Ricoh Arena - Coventry City FC
Tuesday April 11th 2006
V Celtic, Richard Shaw Testimonial, 7.45pm
Joseph Henry

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

I was looking forward to going to this ground because it is a brand new
stadium, and I had heard good things about it beforehand from other fans. As it was a testimonial, I was looking forward to the party atmosphere
involved, especially as we had won the league the previous week ! All in all I was looking forward to a good clean game with a good atmosphere.

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

I did not come down from Scotland from the game like many others, because I live relatively local to Coventry. Car parking however is a bit of a stick situation with a parking zone around the Ricoh arena to stop people parking there cars within a shot radius of the Ground. I parked across the road from the cherry tree social club in a small car park where I was charged 5, which I didn't think was too bad personally.

The Ricoh is extremely easy to find once you are in the area surrounding it, because it really does stand out. Everything is well sign posted. It is also close to the M6, so easy to find for most people!

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

I went to the Foleshill social which was absolutely packed with celts (10
coachfulls I think !) , but due to the lack of bar staff I would not
recommend going there before a game if it is busy. The Cherry tree social
club was my next port of call, which was much less crowded, and the locals seemed friendly enough, until they were inside the ground. Some of the Coventry fans were intent of causing trouble, mainly jumped up spotty teenagers, including one incident where a Celtic fan was sitting it the  Coventry end (like many others as this was a testimonial) got chased by 20 lads when he left the ground because he was waving his flag. It wasn't very nice to see especially at a testimonial.

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

The ground is nice, tidy with all corners filled it, but very plain. All stands are single large tiered with the exception of the corporate box/posh
people area which has two tiers ! However it does have a great atmosphere inside, and a lot of noise can be generated. Unlike other new grounds it doesn't lack character and had a slightly different design (unlike Leicester and Southampton, which are practically the same). The Away end is situated behind one goal, and as you would expect with new stadiums the views of the pitch are fantastic and unobscured.

e had the whole of the Jewson South Stand for Celtic fans and the away end is large, but I doubt it will be ever filled as much again for a championship match!

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

Game was a non event altogether. Celtic lost 3-1, poor football from
Coventry city and Celtic, but it was a testimonial, it was to be expected.
The atmosphere was brilliant and a lot of noise can be generated because the ground has great acoustics, although at times some of the Coventry fans overstepped the mark with their chanting, behaviour and conduct. It was only a small minority, however, the Celtic fans sitting around them must not have had a good night. It made it even more of a disgrace considering Richard Shaw, whose testimonial it was had given their club 11 years of service, and all they wanted to do is cause trouble. Some Coventry fans were sporting rangers jerseys also, as if to incite trouble.

Stewarding good, if not excellent. No trouble from them at all. Toilets and Pies also good, pie and pint deal is a good idea!

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

Very easy to get away from, taxi, walking or free bus from the ground to the train station for travelling support. No congestion on the nearby roads, well policed outside.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out

It was a very good day, result aside. Good atmosphere, good beer, poor
match, and a great testament to Richard Shaw, a man who is so rare in
football these days.


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