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[Archived] Coventry City


Gally

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I believe they are to play their home games at Northampton for the next few seasons?

Growing up in the 80s they were an established top flight club. Many will have fond memories of their 87 FA Cup win. Very depressing and worrying days for the city and the club's supporters and really sad to see that it come to this.

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Apparently they've only sold 200 season tickets after agreeing to play in Northampton.

A bit like Rovers playing our home games at Oldham. Someone should be held to account for what has happened at Coventry.

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The whole thing is a complete mess that I don't understand, holding companies and so on.

All seems very complicated, but the bottom line is a decent football club has been ruined.

I feel very sad for their plight and I hope it's one that we can avoid.

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It properly sickens me that this kind of thing keeps on happening.

They prioritise financial fair play, which in its current state is completely unworkable anyway (though the principle may be right), and let cowboy owners and directors run clubs into the ground! Why did they move from Highfield Road which was perfectly fine to a stadium that they didn't need, didn't own, and more importantly couldn't afford!!!

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I believe they are to play their home games at Northampton for the next few seasons?

Growing up in the 80s they were an established top flight club. Many will have fond memories of their 87 FA Cup win. Very depressing and worrying days for the city and the club's supporters and really sad to see that it come to this.

That '87 final was one of the very best ever seen..sad for Coventry.

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That '87 final was one of the very best ever seen..sad for Coventry.

Great game, Houchen's diving header and Gary Mabbutt - 'The Great Deflector'.

As I said someone should answer for what has happened to club like Coventry. I doubt that anybody will though, it will be left to the fans and the community to pick up what pieces are left.

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Guest Norbert

OK, I have posted on this before as I live in Coventry, and went to university here etc. I'll give an overview of how this whole mess started, right at the beginning.

Coventry moved into the Ricoh Stadium as tennants in 2005 after selling their ground to developers connected to a board member or chairman called Richardson to build houses on. When the decision was made to move Coventry were still in the Premier League (I think). However, they were definately a mediocre Championship level team by the time the stadium was finished and they moved in.

The initial lease was set at a level of something like £2m p/a and was signed when they were still in the Premier League. However, by the time they moved in, the club was bought by a venture capitalist company called SISU who were basically taking money out the club and/or not building a team capable of getting back into the top flight. So the club was slowly being starved of funds as shown by destruction of a promising squad a few years ago. Gunnarson, Westwood and King were all allowed to leave on Bosmans and were not replaced in terms of quality.

With this lack of quality in the squad, Andy Thorn, who did pretty well with those players mentioned forming the core of the squad had no chance of keeping them up, and the got relegated again. All this time, they were having to pay the full whack of rent. The club tried to renegotiate the amount, but the company that owns the stadium, ACL were having none of it, so the club simply said they couldn't afford it and refused to pay for most of last season.

Various legal manouvers ensued which put half the club into administration, which is where it gets weird with the holding companies, and so on. The part of the club that held the Football League's 'Golden Share' was the part that went into administration, hence the points deduction etc. There needed to be quite a hunt for this golden share, as there were claims that there shouldn't have been the points deduction because only part of Coventry City FC went tits up. Needless to say forensic accountants, lawyers and suchlike were involved to untangle this issue.

So with the club in administration, there were various parties interested including a Chinese backed consortium that wanted the ground as well (which is a money spinner with the casino, concerts etc. and the son of an NFL team owner (I forget which team). However the winning bid was some group called Otium or something, who held the part of Coventry City FC that wasn't in administration. It is they who decided to abandon the Ricoh, and move to Northampton Town whilst they build a new stadium, possibly where the Coventry Bees do their Speedway (though there is more ownership issues with that site just to add to the fun).

To bring it up to date, the Ricoh owners, ACL have had an offer to reduce the rent to about £150,000 p/a for as long as Coventry are in League 1, rising to £400,000 p/a if they get promoted rejected by the owners of the club. So ACL are suing Northampton Town, and possibly Coventry City for breach of contract, as Coventry had signed a 25 year lease. And God only knows if the club can reach an agreement with it's creditors and come out of administration and sort it out.

I hope that makes sense, as I have not followed every last detail of what has gone on. If I had, I'd probably be able to take on a degree in business management as I'd be an expert. It is also worth noting that the city council are a major player in ACL, and despite everything Coventry's badge is still on the side of the stadium.

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I believe they are to play their home games at Northampton for the next few seasons?

The picture of the Ricoh suggests that the BBC aren't up to speed with that doesn't it?

btw good summary norbert. Coventry won't be the only ones to fall by the wayside after falling off the Prem Gravy train I shouldn't wonder. The tale of Icarus springs to mind.

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Guest Norbert

To be fair, they probably haven't repainted the seats yet. We've had Muse and Bruce Springsteen this summer as well. As for alternative uses, maybe Coventry University should move in. They seem to have taken over most of the city centre after all.

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I don't see why the owners of the ground have played such hard ball. If Coventry City FC don't pay and play there for whatever reason what do they think they'd do with a 30,000 seater stadium sitting empty. An odd gig here and there is no good I'd have thought.

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Guest Norbert

That's what I've always thought. It has great facilities like a casino, very good conference facilities and so on, but it is primarily a football ground. It even has a statue of Jimmy Hill FFS! I think there is fault on all sides, the club's owners for bleeding the club dry, the ground owners for being so hard nosed.

Coventry is a bit like Blackburn in a way. You kill the club, and something about the city as a whole dies. Sure, there are a number of Coventry people who support Man Utd et al, but there is always Coventry City there as the local club, until now. And I'll be honest, they don't half push that FA Cup win. We've had art exhibitions, plays etc. and even though there is the Transport Museum (which is pretty good by the way), there is only so much you can do with the fact that the jet engine and the modern bicycle were invented by Coventry natives.

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Always liked Highfield Road, as for the Ricoh- souless arena.

Has anyone seen the SISU OUT protest at the Ricoh? Glad to see Cov fans sticking up for themselves against bullying stewards and Police.

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Guest Norbert

That's why I'm worried about the future beyond this coming season. I think we are on a knife edge, and the worst case scenario [however you spell it] is an accelerated downfall like that of Coventry. They have died a slow death over about 10 years, with bad managers being hired at the worst times (e.g. Dowie, Reid), when they had half a chance of having a go. Coventry was all down to stingy/selfish owners, whereas our potential problems would be down to stupidity and financial insanity from our owners and their......associates.

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Cheers norbert informative stuff. I have family who are Coventry fans so I have a passive interest.

The offer of 150k per annum whilst in league 1 by the stadium owners does not seen unreasonable? That's about the annual wage for a half decent league 1 footballer. Why did the club refuse to pay this? They could have sold a couple of squad players or a decent player to cover this?

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Guest Norbert

God knows. ACL even publically offered a period free of charge, or to forget about what the club owed them, The devil may be in the detail of the deal with Northampton. Perhaps the owners couldn't recind it, or they could be too obsessed with the idea of building their own stadium. Who knows?

I'd have tried to take up the offer from ACL at least, as Coventry City FC will die outside the city. No-one will drive for half an hour down the M1 for a League 1 game against Carlisle. As for selling a player, there is no-one left to sell. They sometimes have the odd academy player making the bench if injuries are bad, and they rely on loans from the Championship.

It wouldn't surprise me if they get relegated again or go under completely before this white elephant stadium is built in 3 years. And to think that the City Council own a large stake in ACL. The club should have made sure they owned a large % of the stadium, but then I guess Mr. Richardson didn't care because it was all about the land Highfield Road was on.

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Just feel for the fans.

When will the authorities step in and sort out ownership correctly. They need to enforce fan ownership and holding of club assets (grounds, training pitches etc) beyond the borrowing of any owners, for the fans and local community.

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Guest Norbert

It will never happen in this country Baz. The authorities are too weak and/or in bed with the bad guys to think like that, and will not give a fig so long as the Premier League is bringing the tourists from Boston and Beijing. Government will not get involved as FIFA will exclude us from all competitions, and it will be seen as interfering with the free market.

It would take something like Man Utd to be liquidated before any real action will be taken.

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Fact is though a club as big as that, will never have this happen. There would be a queue a mile long happy to take on united and other "big" clubs.

Maybe coventry is a sign that what is needed is to cut down the number of full-time professional clubs in the country, and look for maybe 2 or 3 professional leagues, and more regionalised non-professional / "B" teams, like the much heralded german model. Although Id despise it, maybe it really is the future.

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It appears the Golden Share owned by The Football League was in CCFC all along, and the administrator knew this for some time, despite claiming otherwise. So this part of the club, had a golden share owned by The FL, which then punishes itself for going into admin and possibly further by being liquidated? What possible reason could there be for this I wonder?

What a mess. It`s like the wild west, with no regulation, conflict of interests and Payola in one big incestuous cash slurry.

Who will be there to pick up the pieces, and keep football in Coventry for the next 130 years?

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Fact is though a club as big as that, will never have this happen. There would be a queue a mile long happy to take on united and other "big" clubs.

Maybe coventry is a sign that what is needed is to cut down the number of full-time professional clubs in the country, and look for maybe 2 or 3 professional leagues, and more regionalised non-professional / "B" teams, like the much heralded german model. Although Id despise it, maybe it really is the future.

It would be better to stop paying insane wages and transfer fees and keep money in the clubs at a manageable level.

You never know we may then see some English talent emerging

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Guest Norbert

Fact is though a club as big as that, will never have this happen. There would be a queue a mile long happy to take on united and other "big" clubs.

Maybe coventry is a sign that what is needed is to cut down the number of full-time professional clubs in the country, and look for maybe 2 or 3 professional leagues, and more regionalised non-professional / "B" teams, like the much heralded german model. Although Id despise it, maybe it really is the future.

You may be right, but quite a lot of the smaller amatuer/semi-pro German teams have folded in the last 10-15 years. A lot more than those in our non-league set up. Personally, I think that model should be adapted slightly so we have the top 3 divisions as one body (i.e. pre-Premier League), then League two and the Conference combined to form two regional divisions that could have professional or semi professional teams, then what we know as the Blue Square North/South and the rest of the divisions bin the pyramid system.

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