Coventry City FC is a professional football club from the city of the same name, who were formed in 1883 as Singers FC by workers at the cycle firm of that name along manager and secretary William Storey.
They changed their name to Coventry City in 1898 and moved into their Highfield Road home in 1899 after brief spells at Dowells Field and Stoke Road.
In 1908 the club joined the Southern League before being admitted into the Football League in 1919 as a Division Two team. City were relegated to Division Three North in 1925, before being switched to the South division a couple of years later.
Coventry were crowned as Division Three South champions in 1935-36 to win promotion back to the second tier, thanks in part to the goals of the prolific Clarrie Bourton, before being demoted once more in 1952.
Jimmy Hill, the former Fulham player and PFA chairman, was appointed as manager.
Hill set about revolutionising the club in what was called 'The Sky Blue Revolution' starting by changing the club colours to sky blue from royal blue and white. He wrote the fans the Sky Blue Anthem to the tune of the Eton Boating Song and took the team to promotion to the second tier in 1964.
Three years later Hill's side reached the top flight, then Division One for the first ever time under the captaincy of George Curtis and goals of local lad Bobby Gould. During his time at the club, Hill also implemented the first proper matchday programmes and pre match entertainment while two new stands were built.
Hill controversially left the club before their first season in the top tier to pursue a career in the media. Noel Cantwell took over and led the club to sixth place in 1970 to qualify for the UEFA (Fairs) Cup, only to go out to Bayern Munich.
To see a great moment in the clubs history, click here.
Joe Mercer took over as manager between 1972 and 1974 before Gordon Milne took over. Hill had returned initially as Managing Director and later Chairman. He caused controversy on the final day of the 1976-77 season. City needed a better result than relegation rivals Sunderland.
Hill had Coventry's home game against Bristol City put back ten minutes 'to allow latecomers entry' while Sunderland kicked off on time at Everton proceeding to lose two nil. The news was displayed on the scoreboard so City knew they only had to draw to stay up which they did.
The following season, City took advantage of their good fortune by finishing in seventh place; their best ever return, with the goals of Ian Wallace and Mick Ferguson doing plenty of damage.
In 1981 Highfield Road became the first all seater stadium in England in an attempt to avert hooliganism the same year that City reached the League Cup semi-final where they were denied their first ever Wembley appearance by West Ham United.
Around the same time Hill tried to change the club name to Coventry Talbot to give publicity through a sponsorship deal to Talbot, the local car manufacturers. City's kit had a 'T' emblazoned on the front, so it had to be changed for TV games under the regulations of the time.
Dave Sexton, Gould, Don Mackay and Curtis had spells as manager throughout the eighties, while areas of terracing were reintroduced at Highfield Road, before another favourite former player, John Sillett, took over as manager in 1987, by which time Hill had departed for pastures new.
A magnificent FA Cup run saw City defeat Leeds United in the Hillsborough semi-final, before going to Wembley and defeating Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 in one of the great Wembley finals with goals from Dave Bennett, Keith Houchen and an own goal in extra time.
Unfortunately for the Sky Blues, English clubs were banned from playing in European competition at the time, so they were left to try and maintain their top flight status. In 1988-89 they equalled their best seventh place, but generally they struggled against the bigger clubs.
Terry Butcher replaced Sillett for two years from 1990, before Bobby Gould returned for a short spell. Phil Neal was appointed as manager in 1993. Ron Atkinson was next incumbent in the hot seat in 1995, as he tried to reintroduce an attractive style of play aided by the goals of Dion Dublin and veteran keeper Steve Ogrizovic.
Atkinson lasted just over a year, when he was replaced by Gordon Strachan. Despite having a talented side including the likes of Darren Huckerby, Mustapha Hadji and Gary McAllister, City were finally relegated at the end of the 2000-01 season to end a run of thirty four years in the top flight.
Strachan was replaced by Roland Nilsson, who turn was replaced by Gary McAllister, then Eric Black and then Peter Reid. The lack of stability was hindering the club as chairman Bryan Richardson panicked with the long planned move to the Ricoh Arena on the edge of the city imminent.
Richardson's grand plans, which also included the opening of the Alan Higgs Centre for training and the club academy had been formulated in the 1990's and relied on the club being in the Premier League.
City relocated to the grand but remote Ricoh Arena for the start of the 2005-06 season with former fans favourite Micky Adams in charge of the team. The eighth place finish was as close as Coventry would get to promotion before things got much worse.
The move to the Ricoh nearly crippled the club financially and they were saved by a consortium under the leadership of former Manchester City full back, Ray Ranson in 2007. Adams departed the following year, to be replaced by Iain Dowie and then Chris Coleman.
The Welshman's side reached the last eight of the FA Cup in 2009. The home match against Chelsea saw the Ricoh Arena being sold out for the first ever time. However, his side just averted relegation the following season, so he was sacked with Aidy Boothroyd coming in.
Boothroyd didn't fare much better. The loyal City fans were really being put through it. The next manager Andy Thorn was deeply unpopular, especially when Coventry were relegated to the third tier League One at the end of the 2011-12 season, with Thorn blaming the issues with the club ownership as the reason.
Soon into the new season Thorn departed to be replaced by Mark Robins with the team near the bottom of the table who set about the difficult task of trying to steady the ship and get the team back up, especially when the team were deducted ten points for entering administration.
Robins did a fine job, but the uncertainty behind the scenes along with an offer to take the managers job at Huddersfield Town, with Steven Pressley taking over. Owners SISU did a deal to place part of the club into administration, meaning another deduction of ten points, and moved the team to Sixfields, the home of Northampton Town for the 2013-14 season.
This was despite the operators of the Ricoh Arena; Arena Coventry Limited (ACL) offering City a rent free deal and much outcry from the Sky Blue fans. The owners announced that they were closing in on a deal to build a new stadium for the club elsewhere in the city.
ACL was owned by Coventry City Council and the Higgs Foundation. Both of them sold their share to Wasps Rugby Club, who relocated to the Ricoh from their previous home at Adams Park, Wycombe to become owners of the stadium and adjoining facilities.
City returned to the Ricoh in September 2014 as tenants to Wasps. Pressley's side struggled and he was replaced in March 2015 by Tony Mowbray, who led the team to safety on the final day of the season away to Crawley Town.
Mowbray departed in September 2016, with Mark Venus coming in as caretaker manager as fans protests against SUSA hit new heights, with pitch invasions causing much disruption on a couple of occasions.
Russell Slade arrived as the new manager in December 2016, with the side struggling at the bottom of the table. Despite this he led the side to the final of the recently renamed EFL Trophy.
Coventry City FC will play in the Football League One in the 2016-17 season.
Coventry City 5 Sunderland 0 (Wednesday 24th January 1990) League Cup Fifth Round Replay
We arrived and parked up relatively early and saw a pub outside the ground that was full of away fans so we tried to get in for a beer. Unfortunately many of the fans were in 'high spirits' and damage had been done, meaning the local constabulary shut it got the evening before we got served. Instead we had to make do with an Indian takeaway and a bottle of pop.
We got inside well before kick off into the already packed away section. We were close to the players tunnel which was at that time near to the corner flag. David Speedie had managed to cause a near riot in the first game at Roker Park getting a Black Cats player sent off. The travelling support weren't slow in showing him their feelings.
Highfield Road was a decent ground. We were in the Swan Lane End which was separate sections of open terrace. To our left was the Main Stand, This was a single tier of seats with boxes at the front and then a disused paddock. The last two sides were all seated. Behind the goal was the two tiered Nicholls Street Stand. Finally was the Thackhall Street Stand which was a stand behind a large converted paddock.
Sunderland were in the Second Division at the time and were no match for City who slowly got on top before outclassing the visitors. Once again Speedie upset a Sunderland player until he did something silly off the ball to receive his marching orders. The away fans were superb to the end of the game, giving the team an ovation at full time.
We stopped off in Hinckley on the way home for a brief wander round a few pubs where I sampled some majestic Marstons before we dined out on pizza to keep us going on the way home.
Highfield Road after my visit
In its final fifteen years Highfield Road was given a tidy up to deal with the demands of the Premier League and the new age corporate supporter. A single stand was built at the Swan Lane End with a high roof which continued around and covered the Thackhall Street Side. The Main Stand was made single tier with seats right down to the pitch. The final game there was on Saturday 30th April 2005 and saw a 6-2 victory against Derby County.
Coventry City 1 Cardiff City 2 (Tuesday 19th October 2010) Football League Championship (att: 14,604)
I was on my way back to London after a marathon few days on the road visiting grounds and watching games in Dublin, Merseyside and Nottinghamshire. A week or two earlier I looked at rail fares and match ticket prices to see if there was any value about.
I got a return from Liverpool to London including a stop at Coventry for £21 and City were offering advanced tickets for a tenner, so it was an easy decision to make. I arrived early in Coventry but found out that the railway station wasn't in the city centre and nowhere near the bus station where I'd need to catch the shuttle to the Ricoh Arena.
I had a walk behind the impressive complex which also has a theatre, exhibition centre and casino built into the back of the stand on the far side. I soon found my entrance which was opposite where the players come out. The facilities under the stand were fine and much like many other new stadiums. There was the usual bookies, bars and refreshment counters in a very wide concourse with TVs showing Sky Sports News.
I went up to my seat a few minutes before kick off with a bovril and a pie. Purchasing those was interesting in itself. There were stalls for card holders. The prices at these concessions were slightly cheaper but you had to charge your card up in denominations of a fiver. I suppose it saves money if you are a regular, but I bet the club gain money when fans lose them or don't use the full credit.
The Ricoh Arena was impressive once inside. Three sides had a continual single tier of steeply raked seats. The final side had a small tier of seats overhanging the larger lower tier, with a row of corporate hospitality boxes, running along the back of the lower section.
The noise created by the fans was extremely loud and I was struggling to hear the updates on my radio. Cardiff had over a thousand fans in attendance and were soon celebrating when they were awarded a dodgy penalty much to the disgust of the bloke sat opposite me. He was certainly guilty of using industrial language. The stand wasn't very busy and I moved further back. I was glad of the space as I had my travel bag with me.
Cardiff had two former Coventry men up front in Craig Bellamy and Jay Bothroyd. Bellamy was getting plenty of abuse, caused by his comments when he'd left the club slating the club, the city and its supporters. In fairness he was having a decent game and The Bluebirds looked good.
Coventry equalised through a fine Gary McSheffrey goal before half time although they couldn't capitalise on it. At the interval the DJ tried to enthuse anyone listening with a competition on the pitch and then the news that one of the prizes to the half time draw were tickets to see Jim Davison at the Arena that weekend. Hardly a good selling point for the vendors I wouldn't have thought?
Coventry bought on controversial signing an serial offender Marlon King but the game looked like finishing level. I made a move to ensure I'd be on the first bus back into town. As I was half way there 5 Live reported on the decisive Cardiff goal.
I was back at the railway station with fifteen minutes to spare and another ground off my list. I was glad I was tired and managed to sleep on the train as the carriage was busy with a group who seemed intent on drinking the buffet dry and act accordingly.
The pictures of Highfield Road have been taken from the internet as I didn't take any on my visit and the ground was demolished on my return to the city.