One Man's View The following is my opinion, no offence is meant, but when this happens to my football club I have to vent somewhere. I will always remember Andy Whing connecting with the ball as sweetly as you can wish to. Delirium followed that strike. City had scored six, they bid farewell to their home in style. Highfield Road wouldn’t see another Sky Blue moment again, its future was for the estate agents now. Fast forward just over seven years and now we sit on the precipice. Since I started this blog, very few pieces have been ‘positive’ this isn’t one of them either. Yesterday's announcement from ACL that the club has 21 days to pay rent or declare insolvency is striking and worrying. When you don’t receive rent for 10 months, no matter how inflated or unjustified the tag is, you are left with no choice to take severe action. But what of the 2012/13 season and the effect on that this announcement and what could happen in 3 weeks time. We have a fan base behind a manager, players seemingly playing close to their level best more consistently and are three games away from a trip to Wembley. It’s all good on the pitch after a woeful start. But now that becomes secondary, games against Walsall, Doncaster and Preston become a sidebar to the next moves of the current ownership whose need to renegotiate a deal overwhelmed the right to pay it, in some form at least, even as a ‘token’ gesture. But whilst they will take the flak for what happens next, they shouldn’t be alone. But first the current owners’ and the ‘blame game’. Now correct me if I am wrong, but we played at the Ricoh when SISU came in. This deal was in place when Joe Elliot clambered on to Ray Ranson’s coat tails and dragged him onto the old Gasworks site. They have been here just short of five years, this rent deal was here that whole time. Why wasn’t this bought up sooner and negotiated sooner. They acted on it this calendar year if the ‘public knowledge’ matched the timing of the talks. Now this is a company a success in some capacity before they dipped their hand into the world of football, they were well respected, and to my knowledge still are. But from giving a self-appointed chairman a reported £800k per year contract and ‘trimming’ the squad like a Christmas turkey, they have got many many things wrong. Now this summer, forgetting the timing of Thorn’s sacking, they bought in players. They also brokered a loan deal coup in David McGoldrick and seemed to have struck gold with the Robins appointment. But this will overshadow it all. Today’s announcement will put SISU in the doghouse to never return. They won’t be forgiven this time, just for letting it come to this. But as I said, it isn’t all on them. This deal was brokered in 2004/05, I am guessing through process of elimination. I haven’t the first clue about business contracts or whatever, I pay my student landlord too much every semester and get on with it, but here was a boardroom filled with experienced businessmen, successful one’s at that who made a slanted, bizarre and short-sighted deal. Name one other professional sports team who doesn’t own the place they work, both of them. To make a deal, so short-sighted, so restrictive is the failing of the board then headed by Mike McGinnity and with Joe Elliot et al in the background. Unforgivable, plain and simple; This is a club my dad has had in his blood for 50 years, my Granddad has for 80 and that is the same for every person who was there in 1987, or there in 1967 or there in 2005. This is our club and it’s dying a death as people without a shred of identity with the place or its people sit their arms folded across a table refusing to talk to people sitting opposite them like a schoolyard disagreement. ACL will, I’m hoping, realise that this club is one they need. It’s one the city needs. They must of had a fist-bump on the way out of the room after the deal was made, and who could blame them. But now they must see that this club isn’t going to fill the place, it isn’t going to make the money to fund the place and it has owners who are just as stubborn as you. But, what next? Well, frankly who knows. Supporting this club has very few highs, from all accounts last nights’ win was close to being one. Favourites for a cup for probably the first time ever and then we wake up with this as our comedown. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds this isn’t and this is coming from someone who is going off two statements earlier today. It’s a read of the situation and it’s not good. “However, its viability depends on it finding an alternative home ground where it can afford to play.” That line, from the club statement doesn’t make pleasant reading, its ominous. That, to me sounds like plans are in place to up sticks and move. Where to no-one knows. Butts Park Arena and it’s one stand would be a wake-up call. But how can a company let it get to this or that. That for me is what is scariest of it all. There are two companies, with ‘successful’ people involved who are willing to push this the whole way to a relocation and desertion of a place no-one really wanted. Every City fan of above a certain age misses Highfield Road. The damp concourse under the West Terrace, the concrete jungle below the East Stand and every blocked toilet in that place is missed, probably. A drive past where it used to be brings a lump to the throat and a surly shake of the head from most. That yearning was in full force today I am sure. We miss something we should still have. A short-sighted ‘plan’ from a desperate man (Richardson) to a horrendous deal made by a man seemingly out of his depth (McGinnity) has left us here, today. Three weeks away from being no more, in a city which has lost its motor industry, its music scene for others, is close to losing the memories of Killer, Hutch, Jimmy, George and John. That’s not right and it’s not fair but we now put our trust in people who we have never met and for most, don’t trust. As ever to finish this blog. PUSB and even more pointedly C.T.I.D.
Source: Coventry MAD