The Sky Blues announced they will be returning to Coventry yesterday when they confirmed a deal with Wasps Group to play at the Ricoh Arena, ending a two-year absence from the stadium.
Commencing at the start of the 2021/22 campaign, the Sky Blues will play their home fixtures at the Ricoh, as they also look to welcome back supporters for the first time in over 12 months.
City Chief Executive Dave Boddy was delighted to finally break the news on Wednesday at joint press conference with Wasps Group CEO, Stephen Vaughan, which was covered extensively by local and national media.
Reflecting on the announcement, Boddy highlighted the importance of returning to Coventry and the Ricoh Arena for the Sky Blue Army.
“First and foremost, I am delighted for the supporters that we’re back in the City because it’s vital that we’re back in the City that bears our name.
“It’s vital for them and everybody.
“It’s still a bit early, but we’ve looked at social media and everybody seems to be buzzing. I really can’t emphasise how vital it is for our supporters to have their Club back home.
“In the absence of supporters this season I’m sure they’ll be buzzing once they are allowed back in to support the club again - whatever division we’re in - and obviously we want that to be the Championship.”
The agreement between the Sky Blues and Wasps Group highlights the beginning of a fresh start between the two, as they look to put differences from the past behind them and look towards the future.
Supporters will be pleased to know that not only is the deal for the next ten years, but also commercially it is the best deal Coventry have had at the Ricoh Arena.
“I’m told it’s the best deal we’ve ever had at the Ricoh in terms of food, beverage etc, the corporate availability that we have got, so that can only help us build the club and take the club forward.” Boddy said.
“I know our supporters previously had been quite reticent to spend money in the stadium because they felt we weren’t benefiting from it so hopefully we can get that message across to them that it’s not the case now and we’re moving forward.
“I have said before that our budget is amongst the smallest in this division, if not the smallest. We are in the bottom two with Wycombe, there’s is no doubt, and that’s not going to change overnight.
“That’s only going to change through player trading and sensible commercial building, and this is all part of that. It’s an opportunity to put more money into the football budget.”
Not only will it be the Sky Blues supporters returning to the City, but it will also be the first time some of the Sky Blues players and staff will have experienced the stadium.
The likes of Michael Rose and Fankaty Dabo are into their second season with City and will be buzzing to finally experience playing in Coventry in front of the Sky Blue Army.
“The two pre-season we’ve been away the players we recruited came here more than anywhere to see the facilities- yet those who have joined us have yet to play here.
“So the current playing staff, people like Michael Rose, Fanky Dabo all had the tour here and yet they haven’t played here yet, so I’m pleased for them today because it would be very sad to play for a club for a couple of years and yet never play at their home ground. So that will be nice for them and I know the players are all buzzing to be here.”