Steven Pressley says Ricoh Return would give players a ‘huge lift’

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CCFPA Vice Chair Billy Bell signs Steven up last season

CCFPA Vice Chair Billy Bell signs Steven up last season

All this week this website has been featuring the views of former Sky Blues’ players – nearly all CCFPA members – who have spoken publicly in favour of the earliest possible return of CCFC to its Coventry home from the Club’s current exile in Northampton. We have reported the views of Lee Carsley, Richard Keogh, Ron Farmer, Dave Bennett, Ron Farmer, Dele Adebola and Kirk Stephens. Now the Sky Blues’ gaffer, former CCFC defender (and CCFPA member since last year) Steven Pressley has also recently spoken to Sky Sports News (16/07/2014) and this is reproduced below.

‘Coventry City manager Steven Pressley believes his players would receive a “huge lift” ahead of the new season should they be allowed to return to the Ricoh Arena.

The club are currently seeking a solution with the stadium’s numerous owners that would see them play their home fixtures back in the town in which they were formed.

Last season, the League One club were forced to play their home games 35 miles away at Northampton Town’s Sixfields stadium in front of hugely reduced crowds.

The Football League as well as owning parties Sisu, Otium, ACL and Coventry City Council have all expressed a desire to begin discussions to bring the club home. And Pressley told Sky Sports News:

“It would be fantastic for everybody involved with the club but especially the supporters, who have endured a great deal over the last 16 to 18 months. In the last close-season we were dealt the hammer-blow of a 10-point deduction on the eve of the season, so it would be fantastic to receive a boost in this pre-season that we can return to the club’s home.

“It will make a massive difference. There’s no guarantee it would in terms of results but in terms of the feel-good-factor around the club it would make a huge difference. It would be wonderful to play at your home ground and I do think the players would receive a huge lift from that kind of news.”

More CCFPA Members Want The City Back in Coventry

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In recent days we have revealed that two Sky Blues Former Players, recent Club captain (and now doing the same job for Derby County) Richard Keogh and F.A.Cup hero (and CCFPA committee member) Dave Bennett have publicly backed the Coventry Telegraph’s #bringCityhome campaign.

Benno’s interview with the Telegraph followed the massively supported protest march (organised by the Sky Blue Trust) by City fans from Gosford Green to the rally in Broadgate where amongst the speakers were former CCFC players from across the playing generations (and CCFPA members all), Ron Farmer, Micky Gynn and Association President Kirk Stephens supported by CCFPA vice chairman Billy Bell.

Carsley, L (Lee)The Telegraph have also interviewed two other former Sky Blues about their views concerning the Club’s seemingly continuing exile at Northampton Town’s Sixfields Stadium, Lee Carsley and CCFPA member Dele Adebola. Both players, like ‘Benno’ were part of the Sky Blues team who reached the semi finals of the Club Legends Cup in aid of charity last weekend and were interviewed after the tournament. The Telegraph’ report is reproduced below.

‘Lee, who had two spells with Coventry during different parts of his career, was also at the charity event and he urged both sides to find a speedy resolution to the exile. He said: “The main thing is that they try and get the situation resolved as quickly as possible. They performed really well at Northampton last season but it’s a really difficult situation. I, like many other players, remember playing at Highfield Road and the Ricoh Arena and it’s obvious Coventry need their own ground.”

Dele

Dele

The one-time Coventry caretaker manager, added: “The support from Sky Blues fans has been brilliant. I have played in a couple of charity matches there and the fans have come out in their droves. The fanbase is there and the loyalty is there – they just want to get home and support their own team.”

Meanwhile one-time Sky Blues striker Dele Adebola, who last season played for Rushall Olympic, has also backed the Telegraph campaign to take City home. He said: “I loved my time at Coventry and it’s really not nice to see them playing away from the Ricoh. From a perspective of looking in and not knowing the full details, you see that fantastic stadium lying empty and just think Coventry should be back at home”.

Adebola, who enjoyed nearly five years with Coventry, added: “There must be solution which can get the club home as quick as possible. Hopefully the latest talks can prove productive and it is what it takes to see Coventry return to the Ricoh“.’

Benno Fears Impact on CCFC Fans & Players If No Ricoh Return

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Bennett, D (Dave) 1987Coventry City Former Players Association committee member and FA Cup Legend Dave Bennett has stated his worries for the regeneration of the Sky Blues’ fan base should the latest hopes about talks to bring the Club back to its home from exile in Northampton come to nothing. In an interview with Coventry Telegraph excerpted below he expresses his fears that another season at Sixfields will endanger future generations of Sky Blues support. This could mean young fans missing out on seeing their Sky Blues heroes in their Coventry home, elderly fans unable to see their team in Coventry perhaps ever again and increasing numbers of supporters choosing to turn their backs on the team they once loved if the situation remains unresolved after more than a year.

The newspaper reports that ‘Bennett, speaking at this weekend’s Club Legends Cup in support of midlands-based charity Leukaemia Care, told the Telegraph he was increasingly concerned the lack of a football team in in the city was costing the club in the long term. He said: “It’s the next generation that we’re losing, they can’t watch Coventry in the city so they go and support someone else. It will have a devastating knock-on effect and in more ways than one, we have to get back to the Ricoh.

Bennett, D (Dave) 1986The former Sky Blues winger was part of the team that represented Coventry on Saturday at the LG Arena as some of the midlands finest former players played against each other. Due to his participation in the six-a-side tournament, Bennett was unable to attend the march but he’s hopeful it will persuade the main parties into some sort of agreement to see Sky Blues back at the Ricoh during the upcoming season. He said: “Unfortunately I couldn’t make the march, but heard it went down very well. I read that they are talking and that’s the main thing, hopefully we can get it sorted out and get back to the Ricoh.

Bennett also expressed his concern the lack of a proper home ground is encouraging the Sky Blues best players to leave after Callum Wilson joined Bournemouth earlier this month. He added: “It’s a great stadium, fan wise and even from a player perspective. You ask any player and they want to play at the highest level and the best stadiums they can, no disrespect to Northampton and Sixfields but it’s no wonder the best players are leaving.  You can tell that teams coming to the Ricoh always try harder and we’ve got to get back there. The way everything is going, we’ve got them talking, now hopefully they can shake hands and get Coventry back to the Ricoh.” ‘

Richard Keogh Backs CCFC Ricoh Return

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02 RICHARD KEOGHOn July 9th 2014 Coventry Telegraph carried an interview with Association member and former Sky Blue (and CCFPA) player of the season Richard Keogh regarding CCFC’s continuing predicament. The popular and down to earth former captain of the Sky Blues offers some typical common sense to Telegraph readers. The article is reproduced below.

Fans favourite Richard Keogh believes the warring factions in the Ricoh Arena saga need to grow up and get the club back to the Ricoh Arena.

The former Sky Blues defender, who is now captain of Championship side Derby County, has thrown his weight behind the Telegraph’s #bringCityback campaign, insisting enough is enough.

“It’s such a shame to see what’s happened to the club,” said the 27-year-old Irish international.

“I had two fantastic years at Coventry, at the Ricoh Arena where I really enjoyed my football. I had a great relationship with the fans and to see what has happened is so sad for them – they deserve so much better.

“I have been following the situation since I left the club and hopefully they can finally get something sorted because Coventry deserves to have their team in Coventry, it’s as simple as that.

“It’s such a shame and fair play to all the fans and players for getting through such a tough period and doing so well.

”Like most on the outside, Keogh, who was virtually ever-present for City during his two-year spell in 2010-12, believes a solution is simple if his former employers, the City Council and ACL show a bit more maturity.

“It seems such an easy thing to do to get around a table and talk about getting back,” he said.

“We’re all adults at the end of the day and I am sure everyone wants to see the club back at the Ricoh because it’s such a fantastic stadium.

“You have such a fantastic facility and no team there. I have such great memories playing there and when I signed for the club it was one of the first things that really appealed to me, to play in a stadium like that.

“So I think everyone needs to maybe grow up a little bit, put their egos and pride to one side and get the best decision, which is taking Coventry back to the Ricoh.