|Full name||Coventry City Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||The Sky Blues, The Singers|
|Founded||13 August 1883|
(as Singers F.C.)
|Ground||Coventry Building Society Arena|
|2022–23||EFL Championship, 5th of 24|
Coventry City formed as Singers F.C. in 1883 following a general meeting of the Singer Factory Gentleman's club. They adopted their current name in 1898 and joined the Southern League in 1908, before being selected into the Football League in 1919. Relegated in 1925, they returned to the Second Division as champions of the Third Division South and Third Division South Cup winners in 1935–36. Relegated in 1952, they won promotion in the inaugural Fourth Division season in 1958–59. Coventry reached the First Division after winning the Third Division title in 1963–64 and the Second Division title in 1966– 67 under the management of Jimmy Hill. In the 1970–71 season, the team competed in the European Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, reaching the second round. Despite beating Bayern Munich 2–1 in the home leg, they had lost 6–1 in the first leg in Germany, and thus were eliminated.
Coventry's only period in the top division to date lasted 34 consecutive years between 1967 and 2001, and the club were inaugural members of the Premier League in 1992. They won the FA Cup in 1987, the club's only major trophy, when they beat Tottenham Hotspur 3–2. They experienced further relegations in 2012 and 2017, though did manage to win the EFL Trophy in 2017.
Coventry returned to Wembley in 2018, beating Exeter City in the League Two play-off final. Manager Mark Robins built on this success guiding the Sky Blues to eighth in League One the next season and then led the club to promotion back to the EFL Championship as League One champions in 2020. In the 2022–23 season, Coventry secured a play-off place in the Championship, before losing the play-off final to Luton Town on penalties. For 106 years, from 1899 to 2005, Coventry City played at Highfield Road. The 32,609-capacity Coventry Arena was opened in August 2005 to replace Highfield Road, but the club has struggled with the new stadium lease since moving.
Early years (1883–1919) Edit
Coventry City was founded in 1883 as Singers F.C., following a meeting between William Stanley and seven colleagues from the Singer Cycle Company at the Lord Aylesford Inn in Hillfields. It was one of several 19th century clubs linked to Coventry's bicycle factories, and the company founder George Singer was its first president. Singers joined the Birmingham County Football Association in 1884 and played around forty games in their first four years at Dowells Field in the Stoke area. In early seasons they lacked a regular playing staff and sometimes lacked equipment such as goal nets. In 1887, the club moved to the larger Stoke Road Ground, which had rudimentary stands, and they charged an entrance fee for the first time. The following five seasons were very successful, culminating in back-to-back Birmingham Junior Cup titles in 1891 and 1892.
Singers turned professional in 1892 and joined the Birmingham & District League in 1894, competing against strong reserve sides from established regional teams such as Aston Villa. Coventry residents not connected to the cycle company began supporting the club, and it was renamed Coventry City in 1898. Highfield Road opened in 1899, but its construction caused a financial crisis and subsequent salary disputes with the players. The club endured several poor seasons on the field, having to re-apply for membership of the league three times in the space of five years. In 1901, Coventry suffered their worst ever defeat with an 11–2 loss against Worcester-based Berwick Rangers in the qualifying round of the FA Cup. The club became a limited company in July 1907 and the team was more successful the following season, reaching the first round proper of the FA Cup for the first time before being eliminated by Crystal Palace.
In 1908, Coventry joined the Southern League, at the time the third-strongest English division. In their second season, Coventry reached the FA Cup quarter final, beating top-flight teams Preston and Nottingham Forest before losing to Everton. Another two successful seasons followed but in 1914 the club was relegated, amid renewed financial problems. Its economic health worsened as attendances dropped sharply, and the club was in danger of dissolution. It was saved in part by the abandonment of competitive football in mid-1915 due to World War I. The club's debts were then paid off by benefactor David Cooke in 1917. During the war, they played some friendly matches against local clubs and joined a temporary wartime division for 1918–19.
League football and the "Old Five" (1919–1945) Edit
In 1919, Coventry submitted a successful application to join the Football League and were placed into the Second Division for the 1919–20 season, the first played after the war. In preparation for league football, the club invested in new players and increased Highfield Road's capacity to 40,000. They avoided finishing last in 1919–20 when they won their final game against Bury, but this result was later found to be rigged, the club receiving a heavy fine in 1923. In 1924–25, after their sixth successive relegation battle, Coventry finished bottom of the table and dropped into the Third Division North. A year later they were asked by the League to switch to the Third Division South, to keep the sizes of the divisions even. Their poor form continued, and in 1927–28 they narrowly avoided having to seek re-election. Supporters rioted after the final game that season, some calling for the club to be wound up and a phoenix club established in its place. In 1928, the club's worst ever attendance was recorded with a gate of 2,059 for a match against Crystal Palace.
In addition to poor form on the field, the club ran into financial difficulties by the end of the 1920s, having to rely on fundraisers by supporters and a cash injection by Cooke, who had become club president. A committee of enquiry in 1928 concluded that the club was being mismanaged, leading to resignation of chairman W. Carpenter and his replacement by Walter Brandish. The club's form began to improve under the new board, and the appointment of Harry Storer as manager in 1931 brought in an era of success at the club. Coventry scored a total of 108 goals in the 1931–32 season, gaining the nickname "The Old Five" as a result of scoring five or more in many games. New signing Clarrie Bourton's individual tally of 49 goals was the Football League record for that season, and his overall total of 50 remains the club record. Two further 100-goal seasons followed, the first time in the league that a team had achieved three in a row, and Coventry recorded their largest ever league victory in April 1934, 9–0 against Bristol City. Despite scoring heavily, Coventry missed out on promotion every season until 1935–36, when they finished as Third Division North champions.
The club continued their good form in the second tier, finishing eighth, fourth and fourth again between 1936 and 1939. They also constructed a new main stand and purchased the freehold of Highfield Road, utilising a loan of £20,000 from local motor-industry entrepreneur John Siddeley. In 1937–38 they met with Midlands rivals Aston Villa the first time in league football, securing with a win and a draw in the two meetings as well as a higher-placed finish than the Birmingham club. In September 1939, the league season was aborted after three games due to the start of World War II. Many supporters at the time blamed the war for robbing the team of a probable imminent promotion to the First Division, although several top players including Bourton had been sold by 1939, and attendances had begun to fall. Coventry continued playing some friendly games until November 1940, when the Coventry Blitz damaged the stadium and brought all football in the city to a halt. Friendly matches resumed again in 1942, as parts of Highfield Road had been rebuilt, and the team joined the Midland Regional League.
Rise to the First Division, Europe, and FA Cup victory (1945–1987) Edit
Storer left Coventry for Birmingham City after the war, and many of the 1939 squad had retired by 1945. New manager Dick Bayliss assembled a squad with a mixture of pre-war players and newcomers, but his tenure was cut short when he died after being stranded in a snow storm in 1947. Replacement Billy Frith was dismissed following a poor start to 1948–49 and the club persuaded Storer to return from Birmingham. In 1950–51, Coventry led the Second Division table at Christmas, but a poor run ended their promotion hopes and the following season they were relegated. They spent the next six seasons in the Third Division South, with seven different managers, but were never in contention for promotion. The average attendance at Highfield Road dropped sharply during this period, and several top players had to be sold amid financial difficulties. In 1958, the north and south divisions were replaced by a single nationwide third and a new fourth. Coventry were placed in the latter as a result of a bottom-half finish in 1957–58. Three games into 1958–59, the club occupied its lowest ever overall league position, 91st, but recovered to secure promotion back into the third tier.
The appointment of Derrick Robins as chairman in 1958 and Jimmy Hill as manager in 1961, marked the start of the "Sky Blue revolution" at the club. Hill changed the club's kit colour and nickname, introduced the Sky Blue Song, and added pre-match entertainment. Backed by an injection of cash from Robins, Hill led Coventry to the Third and Second Division championships in 1964 and 1967 respectively, taking them to the top division for the first time. Coventry's record attendance was set in 1967, against fellow title-chasers Wolverhampton Wanderers; the official gate was 51,455 although the club estimated that the figure was higher. In 1969–70, under Hill's successor Noel Cantwell, the club finished sixth in the First Division, which as of 2022[update] remains their highest ever position. The top-six finish earned them a place in the 1970–71 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, which ended in the second round with a 7–3 aggregate defeat against Bayern Munich. In the mid-1970s, the club faced renewed financial difficulty and sold several top players. A relegation battle followed in 1976–77, which culminated in a controversial 2–2 draw with Bristol City that saw both sides survive at the expense of Sunderland, playing out the final minutes without any attempt to score further goals. A season of success followed in 1977–78, as Coventry finished seventh, narrowly missing a European place. In 1980–81, Coventry reached their first major semi-final, losing to West Ham United in the League Cup.
Hill returned to the club as managing director in 1975, and was elevated to chairman in 1980. He initiated several transformations at the club, including the conversion of Highfield Road to England's first all-seat stadium in 1981, and the opening of a sports centre and training ground in Ryton-on-Dunsmore. Hill attempted to rename the club "Coventry Talbot", after their sponsors, but this was rejected by the Football Association. To pay for the developments, the club sold top players including popular striker Tommy Hutchison, and results suffered. Hill was forced out of the club in 1983 and terraces reintroduced. Despite surviving relegation battles for four successive seasons, with three changes of manager, by 1986 the club had assembled a strong squad. Under duo George Curtis and John Sillett, they spent most of the following season in the top eight, and advanced to the 1987 FA Cup Final. In a match later described by Steven Pye of The Guardian' as a "classic final", Coventry beat Tottenham Hotspur 3–2 at Wembley which, as of 2022[update], is the club's only major trophy to date.
Recent history (1987–present) Edit
Coventry's FA Cup defence ended with a fourth-round defeat to Watford, followed a season later by one of the biggest upsets in FA Cup history when they lost 2–1 to non-league Sutton United in the third round. They finished seventh in the league that season, however, their highest finish since 1978. A last-day escape in 1991–92 earned Coventry a place in the newly-formed Premier League. Bryan Richardson took over as club chairman in summer 1993, making large sums of money available for players over subsequent years. With Ron Atkinson and then Gordon Strachan as manager, Coventry signed several high-profile players such as Dion Dublin, Moustapha Hadji and Robbie Keane, but did not finish higher than 11th place for the remainder of their Premier League tenure.
In 1997, Richardson revealed the initial proposals for a new stadium in the north of Coventry, at the time envisaged as having 40,000 seats and included in England's unsuccessful bid for the 2006 World Cup. The project was backed by Coventry City Council and gained planning permission in 1998, but involved high costs, inducing the board to sell Highfield Road to a property developer and lease it back, before construction had started. On the field, Coventry were forced by the rising debts to sell their top players without replacement, and were finally relegated in 2000–01, ending 34 years of continuous tenure in the top flight.
In their first season back in the second tier, Coventry occupied 4th place with seven games remaining, but ultimately finished 11th, outside the play-off places. The new stadium opened in 2005, having been reduced in size and delayed several times; the club had previously sold its 50% share to the Alan Higgs charity to repay debts. The club's financial situation remained poor, and by 2007 they faced the possibility of being forced out of business; this was averted when the club was bought by hedge fund owner Sisu Capital. Led by chairman Ray Ranson, Coventry signed several promising youngsters in the early Sisu years, but they failed to achieve on-field success. Sisu began reducing investment from 2009 as debts mounted, leading eventually to Ranson's resignation in 2011. They were relegated to League One in 2012, and were forced to groundshare with Northampton Town for more than a year from 2013, following a rent dispute with the Ricoh Arena owners. The club also fell into liquidation, but were allowed to continue playing in League One under Sisu company Otium.
In 2016–17, Coventry were relegated to League Two, but also won the EFL Trophy in the same season, their first trophy for 30 years. The following season, their first in the fourth tier since 1959, they were promoted straight back, finishing sixth and beating Exeter City in the play-off final. Two seasons later, they were promoted again, being awarded the League One championship via a points-per-game system after the season was curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of curtailment in March 2020, they led the table with 67 points from 34 games. They were exiled from the Ricoh Arena again from 2019 to 2021, playing their home games at St Andrew's in Birmingham, amid ongoing legal action by Sisu over the 2014 purchase of the stadium by rugby club Wasps, which concluded only in 2022 when the European Commission declined to hear an appeal.
The Sisu era at Coventry City ended in 2023, when local businessman Doug King purchased the club. King had also attempted to acquire the CBS Arena, after both Wasps and the stadium holding company had fallen into administration, but his bid came too late and the stadium was eventually sold to Mike Ashley. Coventry went on to finish fifth in the Championship at the end of the season, earning a play-off place. After beating Middlesbrough in the semi-final they played in the 2023 EFL Championship play-off final at Wembley, missing out on promotion to the Premier League after a 6–5 penalty shoot-out defeat against Luton Town.
Playing kit Edit
Coventry's home shirts are either completely or predominantly sky blue. However, in past seasons, different 'home colours' were worn. For example, in 1889, the then Singers FC wore pink and blue halved shirts (mirroring the corporate colours of Singers Motors). Furthermore, in the 1890s, black and red were the club's colours. In the early 1920s, the club wore red and green (to reflect the colours of the city crest). Sky blue was first used by Coventry in 1898 and the theme was used until 1922. Variations of blue and white were then used until the 1960s and the beginning of the 'sky blue revolution'. The colour made its return in 1962 thanks to the then manager, Jimmy Hill. To mark the 125th year of the club, Coventry wore a special brown shirt in the last home game of the 2008–09 season against Watford, having first worn a chocolate brown away kit in 1978. This kit has been cited by some as the worst in English football history, but also has an iconic status with some fans.
In 2012, in the Third round FA Cup tie versus Southampton, the team wore a commemorative blue and white striped kit, marking the 25th anniversary of the club winning the FA Cup in 1987. The strip was worn again in January 2013 for Coventry's 3rd round FA Cup fixture with Tottenham Hotspur, whom they beat in the 1987 final. In 2019, Coventry City announced a new third kit in black and white honouring the city's connection with 2 Tone Records on the 40th anniversary of the record label.
Kit maker and sponsorship Edit
The first official kit manufacture deal came in 1974 when Umbro signed a deal with the club. Coventry also had the first kit sponsorship deal in the football league, when Jimmy Hill, then Chairman of the club, negotiated a deal with Talbot, who manufactured cars in the city.
|Period||Kit manufacturer||Shirt sponsor||Shorts sponsor|
|1974–75||Umbro||None||None or N/A|
|1986–87||Triple S Sport||Granada Bingo|
|1996–97||Le Coq Sportif|
|1999–2004||In House Manufacturer (CCFC Leisure)|
|2013–14||Grace Medical Fund (charity partner)|
|2014–15||Allsopp & Allsopp|
|2019–20||Hummel International||Allsopp & Allsopp||The Exams Office|
|2020–21||BoyleSports (front), Jingltree (back)||G&R Scaffolding (home), SIMIAN Aspects Training (away)|
|2021–2023||BoyleSports (front), XL Motors (back)|
|2023-||King of Shaves (front), XL Motors (sleeve), Coventry Building Society (rear)||G&R Scaffolding|
- Dowells Field: 1883–1887
- Stoke Road: 1887–1899
- Highfield Road: 1899–2005
- Coventry Building Society Arena: 2005–2013, 2014–2019, 2021– (known as the Ricoh Arena 2005–2021)
- Sixfields Stadium: 2013–2014 (ground-share with Northampton Town for 27 competitive matches)
- St Andrew's: 2019–2021 (ground-share with Birmingham City for 46 competitive matches)
- Pirelli Stadium: 2022 (ground-share with Burton Albion for 1 competitive match)
106 years at Highfield Road Edit
Coventry City began playing at the Highfield Road stadium in 1899 within the Hillfields district of the city, although the club did not buy the freehold to the site until 1937.
In November 1940, the main stand which backed onto terraced houses in Mowbray Street was bombed by the Luftwaffe. Heavy turnstiles from the ground and gas meters from houses in Mowbray Street were discovered in Gosford Park, some 500 metres away. Bombs also damaged the roof of the terrace at the city end of the ground and the pitch resulting in the ground being unusable for more than two years.
The record crowd at the ground was on 29 April 1967 when 51,452 watched the Second Division title decider against Wolverhampton Wanderers. This was over 6,000 more than the previous record of 44,930 set against Aston Villa in 1938. Many people who were at the Wolves game suggest the attendance was higher, possibly over 55,000. Supporters climbed onto the roofs of the stands and up the floodlights.
In 1968, the main stand and the club’s offices suffered serious damage in a fire following a reserve game. The Second Division Championship trophy was destroyed in the fire and the club decided to demolish the stand and built its replacement within four months. Ten days after the fire the club hosted Manchester United and were able to use half the stand. The game attracted the club’s second highest attendance of all time (47,111).
In 1981, Highfield Road was converted into England's first-ever all-seater stadium with a capacity of around 24,500, which many criticised as killing the atmosphere of the ground. Some seats were removed a few years later. It had been gradually upgraded since then, with the final phase of work being completed in the mid-1990s, including two fully enclosed corners, providing some much-needed modernity. On 30 April 2005, the final game played at the stadium was against Midlands rivals Derby County; Coventry won 6–2. The stadium was subsequently demolished and replaced by a housing development.
Coventry Building Society Arena Edit
For the 2005–06 season, Coventry City moved to the new 32,609-capacity Coventry Building Society Arena (then named the Ricoh Arena) after 106 years at Highfield Road. In 1998, the club had decided that it was time to relocate to a new stadium in the Rowleys Green area of the city, 3+1⁄2 miles (5.6 km) north of the city centre and close to junction 3 of the M6 motorway. The original plan was for a state-of-the-art, 45,000-seater multipurpose stadium with removable pitch and retractable roof. It was due to be ready for the 2001–02 season and was touted to be one of the finest and most advanced stadiums in Europe. However, the club's subsequent relegation, financial problems, financier/contractor withdrawals, and England's failure to secure the 2006 World Cup competition led to a radical redesign. The resulting stadium was built to a standard bowl design with steep stands in line with several other new stadia built during that period. It has excellent acoustics and has been used to host several major rock concerts.
Despite initiating the project and being the principal attraction there, Coventry City's financial situation means that it no longer owned the stadium and must pay rent to use it; this appeared to raise concerns over the managing of the club's finances by previous club officials, because in 2001 the club was the fourth-longest serving club in the top flight of English football. The stadium naming rights were originally sold to Jaguar Cars, which has strong links with Coventry. Jaguar pulled out of the project on 16 December 2004 and a new major sponsor was needed. A £10 million deal, which included naming rights, was signed and electronics manufacturer Ricoh became the new chief sponsor for the stadium. The project was funded largely by Coventry City Council and the (Alan Edward) Higgs Charity (of which former CCFC and ACL director the late Sir Derek Higgs was a trustee), and includes shopping facilities, a casino, exhibition halls and a concert venue.
At the beginning of the 2005–06 season, construction delays at the ground forced Coventry City to play their first three games of the season away and postpone their home games. On Saturday 20 August 2005, City hosted Queens Park Rangers in the first-ever game at the Ricoh Arena; Coventry won the game 3–0. On 28 July 2011, a statue of Jimmy Hill was installed at the main entrance to the Ricoh Arena, with Hill appearing in person to unveil it.
On 3 May 2013, Coventry City put a contingency plan in place to play elsewhere for the 2013–14 season. It was argued by the club that this was due to ACL (Arena Coventry Limited), which managed the stadium, being unwilling to negotiate with the club to agree to a new lease. However, that led to the local newspaper, the Coventry Telegraph, starting a petition to stop Coventry City from playing outside of Coventry. It was sent to all 72 clubs in the Football League and Football League chairman Greg Clarke. In May 2013, managing director Tim Fisher set a plan of building a new stadium within the city over the next three years, and ground-sharing whilst the new ground was being built. In June 2013, ACL made an offer that Coventry City F.C. could play at the Ricoh Arena rent free while the club was in administration.
It was believed that Coventry City might ground-share with Walsall at the Bescot Stadium or attempt to stay at the Ricoh Arena, following the appointment of new owners. However, by July 2013, the Walsall rumours were denied and the club ground-shared at Northampton Town's Sixfields Stadium – a venue that had less than a quarter the capacity of the Ricoh Arena, and involved a round-trip of 70 miles (110 km). That arrangement was due to continue until at least 2016. Plans for the club to play its home matches outside of the city were met with strong opposition, and led to protests by Coventry fans. Member of parliament for Coventry South, Jim Cunningham, described the move as "a disgrace".
Return to the Coventry Building Society Arena Edit
On 21 August 2014 it was announced that an agreement had been reached allowing the club to return to the Ricoh Arena for the next two years with the option of another two years. Coventry City's first home game back at the Ricoh Arena was played against Gillingham on 5 September 2014. Steve Waggott, who led the negotiations for the club, said: "We are delighted to get this deal done and I am sure every supporter of Coventry City will be thrilled with the news." City won their first match back at the Ricoh Arena 1–0 with Frank Nouble scoring the only goal of the match in front of 27,306 supporters.
The return followed a social media campaign entitled #bringCityhome by the Coventry Telegraph and a protest march by the Sky Blue Trust supporters' group. The campaign drew praise from national media and figures within the football world. It was short-listed at the 2014 British Press Awards in the "Campaign of the Year" category.
Because the tenancy agreement with Wasps was to expire in August 2018, it was reported in November 2015 that there would be a relocation to another site within the city. However it was later confirmed that Coventry City would remain at the Ricoh Arena for another year.
In May 2016 the Coventry Telegraph broke the news that the club had drawn up plans with Coventry Rugby Club for a ground-share arrangement at a redeveloped Butts Park Arena. That was eventually denied by Rugby Club chairman Jon Sharp, who said there could be no deal with the football club while it was still owned by SISU.
St Andrew's Edit
On 7 June 2019 it was reported that talks between SISU and Wasps had again broken down meaning that Coventry would have to play their 2019–20 home matches at Birmingham City's St Andrew's ground.
The club had the option to spend a further two seasons away from Coventry and remained at St Andrew's for the 2020–21 season. The club returned to the Coventry Building Society Arena in August 2021, ending the ground-share agreement between Coventry and Birmingham.
New Stadium at the University of Warwick and second return to Coventry Edit
In March 2021, the club announced that they had secured a ten-year agreement to return to the Ricoh Arena from the start of the 2021–22 season. The deal, described by the club's owners as "the best the club has had in terms of commercial revenue" during their time at the stadium, would not affect the longer-term goal of constructing a new stadium. The new deal also included a seven-year break clause should the club require it.
On 5 May 2021, it was announced that the Ricoh Arena would be renamed for the first time, when it would become the Coventry Building Society Arena. The name change came into effect in July 2021 as a part of a 10-year naming rights deal with the building society.
On 8 August 2021, Coventry City played Nottingham Forest at the Coventry Building Society Arena in the club's first game back at the ground in 2 years and their first Championship game in Coventry since 2012. They won the match 2-1. On 16 September 2021, Coventry City owner Joy Seppala told the BBC the club remained "firmly committed" to a new stadium, planned for a site owned by the University of Warwick.
The club were forced to move at least 1 match away from Coventry again in August 2022 when their EFL Cup match against Bristol City was held at Burton Albion's Pirelli Stadium due to the pitch being deemed "unsafe".
Arena Coventry entered Administration in November 2022 and was subsequently bought by Frasers Group. Coventry City did not sign to continue the previous deal with the new owners and were issued a notice of eviction on 5 December unless they signed a new deal which only ran until May 2023. The new deal was signed on 13 December meaning the Sky Blues would remain at the CBS Arena only until at least May 2023. The deal was subsequently extended by 5 years; additional guarantees in the lease included that City would be the sole tenant of the CBS Arena throughout the lease, would move back into the original home dressing room (previously used by Wasps), a new club shop, and enhanced Sky Blues branding in the concourse.
Former Players' Association Edit
In February 2007 a Former Players' Association was launched. Set up by club historian and statistician Jim Brown, former 1980s player Kirk Stephens and a committee of volunteers, its aim was to bring former players of the club together and cherish their memories. To qualify for membership players have to have made at least one first-team competitive appearance for the club or been a manager.
Around 50 former stars of the club attended the launch including Coventry City legends George Hudson, Cyrille Regis, Charlie Timmins and Bill Glazier. The association's first newsletter was published in autumn 2007 and a website launched. The launch of 2007 was followed by subsequent Legends' Days. The 2009 event, held at the home game against Doncaster Rovers was attended by 43 former players including the first visit to Coventry for many years of Roy Barry and Dave Clements. In March 2012 the membership had increased past the 200 mark with former captain Terry Yorath inducted as the 200th member at the 2012 Legends' Day.
Legends’ Day has become an almost permanent fixture amongst Coventry supporters. Legends’ Day has been held almost every year since the Inaugural Event. The only exceptions being in 2014 when the club were exiled playing home games in Northampton and in 2020 and 2021 after fans were shut out of stadiums as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The club’s support is collectively known as The Sky Blue Army. In Coventry and Warwickshire the use of the term ‘Going Up The City’ is a term used to say you are going to watch a Coventry City match.
The club’s support massively dropped off in the years of the SISU ownership, with the decline in average attendances falling in line with the club’s slide down the league pyramid. The exit from The Ricoh Arena in 2013 led to many supporters protesting against SISU’s ownership of the club and a section of the support enforce a ‘Not One Penny More’ policy in which its backers vowed not to give any more money to the club as long as SISU remained in charge.
In the 2013-14 season, in which the club was exiled at Northampton Town’s Sixfields Stadium the average attendance dropped to just over 2,000.
The Sky Blue Trust is the largest member-based supporters club and in its peak was fighting to gain a stake in the club and to get fan representation on the board of directors. As of 2022 The Sky Blue Trust are less vocal and are viewed as obsolete by many supporters.
Sky Blue anthem Edit
The words to the club's song were written in 1962 by Team Manager Jimmy Hill and Director John Camkin; The words being set to the tune of the Eton Boating Song. It was launched at the home game with Colchester on 22 December 1962 (a match abandoned at half-time because of fog) with the words printed in the programme. It quickly became popular with supporters during the epic FA Cup run in 1963 when the then Third Division team reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup before losing to eventual winners Manchester United:
The principal of the Red Bull Formula 1 team Christian Horner was outed as a supporter of the club when he jokingly claimed in an interview with Sky F1 he was trying to convince Kevin De Bruyne to join the club.
Comedian Josh Pugh grew up in nearby Atherstone and currently lives in Coventry and supports the Sky Blues.
From the world of music, Musician Neville Staple of The Specials is also a keen supporter of the club and in 2019, appeared in a kit launch for the clubs new ‘Two Tone’ themed Third Kit. Tom Clarke, Andy Hopkins and Liam Watts who formed local rock band The Enemy are all big City supporters.
Politician Geoffrey Robinson is a fan of the club and once served as Chairman.
Leicester City are considered Coventry City's main rival and the two clubs compete the M69 Derby. However, largely due to the clubs' differing fortunes meetings between the two have been rare in recent years; the two clubs had not played each other between 2012 and 2023. The clubs meet for the first time in eleven years in the 2023–24 EFL Championship season, following Leicester's relegation from the Premier League.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s and to the turn of the millennium, Aston Villa were considered Coventry's main rivals as they continually competed against each other in the First Division and then the Premier League. The two clubs however have not met since Coventry's relegation from the Premier League in 2001.
In the 1960s and 1970s there was intense rivalry with Wolverhampton Wanderers which started in 1965 after Wolves were relegated from Division One and the two clubs met in Division Two. The two sides were promoted together in 1967 and there were fierce battles in both city centres when the clubs met during the period. There was also rivalries with West Bromwich Albion and Walsall but these are much less fierce than the ones with Leicester, Wolves and Villa.
A local rivalry also exists with Birmingham City, however the ground share agreement at St Andrew's between 2019 and 2021 - which effectively spared Coventry from being expelled from the EFL - has led to friendlier relations between the two clubs’ supporters.
The club has an unusual long-distance rivalry with North-East side Sunderland, which stems back to the end of the 1976–77 season, when Coventry, Sunderland and Bristol City were all battling against relegation from Division One on the final day of the season. With Coventry and Bristol City facing each other at Highfield Road, the referee, on the advice of the police, delayed the kick-off of the match by five minutes as many fans were still trying to enter the ground and there was a risk of serious trouble. Sunderland, who were playing away to Everton at the same time, lost 2-0, and the result was displayed on the Highfield Road scoreboard. There were still five minutes left to play and Coventry and Bristol City effectively stopped playing knowing that a 2–2 draw would keep both teams up and send Sunderland down. There was an inquiry but the result was allowed to stand and Sunderland were relegated. Some Sunderland fans have held a grudge and there has been some rivalry more recently as the two clubs competed for promotion from League One together in 2018–19 and 2019–20. In 2018–19 crowd trouble marred the meetings between the two at The Ricoh Arena and The Stadium of Light leading to numerous arrests among both sets of fans.
First-team squad Edit
- As of 1 September 2023
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan Edit
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Under-21 squad Edit
- As of 1 September 2023
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan Edit
Under-18 squad Edit
- As of 1 August 2023
Backroom staff and club officials Edit
† Coventry City deducted 10 points by the Football League for going into administration.
†† Coventry City deducted 10 points by the Football League.
††† Bury were expelled from the EFL on 27 August 2019 due to financial issues at the club. The season was postponed on 13 March 2020 and later concluded prematurely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with league positions and promotions decided on a points-per-game basis.
* Season in progress.
- Second Division / Championship (level 2)
- Champions: 1966–67
- Third Division / League One (level 3)
- Third Division South (level 3)
- Fourth Division / League Two (level 4)
- FA Cup
- Winners: 1986–87
- FA Charity Shield
- Runners-up: 1987
- EFL Trophy
- Third Division South Cup
- Winners: 1935–36
Notable players Edit
Official Hall of Fame Edit
Notable Academy graduates Edit
|Tom Bayliss||2017–18 EFL League Two play-off winner with Coventry|
|Gaël Bigirimana||2017 EFL Trophy Final winner with Coventry, 2012 Championship Apprentice Award winner|
|Willie Boland||Over 200 appearances for Cardiff City, 2001–02 FAW Premier Cup winner|
|Lee Burge||2017–18 EFL League Two play-off winner with Coventry, 2017 EFL Trophy Final winner with Coventry, over 150 appearances for Coventry|
|Cyrus Christie||24 international caps and 2 goals for Republic of Ireland, over 100 appearances for Coventry|
|Jordan Clarke||Over 100 appearances for Coventry|
|Jonson Clarke-Harris||2017–18 EFL League Two play-off winner with Coventry, youngest player to play in a first-team match for Coventry|
|Josh Eccles||Over 50 appearances for Coventry|
|John Eustace||Coventry club captain|
|Marcus Hall||England U21 captain, over 300 appearances for Coventry|
|Ryan Haynes||2017–18 EFL League Two play-off winner with Coventry, 2017 EFL Trophy Final winner with Coventry|
|Ryan Howley||2022 Championship Apprentice Award winner|
|Dean Kiely||11 international caps for Republic of Ireland, 2007–08 Championship Golden Glove, two-time Football League Championship winner|
|Chris Kirkland||1 international cap for England, 2004–05 UEFA Champions League winner|
|James Maddison||2 international caps for England, part of England 2022 World Cup squad, January 2018 EFL Young Player of the Month|
|Gary McSheffrey||Over 250 appearances for Coventry, two-time Football League Championship runner-up|
|Roy O'Donovan||2 caps for Republic of Ireland B, 2015–16 A-League Goal of the Year winner|
|Isaac Osbourne||Over 100 appearances for Coventry|
|Jordan Ponticelli||2017–18 EFL League Two play-off winner with Coventry|
|Josh Ruffels||Over 300 appearances for Oxford United|
|Jordan Shipley||2019–20 EFL League One winner with Coventry, 2017–18 EFL League Two play-off winner with Coventry, over 100 appearances for Coventry|
|Ben Stevenson||2017 EFL Trophy Final winner with Coventry|
|Daniel Sturridge||26 international caps and 8 goals for England, 2011–12 UEFA Champions League winner, 2009–10 Premier League winner|
|Conor Thomas||Over 100 appearances for Coventry|
|George Thomas||2017 EFL Trophy Final winner with Coventry|
|Kevin Thomson||3 international caps for Scotland, two-time Scottish Premier League winner, 2007–08 Scottish Cup winner|
|Kevin Thornton||Over 50 appearances for the first team, 2012–13 FA Trophy winner|
|Ben Turner||2012–13 Football League Championship winner|
|Andy Whing||Over 100 appearances for Coventry|
|Jordan Willis||2017–18 EFL League Two play-off winner with Coventry, 2017 EFL Trophy Final winner with Coventry, Coventry club captain, over 200 appearances for Coventry|
|Callum Wilson||6 international caps and 1 goal for England, part of England 2022 World Cup squad, two Premier League hat-tricks, 2014–15 Football League Championship winner|
Player records Edit
|Highest transfer fee paid||Haji Wright, £7,700,000 in 2023 (from Antalyaspor)|
|Highest transfer fee received||Viktor Gyökeres, £20,500,000 in 2023 (to Sporting CP)|
|Most appearances (all competitions)||Steve Ogrizovic, 601 (1984–2000)|
|Most appearances (league)||Steve Ogrizovic, 504 (1984–2000)|
|All-time top scorer (all competitions)||Clarrie Bourton, 182 goals (1931–1937)|
|All-time top scorer (league)||Clarrie Bourton, 173 goals (1931–1937)|
|Top-flight era top scorer (all competitions)||Dion Dublin, 72 goals (1994–1998)|
|Top-flight era top scorer (league)||Dion Dublin, 60 goals (1994–1998)|
|Most goals by one player in a game|| Arthur Bacon, 5 (vs Gillingham, 1933)|
Clarrie Bourton, 5 (vs Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic, 1931)
Cyrille Regis, 5 (vs Chester City, 1985)
|Most goals by one player in a season||Clarrie Bourton, 50 (1931–1932, 49 league, 1 FA Cup)|
|Most goals by one player in a season in top-flight|| Dion Dublin, 23 (1997–1998)|
Ian Wallace, 23 (1977–1978)
|Oldest player to play in a first-team match||Alf Wood, 43 years 207 days (vs Plymouth Argyle, 1958)|
|Youngest player to play in a first-team match||Jonson Clarke-Harris, 16 years 21 days (substitute vs Morecambe, 2010)|
|Youngest player to start a first-team match||Brian Hill, 16 years 273 days (vs Gillingham, 1958)|
- William Stanley (1883–1885)
- Harry Hathaway (1885–1887)
- J.G. Morgan (1887–1892)
- Teddy Kirk (1893)
- George Maley (1893)
- Joe Collins (1893–1895)
- Tom Cashmore (1895–1900)
- Ben Newhall (1900–1902)
- Michael O'Shea (1902–1905)
- Joe Beaman (1905–1908)
- Walter Harris (1908–1909)
- Harry Buckle (1909–1911)
- Robert Wallace & committee (1911–1914)
- Frank Scott-Walford & committee (1914–1915)
- H. Howard & committee (1915–1916)
- William Clayton (1917–1919)
- Harry Pollitt (1919–1920)
- Albert Evans (1920–1924)
- Harry Harbourne (caretaker) (1924–1925)
- James Kerr (1925–1928)
- VACANT (March 1928 – June 1928)
- Jimmy McIntyre (1928–1931)
- Bill Slade (caretaker) (1931)
- Harry Storer (1931–1945)
- Dick Bayliss (1945–1947)
- VACANT (April 1947 – June 1947)
- Billy Frith (1947–1948)
- Harry Storer (1948–1953)
- VACANT (November 1953 – January 1954)
- Jack Fairbrother (1954)
- Charlie Elliott (caretaker) (1954–1955)
- Jesse Carver (1955)
- George Raynor (1956)
- Harry Warren (1956–1957)
- Billy Frith (1957–1961)
- Jimmy Hill (1961–1967)
- Noel Cantwell (1967–1972)
- Bob Dennison (caretaker) (1972)
- Joe Mercer (1972–1974)
- Gordon Milne (1974–1981)
- Dave Sexton (1981–1983)
- Bobby Gould (1983–1984)
- Don Mackay (1984–1986)
- John Sillett (Head Coach) (1986–1987)
- NOTE George Curtis was General Manager in 1986–1987, but with no team responsibilities.
- John Sillett (Manager) (1987–1990)
- Terry Butcher (1990–1992)
- Don Howe (caretaker) (1992)
- Bobby Gould (1992–1993)
- Phil Neal (1993–1995)
- Ron Atkinson (1995–1996)
- Gordon Strachan (1996–2001)
- Roland Nilsson (2001–2002)
- Steve Ogrizovic & Trevor Peake (caretakers) (2002)
- Gary McAllister (2002–2003)
- Eric Black (2003–2004)
- Steve Ogrizovic (caretaker) (2004)
- Peter Reid (2004–2005)
- Adrian Heath (caretaker) (2005)
- Micky Adams (2005–2007)
- Adrian Heath (caretaker) (2007)
- Iain Dowie (2007–2008)
- Frankie Bunn & John Harbin (caretakers) (2008)
- Chris Coleman (2008–2010)
- Aidy Boothroyd (2010–2011)
- Steve Harrison & Andy Thorn (caretakers) (2011)
- Andy Thorn (2011–2012)
- Richard Shaw & Lee Carsley (caretakers) (2012)
- Mark Robins (2012–2013)
- Lee Carsley (caretaker) (2013)
- Steven Pressley (2013–2015)
- Neil MacFarlane & Dave Hockaday (caretakers) (2015)
- Tony Mowbray (2015–2016)
- Mark Venus (caretaker) (2016)
- Russell Slade (2016–2017)
- Mark Robins (2017–)
- Thomas Owen (1907–1912)
- David Cooke (1912–1928)
- Walter Brandish (1928–1935)
- Fred Stringer (1935–1946)
- George Jones (1946–1954)
- W Erle Shanks (1954–1958)
- Walter Brandish Jr. (1958–1960)
- Derrick Robins (1960–1973)
- Peter Robins (1973–1975)
- Jack Scamp (1975–1977)
- Phil Mead (1977–1980)
- Jimmy Hill (1980–1983)
- Iain Jamieson (1983–1984)
- John Poynton (1984–1990)
- Peter Robins (1990–1993)
- John Clarke (1993)
- Bryan Richardson (1993–2002)
- Mike McGinnity (2002–2005)
- Geoffrey Robinson (2005–2007)
- Joe Elliott (2007)
- Ray Ranson (2007–2011)
- Ken Dulieu (2011)
- Vacant (2011–2014)
- Tim Fisher (2014–2023)
- Doug King (2023–)
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