The frequency in news stories about Football clubs in financial turmoil, or facing liquidation, or some other monetary disaster, is becoming all the more regular. Another week, another club stares into the void. Coventry City are the latest of a long line teetering on the brink.
The clubs now former owners Sisu voluntarily placed the club into administration following a long running dispute over unpaid rent at Coventry’s home stadium, the Ricoh Arena. The appointed administrators have since ‘sold’ the club to Otium Entertainment Group (who controversially have connections with Sisu) and a company voluntary arrangement to begin to pay outstanding rent was rejected by the Ricoh’s owners. The Sky blues now faced potential liquidation and homelessness although thankfully were still part of the football league, albeit with a 10 point deduction to start the season with.
A ground share at Northampton Towns Sixfields stadium was agreed but being 30 plus miles away from Coventry has understandably left fans frustrated and angry.
A proud and historic club, Coventry City not playing in Coventry is unthinkable for many of their supporters. Protests and boycotts were inevitable but a hand full of fans have made the journey south east to see their beloved team at Sixfields. This has left a bitter taste in the mouth of some of the Sky blues more aggrieved supporters who feel fans should be united in their protests but anger at the situation is pretty much universal for all the Coventry faithful.
The brunt of the Vitriol seems to be split between Sisu, the football league, and the clubs current owners. In truth there are a host of organisations behind the scenes at Coventry all with their own agenda’s and honestly there is probably not one root cause to there current plight. Poor business decisions, poor performances on the pitch, and an economic downturn all most likely played their part.
For the future, Coventry must start to rebuild and more pressing, they must avoid liquidation. Plans are being developed to build a new stadium just outside of the city by the new owners. Taking the club back to its home, and its fans, is surely a welcome olive branch from Otium Entertainment Group, but the outstanding debt owed on the Ricoh, and minuscule attendances due to boycotts and location of home games, its unclear how this will be financed. Coventry fans now should be united more than ever. Get behind there club and knuckle down for the long hard road ahead. With time and the right investment Coventry could once again be one of the biggest clubs in the country. A massive, passionate fan base and decorated history are rare commodities. The term ‘sleeping giant’ is over used but in this case is fitting. Have the Sky blue fans got the patience and tolerance to get there?