Ricoh Arena - Coventry City FC
Championship League
  Saturday November 5th 2011
V Southampton 3pm
By Steve Ridgley

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

I’ve visited the relatively new ‘Ricoh Arena’ once before. In 2007 I saw Southampton lose 4-1 in front of the Sky cameras in what was a terrible night for the Saints. However this season we were on a very good run heading into this game, and as I loved the ground and the surroundings so much last time, I’d thought I’d visit again! Also prior to the game Coventry had a battling home record, which would prove to be a wise test for Saints.

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

We travelled up by car with a very settled journey. Going into Coventry it was extremely congested along the A444 keeping us halted for around about half an hour! This congestion continued right through to Phoenix Way were the Ricoh Arena is situated. For car parking there are endless places to park with a few massive ones surrounding the stadium. Next to the ground is a modern, popular shopping centre named ‘Arena Park’. To park in there for longer than two hours would cost a whopping £25! However if you purchased an item at the shopping centre equivalent to £25 then parking is free. You do though need to display your receipt(s) on your dash board to show you’ve spent £25. Hence my dad and his friends loaded up with beer from the Tesco Extra!

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

Throughout the area there were loads of restaurants, fast food places, so finding places to eat was fairly easy. However it is advisable you eat well before the match as all places can get very busy and you may run out of time in getting to the Stadium! We had a takeaway Burger King which we took away as the restaurant was chocker! Whilst being outside the ground, home fans seemed very friendly with no problems or major banter. Lots were helpful on directions to get to the away end.

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

As before I think the Ricoh Arena is a fabulous ground. It has very steep stands (which I like) with the roof being very high above you. The sound system was spectacular; it was one of the best I’ve heard throughout the league before with loud/well chosen music before and during the game. For example, when Coventry scored the ‘Chelsea Dagger’ was blasted out. Overall the ground was very impressive with a great infrastructure.

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

The game itself had all the ingredients to being a great game of football. Southampton took the advantage going into half time with a 2-0 lead, goals from Chaplow and Do Prado. Saints fans thought the game was settled, but with the Coventry City’s backing of their fans and subs they got one back seconds after the restart, 2-1. Then with 20 mins to go Coventry equalised which made it 2-2 with the Ricoh Arena going crazy making a deafening noise to send saints fans into worrying moods.

But with our backing to strive on the team we got two late goals to make it 4-2! What a game to still keep us top of the league. During all the action the stewards let both Saints and part of Coventry fans beside us stand up all match not hassling us once, however going into the stadium stewarding is a bit over the top with normal procedures. Toilets were unbelievably crowded like any ground. Not the greatest, but there’s nothing they can do during the match as there were 3,000 saints supporters using them!

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

After them match it took 45 minutes getting out of the car park! However allfive5 of us were able to enjoy the 909 phone in with Saints fans complimenting the display. Once out of the car park surprisingly roads were very clear apart from a few queues in and around the A444.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Overall I really enjoyed my day out in and around the Ricoh arena with an outstanding game in all aspects and two of course keep us top of the league! And still, at this moment in time, having a laugh! Great, great display and also a great atmosphere, with 90% of the noise coming from the Saints fans!


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