COVENTRY City do not plan to have a bus parade through the city because of the club’s league position – but want fans to turn out for Legends Day at home on Saturday when the emphasis will be on the league.
Chairman Tim Fisher has also spoken today of plans to support Mark Robins following the resignation on Friday of the club’s technical director and former interim manager, Mark Venus.
Asked why the club had no plans for an open-top bus parade to celebrate the first appearance and victory at Wembley since 1987 when 250,000 people turned out on the streets to cheer their heroes, Mr Fisher told us: “At this time, there are no plans for a bus parade around the city.
“I agree with the many fans who feel it’s not appropriate given our position in the league.
“The club would welcome fans, who want to show their support for the club after the Checkatrade Trophy victory, turning out in their numbers for Legends Day at the home game against Peterborough on Saturday (Ricoh Arena, kick-off 3pm).
“The club want to see as many supporters at the game as possible.
“Legends Day is always a special day.
“Sunday was a respite from the pressures of the league. It was about the supporters, the players and everyone connected with the club. We want to build on that.
“I want to give a special mention to the fans. The fact we had a record new Wembley attendance for that competition shows how prepared people are to travel to support the club, from Coventry and around the world.”
The club’s low-key line on any prospect of celebrations is to be expected given the Sky Blues remain anchored to the bottom of League One and are still 13 points from safety (with a game in hand on 20th-placed Gillingham) with just six games to play, starting with the match at table-topping Sheffield United tomorrow night.
There is recognition among fans that barring the greatest of ‘great escapes’ – or a ‘miracle’ – it is a question of when, not if, the club will be relegated to League Two, in contrast to the post Wembley mood.
It is not known if the club might request some form of celebration around the city at the end of the season – should that league miracle happen.
But there is hope among the club and fans that the young Sky Blues team will be buoyant at Bramall Lane tomorrow after going in as underdogs to beat the fancied Oxford United on Sunday 2-1 to lift the Checkatrade Trophy – in front of a new Wembley tournament record attendance of 74,434 fans (over 43,000 Coventry supporters).
Asked if the post of technical director will be replaced following Mr Venus’ departure, Mr Fisher said: “Going forward there will be no technical director role.
“This will be replaced by a head of recruitment. We’re down to a shortlist, with a view to the successful candidate being in place shortly.
“We’re looking to emphasise recruitment (of players) at the club and more resources will be allocated accordingly, which will include more scouts.”
We reported in March that Robins had requested better recruitment structures when he replaced Russell Slade.
Mr Fisher said the Wembley windfall was “welcome” but he would not be drawn on the extent to which it would cover any drop-off in season ticket sales, were the club to be relegated.
Club life-president, 1987 FA Cup winning manager John Sillett – who will be among the legends at Legends Day – is among those who have spoken of the hope and potential for the Wembley win to be a springboard for better things, including an early push to bounce back from League Two next season should the club be relegated, and of how winning football matches at any level brings support.
We reported last month that Coventry City’s gate receipts from Wembley were estimated by the English Football League to be around £500,000, and the club has won £100,000 prize money.
* As well as Sillett, that unforgettable 3-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur 30 years ago will be marked on Legends Day by the appearance of Dave Bennett and Micky Gynn.
A strong contingent of former Sky Blues players from north of the border includes Willie Carr, Ian Wallace and Tommy Hutchison.
They will also be joined by fellow club legends Dietmar Bruck, Bill Glazier, Ronnie Farmer and former goalkeeper Bob Wesson.
Saturday also marks 50 years since Jimmy Hill’s side clinched the old Second Division title.
Last year’s Legends Day was a huge success with almost 40 former stars enjoying a thumping 6-0 victory over Bury, and this year’s event is expected to attract a total of 50 former players.
Once again the legends will be paraded on the pitch at half-time and fans can also catch up with their heroes in the hospitality suites, while a mass sing-song will take place in Lady Gs after the game with CCFPA’s very own Billy Bell.
Fans can also enjoy a range of benefits which include three-course dining, a padded seat in the corporate area, man-of-the-match interview and presentation an VIP car parking (one space per four places booked).
The package is priced at £69 per person for adults, £34.50 for children and season ticket holders can take advantage of a discounted price of £59.
For more information about Legends Day 2017 visit www.ccfpa.co.uk and for hospitality packages call 02476 991987 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.