Sky Blues legend laments relegation to League One

By Steve Carpenter 26/04 Updated: 26/04 12:00

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Buy photos » Coventry City legend Ronnie Farmer was one of the heroes of Jimmy Hill's Sky Blue Era. (S) Photo by Haydn Bailey.

SKY Blues legend Ronnie Farmer has expressed his sadness following the club's relegation from the Championsip.

Farmer was part of the last Sky Blues squad to play in the third tier of English football all the way back in 1964, before Jimmy Hill guided the club to the top flight.

But Farmer has been forced to watch the slow decline of the club from the sideline and has warned its current stars to prepare for a “tough” season in League One.

"It's very sad to see the club drop back into the third tier again," Farmer told the Observer.

"I thought it would go down to the final game of the season, but it wasn't to be. It's not quite sunk in yet.

"What makes it worse is that this season they have been wearing the special shirt to celebrate our success in the 1960s when we won promotion, that's very sad.

"I feel sorry for the players because it's going to be very hard for them to adapt next season.

"The lower you go down the harder it becomes because it is a more physical league and the young players have to learn quickly.”

Farmer, who is a member of the club's Former Players' Association, points the blame on performances in recent weeks and Richard Keogh is key to the Sky

Blues making an immediate return to the Champions next season.

"Keogh has been outstanding," said Farmer, who played for the Sky Blues the last time they were in the third tier in 1964.

"But I don't know if we are going to be able to keep hold of him because I'm sure a lot of other clubs have been keeping an eye out on him.

"Lots of players are coming to the end of their contracts this summer, a bit like last season and I think the main problem has been the club not keeping their top players.

"Marlon King left last year and I would have done all I could to have made him stay, even if it meant paying him more money because he would have scored the goals to keep us up.

"We've sold defenders too and Lukas Jutkiewicz left in January when he was scoring, there has been a lack of goals in the side.

"You can't get rid of your best players, not replace them and expect them to survive at this level."

The Sky Blues still have a big part to play in the battle for promotion heading into the final weekend of the season.

Andy Thorn's side travel down to Southampton on Saturday (April 27) looking to ruin their automatic promotion party as they battle for second place with West Ham.

A win would guarantee the Saints a return to the top flight for the first time since 2005, but should both the Sky Blues and West Ham pick up victories, the Hammers would be made to settle for a play-off spot.

The match at St Mary's Stadium is a sell-out but will be shown live on BBC One from 12.15.

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