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Midweek Memoirs of Mr Bodell



Midweek Memoirs…could`ve been 'Midnight Memoirs` having got back from Coventry last night. Having planned the report for much of the way home, I woke up this morning to think of something to moan about this week. Then, looking through my notes from last night`s game, it struck me. The person I went with pointed out on the big screen that our corner kick was 'Sponsored` by Ian Neale I believe, whoever he is, he`s just got some free advertisement!

What an Earth has happened to Coventry City? A few years ago they were a reasonably-established Premier League side. Ok, they were never going to win the league, but they had some fine players in Huckerby, Ndlovu, Dublin and Ogrizovic to name but four. I`ve even managed to forget Gary McAllister and Chris Kirkland!

But anyway, their problems lie deeper than playing staff. If they are having to have corner kicks sponsored, then things must be bad financially at the Ricoh. Oh, hang on, 'THE RICOH`. Source of the problem perhaps?!

This beautiful new stadium which they must have been up to a hundred million for (at a guess) and they can`t fill it, so they don`t make revenue from ticket sales, so they have to get corner sponsors, corporate sponsors for every nook and cranny. Really, every nook and cranny. Try 'The Tesco Stand` for size, or wait for it, 'The Jewson Stand` or even 'The Coventry Telegraph Stand`!

It`s a sad state of affairs at Coventry, that is without doubt and when you imagine that I found out they have had a transfer embargo put on them because they can`t afford 650k for Leon Best. Make no mistake I`m not mocking them, there was a time not to long ago where we would have struggled to pay that sort of money for a player. As you can imagine the glee on my face as I found I had something to write about!

Football itself is in a sad state of affairs really. That said I still pay for a ticket, travel, programme, overpriced food and drink for a jaunt to Coventry in midweek, and so do 1600 other Watford fans who outsung the 15000 Sky Blues.

Coventry are one of many clubs who need to learn from a 'proper` club like Scunthorpe United. I made the long journey to Sunny Scunny a couple of weeks back and although they aren`t the biggest club, they go about things the right way.

Glanford Park may only hold 10 000, but it holds 10 000 every week. Seats aren`t wasted, money is made from full houses, week in week out. Remember this Coventry fans? Highfield Road. Not as small as Glanford Park, but still smaller than the Ricoh and packed to the rafters each week.

But someone got greedy. Not being a Coventry fan, I have no idea where the ideas, plans, development and ultimately decision for a new stadium came from. But someone got ideas above their station and now Coventry are in financial embarrassment.

You can try and excuse the move to the Ricoh by looking at the money raised by corporate sponsors, but really, how much is it? If the team aren`t doing well because Coventry can`t fill their ground and the atmosphere that would gee up the players isn`t there, what`s the point in being associated with Coventry City?
There isn`t.

I suppose, if I am making allowances, then Coventry have to share their catchment area for new or prospective fans with the likes of Leicester, Forest, Birmingham, Villa, Derby and so on. But really that`s a bigger catchment area than Scunny have, yet I wouldn`t mind betting they are in a much better financial situation. Obviously, two promotions has helped that cause, yet they haven`t had Premier League relegation parachute payments.

What I`m really trying to get at here is my worries with Watford. Although we are in superb financial condition at the moment, with Promotion, relegation and the sales of Young and Bouazza, things can change very quickly.

We might not be spending a hundred million on a new ground, but 'we` are spending a fair whack. I say 'we` because a lot is being paid for by sponsors. Hang on, here we go again…

…The last thing I want is for Watford to turn into a Coventry City. We don`t fill our relatively small ground as it is. Do you think we have a cat in hells chance of filling the 'Vic when it`s practically been re-built? Of course not.

In the grand scheme of things, one whiney article by a concerned fan isn`t going to make any difference; the plans are just going ahead. If anything, I want to be able to say 'I told you so` to those who are praising the move, if, if, things go wrong.

Keep the faith,

Tom Bodell



The Journalist

Writer: wfc123 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday October 24 2007

Time: 10:44AM

 

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