Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Complete Ranking of the Last 100 Coventry City Signings - 20-1

So here we are, this is it, the Arc de Triumphe, the finale, the best of the best. The top twenty signings of our League One era, we've gone through the tedious bits, your Lateef Elford-Alliyu's, Al Bangura's and Yakubu's, through the "alright, but forgotten" players, like Grant Ward or Michael Petrasso. Finally we have reached a few players who could argue having a good spell with us, for example Andy Rose and William Edjenguele.

To see the full list up until now then follow the links below:





20. Matthew Pennington

Appearances: 25
Goals: 0

A loan signing from Everton who helped sure up our defence and keep us in League One during the 14/15 season, joining in the November and staying for the whole season after eventual extensions. He went on to win Player of the Month in January and was voted by Tony Mowbray and coaching staff as the Young Player of the Season.

At just 20 years old he made a great account for himself in League One, he made his debut for Everton in the first team due to a defensive crisis. His first goal couldn't have been bigger for someone who has spent his career at Everton since age 9, at an equaliser in the Merseyside Derby back in April 2017. Nowadays he plies his trade at Leeds United on loan but may end up being recalled given how shambolic the Toffees have been lately.

19. Joe Cole

Appearances: 22
Goals: 2

Some may describe Joe Cole's spell at Coventry City as underwhelming, but what were they expecting? He was 34 and hadn't played properly in over a year, obviously he's not going to leather one from 40 yards like he did against Sweden back in the 2006 World Cup. The fact we even managed to sign Joe Cole gets him into the top half of the list. 56 international caps, played in the Champions League. I still don't quite get how Mowbray pulled this one out of the bag.

He wasn't underwhelming either, at times maybe he did go unnoticed but that was to be expected, but after a few months he showed glimpses of the quality we have all seen before. The hat trick of assists against Bury sticks out in the memory and you can't forget about the free kick on his home debut against Barnsley. Plus, he was always going to make the top 20 for two reasons, one, the lack of competition, and two, I still own a "J Cole 11" England shirt from 2006-08 and got a the 15/16 Sky Blues home shirt with "Cole 14" on there. You see what I mean.

18. Reice Charles-Cook

Appearances: 61
Goals: 0

It could have been so different for RCC, he broke onto the scene early in the 15/16 season when Lee Burge had the flu and from his debut set the record for the longest time without conceding a goal. Pipping Steve Ogrizovic by a few minutes. He was rumoured to have the likes of Stoke and Aston Villa coming in for him. I can also say I've seen the single best goalkeeping performance from Cookie Monster after Port Vale away in the same season, as well as the best single save, you know the one I'm on about.

So where exactly did it all go wrong? Well, after our brilliant squad was almost completely demolished and the defence was in tatters, Charles-Cook appeared to regress with Lee Burge taking the reigns. In summer Burge signed a new contract and Liam O'Brien was brought in which made Cookie surplus to requirements. He was offloaded to Swindon where he is second in command to Lawrence Vigoroux. It's quite sad that it never worked out here, I'll never forget his heroics at Swansea in the Checkatrade Trophy Quarter Final back in January. Had that not happened then we wouldn't have had that day under the arch.

17. Aaron Martin

Appearances: 72
Goals: 2

Originally when he was signed on loan from Southampton people weren't too keen on Aaron Martin, and then again after his permanent move from Yeovil. But when Reda Johnson got injured in October 2015 he was forced to become a regular starter. He stepped up to the plate and was solid as a rock for the remainder of the campaign. He did so well that my yearly award for the most progress made by a player is called "The Aaron Martin Award for Most Improved."

All of this makes it all the more odd that Tony Mowbray decided to release him at the end of that season along with Reda. I couldn't, and still can't, understand why he did it. He was great to have in a League One side, if not a starter then a squad player. We failed to replace him and shipped goals almost every game. I can't help but think a head like his would have helped endless amounts in our bid to stay up.

16. Jack Stephens

Appearances: 16
Goals: 0

Another centre back, another partner to Aaron Martin in the 15/16 season. Brought in on Deadline Day as a sellotape quick fix to the issues we had, and seemed to do the job. The better of the pairing of himself and Baily Cargill, who got injured just a few games into his Coventry City career. His days spent in the Southampton youth squads with Martin really helped us out as we neared the end of that season.

Since the spell he's broken into the Southampton first team squad, and even managed to start in their League Cup Final against Manchester United. A fun fact for you all, he made his debut for Southampton against us in the FA Cup in January 2012. So far this season he has made just five appearances but should be able to assert himself as a regular in the future.

15. Marvin Sordell

Appearances: 26
Goals: 7

We swapped him for Stuart Beavon and Callum Reilly on loan, let's just get that out of the way firstly. A proper Russell Slade masterclass, getting rid of our top goalscorer for someone who had scored 12 in 92. We needed him to do more than that in about 25 appearances, it was never looking likely from the day he signed. I really liked him, it was just managerial incompetence which stopped him for excelling, for example playing him as a left winger with Daniel Agyei up top. Mark Venus really was a delight wasn't he?

Then again, I'm probably being biased after the "Sordellinho" shirt debacle, it's impossible to not see him in a good light after that. When he left he offered to sign it, he will remain a Coventry City legend for the foreseeable future. Unless a serious legal situation arises then  I can't see any reason why he won't be on a plinth for the rest of his career. I'd love to see him back one day, and perhaps see if Burton are up for doing a return trade.

14. Dominic Samuel

Appearances: 13
Goals: 6

We made so many signings in the 14/15 season that statistically one or two of them had to pay off, Dominic Samuel was that guy. Joining on loan from Reading, while he only made thirteen appearances during his spell, he got close to a 1 in 2 ratio. These were goals which got us over the line while trying to stay up.

He would have done well had we got him back for the 15/16 season as another option to Armstrong but instead he went to Gillingham. Tony Mowbray rated him so much that he splashed considerable amounts of money on bringing him in permanently at his new job with Blackburn Rovers. Somehow still only 23, he looks to be doing ok to begin with.

13. Ryan Kent

Appearances: 17
Goals: 1

Ryan Kent was a wizard on the wing, Jurgen Klopp unnecessarily recalling him to throw him back in the u23s is one of the reasons why we collapsed. Well, that, consistent defensive injuries, not having a clear goalscorer other than Armstrong and signing players like Darius Henderson and Peter Ramage in January may have also had something to do with it.

He had the skills, the pace, and the end product. Exactly the sort of winger you want, it's just a shame we didn't get to see more of him. Above all else, the rabona elastico flip flap he performed against Barnsley got over a million loops on Vine (RIP). It was the sort of skill move you dreamt of performing whilst button bashing on FIFA Street.

12: Jodi Jones

Appearances: 68
Goals: 6

When I drew up the list back in July I had Jodi Jones just scraping into the top 20 of the signings, since the season has started and gone on he's made his way further and further up the list. Even now I'm feeling like 12th is quite harsh. He's excelled endless amounts since the start of the new season, being our only serious source of creativity so far.

The only thing that's holding him back isn't really his fault, Tony Mowbray blew nearly all of the budget on acquiring him on a permanent deal from Dagenham and Redbridge last summer. After a relatively slow first season he's really come into his element, has gained a right foot and the ability to breeze past players with ease. The step down has really helped him out.

11. Gael Bigirimana

Appearances: 55
Goals: 2

We have some sort of affinity to Gael Bigirimana, he came through our academy and left for Newcastle United in 2012 for £1 million. He rejoined on loan in November 2015 and then when his six year contract, handed out by Alan Pardew, didn't work on the toon, he came back permanently. His third spell was maybe his best. He got over Russell Slade being Russell Slade and came out better for it.

He scored his first goal for us, and of course, his second. At Wembley, in the Checkatrade Trophy Final. I'm so happy he got the first, the following picture is one of my favourite I've ever seen taken. It's a pity that he decided to move north of the border but you can't blame him, hopefully he and Andy Rose kill it up there.

10. Romain Vincelot

Appearances: 46
Goals: 4

Another moment where you look at Mowbray and think, what the hell were you doing? Why did he think to sell him, not only should he have been kept but also made captain. His partnership with John Fleck was amazing in that season. Bradford took advantage of our idiocy by making him captain and he has been a mainstay in their side that very nearly went up last season.

The bearded Frenchman gave us some great moments, like the forgotten close to overhead kick against Peterborough. I like to think of him as the one that got away, but hey, at least we used the money wisely to bring in Jordan Turnbull, that worked out incredibly well for everyone involved, I'm so glad we did it...

9. Jacob Murphy

Appearances: 42
Goals: 10

I'm guilty of hating Jacob Murphy when he was here and not realising his quality until it slapped me in the face with a hat trick against Gillingham to take us top of the league and a Sky Bet League One player of the month award. He was a solid winger/attacking midfielder and was the only other source of goals apart from Armstrong.

Newcastle bought him in the summer for a mental £12 million, twelve million pounds for someone who in Ocotber 2015 I tweeted describing him as being unable to play football. I can't apologise enough to him as ever since he has confirmed that he can, I got what I deserved however as the following season we were treated to the likes of Andre Wright and Lewis Page.

8. Jim O'Brien

Appearances: 77
Goals: 8

If there was a player who always gave 110% no matter what it was Jim O'Brien, he had an eye for the spectacular which was displayed in his screamer against Walsall. Late in the 15/16 season though he wasn't getting much game time due to us being too big for our boots with the likes of Joe Cole filling his position. Therefore he was loaned out and eventually released.

It was a shame that he had to be let go as I would have killed to have him in the side in the relegation campaign but to be fair to him, he wanted to move closer to home anyway. He is now back in his native homeland in Scotland with Ross County, I believe there was an issue where he had a fight with a teammate. Google may be your friend for that one if you want to learn more.

7. Chris Stokes

Appearances: 77
Goals: 3

Stokesy would have already cleared 100 appearances with ease if it weren't for his year long injury. I gave him player of the year in 15/16, and he's been a main stay this season, starting in all but one game. He's even just a great guy, on the tour in Spain I had a long chat with him, we spoke about Wembley and how his knees are made of paper and glass.

We pulled him out of thin air as well, who would have thought that our cult hero player would have come from the bench of National League side Forest Green Rovers. Well, that's what they were then, now they're a side who beat us at our very own stadium. As long as he stays fit I can see him staying here for a few more years yet. A great left back, especially for League Two.

6. Adam Armstrong

Appearances: 40
Goals: 20

Before he signed for us on loan Adam Armstrong was just a myth I'd heard of from Football Manager games, so people were sceptical when someone with very little professional experience joined on loan. The doubters were instantly proved wrong as he scored a brace on his debut. Somehow we managed to keep him for the whole season, news which was announced after he netted a hat trick against Crewe.

At just 18, he began to burn out for the second half of the season, right as we were beginning to collapse. This may have been one of the reasons. He got 16 goals in the first half of the season and just 4 goals in the second half. I was happy endless amounts that on the final day he managed to get his twentieth at Oldham. It sparked RCC running the length of the pitch to join in the celebrations.

5. Reda Johnson

Appearances: 34
Goals: 8

You know you've got a great personality as well as a defender when he takes fans out for a coffee to apologise for not being at a City game. That was one of the more eventful Thursday evenings I've had. As a player he was too good for League One, a rock solid centre back with just under a 1 in 4 goals ratio. They're like gold dust.

He was always going to have a flaw otherwise he wouldn't be playing for us in League One, and that was his injury proneness. He was insanely good, but only managed 34 games in 2 seasons for us, and you can't be doing with that. Had he not ruptured his ACL in his second season then we *could* have gone up, but it's all ifs and buts.

4. Franck Moussa

Appearances: 92
Goals: 19

People were crying out for Moussa to return in the summer and the rumour was that he was through the door and ready to re-sign but failed a medical. Proving that he hadn't kept in shape in his time at Walsall. The Mousse was another with an eye for the magnificent, his screamer in the last minute against Preston being one.

Then of course there was the chip against Leyton Orient which won goal of the season, or the volley away at Doncaster Rovers in his first season. It's a shame he was unable to come back as he was scoring for fun alongside his counterparts in the 12/13 season, in that yellow shirt which I am gutted to have lost in the past couple of years.

3. David McGoldrick

Appearances: 27
Goals: 18

Not being alive for the Premier League years I don't have many 'favourite' players, but if I had to pick a favourite striker then I'd be forced to say David McGoldrick. Never have I seen a player more clinical and brilliant at the City, everything he touched turned to goal. He was insane to watch when he joined on loan from Nottingham Forest.

I was gutted when we couldn't afford to extend it or get him in permanently, but I would have given a kidney for us to do so. Instead he joined Ipswich and has been there ever since. In just three months he managed 18 goals, had he had the full season he could genuinely have bagged 30. He had the experience to not burn out and the confidence to do so. Another who slipped through the net.

2. John Fleck

Appearances: 182
Goals: 8

We never really knew what we had with John Fleck until he was saying Sayonara and heading off to our newly found rivals Sheffield United. With us for four years, he was a Scottish warrior in the middle of the park. We always knew he could do it at Championship level, and now he is, I'm quite happy for him I try to say, but it's still quite sore.

As a side note, I'm not sure he ever scored a non-amazing goal for us, from what I remember they all seemed to be mental strikes from 30 yards out. Millwall at home is just one in a fairly medium sized line of worldies he netted. You never know, he could genuinely be playing Premier League football if Chris Wilder's men carry on doing what they're doing, alongside his teammate....

1. Leon Clarke

Appearances: 45
Goals: 28

Leon Clarke and Callum Wilson, the partnership of dreams, both played off each other and were amazing up top. We acquired him on a free from Charlton and he was instantly brilliant, but unfortunately the height of his domination came during the Sixfields season, so not many were there to witness it occur.

He makes it to the top of this list for one reason, we got him on a free and sold him on for £1 million, some great business. Saying that he's now a bagsman for the Blades in the Championship. Once again, he could be playing higher up next season. He was a real poacher, netting for fun. According to Mowbray we nearly got him back but he wanted too much money. A shame, as he was a class striker on his day.

There you have it, the complete ranking of the last 100 Coventry City signings. This took a ton of effort to work out and produce so any feedback is much appreciated. Big thanks to the CCFPA database by Jim Brown (@ClarrieBourton on Twitter) which really helped with knowing how many appearances were made and goals were scored by individual player. I've got an idea for a follow up series, hopefully that will get done at some stage.

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