The Joint Council formed between the Sky Blue Trust and CCFC was effectively based on the 1921 model created by ofﬁcials of the Coventry City Supporters Club shortly after that organisation was constituted. Originally, the supporters club wanted a representative appointed to the Board but Fred Lee (CCFC chairman) advised there was no legal mechanism to do this and co-option was not allowed. A Joint Council was suggested as a compromise and this consisted of ﬁve CCFC representatives (mainly directors) and ﬁve CCSC representatives (usually ofﬁcials who were also shareholders). There were monthly meetings.
Sky Blue Trust Formation And Beyond:
Formation of SBT ratiﬁed at a public meeting held at the Coventry City Supporters Club on 24 April 2003.
SBT Interim Board elected 26 August 2003. Headquarters established at the Coventry City Supporters Club premises in Freehold Street, Hillﬁelds.
SBT registered as an Industrial and Provident Society on 7 October 2003.
SBT submitted a 4600 signature petition (collected in 5 days) at the Emergency Council Meeting held on 16 October 2003 relating to our "Build It" campaign for the Arena Stadium.
SBT submitted ﬁnal report to CCFC on 4 May 2004 in relation to the Sky Blues Supporters Dedicated Bus Scheme, a Trust initiative working in partnership with Mike De Courcey Travel. This would help fans acquire cheap, reliable travel to and from the Arena from 70 pubs/clubs around the city. It was an integral part of the stadium's Green Travel Plan.
In June 2004 the SBT and the Association of Coventry City Supporters Clubs and Groups (ACCSCAG), led by Kevin Monks, merged to create a "united front". ACCSCAG had been formed in 1997 to bring all the supporters representative groups under one umbrella. The Trust had forged an excellent relationship with the CCFC Board and was in pole position to enhance supporter representation.
In August 2004 the SBT submitted a 200-page document to CCFC to assist them in producing a commemorative book: Highﬁeld Road 1899-2005-The End of an Era. The research was conducted by Lionel Bird over a six month period.
SBT meeting with John McGuigan at the Council House on 18 October 2004 to discuss concerns of proposed downgrade of the Arena Stadium Concourses. Successful outcome.
On Friday 14 January 2005, Mark Trevorrow (chairman) and Pete Walden (media director) of the SBT met with CCFC chairman Mike McGinnity at Highﬁeld Road, to dissuade the club from changing the existing club badge. The new design depicting a roaring elephant had been universally criticised. Thanks to the intervention of the Trust the badge change was jettisoned and common sense prevailed. Our badge is distinctive and steeped in history. This U-turn by the club was a massive victory for "fan-power". In another development the club asked the Trust to provide a short-list of three managerial candidates to be considered for replacing the departed Peter Reid.
On 19 January 2005 the results of the SBT poll regarding three managerial candidates were released. Micky Adams (no club) was the resounding winner with 723 votes, Gary Johnson (Yeovil) second with 193 votes and Eric Black (Birmingham City) third with 156 votes. Adams was eventually appointed.
In March 2005 the SBT survey supporters to register an interest in buying CCFC shares. A total of 45,000 remained unissued and the club had indicated they would release these if enough interest was generated.
The SBT held a Michael Gynn Testimonial Disco at the Coventry City Supporters Club on 15 April 2005. Laura Armit presented a £1300 cheque to Gynn as a contribution to his testimonial fund.
SBT hold a CCFC Fans Forum in the Ladbrokes Suite at Highﬁeld Road on 21 April 2005.
Rachael Brown, Natalie Cox and Melvyn Mawson presented a £100 cheque to Richard Shaw prior to the home match against Crystal Palace on 9 May 2005. The Trust had promised the sum of money to Shaw, who would donate it to a charity of his choice, if he could score his ﬁrst goal for the club. He achieved this with a 90th minute strike in the 5-2 win at Gillingham eight days earlier.
Coventry Observer reports on 19 May 2005 the SBT lobbying of Coventry City Council requesting Freedom of the City status be awarded to the 1987 F.A. Cup winning team. !
SBT inaugurated the CCFC Academy Appeal in conjunction with the Coventry Evening Telegraph and working in partnership with CCFC. The appeal was launched at a press conference on 24 July 2005 at the Higgs Centre. The appeal raised in excess of £50,000 to help save the Academy, something which the football club has beneﬁted from signiﬁcantly in recent years.
Coventry Observer 18 August 2005: The SBT have relocated their headquarters to the Hen Lane Social Club in Holbrooks.
28 September 2005: Ricoh Rail Station Petition
SBT Natalie Cox and Kevin Monks boarded a Coventry to Nuneaton train along with Councillors Joe Clifford, Muklait Singh Auluck and George Duggins, .to expose the ridiculous situation of how close the service is to the Ricoh but cannot stop. The Trust worked with Councillors Ann Lucas, Joe Clifford and Margaret Lancaster to obtain signatures for the petition. Pat Raybould, General Secretary of the Trust, signed the petition and featured in a Coventry Evening Telegraph article on 15 November 2005, highlighting the campaign.
Formation Of The Joint Council:
The Sky Blue Trust proposal to form a Joint Council was agreed at a meeting held at the Ricoh Arena on 15 October 2005 prior to the home match with Crystal Palace. The purpose of the council was to provide supporter consultation to board level, improve communication and work in partnership to help deliver projects/initiatives for mutual beneﬁt for fans and club alike. It would also consider supporter issues/complaints and try to offer solutions to problems. The Sky Blue Trust remained independent to the football club and it was agreed any topic was up for discussion. Effectively there was an "open agenda" and the Trust would chair the monthly meetings.
The structure of the Joint Council was as follows:
- CCFC 2 Representatives (at least one director)
- SBT 2 Representatives
- Coventry City Supporters Club 1 Representative (John Haddon)!
- Coventry City London Supporters Club 1 Representative
- CCFC Fanzines/Websites 1 Representative
Occasionally the Trust would take more than two representatives to meetings which illustrated the respect the organisation had generated. The inaugural meeting of the Joint Council was held at the Ricoh Arena on 28 October 2005 prior to the home match with Luton Town. Mike McGinnity, Geoffrey Robinson and Neil Bryson were among the representatives for CCFC.
Other representatives were provided by the SBT to the Ricoh Arena Monitoring Group (Lionel Bird) and Safety Advisory Group (Pete Walden). The Monitoring Group oversaw the performance of the Green Travel Plan and the Safety Advisory Group considered safety issues at the stadium.!
Supporters Consultation Group
Paul Fletcher was appointed Managing Director of CCFC in January 2006 and suggested the Joint Council be renamed the Supporters Consultative Group. Fletcher recognised the value of constructive supporter representation and the achievements of the Sky Blue Trust. He wanted to extend the group's demographic to become even more inclusive. The SBT fully supported this objective but insisted the group remained independent, which was agreed.
The SCG was expanded to include: Jonathan Strange (Coventry City London Supporters Club), Peter Ward (Corporate Premier Club), a Disabled Supporter Representative and several individual supporters such as Steve Barnett and Christine McGrath. By now Ken Sharp (CCFC Commercial Director) was chairing the monthly meetings but in an informal way which allowed any subject for discussion. In April 2007 CCFC announced the SCG to be a huge success and published a group photograph taken with Ian Dowie and Tim Flowers in the club's newspaper.
Other SCG representatives to join later were: Jim Brown (Ofﬁcial CCFC Historian) and Kevin Heffernan (Coventry City Irish Supporters Club) and other individuals. During Tim Fisher's involvement with the group a Terms of Reference agreement has been imposed.