Off of the back of two emphatic victories Coventry fans could be forgiven for getting a little carried away. I was definitely one of them but this weekend showed we are not yet the finished article.
Whilst it wasn’t another win that we all craved it was a hard fought point against a good Preston side. We didn’t ever reach the level that we had in the previous games and it showed as Preston took control of the game in the second half. By no means though were we being over run as we dug deep to keep them at bay whilst still creating a couple of decent chances for ourselves.
We have to be happy in the end with the point which leaves us sitting 13th in the table. The progress in the last few weeks has been there for everyone to see and the point stretches our unbeaten run to 7 games. Considering how we started the season this is a real achievement and is another indicator of how far we have come under Mark Robins. He was the first to admit that we weren’t at the same level we had been in the past few weeks and I think all of the players would agree
We cannot expect it every week though as that is being completely unrealistic. Every team even the United’s and Madrid’s of this world have bad days but we all know the sign of a good team is to grind out a result even when it doesn’t look like its going to be your day. We didn’t quite manage that completely against Preston but they thoroughly deserved their equaliser and a point in the end was a fair result. We are undoubtedly on the up still though and this result is barely a hiccup in what has been a fantastic few weeks for the club on the field.
However off the field it is a different story and the club is still surrounded by uncertainty. The recent rent dispute between the club and the owners of the Ricoh has gone very quiet over the past week or so. The club has however reiterated its stance through Joy Seppala directly in which she reiterated the fact that we are paying extortionate rent compared to any other league one club.
The one example that stood out for me in her statement was that of Doncaster Rovers. According to her they were paying £1million in rent not too much less than we agreed to pay when we began renting the Ricoh. They have now agreed a deal which sees them paying dramatically less money which is stated to be £10,000 a year on Coventry’s website but I have a feeling this is a typo with it actually being £100,000 a year. £10,000 can’t be true as there are people out there who pay close to that rent a year to live in a house. £100,000 averages out with other league one clubs as well so I am taking it as that figure.
Even with the increased figure it is a dramatic drop in the rent. It is clear that Sisu are looking for something similar and this can only be good for the club itself if an agreement can be reached. I still feel that if we could get them to drop it to £300,000 or around that figure along with access to matchday revenue then we as a club are onto a winner. Yes we will still be paying more than other league one clubs but we do have an incredible stadium at our disposal and no disrespect to other clubs but grounds like Portsmouth’s Fratton Park and Swindon’s County Ground are fields with stands compared to the Ricoh Arena.
It is an incredible arena and no one can deny that and for that reason we should be paying more than others for the privilege of using it. A stadium is an important part of any football club and I do feel that the Ricoh has played a positive part for Coventry as well as the obvious negative
I have no doubt that the Ricoh will have been a big factor for many players agreeing to come to play for us. The facilities are second to none and that has to be attractive to players looking for new clubs. I know if I personally was a player a teams ground would have a massive bearing on my decision on which club to play for.
Now lots of people will say it shouldn’t matter it should all be about going to club where u will play and a club that has the chance for success. We all know however that being in nice surroundings is a huge thing for every person in every walk of life. We all dream of bigger and better houses just as player’s dream of playing in bigger and better stadiums. Do I think the like of McGoldrick, King, Dennis Wise etc would have played for this club if we were still at Highfield road, no I don’t.
Everyone is impressed who goes to the Ricoh and for me the stadium is the one thing that people see and think wow, Coventry are still a big club and deserve better things. Yes it has been a massive hindrance to the club financially but it could still turn out to be a blessing in the future. Once the rent row is sorted the club can begin to move forward on the field and then once again consider long term ownership of the Ricoh. A ground which would ultimately not look out of place if we were ever to return to the promised land that is the premier league.
Away from the Rent row and there has been more potential good news for the club with striker Leon Clarke joining on trial. An impressive 11 goals in 15 appearences for Scunthorpe in the first part of the season means he could be a real asset in league one. My only concern is that his arrival may signal the end of McGoldrick’s stint at the club. I hope we can have both but as a Coventry fan I know that scenario is very unlikely.
Merry Christmas Everyone!!