Like most Coventry City fans I am frustrated at the current state of the club I love and fearful for its future. At the end of last season I think I realised that there wasn't going to be quick solution to the deep-lying issues between the main protagonists & vowed not to spend a lot of time worrying about something I could do little about. I refused to let it ruin my summer & proceeded to reduce my browsing of websites and social media to ensure my blood pressure stayed at sensible levels.
I had a feeling that the ACL/SISU disagreement would not be resolved - and we all know it's not just about the rent - and that the club would not be playing at the Ricoh this season, but it was still a shock to hear we would be playing at Northampton. A lot of supporters have indicated they will not watch the club outside Coventry but many have said they will travel. The decision is a difficult one for fans but also a personal one and whatever fans decide to do should be respected by those with an opposite opinion. Once I have returned from my holidays I will be watching games at Sixfields - I support the team irrespective who the owners are & am not going to desert my team after 51 years of support. Sadly some good friends have taken the opposite view & I will greatly miss their company this season.
Therefore barring a late change of hearts by the warring parties, next Sunday will see the first ever Coventry City 'home' game at Sixfields Stadium when relegated Bristol City are the visitors. Before then there are two away games, Today City travel for only the second time to Crawley Town before a League Cup trip to London's East End for the second season running. It was Dagenham & Redbridge last season and Leyton Orient this season.
Orient's Brisbane Road holds happy Cup memories for the Sky Blues and older fans will remember the League Cup victory in 1965 and the FA Cup third round victory in 1973. In the former, a second round tie, City beat their fellow Second Division opponents 3-0 with goals from George Hudson, Ernie Machin & Alan Harris (his only ever goal for the club). Eight years later Gordon Milne's side were a division above the Os & ran out 4-1 winners with a scintillating attacking display. The goals came from Brian Alderson (2), Willie Carr and Tommy Hutchison, watched by a crowd of 12,272.
This season's kick off in the Football League is the earliest in the League's history and a full two weeks earlier than last year. It's a far cry from the arrangements 100 years ago when football had a gentleman's agreement with the cricket authorities not to start league games until September. Even until 1947 the league didn't kick off until the last Saturday in August. I understand the clubs want less midweek games, because they are losing money due to televised Champions League games, and more Saturday games. Starting the new campaign on the first weekend of August to my way of thinking, crazy. With most schools only having broken up ten days ago many supporters with school-age children will still be on their holidays & unable to attend.
City will face some different opponents this season with Wolves, Peterborough & Bristol City coming down from the Championship & Rotherham, Gillingham, Port Vale & Bradford City coming up from League Two. All of these clubs with the exception of Port Vale have met the Sky Blues in the seasons since relegation from the Premiership in 2001. Vale have not been on City's league fixture list since 1963-64 when the clubs met home and away on consecutive days at Easter 1964, both games ending 1-1. City were stuttering towards the finish line in the Third Division championship race and over 29,000 were at Highfield Road on a Tuesday evening. City's post-war record at Vale Park is poor with only one win, and one draw in six visits to Burslem. Again older fans will remember the titanic tussles in 1958-59 when both clubs were pushing from promotion from Division Four. The fixtures attracted massive crowds - 28,000 at Highfield Road and 20,000 at Vale Park, with City winning 1-0 at home and losing 0-3 away.