After each matchday programme this season, we publish the regular column from the Coventry City board on our website. You can read Coventry City Chief Executive Dave Boddy's column our game against Derby County below:
Good afternoon and welcome to this afternoon’s game as we play Derby County in the Sky Bet Championship.
I would also like to welcome the players, staff and officials who join us from The Rams for today’s fixture at St Andrew’s.
This week marked one year since the last game when we were able to welcome our supporters to a ‘home’ game, when we played Sunderland at St Andrew’s and won 1-0 in front of the Sky Sports cameras thanks to Matty Godden’s goal.
The atmosphere that day was magnificent as the Sky Blue Army got behind their team to help secure the result. That was a glimpse of what the atmosphere would no doubt have been like towards the end of that season, but alas the Coronavirus pandemic meant that was not to be.
While we hope for a return to ‘normality’ soon, the pandemic has seen a number of changes to all of our lives and also the way that we operate as a Football Club. On Wednesday lunchtime, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced that the furlough scheme would continue until September, but the terms and eligibility criteria will change.
We will continue to utilise this furlough facility where possible to help to manage the staffing and finances at the Club while the pandemic and the effects of it continues. We continue to operate day-to-day with a skeleton staff at this time, and with the challenges of working from home too, and I’d like to thank fans for their continued understanding of the situation.
We hope that soon our Club Shop will be able to open, having had to be closed for much of the last twelve months due to lockdown and tier restrictions. I know many fans still prefer shopping in person, but at the same time our online offering has also performed well and meant that the impact of the closure of the Shop has not been felt as sharply as it would have been in the past.
Elsewhere, the CCFC Academy continue to work in a COVID secure manner at the Alan Higgs Centre to bring through the next generation of players despite the challenges that this period has brought. You may have seen on our website and in the programme a feature about remote learning with players, and the excellent programmes put together by staff at the Academy to keep them engaged and developing, and also in a regular routine.
Meanwhile, Sky Blues in the Community are delivering sessions with their participants via new technology such as Zoom, plus other activities – for example their Walking Footballers have discussion groups and also interviews with former players as well. These types of sessions are key to keep those groups in touch with each other and provide a benefit for their mental health too.
These are just some of the ways that we have adapted our ways of working and engaging to ensure that the Football Club has been able to continue to the best of our ability.
There is no doubt that the last twelve months have brought tragedy for us all, and challenges that we have all had to face, personally and professionally. However I am proud of the way that the Football Club has adapted to these challenges and look forward to us moving towards normality and welcoming back our supporters in person.
At an appropriate time when fans are back at matches, the Club will remember those fans who have passed away in the last year and we will invite supporters to join us in doing so and submit names and photos of loved ones. It will no doubt be a moving moment for all of us.
Thanks for your support – PUSB.