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After a start to forget, City still search for answers

Thursday 18th August 2011
Within a matter of minutes last night, the City season went from getting the wheels in motion on a tough year ahead, to said wheels falling off and smashing everything in its wake.

I've witnessed a lot of losing of points in the dying embers of a game. I've had that feeling of exasperation at what just happened. The inability to close out a game seems to be something which is only befell on those who wear Sky Blue.

But despite that. This one is painful.

When the fixture list came out in mid-june. The start was far from perfect for results but perfect for the ‘money-men' at the club as it threw up two local derbies against Leicester and Birmingham. One spending money like no tomorrow and the other despite a exodus of their own to deal with, still had enough quality in the squad to see themselves at the top of the ladder for most of the season.

So when, after the two games City came away with zilch in terms of points. The thick-skinned City faithful took heart in the manner of the defeats. Nothing embarassing, just pure frustration.

Match that frustration with the understanding of the situation the coaches and players at the club find themselves in. The smallest of squads at the disposal and already a fairly long injury list to contend with.

So, given the start we had been handed, last night was seen by some as the start of the season. A trip to Crystal Palace was on the cards and arguably the most realistic opportunity for Thorn's young charges to get off the mark for the season in the goals and points column.

It was all going so well up until around 9:45pm last night.

I was not at the Palace game but the familiar feeling of ‘only City' was there. But this isn't an ordinary season for those of a Sky Blue disposition and last night will possibly be the first of many setbacks

In all the years of under-acheiving, relegations, off the field troubles. Nothing pales in comparison to the vitirol being aimed not at the players, but those supposedly making the decisions.

A look on twitter last night showed just what the large proportion of the City fans think of the state of the clubs fortunes at this early stages. But despite the lack of results on the pitch, the effort of the players isn't being called into question. Just the somewhat unfathomable plan of the people in power.

All City fans are aware of the restraints of a club who does not own its ground and has had to mortgage the training ground on the outskirts of the city. Since the move to the Ricoh in 2005, the club has seemed to be fighting a losing battle off the pitch.

A procession of managers have come and gone with no noticeable difference in results over the ‘long-term'. But not until the early part of the year when Ray Ranson, he who rode in at the last minute to save the club in 2007 walked away.

A declining public presence by Ranson became noticeable towards the end of the  Ranson era and it seemed the latest managerial causalty along with the future sale of a prodigous talent at the club saw the man who spearheaded the SISU regime at the start, had now decided to walk away.

Few weeks before, Gary Hoffman. A man who has held the top postions at several financial organisations and grew up locally and was a City fan sitting on the board, had also walked away.

With the departures of the two main men in the board room, alarm bells began to ring. The end of the season came with the now customary good feeling on the pitch.

However off it was entirely different.

Over the summer the club lost three of its biggest players but also possibly it's biggest earners. With money freed up, no moves came in the other way to the extent of any other Championship club.

Reliance on youth is one thing but for what the City fans have seen in the opening weeks of the season is more a neccesity than blooding the talented youngsters.

Players like  Gael Bigirimana, Cyrus Christie and Josh Ruffles have all seen the natural progression which is normal practice at a club in the Football League, not just fast-tracked but dismissed and thrown straight in the line of fire.

Criticism of the players, on the whole is none existant from the people who pay to get in the doors at the Ricoh. The understanding of the situation the club finds itself in now is something beyond the powers of the players and managers. But is now in the hands of the club's board.

The next move they make and the importance of it can not be understated. A meeting with Hoffman who is fronting up a consortium wanting to take over the club is pencilled in for Friday.

After Friday the era of SISU might just be closing to an end, if Hoffman rides in the days after. Here's to hoping the damage left by the turbulent summer and the early results on the pitch isnt beyond repair and that Thorn who has fought against a surging tide in most of his time at the helm, is given a financial boost to add to his team in the areas anyone who has watched anything of City this year knows needs help and improving.

Because one thing for sure the effort on the pitch is exemplary given all which is going on around the team.

So by the time Saturday comes and Watford visit the Ricoh, the people who filter in the Ricoh wearing Sky Blue will get behind the team in ways almost customary to those who follow the club.

And as Mike Skinner once said, just trying to stay positive!

Stuart Court

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