On Saturday afternoon, while many clubs began their pre-season campaigns, over 6000 Coventry City fans took to the streets in protest against the team playing its “home” matches for a second successive season 35 miles away in Northampton.
Emotions ran high throughout the one mile march into the city centre where upon arrival, fans were greeted by the open top bus that 27 years ago carried the 1987 FA-Cup winning team around the same streets. On Saturday, the bus had a different purpose, acting as a stage for City supporters to talk with passion and frustration each as equally distraught as the next about what had become of their football club.
Vociferous chants against club owners Sisu, whose decision it was to take the club away from the City, were equally as vocal as the chants against the Football League whose continued silence has only inflamed the anger of Coventry fans whose loyalty has been tested since the sorry saga escalated over a year ago.
There was one very simple and clear message that Coventry’s fans wished to convey to the relevant parties who, with a lift of a telephone could end the trauma of the team’s exile in Northampton;
“We want our club back. We want to go home.”
Fans young and old were unanimous in their calls for Coventry City to return to the City of Coventry on a day that was for the fans alone to show what their feelings are.
Standing in the middle of Coventry town centre alongside fellow City supporters, I could not remember a day where I have been prouder to be a Sky Blues fan. The level of passion and love for the football club was etched on the sun-kissed faces of every person gathered.
But the fact that it took a protest march to be reminded about the level of support in the City shows just how wrong the whole situation is. Fans should not have to go on a protest march around their City to be heard. The only place for this is on a Saturday afternoon or a wind-swept Tuesday night at the clubs home ground.
This is what Coventry fans have been deprived of for over a year.
The huge attendance and success of the protest shows that the level of support and determination to get Coventry back home is still there.
But supporters can only do so much. The responsibility rests ultimately with the owners of the football club and the board members of the Football League who have the power to bring the club home, just as they had the power to sanction the move that so cruelly took the club away.
The decision to take Coventry City out of Coventry is as wrong now as it was in July 2013.
Enough is enough.
Do what is right.
Bring City Home.
A huge thank you must go to members of the Sky Blue Trust who organised the protest rally.