When The Saints Went Marching To JPT Success
Coventry City's run to the Northern Area Final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy has provided a welcome, if unexpected, re-awakening of interest in the club's fortunes over the past few weeks.
A well-judged £5 ticket offer for the games against Sheffield United and Preston North End resulted in two of the biggest crowds of the season so far at the Ricoh Arena and repeating that ticket price for the final against Crewe led to 3,000 tickets being sold in just three hours on the first morning of sale and a gradual snowballing of interest that ultimately saw the stadium being sold out.
The make-up of the crowds at the quarter and semi-final fixtures has been noticeably different to league games with plenty of families in attendance and the return of supporters who, for various reasons, have not been to CV6 on a regular basis over the past few years.
But, if City do get to the JPT final, can it mean something more than just a day out at Wembley? The experience of Southampton when they won the competition (as recently as 2010) suggests it can.
The Saints, under Alan Pardew at the time, took 44,000 fans to Wembley and that resurgence of pride in the club is credited with being the first step along the road which subsequently took them to successive promotions and back into the top-flight.
Having such a big crowd at the Ricoh for this week`s game will serve as an eye-opener to players and management that they are at a club that can go places in the next few years given a bit of luck and some more of the kind of leadership they have had this season.