Saturday 18th April 2015 ko 15.00
Midland League Division Two
COVENTRY UNITED 1 (Stokes 80p)
BARNT GREEN SPARTAK 1 (Semple 44)
Att 98 at “The Cage” Alan Higgs Centre, Allard Way
As the patrons walked across the car park towards the caged grass pitch at the side of the Alan Higgs Leisure centre they walked past a minibus decorated in full Coventry City insignia. It served as a salutary reminder to all on how tenuous a club’s links to its roots can be with City only recently returned after a period in exile in Northampton.
That exile is the reason for Coventry United’s existence, the club was formed 2 years ago by 4 local businessmen as “A club, by Coventry, in Coventry, for Coventry.” They’ve been based at the Alan Higgs Centre, just a stone’s throw from Coventry Copsewood’s ground, and they’ve certainly ridden the zeitgeist since. They won the Midland Combination Division 2 last season and with that league having merged with the Midland Alliance rather confusingly found themselves promoted to the Midland League… Division Two!
Featuring the likes of former City star Patrick Suffo, and Brian Ndlovu the younger brother of another ex-City star Peter, the club’s upward curve has continued this season, and the club has won the division at a canter, and have NEVER been beaten at “The Cage.”
It was obvious that despite the limitations of their home, the cage is where the club’s heart is. With promotion now assured, ground grading rules mean that the club will groundshare at Coventry Sphinx from next season. So the last two home games of the season have become a celebration of what the club have achieved, the cup was on display and the sense of enjoyment was infectious.
Except on this occasion Barnt Green hadn’t read the script. I have a lot of time for them, I remember their chairman Avtar Singh sponsoring their AWAY game one year at Nuneaton Griff when he discovered that Griff couldn’t find anyone else to do it. Perhaps United had eased off slightly, trophies and guards of honour do tend to make teams do that, but Spartak led at the break and only a rather fortuitous penalty for United kept that remarkable run at, “The Cage” going.
That said it was hard to begrudge the club, football in Coventry has had a bad run, City’s problems aren’t completely resolved so its heartening to see a community club thriving.