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"The football club should be at the heart of the community. It can bring huge benefits to the city." - Coventry City's Steve Waggott

26 November 2014

The Sky Blues' CEO was speaking to a group of businesses at the offices of the Deeley Group and present his vision for the club...

Coventry City chief executive Steve Waggott has told the region’s business community he will ‘not let them down’ if they back the club’s drive for success.

Waggott was invited to speak to a group of businesses at the offices of the Deeley Group in the city and presented his vision for the club as part of the local community.

The Sky Blues’ CEO, who won national praise for the community project he installed during his time at Charlton Athletic, wants to implement a similar model across Coventry and Warwickshire.

That includes the club not only playing an active role in football and coaching but also in education, social inclusion, health and fitness as well as business.

Waggott said the club had been too inward facing for too long and it was time to reach out to the community.

He said: “It’s my view that the football club should be at the heart of the community and a successful football club can bring huge benefits to the city – both socially and economically.

“Swansea City were a kick of a football away from dropping out of the Football League – they are now established in the Premier League and their value to the city in terms of the additional business their success brings is estimated at £50million a year.

“I understand the issues that have surrounded the club and there is no doubt that the past 18 months have been difficult but I think this goes before that – I think the club has been too inward facing at times and has had different strands all working towards the same goal but not under one umbrella.

“We are starting to change that and we are re-engaging with everyone and the business community is key to that. There is a great deal that we want to do and it is going to require a lot of hard work but I think if people look at my track record, they will see that I will not rest until we get there. 

“I want businesses and the whole community of Coventry and Warwickshire to know that if they support me on this, I will not let them down.”

Waggott said he believed the club would be at the Ricoh Arena for the next four to five years but underlined the need, under rules governing how much football clubs can spend on players, for the club to generate revenue 365 days a year from its stadium.

“The simplest way of looking at it is that I can give 60p in every £1 we generate to Steven Pressley to put on the pitch,” he said. “So we have to maximise our revenue streams in order to put the best team on the pitch because the success of the first team in 90 minutes on a Saturday shapes the 90 hours of work we do the following week.”

Peter Deeley, of the Deeley Group, said it had proved to be a worthwhile event. 

He said: “I think everyone in the room appreciated Steve’s honesty and openness. As businesses, we recognise that there have been issues around the football club but I also see the power of good football can do for a community and for its youngsters and we have to play a part in that.”

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