Coventry City owners Sisu dismiss bids for relegated League One club as 'derisory'

Ricoh Arena
Coventry City will play in the fourth tier of English football in 2017-18

Relegated League One club Coventry City's owners Sisu have dismissed two bids for the Sky Blues as "derisory".

The club have confirmed that two bids were made to the London-based hedge fund by a consortium led by former Sky Blues vice-chairman Gary Hoffman.

But they insist that there have been no discussions between the two parties.

"There were no talks prior to the bids nor are any expected or planned," said a Sisu spokesperson, in a statement issued by the club to local media.

"Following recent press articles discussing offers for Coventry City Football Club, Sisu would like to confirm and put on record that there are not (nor have there been) any talks or negotiations taking place for the sale.

"Indeed, Mr Hoffman himself has noted publicly that the derisory bids put forward by him in recent days were immediately rejected."

Fans have campaigned for Sisu, now in their 10th season as club owners, to sell the relegated outfit, who will be playing in English football's fourth tier next season for the first time in 58 years.

But City fan Hoffman, who had his name chanted by City fans in Saturday's final home game of the season, has told the Coventry Telegraph that he will not back down.

"A lot of times I feel like giving up, because these are very difficult people to deal with," he said. "However, to quote Jimmy Hill, we will fight until the game is won."

Gary Hoffman (centre)
Gary Hoffman (centre) was chief executive of sponsors Barclaycard when signing a deal to be the league's title sponsor the week that Coventry were relegated from the top flight in 2001

Robins positive about the future

EFL Trophy winners Coventry do at least look like finishing a rotten season on a high, having enveloped their Wembley triumph with an unbeaten run of four wins in five game in front of their own fans at the Ricoh Arena.

Their improved run came too late to prevent the long inevitability of relegation, but Saturday's 1-0 win over Walsall lifted them off the bottom before their final game at manager Mark Robins' former club Scunthorpe United on 30 April.

"It was a really fitting performance and result for our final home game," Robins told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire. "It is important to try to not finish bottom. That is embarrassing.

"We've got to build, but the support we've had from the fans will keep me going throughout the summer, because we'll be working really hard to bring the right blend of people in.

"We've got a football club that's been in a difficult situation just off the back of relegation, we don't own our own ground, there's been a lot of turmoil and there's not enough in terms of revenue streams.

"There's no revenue streams other than the supporters' money, what the owners put in and what we generate ourselves. But I will still have a budget for next season. I don't want millions. It will be way off the teams that finished top this season, but it will be a healthy, competitive budget."

George Thomas
George Thomas's stunning EFL Trophy Wembley winner against Oxford United only partially atoned for the pain of relegation to League Two which followed for City fans

Seppala's apology to City fans

The club also posted on their website on Friday a public apology from Sisu boss Joy Seppala,

"I'd like to start by apologising to each and every CCFC fan," she said. "None of you deserve the dismal result of relegation.

"As owners, we must take responsibility for the club's position.

"There have been numerous mistakes made this season. Player recruitment in the summer was not good enough and the appointment of Russell Slade who, albeit a good man and successful League One manager, was not a good fit for the club given its current predicament and focus on youth players.

"This was something we tried swiftly to address. We brought Mark Robins back to the club because we believe he is someone who can successfully rebuild CCFC. This summer will be one of change and reform.

"Our plan and aim has to be promotion next season, a return to League One and then upwards from there. We are working hard behind the scenes to secure facilities that will allow the club to retain and develop its treasured Academy.

"We all understand the economic and emotional importance of having a stadium the club can call its home. We are working to achieve this.

"Lastly, we need to ensure that the club has a CEO with whom the fans can communicate, liaise and bemoan to, when necessary; a leader who can engage with the Sky Blue community at large. We are in the process of recruiting this individual.

"Looking back on this season, I wish we could restart. However, as a great man once said: 'We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope'."

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