The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP -

THIS week I threw my sup­port be­hind a cam­paign or­gan­ised by Coven­try City fans to seek govern­ment in­ter­ven­tion into their club’s sit­u­a­tion.

To get that they need 100,000 sig­na­tures. Any foot­ball fan can lend their sup­port by sign­ing up on line. Let me make my po­si­tion clear. I com­pletely un­der­stand there may be a busi­ness is­sue be­tween the own­ers of Coven­try City FC and the own­ers of the Ri­coh Arena.

If terms can­not be agreed for the foot­ball club to play at the sta­dium, then I have no is­sue that the club have cho­sen to leave that sta­dium. But to then choose to play 35 miles away from Coven­try in Northamp­ton against the wishes of the fan base is plainly wrong.

It would be dif­fer­ent if the fans had backed the move. If the fans knew that a new sta­dium was a cer­tainty within, say, two years; if the fans reluc­tantly signed up to the move be­cause the club sim­ply couldn’t keep af­ford­ing rents which were based on the higher lev­els of in­come earned at Cham­pi­onship level. But even then – is Northamp­ton re­ally the clos­est al­ter­na­tive?

I un­der­stand the po­si­tion of own­ers in these sit­u­a­tions. But I know that foot­ball is not like any other busi­ness. Foot­ball is at the heart of com­mu­ni­ties. Foot­ball af­fects the mood in a city. Foot­ball gives people heart and soul. Foot­ball can­not be seized by own­ers and taken from its fans.

Coven­try give us all a great op­por­tu­nity to tighten things up and achieve two goals: to give Coven­try fans their club back in their city. And sec­ond to pre­vent this type of thing from hap­pen­ing again. I will be sign­ing their pe­ti­tion.

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