RUGBY club Wasps are the ‘new pride of Coventry’, according to promotion for a forthcoming key ‘Coventry Economic Forum 2017’ event for the great and good.
It will partly explore how ‘Brand Coventry’ should be marketed to the world, to bring in tourists, businesses and inward investment.
The high-profile event at Coventry University on March 24 will bring together key players from business and the public sector, including organisations with strong links with Coventry City Council.
Although Wasps have been welcomed into the city by many, fans of the city’s century-old traditional football and rugby clubs are divided on the issue, and Coventry Bees speedway – until this year based just outside the city at Brandon- have been removed from the League.
Many Coventry City Football Club fans have voiced their anger over Coventry City Council’s and the Alan Edward Higgs Trust’s deal to sell the Sky Blues’ home the Ricoh Arena to Wasps on a cut-price 250-year deal not offered to the football club, upon whom the stadium project had always financially depended.
The Sky Blues’ future and where they will play after next year remains uncertain amid an ongoing multi-party dispute involving the club’s parent company Sisu, landlords Wasps, the city council and others.
Jonathan Strange, until recently the chairman of the Coventry City Supporters’ Consultative Group fans’ group, a classical musician, and biographer of 1987 Wembley hero Keith Houchen, said: “Have these people ever heard of Coventry City Football Club?
“Do they recognise the contribution it continues to make to the cultural life of this city?
“Are they aware of the 18,000 tickets sold within twenty-four hours for the club’s Trophy Final appearance at Wembley?
“It will be our football team bringing pride to this city on 2 April, not a London rugby club which has just been parachuted into the community.
“Whatever any other difficulties, our football club is core to the lifeblood of Coventry. Don’t let anybody forget it.”
A website advertising the event and an email inviting guests from business, and individuals and organisations from the public sector states:
YOU ARE INVITED
You are invited to the Insider Coventry Economic Forum, which will look at the exciting growth prospects for Coventry and how you can be part of them.
A panel of experts from business, marketing, development and education will explore how the city can take advantage of the upcoming opportunities including: a new business district, expansions by its two universities, city-centre regeneration, plans for 36,000 homes, a cluster of innovation centres and – of course – the Wasps giving Coventry a new pride.
Register your interest today to discuss:
How does the city ensure it is an equal partner with Birmingham in a devolved West Midlands?
Why go for a City of Culture bid?
How can ‘Brand Coventry’ be developed to attract investment, people and tourists?
Can the Friargate and City Centre South developments fulfil their promise to regenerate the city centre?
What role will the city’s two universities play in developing its skills base and innovation?
Can the new cluster of innovation centres enhance the city’s reputation?
Insider is proud to be hosting this exciting event and expects demand to be high, so please register early to avoid disappointment.
The event, sponsored by BDO and D&P Holt, is being organised by online business forum Inside Media Limited, via its Birmingham office.
Paul Noon, pro-vice chancellor for enterprise and innovation, Coventry City University
David Burbidge, chairman, Coventry City of Culture
Peter Holt, director, D&P Holt
Trish Willetts, manager, Coventry BID
Peter Deeley, managing director, Deeley Properties