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 Birmingham City below:
Good evening and welcome to the Coventry Building Society Arena for tonight’s Sky Bet Championship game with Birmingham City.
It gives me immense pleasure to welcome everybody connected with the Blues to the Arena this evening. This is our first chance to host Birmingham City since our two-year ground share at St Andrew’s and, although I have said it on numerous occasions publicly, the gratitude of thanks that we owe to the Blues is immense. From the Owners to the staff and most importantly the Blues fans, we thank you for your support in our hour of need. Not only did you let us share St Andrew’s but the welcome and friendship that we got and still have has been outstanding.
Once again we are expecting a 20,000+ attendance tonight and initially, in consultation with all of the authorities, we offered a 5,000 away allocation to Blues supporters. However, on the back of the issues we had at the Derby County game, and continued transportation fears in getting Blues fans away from the Arena by train, following the advice from West Midlands Police, I reluctantly had to reduce the allocation to 4,000.
The main issue is that there is only 1 scheduled train after the end of the game back to Coventry Station from the Arena Station, which is only a two-car train, and the reliability of this service is questionable due to staffing issues. This is an on-going and long-term situation that we face at the Arena, not only for midweek games but for Saturday fixtures too, for both home and away supporters, with the volume of trains and capacity on matchdays not meeting the demand.
Ourselves and the Arena are in regular dialogue with West Midlands Trains but there is no short-term solution to this problem, with infrastructure changes at Coventry Station being required to be able to improve the service to the Arena.
Following the incidents against Derby County, we emphasised the standards of behaviour that we expect from all supporters visiting the Arena. Further to this, one supporter who ran across the divide between the two sets of fans has been banned indefinitely. We will not tolerate the actions of a small minority who may wish to cause trouble at our matches and will not hesitate when taking action.
We’ve been aware of supporters disappointment in regard to buying tickets for the Bournemouth away game, where the allocation was only 1,318, which is one of the smallest allocations we will receive this season. Unfortunately with such a small allocation and our large away followings, there would always be a number of supporters who would miss out on tickets for this game. Some supporters have questioned the legitimacy of supporters clubs receiving a small allocation per club. This is something that we have done consistently during my time at the Club and as part of our commitment and benefits to the supporters groups. All tickets that they receive are matched by the appropriate number of Season Tickets within the group and are minimal amounts, in proportion to the overall allocation too, and controlled by the Football Club. Our away support has been fantastic for a number of years now, and it is great to see and hear the Sky Blue Army at away grounds up and down the country, as well as in full voice here at the Coventry Building Society Arena.
Thank you for support – enjoy the game.