Viewing from all angles

How many times have you heard the expression ‘there are two sides to every story’? As Wasps fans, it is easy to get drawn into some of the vitriol that is circulating on social media regarding the club and actually forget there are thousands of decent people who follow Coventry City who, like us, want their team to do well.

With this theme in mind, I contacted Glenn from ‘SkyBlueFansTV’ this evening to see if he’d be willing to answer a few questions about recent events from a Coventry City supporter’s perspective. He kindly agreed and you can read through his responses below.

Right, let’s address the elephant in the room. Thoughts on the pitch issues and the handling of it from both parties?

Taking off sky blue tinted glasses I think all four parties involved in the matter – Wasps, CCFC, the EFL and the Commonwealth Games organisers all haven’t helped the situation so each party has a portion of blame. I totally understand the CCFC point of view that Wasps, as the landlords, are where the buck stops at in terms of the CBS pitch. The Commonwealth Games organisers having tenancy over the CBS for nearly 3 weeks hasn’t helped with access issues to the pitch for the ground staff and Coventry City officials apparently and playing the Womens and Mens 7s games at same venue was probably asking for trouble with the pitch in hindsight.

The EFL could have helped CCFC by switching the Rotherham fixture to an away game as it would have been played rather than a late postponement of the game which impacted both clubs and their fanbases. The EFL showed a lack of common sense and judgement over that decision to deny CCFC’s request. Also Coventry should have argued the point more with EFL re switching games and also with Wasps regarding the decision not to install a new pitch as was previously agreed.

Wasps should have explained clearly in public why the new pitch wasn’t been re-laid rather than the ‘He Said She Said ‘public spat played out in the media with each party putting their own spin on the version of events to further their own agenda’s. As I write this the matter is being resolved so hopefully all parties learn lessons from it.

Presuming there is now a solution pending for the pitch, do you still think there will be a protest next month?

In terms of a protest I genuinely don’t know what could happen as the group organising aren’t a well known Coventry City group and it’s unclear if they have the backing or support of any CCFC supporters groups or the Sky Blue Trust . Emotions are running high amongst the fanbase of fans. You will get people who are totally for it and possibly extreme measures taken for protest and others that think what’s the point in it, as the planned date clashes with our trip to Birmingham to play them at St Andrews. That’s immediately possibly 2-3,000 fans who won’t attend a protest that day. If it’s a sensible protest which is organised and well run I don’t think it’s a problem. However the worry would be it only takes a minority and you could have problems and scenes like Old Trafford where Man Utd fans stormed the pitch on a match day.

I think if the matter is resolved as it seems to be then it will nip any extreme ill feeling in the bud in the short term. I think the worry would be it’s a volcano waiting to go off if things go south again.

Turning back the clock, there will be a lot of Wasps fans who won’t fully understand the circumstances that led to the Ricoh being available to purchase. From a CCFC perspective what happened and why did it happen?

The full story of why SISU never bought the Ricoh is unclear and the version of events differs depending on how you speak to.

Simon Gilbert’s book ‘A Club Without A Home’ is a good insight into the matter if any Wasps fan wants to read it. Ultimately the general consensus is that SISU tried to get the Ricoh on the cheap allegedly and also ACL and the Council weren’t particularly willing to deal with SISU after several public spats. The conspiracy theorists believe the council offered a better deal to Wasps than Coventry City. I don’t think SISU ever seriously considered another sports team outside of the Midlands would buy the Ricoh so the Council/ACL’s deal with Wasps blindsided them. In hindsight it was a massive opportunity missed and I’m sure SISU regret not spending the money to get the ground although they’ll probably never admit that publicly I suspect.

Simon Jordan on Talksport mentioned he was looking into purchasing CCFC. What’s your views of the current ownership situation and whether you’d want this to change?

I think SISU have got a lot better in terms of running the club and got football people in Dave Boddy organsing the football side alongside our manager Mark Robins and his coaching team whereas in the past they appointed the wrong people and let good people move on elsewhere. The win at Wembley in the Checkatrade trophy, taking 43,000 fans there for a team that was doomed for relegation showed SISU what potential Coventry City has and they’ve improved off the field since then.

Ultimately, they are still taking money from the club in terms of money owed to them and they don’t invest money into the team on the level of other owners. However, I think they aren’t the best owners but they aren’t the worst owners. CCFC could do better but could do worse. Sometimes it’s better the devil you know. I think they would entertain any sensible offer for the club if they got their initial investment back and there has been stories leaked to media basically implying the club is up for sale. There has been rumours all summer over alleged interest but I suspect any new owners would want the CBS as part of any deal either as a part owner or full owner.

If we were chatting in 2032, where would you imagine CCFC would be playing? Where do you imagine Wasps will be playing?

I think realistically in a dream situation majority of fans would like Wasps out of Coventry and CCFC as the sole owner of the CBS playing in the Premier League as an established club again. I know there is rumours of a new stadium being planned at Warwick University, but I can’t see the council approving it due to the bad blood between the parties. I think the new stadium is more likely to be a base for our academy side and/or a training complex for the first team.

 I think Wasps plan was for the long term to stay in Coventry but the situation is rapidly becoming untenable due to various factors, some that Wasps have played a part in – e.g Coventry moving to Birmingham, the Pitch saga and the negative press around the club.. Also they couldn’t foresee Covid and the decline on the field for the club leading to attendances dropping dramatically. Most Coventry fans would happily wave Wasps on their way back to London but I amm not sure that is going to happen any time soon. However it might be a decision that is forced onto Wasps due to their rumoured financial woes.

Based on Wasps’ new training base and investment in the academy side of things, which has taken a while to get established, I can’t see the club relocating again, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned by the current financial issues. Is there anything Wasps or Wasps fans could do to improve relationships?

I think the key is better communication between the parties. I wouldn’t abuse a Wasps fan if I saw one in Wasps gear in the local area but I suspect sadly there are Coventry City ‘fans’ who would and there are Wasps fans who probably think all CCFC fans hate Wasps and are drunken yobs. Ultimately as a fan you care passionately about your team, and I totally respect backing your side, but you cannot have blind faith that your club never makes a mistake or a bad decision. If they do you should hold your hands up and say that was a bad decision or a mistake, not blindly back them when they do something wrong as it will just inflame the inflicted party. I think in an ideal world it would be great if both clubs could get along for the good of the local community and the city of Coventry.

Sadly I think there is too much ill-feeling for that to be a realistic option in the short term and after all the positivity from both Wasps and Coventry City on the return to the CBS last season it’s another deja vu feeling of here we go again and battlelines drawn, which helps no-one in the long run.

Finally, and I really appreciate your honest responses, what are your hopes for this season? I think Wasps will finish much higher than people are predicitng. How do you see Coventry doing?

Honestly I think top 6 was a realistic aim if we keep our key players. Problem is the lack of games and as I write this we are bottom of the league so it’s going to be a battle to finish as high as last season due to the pitch, the crazy schedule, without having games to be rearranged, injuries to key players and just the general deflated feeling of no home games at the CBS till end of August at the earliest, possible not till September. If we don’t pick up a few wins in next seven games we’ll have played nine games and could be adrift at bottom.

Glenn, I genuinely wish your team well for this season. Fingers crossed we can all focus on matters on the pitch in the coming weeks.

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