the presence of yet
another ex-City man, Kevin
Richardson, as his coach.
Whether that was Carlton’s
idea, or his new Chairman’s I do not know, but I am sure that
Kevin Richardson is destined to be probably one of the best
coaches in the game.
In the autumn of his playing
days, at the heart of the City midfield, Kevin could often be
observed coaching the younger players around him, giving them a
masterclass in how to play the game.
He was an immaculate, model
professional as a player and will carry that same style with him
into coaching and maybe, one day, as a manager in his own right.
The two Paul’s – Williams and
Telfer – leave Coventry at a time when both would probably
have been fringe players, at best, under Roland Nilsson, had
Both are wholly committed
footballers, only ever able to commit 100% to their game. No
manager could ask for more.
Neither, however, are great
players and the young guns growing in confidence and experience
under Nilsson’s guidance are arguably better equipped to take
the club forward.
Their return to the Premiership
with Gordon Strachan is a fine way for both to move towards the
end of their playing careers and they could provide just the
sort of fire and bite that Southampton have been lacking.
The departure of all three also
enables City Chairman Bryan Richardson to make further
economies, at least by reducing the club’s wage bill. It may
also make it easier for Roland Nilsson to bring in some fresh
He is yet to make his first
signing, apart from the completion of goalkeeper Andy Goram’s
deal to stay on as cover for Magnus Hedman, but I expect a new
face to arrive before too long.
The club’s lack of firepower is
worrying and, although Nilsson has been happy to give the likes
of Jairo Martinez, Jay Bothroyd and Laurent Delorge the chance
to show what they can do up front, I don’t think that
situation will be allowed to continue much longer.
The club urgently need to find
someone capable of playing alongside and bringing the best out
of Lee Hughes and I am not convinced that Julian Joachim, almost
recovered from the injury that has kept him sidelined for so
long, is the answer.
I hope he proves me wrong, but as
the weeks tick by and the need to keep pace with the top clubs
in the Division builds up, I think that a new striker to partner
Hughes will become a major priority.
Don’t expect a big name from
the Premiership. Having trimmed the wage bill, Bryan Richardson
will not want to raise it again, but a regular goal-scorer from
the lower divisions could well be on his way to Highfield Road
before we are all very much older.
Arriving, one hopes, to provide
the service and commitment that we enjoyed from Paul Williams
and Paul Telfer, and, unlike Carlton Palmer, someone who will
let his football do all the talking. We want someone who has the
same goals as the club – and I mean, literally, goals!