First Football Reads: How Coventry City Could End Up Homeless During the 2019-2020 Season

A brief read about Coventry City's uneasy relationship with its current home - the Ricoh Arena - since leaving Highfield Road in 2005.

It's been a tumultuous 11 years for Coventry City Football Club since SISU took over in December 2017. The hedge fund firm rescued the Sky Blues from the threat of administration, but the club has been unable to reach a point of stability and Mark Robin's side now face the possibility of being homeless once again next season. 

Highfield Road was the club's home for 106 years, with the Sky Blues playing their last game at the iconic stadium on April 30, 2005. The following season, they moved into the Ricoh Arena, but very few fans were able to acclimatise to the all-seater stadium and there has rarely been a sense of permanence about the ground. 

It isn't the first time that Coventry City and SISU have encountered problems of this ilk, as they were forced to play their 'home' matches at Northampton's Sixfields Stadium throughout the 2013-14 campaign. Amid vociferous protests from the Sky Blues Trust, these games were sparsely attended, and the club also suffered an underwhelming season on-the-pitch as well. 

 

Around this time, SISU spoke about the process of procuring land in order to start work on a new stadium, however, this has since failed to materialise. Despite talk of a "fresh start", these plans appear to have been shelved and Coventry City look set to be homeless once again next season. 

The rent agreement on the stadium concludes in May 2019 and Wasps, who own the Ricoh Arena, have categorically confirmed that they will not re-enter negotiations on the current deal. Fans are desperate for the two parties to come to some sort of breakthrough and they are understandably concerned about the club's future. 

On the pitch, things are going swimmingly, with Mark Robin's men sat comfortably in mid-table. However, goals have been an issue this year with the Sky Blues netting just 33 times. The signing of Bright Enobakhare should certainly help them in that department, though. The Wolves striker is a natural finisher and is already off the mark for his new club, having found the net against Gillingham at the beginning of February. The loanee is unlikely to get many opportunities with his parent club as they are progressing well in the top flight. Nuno Espirito Santo's men are currently sat in seventh and are 12/1 in the latest Premier League betting to usurp Chelsea and break into the top six this year. 

The EFL have already told the club that they will not permit them to play their home games outside of the city and this simply adds to the feeling of helplessness amongst fans. Anger and frustration have been rife amongst Sky Blues supporters, who currently have no idea where they will be watching their side play next season. 

The Ricoh Arena has never felt like home for Coventry fans and supporters would love a ground to call their own. The well-worn surroundings of Highfield Road must feel like a lifetime ago for Coventry City supporters and with less than a third of the current campaign left to play, the club currently face the bleak possibility of being homeless next season.

The Ricoh Arena - current home of Coventry City FC

The Ricoh Arena - current home of Coventry City FC

Article Published: 10th March 2019

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