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Coventry Awaydaze
Wednesday, 3rd Apr 2024 21:43 by Tim Whelan

We’ve got a very unfamiliar kick-off time for this game, 3pm on a Saturday. What’s that all about? Sky TV have declined to move our visit to Coventry City as they’d rather show the East Anglian local derby instead, so perhaps we really are not famous any more.

Coventry first moved into their new home at the start of the 2005/6 season, the £113m CBS Arena, but they’ve had quite a few adventures in the years since. They had two spells of playing their home games elsewhere after disputes with their landlords, but all seems well for the time being both on and off the pitch.

It seems a bit surprising that this will be our first trip to Coventry since 2012 when it was such a regular fixture for several decades before then, but the turbulence off the field affected their form and they had a spell down in League 2. In these more stable times they have managed to haul themselves back up to the Championship play-off zone, and the end of our brief return to the Premier League meant we could avoid them no longer.

The stadium is well to the north of the city centre and getting there by road is pretty easy, as you just have to make your way to junction 3 of the M6 and then head into Coventry on the A444, before reaching the stadium about a mile to the south of the motorway junction.

The problem is that you then have to find somewhere to park. As the stadium is in a residential area there is an exclusion zone of about 2 miles around the ground as far as street parking is concerned, which is rigorously enforced by an army of traffic wardens.

There are three large official car parks by the stadium, which cost £14 if booked in advance, and a whopping £16 on the day (if not already sold out). Apparently these take ages to clear after the match, like almost all car parks right next to a stadium. You can find more details here .

As part of the government's strict planning laws, they needed to draw up a Green Travel Plan, which aimed to ensure that 75 per cent of all people at major events get to the CBS Arena by means other than car. There are six bus routes running to the CBS, with further details here .

Coventry railway station is about three and half miles away from the stadium, on the opposite side of the city centre from the bus station, and for ideas of how to move on from there, see the link above. Since we last visited a new ‘Coventry Arena’ station opened right next to the stadium on the line to Nuneaton, but on Saturday it will be served by nothing better than an hourly rail replacement bus service, which may not be fun.

The Longford Engine is now the official away supporters pub, and you’ll find it at 270 Bedworth Road in Longford (CV6 6BP). But Real Ale lovers might prefer Byatts Brewery, which is a 20 minute walk from the away end at Lythalls Lane Unit 10 (CV6 6FL).

Our allocation for this game is 2,529 places in the South Stand, out of a total capacity of 32,753. In the past Coventry gave us a couple of extra blocks of seats, amounting to 6,200 tickets in total, but as they’re having such a good season they’re keen to save space for their own fans this time. With the two clubs having failed to agree on a reciprocal deal, the tickets cost £37 for adults and £25-£32 for concessions.

Inevitably, our allocation has long since sold out. A far as home ticket sales are concerned, the official Coventry website tells me “it is a Category A fixture, with another bumper crowd expected”. They don’t seem to have sold out yet, but closer inspection (in the interests of research) tells me that “This event is only available to members”.

The angle of the South Stand is quite steep and it's quite a long way back from the pitch, so it's quite difficult to see the action at the other end. The legroom is quite good, and the stadium has good acoustics, which makes for a good atmosphere. Behind the stands there are spacious concourses and a number of food and drink outlets serving exciting things like loaded fries and hot dogs with peppers on, as well as the usual football ground scran.

One downside at the CBS is that the stewards have been known to be rather heavy-handed in, and quite a few fans have been ejected for 'persistent standing'. Which should be fun when we are the visitors. Coventry are reported to be consulting with their fans about the possibility of providing a safe standing area, so perhaps in the future we will be able to stand up officially, instead of unofficially as we always do at away games anyway.

Many thanks to Coventry fan Kevin Monks for his help with this piece. Some of the other stuff came from .

Photo: Action Images

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