After each matchday programme, we publish the 'From the Boardroom' article on our website. For Tuesday's game against Fleetwood Town, Coventry City Chief Executive Dave Boddy wrote the column and his article is published below:
"Good evening and welcome to this evening’s game against Fleetwood Town here at the Ricoh Arena.
I would like to welcome all of the Coventry City fans here today, and also the players, staff, officials and supporters who have made the trip to Coventry from Fleetwood for the match.
Our crowd for this game and last Friday’s match against Burton Albion has been boosted by our Double Header Ticket Offer, which was one of our more successful recent ticket offers. Over 500 supporters took advantage of the offer, which was very pleasing, and helped us bring a great Friday night crowd of nearly 11,500 to the Ricoh Arena.
There have been some comments about the atmosphere on Friday night, including from our Manager Mark Robins. Supporters have also spoken to me about the frustration of the result, and of the situation. For this to spill over into abusive or intimidatory comments towards players and staff is not acceptable.
The ‘Jimmy Hill Way’ campaign tweeted that “He would be well advised to stick to footballing matters and not act as Tim / Joy's mouthpiece.” The Manager is perfectly entitled to defend his players and staff.
He is also entitled to an opinion, and in this country free speech allows him or anyone to express their opinion. For a ‘fans group’ to say this just because it disagrees with their opinion is ridiculous and other supporters, who that group will claim to represent, rightly supported Mark and his right to defend the players and express his opinion.
Last Tuesday, Coventry City Football Club demanded answers from Coventry City Council and Leader George Duggins over the unconditional promises over the Club’s security and future at the Ricoh Arena, and the contradictory statements made about it. To make clear, this came from the Football Club and not the Owners.
One week on, we are yet to see any evidence from Mr Duggins to back up his claim that this was restricted to four years. I believe that is because there is no evidence to back up his claim. None of the statements, minutes or reports at the time put a timescale on the promise.
We put several questions to the Council about this unconditional minuted promise, and their approach to the Football Club’s future in the City. They remain unanswered.
I spoke in my last column about the role the media should take in challenging all parties for answers about their roles in this situation. The Coventry Telegraph continue to ask many questions of the role off the Owners, comparing previous statements in past years with the current situation. However, they need to also do the same with all parties.
When the Council mislead the public over their staging of concerts they organised at the Ricoh Arena, which then moved to the Godiva Festival due to low ticket sales and led to a 300% budget overspend. The Council eventually came clean about the overspend, 11 months later. They publicly put questions on the Godiva Festival spend to the Council, and then made the following pledge:
“Clearly, we need to up our game to ensure we ask the right questions at the right time and, with the help of the BBC-funded Local Democracy Reporting Service which pays for a reporter to cover the council, we promise to do that more than ever.
If they have taken 11 months to sort of confess on this one, it begs the question, what else aren’t they telling us and you?
What we promise to do, is tell you the questions we have asked on your behalf - even if they don’t answer. Simple, clear and transparent.”
I have a good working relationship with the Coventry Telegraph, including their Editor Keith Perry and Sky Blues reporter Andy Turner. We work with them help them provide their coverage of the Club, which is one of the main drivers of traffic to their website. They have launched a ‘Save Our Sky Blues’ campaign, which fans will have seen plugged heavily on social media and on their website.
However the Coventry Telegraph have a great role to play in this situation being resolved, in holding to account publicly elected officials accountable – as their pledge said that they would do so. Promises over the security and future of the Club made in 2014 are now being reneged on, and questions need to be asked, and need to be answered… and evidence provided."
Coventry City Football Club