Date: 8th July 2013 at 9:28pm
Written by:

So after a quite traumatic first week of pre-season, football wise things have started to pick up a bit with our Caribbean tour going as well as it could have, and our first trophy of the season following our Challenge Trophy victory over a T&T Select XI last night. Ok, in the grand scheme of things it probably doesn`t really matter, but it certainly does us no harm.

However, the best piece of good news to come out of pre-season so far landed in my inbox last Thursday lunchtime in the form of an email from our CEO Stefan Gamble. It was a reply to an email I`d sent him on the 24th May voicing my concern over what at the time seemed the inevitable Coventry ground share. I immediately emailed him back asking if I could publicise what he`d said and he asked me not too as Coventry still wanted it kept quiet. However, given The Football League`s announcement this afternoon I assume that no longer stands.

For the benefit of those who didn`t receive a similar email, and I`m reasonably sure anyone who emailed him would have, the crux of the email said the following:

“We did have initial discussions with the directors of Coventry City (Holdings) Limited and whilst we did agree a very lucrative commercial formula should a ground share be approved, we decided that when you take into account all of the other factors (primarily the views of our supporters) we decided many months ago that this was not for us.

Apologies that I have not been able to set the record straight before now.”

I know it`s quite fashionable to knock the club from time to time, but I don`t really think they can be faulted here. They sat down and listened to the club, evidently also listened to the supporters, and made what was clearly the correct decision. Whether the supporters views really were the deciding factor, who`s to say. But it`s good to hear (or read) Gamble saying the right things.

So you`d imagine that with The Football League this evening announcing they`ve “reluctantly approved” Coventry’s plan to ground share with Northampton

Football League Statement Click Here

I`d be delighted this was all over and we could move on happy in the knowledge we wouldn`t have to share our home with anyone else.

Well actually, I`m not, and I can`t just let it pass. Of course, as a Saddler it`s fantastic news they`re not coming here, but as a general football fan it`s horrific news. They shouldn`t be going anywhere!

The statement implies that this truly awful decision has been forced upon the poor little Football League who were backed into a corner and left with no alternative but to “reluctantly accept” this disgraceful sequence of events, or face putting Coventry out of existence.

I`m sorry, but that`s betties! Hypothetical scenario: Imagine you were to leave your rented accommodation of your own free will because you didn`t want to pay the rent. Now let`s say you were offered a reduction which you also refused, and then an offer of having to pay no rent at all, but still refused. Now imagine you went to your local housing authority, made them aware of all this, but insisted you needed another house because you were homeless. Do you think they`d give you another one? Of course not! Then when they didn`t, and your existing landlords rent free offer was still outstanding, you`d probably feel inclined to go back and reconcile your differences rather than being out on the streets.

That`s exactly what The Football League needed to do. The statement makes it sound as though they`ve been kicked out of their ground and aren`t allowed back in, and that simply isn`t the case. There is a stadium of football league standard, in Coventry, willing and able to host Coventry City home games RENT FREE next season. It`s called The Ricoh Arena. SISU have moved Coventry out of it of their own free will, and can move back anytime they wanted too. The fact they won`t is not The Football League`s problem, and they really should have just shown a bit of back bone and said no. SISU would have had to go back to ACL to play at the Ricoh having been put firmly in their place, and the problem would have gone away. If they then wanted to build a new ground they could have done so without the burden of having to pay rent.

All this announcement by The Football League has done is mean there definitely won`t be a new football stadium being built in Coventry. Why would there need to be? As soon as ACL run out of money, and they now will as they`ll have no matchday income coming in from its tenant, the ground will be sold at a discounted price by some opportunistic purchaser. Now I wonder who that might be?

SISU will end up buying the Ricoh, Coventry will be back home, and the only losers in the long term will be ACL, who will have been out maneuvered by the vile, vicious, vindictiveness of the repulsive SISU, and the completely overwhelming incompetence of The Football League. This season may well be it`s 125th year anniversary, but today is surely one of the most shameful days in it`s history.

Adam Guest