Scottish Premier League

No Highland favour - Fotheringham

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Fri, 17 May 2013 22:40:00

Coventry have confirmed they will definitely not be returning to the Ricoh Arena next season.

Chief executive Tim Fisher has revealed the club are instead in the process of securing a site in the local area on which to build a new stadium.

Fisher says that whilst the new ground is being constructed, they will groundshare with another club, with their plans to be presented to the Football League at the start of June.

The move comes following a year-long rent row with Arena Coventry Limited (ACL), who manage the Ricoh Arena on behalf of joint owners the Alan Edward Higgs Charity and Coventry City Council.

Fisher said: "It's a new era and we retained specialists some months ago to advise us on where to build a new stadium for the club - and in the immediate Coventry area by the way".

City claim they did not want to leave the Ricoh but they had to make the move because "the doors locked on us".

In a statement of their own on Thursday, ACL said "our doors remain open to the Sky Blues".

But asked if there is any chance of Coventry playing at the Ricoh Arena next season, Fisher replied: "None.

"People have to understand we do not posture, we do not threaten, because that is not how you do business, you only do business in good faith. Always.

"We have started the process of procuring land so that we can shift the new stadium build forward at a pace. The stadium will be in the Coventry area in accordance with Football League rules."

Fisher added: "We have left the Ricoh Arena.

"We were told categorically by ACL and by the council that there was no commercial deal to be done and in actual fact they would only ever work with the administrator.

"We were very, very clear in our minds as to exactly what was intended. Given the position we have had to make contingency plans to fulfil our fixtures on an interim basis - while we deliver the long-term vision.

"That long-term vision has us playing in the Coventry area in a new stadium that will be designed and delivered in three years.

"All this will be in full consultation with the fans - starting with the upcoming forums. In consideration of financial fair play then we will own all the revenue streams that come from matchday and, non-matchday activities, and therefore we will have every chance of becoming a solid, vibrant club."

Ferdinand, who has spent over a decade at United under Sir Alex Ferguson, has not yet agreed an extension on his current deal that runs out this summer.

And the 34-year-old, who won his sixth Premier League title this season, announced on Wednesday he was retiring from England duty in order to concentrate on club matters.

And United boss Ferguson said: "I think it is something he could have done last year.

"Ending his international career will definitely help him, as it did with Paul Scholes, and hopefully Manchester United will get the benefit of that."

But Fotheringham will be in no mood to do Inverness a favour on Sunday.

County will stop Caley Thistle qualifying for the Europa League if they win or draw and St Johnstone beat Motherwell.

But the rivalry on the pitch will not extend beyond those confines.

And, for a player who began his career at Celtic, Fotheringham welcomes the mutual respect.

Fotheringham said: "I was in the gym the other day having a stretch on our day off and I bumped into one of the Inverness guys and I was up shaking his hand. It's nice to see the lads.

"It's not like that type of atmosphere when I was a kid at Celtic and I had to hide in the bottom of a taxi and had my green colours on coming home from a game and there was an Orange walk.

"It's nothing like that, up here it's all about the good, friendly atmosphere.

"When the whistle blows, we are competitive guys so we are going out there to win the game and that's the only thing on our minds."

Fotheringham added: "We know it's a derby and you have got to go out and win for the bragging rights for the fans.

"We are just glad both teams are doing well for the Highlands. It's good for this part of Scotland."

County have not beaten Inverness this season in five games but Fotheringham has no inferiority complex, especially with both games at the Global Energy Stadium ending in draws.

"We are not too bothered about records because in the games so far we have given a really good account of ourselves," he said.

"But the main thing is to get points on the board and we want to win the game and finish the season on a high."

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