Another Saturday rolls around, and once again Coventry fans are left looking for something to do. The club’s decision to play their home games in Northampton has meant that most of the Sky Blues fans boycott the home games, leaving their weekends free to do whatever they please.
However there is only one thing that Coventry fans want to do. Watch their own team play in their own city.
They are being denied the chance to watch a young home-grown team who, without the ten point deduction, would have been just one point of the play-offs. However, recent form has seen just one win in seven, and the reality is the Sky Blues are now in a relegation battle, just 5 points off the drop zone.
Would they be in this situation if they played at the Ricoh?
1600 home fans turn up at Sixfields, just 10% of the gates they were getting at the Ricoh. This allows away teams to ‘take over’ the ground, and bully the young team on an overused and poor quality pitch.
But the problem lies deeper than a relegation battle. The FA Cup tie at Arsenal provided a platform for a protest. During the 35th minute, banners were raised with the word ‘WHY?’ on them. This was a reference to the fact that Northampton is 35 miles from Coventry. The footballing world applauded the protest, condemned the move and moved on. Because the Sky Blues do not play in the Premier League, the media do not care, and nothing has changed. Coventry City still play in Northampton, being run by people with no consideration for the fans.
But onto the biggest problem of them all: the generation of fans that are missing out on supporting their local team, who will never feel the passion for Coventry that so many have. Being taken to a football game as a kid by your dad was how so many of us fell in love with the game. Either stood on a chair or sat on your dad’s shoulders just so you could see, this was where our passion was started.
But the passion is slowly fading for the 1987 Cup winners. Supporters are getting on with their lives, going to watch different local teams. There are no young supporters falling in love with the Sky Blues and idolising their heroes.
For the City of Coventry, this is not just a temporary problem.