Ricoh Arena - Coventry City FC
Monday January 2nd 2006
V Wolverhampton Wanderers
Championship League
, 3pm
By Carl Broome

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

Being a brand new ground and now another to cross off the list, visiting the Ricoh arena was pencilled in from the start of the season. I must regrettably admit I had never visited Highfield Road, but with Coventry being one of the more local grounds I decided it was a must.

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

The Arena is very easy to find, being just 2 minutes from the M6 and accessed by a dual carriageway. However, there were no signs pointing you in the direction of parking facilities so it was a case of follow everyone else.

On seeing about a hundred cars parked on the embankment of the A444, we decided to pull up behind one of them and walk two minutes to the stadium. There were many police around this A444 but they seemed OK with the cars being parked there. I heard later that the minimum to park elsewhere was 5, and 10 at the ground itself which had a lot of empty spaces (surprise, surprise).

Just before and after half time, the announcer on behalf of the police, asked for all cars parked on the A444 to be moved, but judging by the number of cars when we returned, no one took a blind bit of notice. The police had witnessed people parking there yet hadn't thought to tell them there and then? Why?

After the game we found out why. The police had decided to put parking tickets on most of the cars (somehow I escaped). I later heard that someone who actually did go to move their car after the announcement got there to find a policeman ticketing his car and was told he might as well leave it where it was as the ticket was staying!!! He missed 15 minutes of the game (lucky him!) and still got charged 30.

Coventry police force must surely think about putting signs up to stop people parking there on match days or perhaps telling those who are parking there not to, otherwise they will keep having to charge drivers 30 each and making approximately 9,000 per game.


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

The area surrounding the Ricoh arena was as dull as all the other new grounds, nothing but a burger van. We had a walk around the stadium but it is uninspiring. I noticed that there weren't many home fans about, so either they know a) somewhere locally which is much better to go or b) how dull it is there so they stay away until the last minute.

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

The funny thing about this stadium is you don't know who it belongs to from the outside. It looks just like most other new grounds (Walkers etc), but it is plastered with RICOH, and no word of Coventry City apart from the Jimmy Hill, Steve Ogrizovic etc walls which I was expecting to be a little more interesting (not even a picture of the players in question). Oh, and a little sign above the players entrance which is hardly worth talking about.

The stand is very steep, and being 3/4 of the way back it took it out of most people around us to get to their seats! it was a very nice view however. The one thing which was impressive was the spacious concourse underneath the stand which had a few Sky Sports TVs on as well.

The other stands were similar, but the one which has the players tunnel did at least provide some sort of different feature, in comparison to the awful Walkers Stadium.

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

Wolves took 4,500 which was a decent away following, however an early Coventry goal deflated us and it was a similar story to the last 2 seasons. Coventry fans were poor, only about 30 chavs underneath the scoreboard were trying to make any noise, strangely they were singing songs typically sang by away supporters at the home crowd such as "shall we sing a song for you" I can only imagine they are used to being outsung! The other fans woke up occasionally to sing the one and only song Coventry seem to know.

Stewards were helpful and seemed to actually want to help you. Toilets were OK, but I didn't go at the busy period (Half time) at which point I can imagine it was pretty hectic with just one entrance.

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

Superb. Especially after seeing we had somehow escaped a ticket (did they run out?!) 5 minutes after getting in the car we were well on the way to Birmingham. But I wouldn't advise anyone to park in the same place!

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out

Poor performance by Wolves (again), the stadium was alright, at least it was reasonably warm due to the enclosed corners (roll on corners at Molineux). DON'T PARK ON THE A444!!!!

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