This article is a cross-post from the website of the Jimmy Hill Alliance, of which the Trust is part. It's a long read, but we felt it's such a good exposition of where Coventry City FC is at, and the possiblitiues for the future, that it should be read by as many peopl;e as possible. So we're doing our bit to make that happen.
“The pertinent question that keeps going unanswered. Wanting them out at any cost, could leave us without a club.”
An entirely reasonable statement (although it’s not actually a question, Jez) which I will try to address by looking at a variety of potential outcomes for Coventry City, from where the club is currently positioned, together with the possible consequences of each outcome. I hope that this article deals adequately with a number of other relevant questions about the future of the Sky Blues. However, as all the whole article runs to over 4,700 words, I’ll start off by listing my Conclusions, then those who are still interested can plough on through the detailed arguments.
- The demand from The Jimmy Hill Way Campaign, in accordance with others such as the Coventry Telegraph, is for Sisu to Sell Up and Go. That is not forcing them out “at any cost”.
- The ball is very much in Joy Seppala’s court. If she stubbornly holds onto ownership of Coventry City, there is little that can be done to remove Sisu, even if potential buyers are waiting in the wings.
- An improvement in on-field performance and results, combined with solutions to the critical issues facing the club may satisfy sufficient supporters to keep the club going in the short-term. It would take a fundamental shift in attitude and management competence for the current owners and directors to achieve these requirements. What confidence can we have that any upturn in fortunes would be more than temporary after 9 years of failure and mediocrity?
- If the club is relegated at the end of this current season under Sisu ownership and issues such as Academy closure, future at the Ricoh etc. are not resolved, the survival of the club is at considerable risk. The tolerance of a considerable number of supporters will have been exhausted. It is difficult to imagine how there would be a viable business model in such circumstances under Sisu’s ownership.
- Even if Sisu agree to put the club up for sale, there is no guarantee that a credible buyer will emerge. The challenges facing new owners are daunting and there may not be an acquirer with the brave inclination to take on the task.
- A credible buyer will have to have the necessary financial capability to buy the club and invest in its development and should be acceptable to supporters in other respects, particularly they will need to demonstrate that the interests of Sky Blues fans are paramount.
- The longer that Seppala waits before putting the club up for sale, the less likely she will be to achieve a successful exit and the amount that she might realistically expect to be recovered will depreciate rapidly, barring a series of significant improvements in the fortunes of Coventry City, both on and off the field. A continuing failure scenario would of course be even more catastrophic for supporters.
- Keeping the pressure on Sisu is essential. While we fully support the boys in Sky Blue, the long-term existence of CCFC is even more vital than the team’s survival in League One.
- Supporter-led ownership in combination with wealthy individuals who are willing to match funds raised by a Community Share Issue may provide a viable solution (perhaps the only viable solution) ….. but only if Sisu put the club up for sale before it is too late.
- An initial bid from Supporters may flush out suitable investors with sufficient financial resources to buy the club outright. Shrewd purchasers will want supporters as allies and perhaps achieve this by granting fans a non-financial stake in the club.
- To answer the “Pertinent Question”: Sisu remaining in control of Coventry City could leave us without a club and on the balance of probabilities, that is the likely outcome in my opinion. New credible ownership that puts the interests of supporters foremost in the business plan could save the Sky Blues and stands a far better chance of success than Seppala and Fisher. The challenges are daunting and the more time that passes before Sisu decide to leave, the bigger the challenge will become.
So please Sisu: Sell Up and Go …. NOW.Write comment (2 Comments)
The series of protest organised by The Jimmy Hill Way Alliance have very successfully highlighted the plight of the club nationally and locally. The peaceful on pitch protest during the match against Sheffield United was seen by a national TV audience and yesterday’s sit in also gained good coverage.
Hopefully these and future activities will continue to pile on the pressure onto SISU and make their investors question their involvement with SISU and therefore our club.
During the Sheffield match the atmosphere was successfully stoked up by the use of large numbers of well co-ordinated whistles from certain sections of the crowd, highlighting the frustration and anger amongst the majority of Sky Blue fans. However the Sky Blue Trust believes the continued random blowing of whistles by individuals is proving counter-productive both in terms of an instrument of protest and in causing division amongst supporters.
Whilst to most fair minded observers at the match the cause of the Bolton equalising goal was simple defender error, some elements are blaming a whistle for causing momentary confusion in City’s ranks. This form of protest is now doing more harm than good to the protest movement which we are fully behind and the Trust is calling on all supporters to cease the use of whistles at games.
The Trust continues to fully support the efforts of The Jimmy Hill Way Alliance to rid our club of owners SISU, fully backs Russell Slade and the team and calls for all supporters to unite together behind both the protests and the team but without the whistles.Write comment (3 Comments)
The Sky Blue Trust would like to welcome Russell Slade to the club and wish him the best of luck for the rest of the season because he will need that commodity in spades if he is to succeed. Tim Fisher promised Jim White on Talk Sport that much needed money will be made available for new players in January, however he also said that the supporters protests at the last home match would dissuade managers from joining the club so Fisher’s statements can best be described as variable in accuracy.
Without experienced new additions the team will undoubtedly continue to struggle and whilst Slade is a seasoned manager he will be expected to make a silk purse from a sows ear. The fact that his contract is only until the end of the season not only appears to show little faith that Slade can turn things around but is typical of the short term approach that has characterised the SISU years and hindered the club’s progress.
Whilst as supporters we wish Slade and the team every success on the pitch, hopefully correcting the abject failure of Mark Venus, it is simply papering over the cracks that run deep through the club. It doesn’t address the other massive problems facing the club:
- the imminent homelessness of the Academy
- the plan to sell Ryton with no demonstrable replacement on the horizon
- the failure to secure a long term home stadium
- the failure to build real relationships with the supporters
- the fact that the threat of continued litigation, against parties the club should be building relationships with, is still in the air.
Whilst a capable manager is a good stocking filler for the Sky Blue faithful the real present would be the departure of Tim Fisher and the news that SISU were going – unlikely but Christmas is a time for miracles.Write comment (0 Comments)