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 from our game against West Bromwich Albion below:
Good evening and welcome to the Coventry Building Society Arena for tonight’s game as we host West Bromwich Albion in the Sky Bet Championship.
I would also like to welcome our visitors tonight from West Bromwich Albion, including the players, staff, officials and supporters who have made the trip.
This is another match which has been chosen for Sky Sports coverage. In my notes for our last Sky Sports game against Huddersfield Town, I spoke about these selections and the disruption that it causes for supporters and other stakeholders both internally and externally. These notes are still available on our website so I don’t want to go over old ground, other than to reiterate that these selections and scheduling are outside of our control and how important it is that fans should remain at the heart of our game.
Tonight’s game sees us show our support for the Rainbow Laces campaign and in this programme we are also introducing the new Proud Sky Blues group, representing LGBTQ+ supporters of Coventry City. It is important for us that football is a game that all supporters can attend safely and without being subject to any discrimination and we look forward to working with Proud Sky Blues and other groups to work towards this aim. There has been improvement over the years but unfortunately incidents do occur which emphasises the importance of our ongoing work in this area, which this year has also included the equality warm up tops we wore earlier this season.
The issue of racism in football was prominent in the 1970s and Cyrille Regis, who we profile in the programme today as part of Black History Month and who represented both of the Clubs playing tonight, was a trailblazer for black footballers in the game. The impact Cyrille had on the two clubs playing tonight, football as a whole and wider society cannot be underestimated.
Ahead of this game, and our last home game, we have highlighted the issue of fans dangerously crossing the A444 Jimmy Hill Way following home matches. There have been a number of near misses as supporters choose to cross the road at the island, rather than one of the three crossing points provided.
While longer term solutions are being looked at with the Arena and other authorities (both in the management of pedestrians and vehicles) following the increase in supporter numbers over recent years, ourselves and the Arena are urging fans to use the crossings that are already in place.
There is the light-controlled crossing near the roundabout for A444/Winding House Lane, the footbridge over the A444 and also the underpass at the other end of Car Park B/C. All of these options give fans a safe route across the A444 and they can these use the pavement and paths to get to Holbrooks.
While stewards are in place to manage the exit of supporters and will continue to urge supporters not to take risks when crossing the road, we urge supporters to adhere to our advice and to put safety first when leaving matches – this includes not walking on roads and not moving/going over barriers, which are put in place for supporter safety.
Thank you as always for your continued support – enjoy the game. PUSB
Chief Executive, Coventry City