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Coventry City fans prove absence proverb rings true after exiles, relegations and Covid

The Sky Blues have endured a turbulent few years, playing ‘home’ games in Northampton and Birmingham and being relegated twice – but they are finally back home

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It’s been a long time coming.

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Not since April 2019 have Coventry City fans took to their seats at the Ricoh Arena to watch their side in action.

You have to go back seven years prior to that, April 2012, for when their fans last saw them play a Championship game at their actual home ground.

The intermittent years have not been kind with Coventry suffering relegation twice and being beset by numerous off-field troubles and wrangles.

They’ve also had periods of exile as their team was temporarily relocated to first Northampton’s Sixfields and then most recently Birmingham City’s St Andrew’s.

The last two seasons saw St Andrew’s act as Coventry’s ‘home’ ground

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Throw in almost 18 months of not being able to attend games at all due to Covid and City fans are understandably desperate for a bit of normality.

That long-awaited day will come tomorrow, when at 4.30pm they will see their side take to the field against Nottingham Forest in their season opener.

Fans of all clubs have been starved of that connection they have with their club, thanks to the pandemic. But for Sky Blues fans in particular the reunion will be that much sweeter.

Rugby club and stadium tenants Wasps recently agreed a ten-year licence for City to finally return to the ground (now with a new name, the Coventry City Building Society Arena).

To say the news went down well would be an understatement. A large portion of City fans were understandably reticent to travel to their temporary homes. Not because of the geographical complications – both Northampton and Birmingham are less than an hour away – but out of concern that large numbers making the sacrifice to travel would be perceived as accepting of the whole thing.

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Coventry City fans are looking forward to a return home.

Now back at their proper home, season ticket sales have soared past the 10,000 mark and a raucous crowd is expected to roar Mark Robins’ side on.

The sense of occasion hasn’t been lost on the manager, who is now in his second spell in the dugout and has delivered two promotions and an EFL Trophy against a pretty challenging and unique backdrop.

Mark Robins has done a stellar job in his second stint as Coventry boss

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Robins said: “Being back in Coventry was the missing piece really, I think you can look at it with confidence.

“A lot of people have worked very hard on the deal like Dave Boddy, Stephen Vaughan and the people at Wasps, and now we don’t have to be looking over our shoulders anymore.

“It was brilliant news that we were coming back. I think the supporters will be excited to see their team and rightly so.”

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