Tag: Coventry City

Coventry City, A New Ground, The Charity & The Hedge Fund

A new year has brought little respite for the increasingly beleagured supporters of Coventry City Football Club. On the pitch, the team has gone five games unbeaten since its last defeat at Swindon Town on the Saturday before Christmas, including a win against Championship opposition in the form of Barnsley in the Third Round of the FA Cup, but away from it the prospects of the club returning to the city of Coventry from its self-imposed exile in Northampton now seem to have shrunk to being a mere pin-prick on the horizon. January started with the club’s supporters trust, the Sky Blues Trust, publishing the results of Freedom of Information requests to try and establish the whereabouts of the sites that the club has been claiming that it has identified to build the new stadium that it has long promised. In an interview shortly before Christmas, Mark Labovitch – a non-executive director of the club – claimed that it was in the final stages of securing land for a new stadium and details were likely to be revealed in February, which followed confirmation from Councillor Anne Lucas, the leader of Coventry City Council, that it was time for them to “move on” from negotiations with the club’s owner over the future of The Ricoh Arena. The Sky Blues Trust issued its FoI requests to eight local councils on the...

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There Are No Prizes: The 200% End Of 2013 Awards

It’s the time of year when handing out awards for things that have happened to people and organisations over the previous twelve months or so comes into vogue, and even though the football season somewhat inconveniently doesn’t pay too much attention to the machinations of the Gregorian calendar, we’re going to give it a go anyway. (For those of you that are interested in such things, my review of 2013 can be found here – it was written a couple of weeks ago, but I don’t think that an enormous amount has changed since then, apart from Manchester United starting to win matches) But anyway, I’m usually pretty uncomfortable in a tuxedo and tie, all the more so when I’m dressed like this in a room on my own with my cat staring at me as if I’m on the precipice of a nervous breakdown, so… on with the show! Team Of The Year: Leyton Orient – To build a winning team is one thing. To build a winning team on a shoestring budget is another. To transform a team that looked likely to struggle against relegation into challengers for promotion is a mighty achievement indeed. At the end of October last year, Leyton Orient FC was in twentieth place in League One, just one spot above the relegation places in that division, but just six defeats in the...

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On Coventry City, Cardiff City & Hull City’s Winter Of Discontent

There are three football clubs at which the Christmas period may well prove to be a period of reflection. The circumstances that have engulfed these three clubs over the last few weeks and months have come to act as something of a barometer for the state of professional football in this country at the moment. None of them are sufficiently insignificant as clubs to be easy to sweep under the carpet – two of them, for goodness’ sake, are in the Premier League – and the behaviour of their owners have heaped shame on what used to be a game, as well as causing thousands to start reconsidering whether this “game” is even worth bothering with any more. It used to occasionally be said that, over the course of your lifetime, you were statistically less likely to change your bank than you were to change your husband and wife. I’m not entirely sure whether this situation is still the same but I’d say with a degree of certainty that, even in the footloose and fancy-free twenty-century, when we’re all encouraged to treat every interaction in our personal lives as consumers, that we’re still less likely to change our football team over the course of our lifetimes than just about any other aspect of our lives. It’s only through this prism of attachment and self-identification can the decisions of those...

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The Hedge Fund & The Football Club: A Year-Round Pantomime

Every once in a while, we receive an anonymous email or two here at the 200% underground bunker. Usually it’s a gramatically incompetent stream of abuse from an über-fan because we’ve been mean about his – and let’s face it, it’s only going to come from a “him”, isn’t it? – football club, the little diddums, but this afternoon we received one from somebody looking to vent their spleen on the subject of Coventry City. So, here’s “Tallulah Oppenheimer” (if you’re going to give someone a nom de plume, do it in style, I reckon) with their take on all things Sky Blue of late. Hedge funds in football – now there’s an interesting notion. What’s extraordinary is that there are plenty of people in the football authorities themselves – Football League, Premier League in particular – who see no problem, or rather, wouldn’t want to ‘discriminate’ against the possibility that they might prove to be good owners. Funny line that: it’s somehow a matter of equality that a hedge fund should have the right to own a club. You can imagine the ‘missing’ chapter of Nelson Mandela’s ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ focusing on the rights of the downtrodden masses of City of London investment funds to own Rochdale if they so choose – ‘“All are created equal, black, white or banker’, I said addressing a rally of pension...

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No Speedy Resolution To The Ricoh Arena Dispute

After a brief wobble over the course of last week, Coventry City got back to form on Saturday afternoon with a three-one win in Milton Keynes in a match watched by an astonishing seven thousand travelling supporters. The love, for now, is still there, even if this may not be quite as readily apparent from the attendances that the club has been managing at its home away from home in Northampton, where less than two thousand people turned out last Tuesday night’s three-nil home loss at the hands of Rotherham United. This evening, however, any prospect of the club returning from its self-imposed exile thirty-five miles from home seem further away than ever following an accumulation of recent events. At the end of last week, the club’s owners won their appeal against the dismissal of their application for a judicial review of the financial arrangements made at the start of this year involving stadium owners ACL and Coventry City Council. Whether this was much of a victory for the club’s owners comes down, as so much else in this story does, to which side of the divide upon which you stand. On the one hand, this was not necessarily expected result for the club’s solicitors to achieve, especially when we consider how emphatic the original judge had been in dismissing this claim. On the other, however, this is hardly...

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