Living with two Chavs (aka. people from Coventry) this year and making quite good friends with them since meeting last year, I promised myself I'd be staying over in Coventry on the weekend of the M69 Derby this season. I did, and it was excellent!
Stayed at Mike's on Friday and travelled up to the Ricoh Arena in the morning (whoever decided to build it 4 miles north of the city centre was an idiot), to meet old school mate Stephen (who had driven from Leicester). My first impressions of the Ricoh were a slight impression, it's quite a sight as you arrive, with Walkers Stadium-esque white poles decorating the the roof and with the appendage on the side (containing a casino, hotel and restaurant among other things) is a long way to walk round. Inside the stadium, the seats were dirty (uncleaned for away fans, cleaned for home fans maybe?!) and there was rubbish flying across the pitch, my favourite items I saw were an empty Tesco bag and the lid of a cylindrical sweets tub (to be fair, rubbish,may have been due to wind...). The Ricoh is quite similar to the Walkers, the seats are built in a bowl stlye although the roof in Coventry is raised higher than in Leicester, but there were quite a few more empty seats at the Ricoh (cue chants of "your ground's too big for you" and "they're here, they're there, they're everywhere: empty seats"). See below for the view from my seat.
The match wasn't a great, partly due to the windy conditions, and Coventry had the first half hour to themselves, chances wise, although I thought Leicester may have had a bit more possession. The Foxes' possession gave fruit eventually as Gallagher hit the crossbar but the same player somehow managed to handball a cross, giving away a dangerous free kick and leading to Coventry's first goal. Into the second half, Leicester came out much more confidently, now faces the whole end of the stadium which housed the away supporters, but could still not hit the back of the net. At which point, Nigel Pearson took off our three forwards, Matty Fryatt, Paul Gallagher and Yann Kermorgant (who I had not seen play before and is pictured above) to send on Steve Howard, Martyn Waghorn and a surprising return for DJ Campbell.
The 'gamble' seemed to pay off as ten minutes later, subs Howard and Waghorn linked to fire Leicester back into the game, with a pretty awesome goal. The atmosphere at the beginning of the match was electric, although it died out towards half-time, especially after the Cov goal, but after this goal for the remaining twenty minutes, it was even better. As I write, my throat is in pain from the singing and cheering the Fox support gave, and I'm reliably informed that this came across well on the radio! We never managed to get that winner, neither did Coventry, but I think 1-1 is a fair result for two closely matched teams in a challenging and tight league.
I was pleased to see Kermy have a decent effect on the game and also to see DJ return: Campbell should be a good player, and since we can't get rid of him, I think he deserves a chance to prove himself. It would be easy to go for Waggy as man-of-the-match for his excellent goal but, in a very team based game, I'd like to single out Lloyd Dyer as my MotM: he worked hard all day, put in some good crosses and had some shots with his right foot for a change.
Decent match, dirty stadium, great goal, fantastic atmosphere and a great weekend in good ole' Chaventry.
Final Score: Coventry City 1 - 1 Leicester City
Man of the Match: Lloyd Dyer
See this quick video for a taste of the support of the Foxes.