Coventry City Football Club make their return to The Ricoh Arena this Friday night after just over a season playing at Northampton Town’s ground, Sixfields but how well did the Sky Blues do in their first tenure at the ground?
After leaving Highfield Road, Coventry City moved to The Ricoh in August 2005 winning their opening game against Queen’s Park Rangers 3-0, with Claus Jorgensen scoring the first ever goal at the ground. In 206 matches, City would go on to win 81 (39%), lose 67 (33%) and draw 58 (28%.)
City have contested games have come in five different competitions: 186 league games (The Championship & League One), 12 matches in the FA Cup, 4 League Cup fixtures and 4 in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Over those 206 matches a total of 500 goals were scored, with City netting 262 (52%) and conceding 238 (48%.) This left City with an overall goal difference of +24. In the opening season at The Ricoh Arena, City finished with a goal difference of +17 after scoring 40 goals, conceding only 23. In contrast, the lowest goal difference at the end of a season saw City finish with -4 in 2009/2010.
This wasn’t their highest total of goals scored in one season though, as 41 goals were scored in 2012/2013, their last at the ground. 36 goals were scored against, however, the highest number in a season. On average City finished each season with a goal differnce of +3.
City took on 63 different opponents, with Crystal Palace and Preston North End being the most frequent visitors, with eight visits each. Crystal Palace won four of their eight visits making them the most successful visiting team, along with Bristol City who also picked up four wins (from six matches.)
City’s biggest win at the ground came in 2005/2006 when they defeated Derby County 6-1 with the goals coming from Stern John (x2), Dennis Wise, Dele Adebola and two from Gary McSheffrey. Paul Peschisolido netted a consolation for the visitors. City’s biggest defeat came in 2007/2008 in a 0-5 thrashing by West Bromwich Albion in The FA Cup.
Michael Doyle made the most appearances for Coventry at the ground with 102 (49.5% of the total 206 games), despite spending a season on loan at Leeds United. 98 of the 102 appearances were in the starting XI. Robbie Simpson has the honour of being the most used substitute, taking to the field 27 times from the bench (69.2% of his 39 appearances at the ground.)
There has only been one hat-trick at the ground, scored by Freddy Eastwood against Peterborough United on December 29th 2009. This equates to a quarter of his goals at the ground coming in just one match.
Of the current Coventry City squad who could feature in the club’s return to the ground on Friday, seven players have played at The Ricoh Arena for City before; Jordan Clarke (39 appearances), John Fleck (20), Conor Thomas (20), Adam Barton (12), Jordan Willis (4), Billy Daniels (2) & Ryan Haynes (1). Of these players, Ryan Haynes holds the unfortunate record of being the only player to have vomited on the pitch, when he made his Sky Blues’ debut against Brentford in April 2013.
Whilst seven have featured at the ground in the famous Sky Blue shirt, two have featured at the ground for the opposition; Danny Pugh and Marcus Tudgay. Pugh has made a total of five appearances at The Ricoh for Leeds United (winning 0-1), Preston North End (winning 0-4, losing 2-1) & Stoke City (winning 2-1). Tudgay has appeared for Sheffield Wednesday four times at the ground (losing 3-1 & 2-0 whilst also drawing 0-0 & 1-1). Tudgay fared slightly better in two appearances for Nottingham Forest, winning one game 1-2 and losing the other 1-0.
Current boss Steven Pressley managed the last five games the club played at The Ricoh Arena when he was appointed as Mark Robins’ successor in March 2013; winning 2 (v. Hartlepool United & Doncaster Rovers), drawing 2 (v. Colchester United & Brentford) and losing 1 (v. Leyton Orient).