Date:Thursday March 16 2006
Coventry City this week announced the first in what they say will be a number of fund-raising initiatives to help implement their three-year plan for getting back into the Premiership.
The 'True Sky Blue' scheme offers fans the chance to 'own' their seat in the stadium for a one-off payment of £295 for the first 2,000 people and £500 thereafter.
Firstly, it is clear that City are a club very much on the up, on and off the pitch, with the right people in place to take them towards a more succesful future.
The seat-buying scheme, though not without its merit, does not, at first glance appear to offer enough in benefits to the subscriber, who also of course has to continue paying for his/her season ticket.
All of the talk this week has been of 'when' City get back into the Premiership, with True Sky Blue subscribers guaranteed their season ticket at the same price as the previous season as well as a chance to attend a promotion party with the players.
Marketing manager Ken Sharp said: 'When we get promoted we will have the tour through the city in an open top bus and then a party for the players and staff, to which True Sky Blues will be invited free of charge.'
But there is of course no guarantee that City will be promoted at any point in the next few seasons, however much we would all like that.
Micky Adams's side have done superbly over the second-half of the season but come next year there will be 23 other teams battling it out for the two automatic promotion places. Those teams will include three relegated sides and at least three from Sheffield United, Leeds, Wolves, Crystal Palace and Preston.
Leicester, Derby, Ipswich and Norwich will also be hoping for better seasons.
The club too needs to steer clear of making any distinction between those who sign up to the True Sky Blue package and those who don't, but who continue to renew their season tickets.
Spending £400 on a season ticket is a massive commitment in itself for many fans and one that should not be made to feel in any way 'second-best' to those who have paid the extra.
If the scheme is one of a number that the club is planning, including a big push to get new season ticket holders for next season then fair enough, that is the direction we need to go in.
At present, there are probably not enough season ticket holders to justify launching this scheme now.
Managing Director Paul Fletcher said this week that having legal ownership of your seat and being able to hand it on was attractive, because: 'There is a black market for seats at clubs like Chelsea and Manchester United and at Liverpool, for example, they have 1,700 season ticket holders who are over 150 years old!'
But there is no such demand as yet at the Ricoh Arena so this is something of a red herring.
Even in the Premiership days at Highfield Road there was never really any trouble getting in for most games and that was with a 23,000 capacity.
Let Vital Coventry have your thoughts on the scheme, comment on this article below or join in the debate on the forum.
Date:Thursday March 16 2006
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