Several former Coventry City players called for the club to return to the local community as fans protested about the move to Northampton on Saturday.
A demonstration organised by the Sky Blue Trust saw supporters take to the streets to express their anger at playing “home” matches 35 miles out of town; a consequence of the rent dispute between Coventry’s owners, SISU, and the operators of the club’s Ricoh Arena stadium, Arena Coventry Limited (ACL).
While Coventry enjoyed a strong away following in 2013-14, averaging 8,651 fans (up 25% on 2012-13), “home” attendances plummeted by 78% on the previous season from 10,938 on average to 2,364 – as per the Coventry Telegraph – and a trio of ex-Sky Blues stars believe dissenters are right to stay away from Sixfields.
“To my mind the team is Northampton reserves while it plays in Northampton. I think it is so sad what has happened to this proud club. All we want is to see the lads back at the Ricoh,” Ronnie Farmer was quoted by the Coventry Telegraph as saying.
1987 FA Cup winner Micky Gynn added: “All us former players feel the same about this. It’s a scandalous situation and the sooner it is sorted the better. I have done some work at Sixfields since the club moved to play there, and I hated every minute of it.
“We all want the team back in Coventry. The quicker the Football League acts to sort this out, the better. With the pressure the supporters are putting on, let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later.”
And Kirk Stephens, who played for Coventry from 1984 to 1986, commented: “We have so many fantastic memories of Highfield Road and we want to build more at the Ricoh Arena.
“I hate what these people have done to us and what they have done to our football club. It’s time to give the football club back to the people of Coventry.”