Coventry fans given hope after supporters' group holds talks over Ricoh Arena return

Sky Blues have begun their Leagie One campaign at Northampton's Sixfields Stadium after Ricoh dispute

Coventry supporters have been offered a glimmer of hope that the midlands club could return to the Ricoh Arena.

Supporters' group the Sky Blue Trust has held separate talks in the last 10 days with both stadium management company Arena Coventry Limited (ACL) and the Sky Bet League One outfit in an attempt to encourage new discussions between the warring parties.

City have been embroiled in a lengthy and bitter rent row with ACL which ultimately saw them leave the Ricoh over the summer and agree a three-year groundshare 34 miles away at Northampton's Sixfields Stadium while their proposed new stadium is built.

The move has proved deeply unpopular with Coventry fans, resulting in average attendances of around 2,000 for 'home' matches this season compared to 11,000 last term at the Ricoh, which now stands unused as a football venue.

But there could be fresh hope of a potential resolution for all those who would like to see Coventry back in their home city, which includes the Football League.

A statement from the Sky Blue Trust read: "ACL indicated to the Trust that they would be willing to discuss with the owners of CCFC the potential for a new rental deal at the stadium.

"Our understanding is that ACL would react positively to a business proposal from Otium Entertainment Group to discuss CCFC returning to the Ricoh Arena under such an arrangement.

"ACL indicated that they wished to put past disagreements behind them, draw a line in the sand and enter any discussions without prejudice or preconceptions.

"Whilst at this stage it is nothing more than an offer of discussions it is we believe a step in the right direction.

"We communicated the ACL response to (Coventry chief executive) Tim Fisher who has assured us that he will consult with the club's owners as to where they can take it from here.

"We would urge Tim Fisher and Joy Seppala to take into consideration the hopes and views of many thousands of Sky Blue fans and to respond to this opportunity positively. We would urge SISU/Otium to make an immediate approach to ACL to begin the rental discussions."

The statement added: "The Sky Blue Trust has been working hard to achieve this potential opportunity for discussions and urges both sides to grasp it."

Coventry, hit with a 10-point deduction at the start of the season, have already climbed out of the League One relegation zone and are unbeaten in six games, registering three wins and a draw so far from their four matches at Sixfields.

Meanwhile, between 3,500 and 4,000 City fans are expected to make the short trip to Staffordshire on Saturday for the club's clash with Port Vale.

PA

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