An “Open Letter to Supporters” was published today on CCFC.co.uk https://www.ccfc.co.uk/news/2018/december/news-open-letter-from-ccfc-regarding-ricoh-arena-situation/ to which I would like to respond.
While there is much in the spirit of their argument with which I agree, there are flaws which derive from selective application of the facts surrounding the Ricoh Arena dispute.
Firstly, I believe that everyone in the true Sky Blues Community (by the way I exclude Club Chairman, Tim Fisher from that definition) wants and has always wanted Coventry City to play at the Ricoh – or at least, ever since we left Highfield Road, with no hope of return.
The only people who haven't shared that desire are the owners and directors of the club who have consistently put that tenure at risk since 2012, by:
- Withholding rent for the stadium;
- Choosing to take the club to Northampton for over a season;
- Consistently stating that Plan A was to build a new stadium outside of Coventry;
- When returning to the Ricoh, only entering into a 2+2 year deal because they were pursuing Plan A;
- Floating the idea of a ground share at Butts Park Arena with Coventry Rugby Club as the new Plan A;
- Continuing apparently hopeless legal action against landlords Wasps and Coventry City Council, despite several overwhelming judgments against them;
..... to mention just a few of the reasons why the football club is at genuine risk of extinction, thanks to Joy Seppala and Tim Fisher.
It is clear that assurances were given by Coventry Council that the deal over the Ricoh with Wasps in 2014 would not threaten the Sky Blues.
It is equally clear that the threat is not because of the deal that was done.
The threat comes from the persistent and wilful behaviour of those in control of the club to put the Ricoh tenancy at risk.
It is also clear that Joy Seppala will not back down from this course of action.
That is despite pleas from supporters, representations by Dave Boddy to his bosses and apparent pressure from the EFL.
Two attempts at mediation in this dispute have failed:
- Requested by the then Minister For Sport, Tracey Crouch MP;
- Ordered by Appeal Court Judges.
Joy Seppala apparently has no thought for the club, whatsoever, when she ploughs on regardless despite all those interventions. There is even the possibility that she may see potential benefit from the loss of Coventry City Football Club for her hedge fund strategy.
I can understand why Wasps would now seek to defend their interests by not entering into negotiations until the legal action is dropped.
After all, if Joy Seppala doesn’t care about Coventry City, why should Nick Eastwood (CEO), Derek Richardson (Chairman) and the other Directors of Wasps?
The problem for those who care about the Football Club, the true Sky Blues Community
- Mark Robins and his team;
- Dave Boddy and the staff;
- Former players and managers, like the great John Sillett;
- Most of all, the Sky Blues Supporters;
is that we are set to be collateral damage in this situation.
Our love for Coventry City will be sacrificed on the altar of Joy’s obsession with an argument that she seems most unlikely to win, based on the evidence to date.
The only hope that we can have is for Wasps’ directors to see past the ownership and direction of the football club and recognise that the Sky Blues Community deserves better consideration. It is not us that has taken Wasps to court and incurred massive legal costs and disruption for their rugby club.
It would, of course, be far easier to secure a brighter future for the Sky Blues if Sisu and Tim Fisher relinquished control of the club and passed it on to new owners who are actually part of the Sky Blue Community, not speculators and chancers like themselves.
The Jimmy Hill Way Campaign