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In the midst of a surreal fan protest, Coventry's plight continues with relegation to fourth tier

The Sky Blues were in the Premier League as recently as 2001 but the club has been devastated by off-field issues.

Image: David Davies

COVENTRY CITY’S RELEGATION to the fourth tier of English football was confirmed after a 1-1 draw with Charlton Athletic.

Just before kick-off, supporters from both clubs protested against their respective owners by launching small plastic pigs onto the pitch – in a repeat of their actions in the reverse fixture at The Valley back in October.

As a result, the game was delayed in getting underway. When the teams did kick-off, supporters threw more of them and both sides were escorted from the pitch temporarily.

Eventually the game got underway 15 minutes behind schedule.

Coventry, bottom of the table, needed to win to have any hope of staying in League One but they fell short and will play in the fourth tier for the first time since 1959.

Coventry City v Charlton Athletic - Sky Bet League One - Ricoh Arena Source: David Davies

They were in the Premier League as recently as 2001 but have been owned by a hedge fund – Sisu – since 2007.

The club looked set for administration before Sisu arrived but their survival has come at a cost. Coventry were relegated to League One in 2012 and did go into administration the following year. After a rent row, they then left the Ricoh Arena and Coventry and ground-shared with Northampton Town at their Sixfields stadium – a bitter move that sparked massive criticism from fans.

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There was an emotional homecoming in 2014 but the toxicity has remained. Protests intensified earlier this season and caretaker manager Mark Venus said in December:

Coventry City v Oxford United - Checkatrade Trophy - Final - Wembley Stadium Source: Nigel French

“I work 12 hours a day. I care about the football club. I’m trying very hard to keep it going. It [the team] isn’t doing very well, it needs help. Does it hurt? What do you think? It’s the toughest part of my career. Of course it hurts”.

It’s a sad state, it’s a sorry football club.”

Mark Robins, who managed the Sky Blues for a short stint between 2012 and 2013 was brought back in March. The following month, the club won the EFL Trophy for the first time – 30 years after their famous FA Cup final victory.

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