So we all thought we’d get a break from all of the trauma around Coventry City and where they play football. Looks like we were wrong. In response to recent press reports and a completely biased Coventry Telegraph ‘blame game’ editorial, we’ve issued a press release and an open letter to the Telegraph.
CALL FOR UNITY AGAINST RICOH WASPS SALE
A Coventry City fans’ group is calling for a united front against any plans to sell the Ricoh Arena to rugby club London Wasps.
Many fans and Coventry people have been outraged since news broke last week of talks between Wasps and Ricoh owners the city council and the Alan Edward Higgs Charity over a “controlling stake” in the stadium.
Fans’ groups including Get Cov Back To The Ricoh and Keep Cov in Cov have joined many football and Coventry rugby fans in publicly condemning the move. It comes just weeks after the club’s Ricoh return on a temporary rent deal brought hope for a lasting end to the disastrous dispute which had resulted in Coventry City playing ‘home’ games at Northampton.
The Get Cov Back To The Ricoh group is calling on all fans – and other groups including the Sky Blue Trust, KCIC, the Supporters’ Consultative Group and – to oppose any sale of shares in the stadium to Wasps at this time – and to “give peace a chance”. GCBTTR says relations between Arena Coventry Limited and the club should be given an opportunity to heal and flourish towards a permanent and sustainable solution for the club and city.
Get Cov Back To The Ricoh co-ordinator Stuart Cosgrove said: “We were ecstatic about the club’s return to the Ricoh. The whole city hoped it would be a new dawn. Everybody wants the honeymoon to develop towards a long-term solution for the club and city.
“News of this so soon after the Ricoh return is a kick in the teeth not just for Coventry City fans but for Coventry rugby fans and London Wasps fans.
“We welcome that the club’s owners Sisu have returned Steven Pressley and the boys to the Ricoh Arena on a two-year deal, with the option of a further two years.
“We are calling on Sisu’s Joy Seppala to make clear if buying the Ricoh remains a consideration, as well as the option of building a new stadium. And we call on the Ricoh’s owners to work towards a permanent solution with our football club – without which the Ricoh would ever have been built.
“Any offer to London Wasps should at the very least be offered to whoever owns Coventry City. Whether we like it or not, the owners of the club are currently Sisu. This is not the time to be further distressing the club.”
Joint GCBTTR co-ordinator Rob Stevens said: “The vast majority of Coventry City fans and people of Coventry regard the Ricoh Arena as our club’s home.
“Many fans believe that whoever owns the club should own its own stadium to maximise revenue to support the vast sums it has to spend on players.
“Many fans believe council and charity should not have a divine right to do what they want with a stadium which was mainly built with others’ money, and was only built because of the football club.
“The majority of fans are not signed up to the council and Higgs’ apparent agenda of ‘anything goes’, as long as they get the money they expect from the Ricoh – after subsidising it with millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money.
“Our fear is there is a continuing agenda to oust the club’s owners without demonstrating any real prospect of success – which only serves to destabilise the club and put our club’s entire future at risk.
“We’ve had false promises and hidden agendas before. It’s time to give peace and reconciliation a chance, and for all parties to work for the good of our club and the entire city.”
The GCBTTR campaign has also today written an open letter to the Coventry Telegraph for publication on its letters page, following widespread criticism of its editorial comment article last week. See below.
Many Sky Blues fans were disappointed to read your editorial comment of September 19 entitled: “Why Coventry City have only themselves to blame for missing out on a stake in the Ricoh Arena.”
Internet reaction shows widespread opposition from Coventry people, its football and rugby fans, to any sale at this time of a controlling stake to rugby club London Wasps by the Ricoh’s owners, the city council and Alan Edwards Higgs Charity.
It is particularly disappointing that you take a black and white view of this complex issue just weeks after the club’s return to the Ricoh on a temporary rent deal prompted widespread optimism for lasting peace and reconciliation, and the Ricoh becoming CCFC’s permanent home.
Some fans are saying it is time to boycott the Coventry Telegraph if it continues to take sides and push a one-sided agenda rather than pressuring all sides, including Sisu and the taxpayer-funded Ricoh, with a view to ensuring CCFC remain at the Ricoh, whoever owns either.
We believe you have misjudged the mood of the city and fans’ opinion since that glorious Ricoh return just three weeks ago. Please give a chance for the welcome reconciliation between the stadium and club to build towards a lasting settlement.