Sky Blue Success Is A Tonic After Two Awful Years by Tom Beasley

One of the best days of my journalism career so far was 21st August 2014. Those of you with keen memories will recall that as the day that Coventry City made the announcement that the club would return to what was then known as the Ricoh Arena, after a season at Sixfields in Northampton. I was doing work experience at BBC Coventry and Warwickshire at the time and spent the morning interviewing jubilant Sky Blues fans in the city, before travelling down to the stadium for a live outside broadcast in the afternoon. It’s fair to say a certain ELO track kept coming up on the playlist.

I wrote in these pages at the time about how much I adored that day, and how much of an honour it was to attend the first home game back at the Ricoh a month later. It was a slightly limp 1-0 victory over Gillingham, but the atmosphere in the ground was electric. That period of time showcased the absolute best of our city, and the immense pride we feel in our football club.

In recent months, I’ve been feeling that pride once again. Not only are the Sky Blues back at their true home ground this season – now given the slightly unwieldy new name of the Coventry Building Society Arena – but they’re actually doing remarkably well. As I sit writing this at the end of October, we’re fourth in the Championship off the back of some stellar results, including that exceptional 4-1 victory over the seemingly unstoppable Fulham. We’ve won all but one of our home games, at the time of writing, and remain unbeaten at the CBS Arena. For the first time in a very long time, Cov fans can be optimistic about both the team’s performance and the stadium in which those performances are happening.

I’m aware that this column is something of a hostage to fortune, given the fact you’ll be reading it in December or January. That’s probably 10 or so games away, by which time the situation could look a lot less rosy, especially as there’s currently only four points between the Sky Blues in 4th and Blackburn Rovers in 12th place. But now is not the time to be measured, pragmatic and sensible. It’s the time to speculate wildly and bask in the excitement of an uncommonly excellent start to the season. Remember that Fulham result? That’s the sort of madness we want.

Let’s face it, this excitement is what we all need. 2020 and 2021 have been difficult, miserable years for everybody and, hopefully, we’re now beginning to see the back of the enormous events that have caused us to change everything about our lives. It’ll be a long time before everything is completely back to normal, but we are now largely able to live our lives – and it helps to have a football team to cheer on in the process. By being as brilliant as they have been – especially at home – the Sky Blues have gifted the city something to be proud of and thankful for as the year draws to a close.

I haven’t yet had the pleasure of returning to the CBS Arena for a home game, but I hope to make it there very soon. As we continue to enjoy the pride of the City of Culture label and the continued success of the Sky Blues, Coventry pride will play a vital role in helping to lift us out of the funk of the pandemic.

Now that I’ve written all of this, we’re bound to be back in a relegation scrap by the New Year. It’s probably my fault. But I hope we all enjoyed it while it lasted.

© 2021 Tom Beasley

The opinions expressed in this article are personal to Tom Beasley. Tom Beasley is a freelance film journalist living just outside London and originally from Coventry. He can be reached at tomjbeasley@gmail.com.