From 24th in the Championship to the top flight?

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From 24th in the Championship to the top flight?

Postby dutchman » Fri May 26, 2023 3:41 am

Mark Robins - once a Wembley winner himself with Manchester United in 1990 - will be leading out Coventry for a third time


Coventry City are back at Wembley on Saturday. They have never lost a final there and their 36,737 fans will have what they deem their "lucky end". They are just one game away from a return to the Premier League.

It is a far cry from where they were the day they got relegated from the top flight in May 2001.

The tale of woe continued over the next two decades.

In 2005 they were forced to leave their Highfield Road home and just two years later the Sky Blues were saved from potential extinction by just minutes following Sisu's late takeover.

In 2013 they sought refuge from their ongoing rent row with the local council by moving to Northampton.

They moved back to their home at the Ricoh Arena the following year, with fellow tenants Wasps now their new landlords.

But in 2019, they had to move again, to Birmingham City's St Andrew's ground and spent two seasons there.

It is easy to forget where the club were early on this campaign - bottom of the league, without a pitch, having to postpone four home games and then even briefly without a ground too when they were served with the threat of an eviction by the stadium's new owners.

That is enough drama for most clubs over 22 seasons. Never mind just one.

Thankfully for Sky Blues fans all is calm again. City are in the Championship play-off final on the back of a run of just one defeat in 19 games, they have a new owner in Doug King. And, most importantly of all, they have the reassuring hand on the tiller of their unflappable manager Mark Robins.

"He's always that composed, calm head," said Coventry captain Liam Kelly, the club's longest-serving player and Robins' first signing when he returned in March 2017.

"Sometimes it's easy to panic and make rash decisions," Kelly told BBC CWR. "But it's all about having faith and not over-reacting when things don't go well.

"It is the consistency in everything he does on and off the training pitch that sets him apart.

"To have that faith in our process, the way we play and the work we are doing. He always said it will provide dividends - and ultimately it has."

Typically Robins is still busy keeping people's feet on the floor ahead of what, financially speaking at least, is the club's biggest game in their history. As it is for Luton too.

"Regardless of the result, we've had a phenomenal season," Robins told BBC CWR.

"The reconnection with our fans has been amazing, especially now with the arrival of Doug King as owner. And there's nothing wrong with having a plan.

"To be at Wembley is special. That noise when it hits you makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. But you have to keep your focus on the opportunity we have ahead of us.

"Luton are a really good team with good technical players. They have played at this level longer than we have.

"They finished third, 10 points ahead of us and they will be considered favourites."

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