Ricoh Arena
Coventry City v Ipswich Town
Championship League
  Saturday February 4th 2012
By Myles Munsey

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

Having cleared all the clubs in the South, I was now turning my attention to the Midlands where three or four more were required. Coventry is pretty close to home and after a winter recess I decided to resume activities in February not anticipating a foul day weather-wise!

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

The journey to Coventry by train was straightforward and I arrived at 11.30am with bags of time on my hands. As a keen walker and as a means of keeping warm on a bitterly cold day (mad some might say), I walked to the stadium from the City Centre. It took an hour and five minutes. My internet print out map proved useful for checking position and although a bit of a slog I had no trouble locating the Arena.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

I took an early lunch in Coventry Market where I also bought a much needed pair of emergency gloves. The only slight bother was getting to the start of the Foleshill Road which is near the bus station. This road, once located takes you right up to the stadium.  After a long drag through three miles of rather monotonous ribbon development, I located Tescos where I bore left through the shopping centre (as advised). I eventually emerged close to the stadium where a pedestrian underpass below the Coventry to Nuneaton railway line brought me outside the stadium.

I had already requisitioned a ticket from the club so spent time taking pictures including one of the Jimmy Hill statue (not too sure about the likeness) and speaking to the stewards one of whom summoned me across as he had spotted my Torquay(!) scarf. The scarf turned out to be a real conversation piece and I found all the stewards extremely helpful and chatty.  

I visited the well-apppointed club shop and invested in a CCFC tie - one of the nicest ties I've seen for  long time.

The weather forecast predicted snow for three o'clock and was unerringly accurate as flakes started falling right on cue.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

Very much as I expected from a modern stadium. Everything was very well organised and my seat next to an aisle was comfortable.  The seats in the Evening Telegraph stand mercifully had plenty of legroom (I'm 6'3") although the view down to the far end where four of the goals were scored (curses) was a long one. There were replays shown on the screen in the far left corner admittedly, but these weren't a lot larger than what could be seen with the naked eye.

One minor crticism was that the yellow painted row letters for the seats were ridiculously small -only about 5 inches high so it took me a wee while to find my seat.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..

Given that both teams were at the wrong end of the table and with a swirling wind I was expecting a cagey affair with ball control difficult. In fact both teams mastered the conditions admirably and a see-saw encounter with the lead changing three times saw Ipswich nick it 3-2 with a deft header from Chopra deep into injury time.
Although there was a good turnout (13,000) on a foul day the atmosphere was pretty muted. The stewards were great and the toilets in good order and clean (sky blue decor!).
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
I was out of the stadium in five minutes. There was a bit of a log jam getting through the underpass. Once through I noted, as in earlier reports, that there were long queues for the stadium special buses. So, with an hour and a half until my train left Coventry I embarked on the long walk (again!) and was as warm as toast by the time I got to the station at 18.00.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Despite the sub-zero temperatures and periodic icy blasts, this was a good spectacle and a very enjoyable day out. Comfortable stadium, good view - albeit I was straining a bit to see the action down the far end, no hassle from anyone. But please make those row identification letters larger!


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