COVENTRY City have sold 2,400 season tickets with a week to go before the ‘early bird’ discount offer expires, we have learned.
Club sources say it is not the big drop that some are claiming – despite relegation and talk by some campaigners of boycotting season tickets, not least after ‘owners’ Sisu rejected three bids by a consortium led by former vice-chairman Gary Hoffman to take over the club.
A club spokesman told us: “We’re currently on 2,400 with six days of early bird to go – ending May 31.
“In comparison, with four days to go last year of early bird we were on 3,100.
“So we are slightly down, but arguably not as much as some may have expected following relegation and calls for boycotts.”
The figure includes free season tickets for Junior Sky Blues (JSBs) under13, which constitute around 14 per cent of sales so far.
More than 5,000 season tickets were sold last year for League One after a reasonably successful 2015/6 season, which fell away after the club under Tony Mowbray was top of the league in November.
The rebuilding process under boss Mark Robins since March has been marked and has gathered pace since Coventry City were relegated to League Two – the fourth tier – for the first time since the 1960s in a dismal season which saw three other managers depart.
The club has already announced six summer signings which started with the return of midfielder Michael Doyle, who skippered Portsmouth to Division Two promotion last season.
He was followed by striker Marc McNulty (from Sheffield United), defenders Rod McDonald (Northampton Town) and Dominic Hyam (Reading), midfielder Liam Kelly (Orient) and goalkeeper Liam O’Brien (Portsmouth).
Robins said earlier this month: “We’re working hard and diligently to create an exciting team for supporters, and the best possible team for the start of next season and our push for promotion.
“I can only thank everyone who has bought a Season Ticket so far. The support of our fans is vital, and I cannot wait to see and hear the Ricoh rocking during next season in support of a team, and a club, that you can be proud of.”
Fans generally have shown their support for Robins while some campaigners hostile to the club’s owners Sisu have renewed calls for season ticket boycotts.
They include the Fighting The Jimmy Hill Way group (which has worked closely with the Sky Blue Trust) which tweeted on May 16: “GH (Gary Hoffman) won’t be renewing Season Ticket unless there is constructive dialogue with Sisu. Nor will we and suggest that others don’t.”
It comes after previous denials from its leader David Johnson that he or his group had urged or had even ‘talked up’ a boycott of season ticket sales.
He had previously told BBC Coventry and Warwickshire that low season ticket sales might be a mechanism for ‘fans’ to acquire the club through another points-deducting administration. His comments attracted widespread criticism on internet forums, and similar attempts to oust the owners via administration failed in 2013 while costing the team 20 League points.
Takeover attempts backed by the Sky Blue Trust and other parties including leading players at Coventry City Council have failed for five years.
One businessman on Mr Hoffman’s would-be takeover consortium, Richard Overson from Stratford, has also reportedly alleged falling season ticket sales might encourage Sisu to come to the table.
But Sisu still show no sign of selling.
Many other fans on forums have continued to call for support for Robins, the team and club in the absence of any clear sign of movement in the off-field politics.