Coventry fans refused to let the Sky Blues slip into an irrelevant spot despite the stadium’s problems, and it makes my heart happy.

COVENTRY may never have been a cultural city for football, but for years it was a stronghold of the First Division. Then suddenly it collided.

The 1987 FA Cup winners enjoyed the company of Manchester United, Arsenal and others who considered themselves aristocrats of English football for 34 years.

The Sky Blues recently returned to the Ricoh Arena home after being forced out

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The Sky Blues recently returned to the Ricoh Arena home after being forced outCredit: PA: Impex Sport
Karen Brady writes exclusively for SunSport

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Karen Brady writes exclusively for SunSportcredit: Getty

The call was then made to leave Highfield Road, a stadium with limited sights and facilities for one of the clubs in the Northern National League.

The move was a disaster and sparked a head-spinning period as they briefly settled in the shiny new Ricoh Circuit, with a capacity of 32,000.

The whole city protested the way the club was treated there. Within years it became a Cinderella company.

Rico throws rock parties with the Sky Blues’ relegation to League Two, a victim of people I think didn’t quite know how to build on their prized footballing assets.

The club is built in the image of Jimmy Hill, a skilled worker.

He was a longtime manager and a board figure, and his exit shook City. But Rico was taken over by owners who didn’t seem to care about sucking a racket into a stopper hole.

And so the Sky Blues moved to Sixfields in Northampton. Lots of fans took the 70-mile round trip.

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Then an agreement was reached with Siso, the owners of the hedge fund in Coventry.

But two years later, the owners agreed to a contract with Wasps rugby club for Team Ricoh, leaving blue skies on their ear once again.

So they started a two-year stint in St Andrews, home of Birmingham and one of their big rivals.

There were men who refused to lie down and accepted to have their batons turned around the Midlands.

And in the past four years, manager Mark Robbins and CEO Dave Boddy have teamed up in an effort to pull the club out of the desperate mess it has been in.

Fans in this cultural city stood proudly when the strikes fell. And I must say the proponents’ refusal to let Coventry slip into irrelevant place does my heart good.

At times their behavior veered into the unacceptable, but they could never have the pleasure of tracing the roads of the Midlands, indignant at the indifference of their owners.

Coventry may have been a little lucky. In between the last touchdowns, they won the EFL Cup in 2017.

And there was a promotion to the championship last season as the first team in the first division infected with the Corona virus, with nine matches still to play.

The Sky Blues have had their luck.

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I’m not sure if Sisso appreciated that. They only boast record sales of season tickets.

The hedge funders commented that the revenue was “the club’s best” during their time on the field.

Coventry has a long-term goal of building a new stadium. Hill will enjoy this response.

Long-suffering Coventry fans are rewarded with a return to the tournament

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Long-suffering Coventry fans are rewarded with a return to the tournamentcredit: Getty
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