Ricoh Arena - Coventry City FC
Saturday 26th November 2005
V Norwich City, Championship League, 3pm
By James Castleton

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

Despite them being modern, a lot of new grounds lack character and
take on a new era in stadiums in being rather plain so expectations
weren't brilliant. But a nice spanking new arena is nothing to turn
your nose up at so deep down I was hoping for the best.

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

As driving to any Midlands club from Norfolk is pretty easy, this was
no different although we stopped in Nuneaton's town centre for the
driver to visit a friend which threw us a bit when nearing 2pm and the
pressure was on to get to the Ricoh. Driving closer and closer to the
ground, more and more yellow football parking signs cropped up. I
think we picked one of the dodgy ones though.. In a muddy field and a
twenty minute walk.. 4 pounds seems to be the price of parking
anywhere nearby.

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

Arrived a bit late to do much. Nuneaton town centre seemed nice enough though, which is about 5-10 mins in the car. Around the ground
Coventry fans seemed welcoming enough. Much different from quite a few of the Birmingham fans we encountered 5 weeks previously in an away cup tie.

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

Was a little chilly which turned into bloomin' freezing later on.
Thankfully all the corners are filled in so wind was minimal. A nice
looking stadium. We took up most of the Jewson South Stand. Coventry
fans were quite sparse in the other three sides and corners with
plenty of empty seats. There was a large screen in the corner to the right of us showing their highlights and goals. (2 in the first 12 minutes). I read on the main review that the seats were uncomfortable.
Personally I didn't have a problem and the leg room weren't bad


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

Before the match we paid tribute to George Best with a minute of applause. A nice gesture to such a fantastic, wonderful player. After going down 2-0 in the first 12 minutes Norwich sorted themselves out to an extent, with some dodgy defending taking it's place at our end. By half time it was 2-1 and it was time to go to the toilet. As expected they were packed but they were clean and it got the job done. Although I didn't buy anything, the pie stops weren't crowded and getting served didn't look like it would take forever. During the second half one of our fans was ejected. Not entirely sure why but since the stewards were pretty hot on standing I can assume he couldn't find his seat.  Must just say around the 70 minute mark our sub (McVeigh) rose and scored a nice little header which was ruled out as the dodgy linesman couldn't see if it had crossed the line. It clearly had. It was at our end I watched the ball hit the net right behind the post before the keeper got to it. Shocking.. Anyway.. Scored an equalizer after that and finished 2-2. Their fans seemed ok. Generated some noise when their chances sprung but remained quite quiet otherwise. The usual group of noise and gesture makers were below the large screen. Nothing out of the
ordinary but if you like banter then sit as far right towards the NTL stand as possible.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game

No problems here either, crossed a road right outside the ground which seemed congested. Just a 20 minute muddy walk in the dark back to the car park, straight onto the main road and home.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out

Generic new style arena stadium. Nothing out of the ordinary. Looked nice enough though. The game was a good one with no trouble outside before or after. A very pleasant day all round.

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