Exactly one year ago today, Falkirk manager Steven Pressley signed a three year deal to replace Mark Robins as the manager of Coventry City Football Club.
When he first took charge, and through the opening portion of the current season, Pressley became renowned for two things; his attacking style of football and his grey suit and waistcoats (which over the winter months were swapped for tracksuits and training tops.)
In the time since Pressley arrived, he has taken charge of exactly 50 games, winning 20, but perhaps most tellingly, Pressley’s hair to seems to now be 50 shades of grey!
Since re-joining the club he once played for in the Premier League, Pressley has seen the club relocate from The Ricoh Arena to Sixfields in Northampton, which over the winter months saw City play five consecutive away games with home games against Walsall and Bradford City postponed due to a waterlogged pitch – something which had never happened at The Ricoh.
Known as a no-nonsense defender, Pressley has adopted that approach well as a manager too, as he was tasked with lowering the wage budget from £4.5m to £2m which resulted in the ‘Bomb Squad’ – a group of players who Pressley let go from the club over the course of a summer of rebuilding, which included the Cov Kid, and highest earner, Gary McSheffrey.
Come the start of the new season, the club were in turmoil – a second 10 point deduction, this time before the season had started and uncertainty as to whether the club’s owners really would ground-share with a League Two side. But Pressley remained calm and despite the first two games at Sixfields being heavily entertaing; ending 5-4 and 4-4 with Bristol City and Preston North End respectively, he saw his side quickly write off the minus 10 points and push towards the play-offs largely down to the form of Callum Wilson and Leon Clarke becoming the league’s most potent strike force.
Pressley then had to deal with the club’s top goalscorer, Leon Clarke, hand in a transfer request when his strike partner Callum Wilson was out with a dislocated shoulder, once again showing his no nonsense approach as he stood firm and stated that Clarke would not be leaving the club unless the deal was right. Clarke ultimately did leave the club, forcing Pressley to approach some games without a recognised striker, which saw City slip back down the table towards the relegation zone.
There have been both highs and lows during his reign but over the course of his tenure so far, Pressley has consistently showed unwavering passion – being sent to the stands & getting into touchline spats, most notably with Bradford boss Phil Parkinson but he has also helped turn the club around, on the pitch at least.
Overall, Pressley has had a solid year at the helm of the Sky Blues but the strains of management of the Sky Blues have clearly started to show in the hair department.
Pressley’s full Coventry City record (excluding this afternoon’s game with Colchester United:)