After each matchday programme, we will be publishing the 'From the Boardroom' article on our website. For Saturday's game against Luton Town, Coventry City Chief Executive Dave Boddy wrote the column and his article is published below:
"Good afternoon and welcome to this afternoon’s match against Luton Town – I would also like to welcome the players, staff, officials and supporters from Luton to the Ricoh Arena this afternoon.
Today is our first Jimmy Hill Day, which we hope will become a regular event. We’re delighted to hold this event, not only to celebrate the achievements of Jimmy but also to raise money for the Legacy Fund established in his honour. We’re pleased to welcome players from Jimmy’s team of the 1960s as our guests today.
Over the last few weeks, our future at the Ricoh Arena and the future of the club itself has been at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
While our owners Sisu choose to continue their court actions and Wasps choose not to negotiate a deal, the Football Club and its supporters are left to watch all this play-out from the side lines.
Our open letter last week caused some debate amongst supporters. I felt it was important to lay out the outcome and consequences if this impasse continues and a deal is not agreed.
It is important that we continue to highlight the commitment made in 2014 by Coventry City Council to “the security and future of Coventry City Football Club” when they sold the Ricoh Arena to Wasps, which the Council now claims had an expiry date of four years only. This was not stated at the time, was certainly not minuted and was not reported in the media. It does seem a little odd that such a critical and fundamental feature of the Council’s commitment to the football club should go undocumented.
It was also important that the open letter highlighted to supporters that there is no legal or practical reason that Wasps cannot sit down with the Football Club to agree a deal to play at the Ricoh Arena while legal challenges from the Owners continue – this situation has existed in prior years when previous deals have been agreed and completed whilst the court action was ongoing. We are more than willing to sit down with Wasps and negotiate a deal.
There was some criticism that the letter did not point to the actions of the Owners that have contributed to this impasse. The Football Club has regular communication with the Owners and we make strong representations on the current situation to them. Everyone is aware of the consequences of a no deal scenario.
The Football Club took no part in deciding whether the Club owners should pursue an appeal in the Supreme Court. It is the Club Owners who are taking this legal action and pursuing an appeal. This was publicly confirmed by Coventry City Council and Wasps last week.
All of this, however, is not contributing to resolving this dispute. Media statements do not resolve disputes. Unmoveable ‘red lines’ do not resolve disputes. The only way this dispute can be resolved for the good of Coventry City Football Club, its supporters, the City of Coventry and our community is if the landlord and tenant sit down together and talk constructively.
We made that offer publicly in our Open Letter, and have since written to Wasps and Coventry City Council to put that offer in writing to them. We keenly await their response, and are willing to meet anywhere, anytime to resolve this impasse. We enjoy an excellent day-to-day working relationship with Wasps, and would like to improve our relationship with Coventry City Council – especially as we approach Coventry being ‘City of Sport’ in 2019.
We met with the Supporters Forum on Wednesday night to update them on the situation, and answer the questions of them and those who they represent.
While our focus is of course on resolving this situation, the day-to-day running of the Football Club continues. Some of the notable things which have happened lately include:
Community Day announced for our game vs Gillingham in February, multiple wins at the Coventry and Warwickshire Sports Awards, CCFC Race Day at Warwick Racecourse announced for April, Christmas Hospital visit by players, Players attending the Christmas Light Switch On, Sky Blues in the Community project visits by players, JSB Party announced for 3rd January at the Ricoh Arena, meetings of the Leamington and Warwick and the Bedworth and Nuneaton Supporters Clubs, Groundsman Matt Skingle winning Young Sports Turf Person of the Year, the opening of the new Indoor Pitch at the Alan Higgs Centre, the Recruitment Department working hard in the build-up to the January transfer window.
Myself and everyone at the Football Club, on and off the pitch, are working hard to build a Club that you as supporters can be proud of – hopefully you have seen improvements over the last couple of years in that respect.
Whether it is the work to secure a deal at the Ricoh Arena, or the things I have outlined above, we will all continue to work tirelessly to do that.
Finally, I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.
Coventry City Football Club