Coventry City were last night urged to go back to the future for a manager to succeed Micky Adams, whose tenure ended in the sack yesterday, four days before the second anniversary of his arrival at the Championship's 16th-placed club.
Eric Black and Gary McAllister, who worked together at Coventry before the former took over from his fellow Scot, led a poll of fans run by the city's evening newspaper. Black, the former Aberdeen and Scotland striker who now coaches Birmingham City, won more than half the votes cast, having produced an entertaining side before being cast aside in favour of Peter Reid in May 2004. The popular McAllister, who had resigned five months earlier in order to look after his sick wife, who has since died, took 12 per cent.
Adrian Heath, No 2 to Adams and Reid, will take temporary charge and would be a popular choice among the players. The Coventry board are also likely to consider Bryan Robson, Iain Dowie and Kevin Blackwell, ousted at West Bromwich, Charlton and Leeds respectively last autumn, plus an out-of-work Championship promotion specialist, Gary Megson, and Richard Money of League Two leaders Walsall.
Adams' demise came after a 2-0 home defeat by Bristol City, of League One, in an FA Cup replay at the Ricoh Arena on Tuesday. The match was Coventry's eighth without a win during a month-long collapse that started with a 5-0 rout at West Bromwich and has seen them slip closer to the relegation zone than to the play-off places. Last Saturday, following a 4-2 home defeat by Crystal Palace, spectators chanted "We want Adams out".
After the Cup exit, Coventry's managing director, Paul Fletcher, hinted at what was to come, saying that Adams, who first joined Coventry as a player in 1983, was "not getting results, which is what he's paid to do". After a board meeting yesterday morning decided the former Leicester manager's fate, a statement expressed regret that "results have not gone as well as we all anticipated given the substantial investment in the team".
It continued: "We are committed to our three-year quest to get Coventry City back into the Premiership and believe that tough decisions like this will sometimes be needed to fulfil that aim, as is sadly the case today."
Adams, who identified the £4m sale of last season's top scorer, Gary McSheffrey, to Birmingham in August as the "big turning point" when his and Coventry's fortunes dipped, was "devastated" by his dismissal.
"It has not been a disastrous tenure," the 45-year-old Sheffielder said. "That's what I can't understand. The football industry is such that you don't get the time, but I genuinely believe that I could have turned it around."Reuse content