I’d like to thank Tom Furnival-Adams for contributing what is clearly a well considered and thought-provoking piece. It’s a complex situation we find ourselves in, with many unknowns, and many challenges to our natural persuasions. He outlined his approach and perspective with elegance, and I can’t recommend it highly enough to anyone looking for a semblance of pragmatism in this sorry affair.
Along with publicly thanking Tom, I also wanted to contribute a few additional thoughts from my perspective, not necessarily in response to his piece, but to the discussion it has provoked. I hope I am able to supplement the conversation in some form.
Basically, I’d like to say a few more things about the boycott.
Personally, understanding the value of the boycott continues to be the focus of my attention. It’s been suggested that it’s not working, or that it won’t. But can we really make that assumption? It’s been four games.
The sentiment behind the boycott for most is to not attend until CCFC return to Coventry. I don’t think at this point we can categorically state that boycotting will have no impact on the situation, when it’s simply had no time to bear that influence yet.
The other forms of protest appear to offer little but an inconvenience to most of the parties concerned, but for me, the idea of a boycott affects the decision-makers in the sense that they will surely have to react to it at some point. As a business guided by its desire to make money from this club eventually (those mavericks), there’s no way Sisu can withstand a lengthy boycott without making some adjustments or accommodation to the circumstances. Especially if the proposals for a new stadium in Coventry prove as difficult to solidify as we all expect.
Up until this point, most of their decisions have been made in spite of our opposition – some were enforced, some were down to the way they have chosen to position themselves politically is this dispute with ACL. But either way, they haven’t been made with the views and desires of the fans at heart. Let’s be honest, when you’re staving off litigation left-right-and centre, the views of fans are the least of your concerns.
Even so, I think it’s time we *made* our interests their concern, because being a football supporter should simply be about enjoying watching a football club play. It’s a travesty that we’re being expected to navigate this political, moral and logistical minefield.
The focus from all stakeholders up until this point seems to have been on winning a political and financial battle, over recognising the distress this has caused the vast majority of Coventry City fans.
And this is where boycotting comes in. I feel that by not attending matches at Sixfields, this actually provides us for the first time with a genuine opportunity to influence/enforce some kind of movement or decision. Even if that decision is to simply nudge Sisu’s policy/communication to being less guarded in their stance around re-opening talks withACL, I still will see that as a victory and worth the sacrifice that comes with not being able to watch your team play so fantastically.
As Tom says in his piece, we have to think about what we want to achieve, and from my perspective, changing Sisu’s mindset is what I’m after, because I think if we’re to return to the Coventry, it’s going to be their choice, nobody else’s.
Forcing them to adjust their stance by making them realise this boycott/inability to attend is for the long haul – that is my aim. To my mind, attending the matches doesn’t offer the same advantages in achieving that. If we all gave up on it and made our way back, I worry we’re placing the control and timescales firmly in the hands of these two parties, when I want our voice to be the one which has the power to drive the course of events. It may seem a long shot, but from my position, it’s our best chance of forcing the issue. If those who can make it to Sixfields all do so, then there’s a very real risk of the strength of opposition becoming so diluted, that it evolves into being viewed as one of acceptance by those calling the shots. I’m not sure that’s the position we want to be in.