Holden A Minute
In his weekly column, Mike Holden wonders whether new Coventry boss Mark Robins has bitten off more than he can chew at a pivotal stage of his career...
The risk is all with Robins
When Mark Robins was unveiled as the new Coventry manager last week, my response was of the sort normally reserved for a Frankie Boyle joke. The first impression and the delayed reaction were not one and the same. A moment of joy was swiftly followed by disapproval as my conscience got the better of me.
SISU might not have got much right since they gained what masquerades as control at the Ricoh Arena but they've given the club a fighting chance of a better future with this appointment. Robins has the potential to be a real success at the Ricoh, but the stress in that statement is most definitely on the word 'potential'.
In my opinion, Robins could have done much better. By which I don't mean bigger, but safer. Bury wouldn't have been a bad place for him to rock up, for example. Keeping the Shakers in League One this season and propelling them towards better things next term would have been a decent challenge to demonstrate his ability, and not a job he isn't up to. At such a pivotal stage in his career, he wouldn't have been straying too far out of his comfort zone.
Coventry, on the other hand, isn't really a job for the second coming of a promising talent whose entire reputation hangs in the balance. On a moral level, it seems like the kind of job for an old-timer with nothing to lose, a job that deserves somebody who knows the division and is flattered to be associated with the name, somebody less likely to become frustrated by working with his hands tied behind his back.
That's not to say Robins requires a flat track, anything but. He isn't the sort of bloke to dwell on misfortune for more than a nano-second and his time in administration at Rotherham displayed all the understated qualities needed for him to make an impact with the ailing Midlanders. He's a strong character who knows his own mind and takes no prisoners when it comes to discipline, tactical or otherwise.
And it's with those qualities that Robins likes to get a grip of a club from top to bottom and reshape its whole identity. He's what is commonly known as an imprint manager, his influence can be seen everywhere from training ground to the laundry room. And it's quite apparent that a cultural broom is exactly what Coventry need right now, which is why SISU might have pulled a blinder.
Given their circumstances - and who knows how much worse their predicament will get? - any appointment was going to be a shot to nothing, but this is a shot to nothing with real imagination. However, you do worry about what's at stake for Robins, and you do wonder where it leaves him if it all goes horribly wrong.
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