The howling unfairness of the 10-point deduction

Portsmouth are set to come out of administration and incur the usual penalty. Coventry fan Marc McLaren rues the rule

Ten points. Deducted. In the Premier League it would take top-half Fulham into the bottom three. In the Championship it would see ninth-placed Charlton fall all the way to 23rd.

But down in League One, the effect is less extreme. Coventry City, the latest club to enter administration and incur such a deduction, now find themselves in 16th. Add the points back on and they'd only 11th. Hardly a penalty, some might say – and indeed, some are saying.

But that's missing the point – and I say that not just as a lifelong Sky Blues fan, but also as a lifelong football fan.

Why? Well imagine watching the most exciting movie ever, then realising halfway through that actually it's not a film, it's real. And you're in it. And the bad guy's got his hands around your throat.

That's what being a Coventry City fan is like right now.

On first viewing, this appears to be your typical modern football thriller: big(ish) club fallen on hard times, shadowy owners, huge debts, possible homelessness, administration, points deduction. It’s just a sequel to Portsmouth: The Gaydamak Identity or Dude, Where’s My Leeds? Only it’s not quite that simple.

"He's gonna mention us…" "Just keep walking"

Because unlike almost all the other members of English football's Administration Society, Coventry City never got anything out of it themselves.

Seriously – sometime over the past 15 years we've run up tens of millions of pounds worth of debt and ultimately ended up going bust, but at the same time have been relegated twice in just over a decade, never been close to promotion, sold all of our best players and found ourselves without a stadium.

It's like selling your soul to the devil in exchange for a Cypriot pension.

At least Portsmouth got an FA Cup out of it, and Leeds the thrill of that Champions League run. We got nothing. Zilch. In fact we got less than that – we got year after year of decline.

How did that happen? Well there's no shortage of people to blame. Start with the current owners SISU, a hedge fund who bought the club in 2007 and supposedly put in £50m to keep us afloat.

Given that in that time we've sold players of the calibre of Leon Best, Keiren Westwood, Lukas Jutkiewicz and Marlon King, while bringing in a motley collection of has-beens and never-will-bes, there’s no way that money’s gone on the playing staff.

They’ve appointed 10 managers in that time, made bad decision after bad decision and even now, after all that’s happened, refused to reveal who’s actually in charge. It turns out they’re the standard anonymous businessmen based in the Cayman Islands – which is surely not how a football club should be run.

Go further back, though, and the fault surely lies with former chairman Bryan Richardson’s decision to sell Highfield Road, scene of our many triumphs (OK, relegation escapes), and in 2005 move into the plush, soulless Ricoh Arena. The stadium is owned by the city council and a charitable trust, and costs us £100,000 a month to rent. Oh, and we make no matchday revenue from it. Great idea, Bryan.

High, perhaps; road, certainly; field, no more

Ultimately, none of that matters now. We committed a crime, and must suffer our punishment. Few Sky Blues fans would disagree, with most just hoping that SISU finally sell up and let someone else with even a modicum of footballing nous take over.

That’s certainly my attitude. But don’t dare suggest we’ve got off lightly – because the past decade of mismanagement and underachievement has cost us far more than 10 points.

By contrast, another writer thinks that some clubs are playing fast and loose with the 10-point penalty... What do you think? Tell us via our Facebook page