Coventry City 1 Leeds Utd 0: John's stern lesson to sad Blackwell

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The Independent Football

For Leeds United, another defeat, abuse fromsupporters for manager Kevin Blackwell and the club's worst League position in 21 years. Can it get worse? Since the club's debts, once estimated at £121m after Peter Ridsdale's extravagances, have been reduced to less than £5m, it might seem that the worst is past. And, surely, chairman Ken Bates will soon make a transfer kitty available?

As he mulls over his next move, Bates may well agree with the fans. "Blackwell, time to go," they chanted yesterday as Coventry City eased to victory courtesy of a 25th-minute goal from Stern John, made by Jay Tabb's deft run and reverse pass.

After three successive home defeats, the manager was already on borrowed time. Leeds face Barnet at home in the Carling Cup on Tuesday and another dismal loss would accelerate what appears to be a foregone conclusion; that Blackwell, after steering an impoverished ship through tricky waters, will be asked to walk the plank.

Blackwell remained stoical yesterday. "Life's not fair is it?" he said. "We hit the bar twice. It's just not happening for the lads. I can't fault them for effort. They kept going and they deserved something from the game. On another day..." Two wins in eight League games tell another story and Bates will reflect on the facts.

"The chants from the fans are not nice, but I am not the first to have to deal with that," Blackwell added. "I'm just the latest in a long line of them. I just have to get on with it." Asked about his and the club's future, he said he had spoken to Bates before the match without learning anything new. "I don't know what he is thinking," said Blackwell. Nor did they at Stamford Bridge.

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