Coventry City looking at possible Nene Park move

Nene Park
Nene Park

Coventry City have explored the possibility of playing their home matches at Nene Park.

The story was broken by the Coventry Telegraph this morning, who understand the npower League One club have inquired about switching their home fixtures to the Irthlingborough venue, which currently lies empty and with no power with Kettering Town currently unable to afford the running costs.

Coventry have threatened to find an alternative home as a war of words with Ricoh Arena owners Arena Coventry Limited (ACL) grew more bitter.

ACL last week issued a statutory demand for the £1.1m arrears owed by the football club in rent, giving City 21 days to stump up their unpaid rent.

If they fail to meet the Boxing Day deadline the Sky Blues, bankrolled by Sisu for the last five years, would have to declare themselves insolvent or face a winding-up order.

It emerged over the weekend that City have turned down a latest offer from ACL which would see a rent reduction of 67 per cent, down to £400,000-a-year from £1.28m, as well as giving the club ten years to pay off what they owe and the chance to take matchday revenue from refreshments.

Now it seems Nene Park is on their radar and the club said in a statement: “Following the issuing of a statutory demand by ACL last week the board of directors of CCFC will, first and foremost, continue to work hard at bringing about a resolution regarding the rent dispute with ACL that will enable the football club to remain at the Ricoh Arena.

“However, in the interim period, they must consider other alternative and appropriate venues which are affordable for a football club to ensure CCFC fulfil their future fixtures.

“The club has therefore commenced the sensible process of making contact with other football clubs to evaluate if their stadiums meet our requirements should negotiations with ACL fail to reach a mutually agreed position on the rent with the result that CCFC is forced to move away from the Ricoh to a new venue.”

Nene Park has sat empty since the Poppies were beaten 7-0 at home by Bashley in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division and have since been playing their home matches at Corby Town’s Steel Park stadium.

Kettering agreed a 25-year lease to play in Irthlingborough last summer as they made the controversial move to Rushden & Diamonds’ former home from their own Rockingham Road ground.

The Poppies are currently being run by volunteers while majority shareholder Imraan Ladak continues to hold negotiations with potential new owners.

Ritchie Jeune, who is leading the group of volunteers at Kettering, revealed at the weekend that a potential new owner had made an offer to buy the club and it is believed Tony Campbell, a former Plymouth Argyle CEO, is behind that bid.

And it is understood that any new investor would see Nene Park as Kettering’s home for the future.

Coventry have played one competitive game at Nene Park, in August 2005, when a crowd of 3,240 saw the Sky Blues win a Carling Cup tie 3-0 with goals from Gary McSheffrey, Matt Heath and Andy Morrell.