I remember thinking, “I can’t imagine anything worse than this,” as I looked at the sprinkling of supporters that made the Ricoh arena seem vast. It’s bad enough at St Andrews when the crowd is small but less than 11,000 in a 32,000-seater stadium felt worse. Even though Coventry knocked Birmingham out of the League Cup, I left the game feeling sorrier for their fans than I did for myself. Coventry City had been relegated to League One the previous season, didn’t own a stadium and faced an uncertain future.
Ten months on it has got worse for Coventry City. They are now faced with the prospect of all their ‘home’ games being played in Northampton, 35 miles from Coventry. This plan has left fans dismayed and angry. There is a palpable sense of outrage in the article about the move on the Sky Blue Trust website*. I feel even sorrier for their fans now and wish them all the best in their fight to get a better solution to the problems at their club.
At present their situation seems worse than ours but it is a reminder of how pear-shaped things can go in the business of football. I’m trying to keep that in mind during pre-season, which for me is the time when totally unreasonable hopes sprout unbidden. I should know better by now, but for me this is the time when I can’t stop myself hoping that next season will be really good.