Fans looking for new football to watch
13 August ~ With Coventry City exiled to Northampton for three years a number of Sky Blues fans will be considering alternatives for watching football. Four non-League clubs play in the city; Coventry Sphinx (in the Midland Alliance, four levels below the Conference), Coventry Copsewood and Alvis Sporting Club (both one level lower in the Midland Combination Premier Division) and new club Coventry United (Midland Combination Division Two).
Coventry Sphinx are now the highest ranked team left playing in the city and have a rich local history. They started out as works team Armstrong Siddeley Motors FC in 1946. The company used the slogan "as silent as a sphinx" to promote their cars and started to sport the Sphinx on their car bonnet; it wasn't long before the team changed their name to Coventry Sphinx.
The lowest ranked team in the city will be new club Coventry United, who were formed in June by fans disgruntled at the events unfolding at Coventry City. Founded by four businessmen their press release reads: "[Coventry United] committee members have been loyal City supporters for many years and collectively decided to start and support a new Coventry football team from a lower division without any complications, turmoil, uncertainty or distractions allowing us supporters to enjoy the football games."
The club made it quite clear that they were not set up as a breakaway to Coventry City and chairman Jason Kay explained "Sky Blues supporters now own and operate a team in Coventry within the football league which isn't solely associated with a business entity." Coventry United will be offering free entry to home games this season.
Throughout July local media reported a potential merger between Sphinx and United but the former were quick to quash the rumours, making it quite clear that there had been no discussions between the two clubs. Sphinx chairman Dannie Cahill says: "We continue to improve our facilities at Sphinx Drive to ensure we maintain our status as a sustainable and progressive non-League football club representing the city of Coventry on both a regional and national level.
"I think that the issues Coventry City FC fans face at present are clearly shocking to say the least and we as a football club will not try to use this sad situation to benefit our club. Sky Blues fans need to be respected and supported at this time and not exploited. CCFC fans have over the years seen the highs and lows and are a credit to the city of Coventry on how they have conducted themselves." Sphinx have had one home match out of three played so far – a 2-2 draw with Causeway United watched by 127 people.
Coventry Copeswood and Alvis Sporting started their seasons with away fixtures on Saturday, at Brocton and Bolehall Swifts respectively. Coventry City supporters, faced with travelling over 30 miles for a home game or staying within the city to watch a match, will be reconsidering their options. With non-League clubs offering an alternative, they may well plump for the latter. Andy Ollerenshaw