Coventry firm face huge debts

Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill cut a frustrated figure

after his side’s 2-0 defeat to Israel at Windsor Park.

The hosts were undone by late goals from Lior Refaelov and Eden

Ben Basat in the World Cup qualifier to leave O’Neill still without

a victory after nine matches in charge.

“It’s hugely disappointing, hugely frustrating,” said

O’Neill.

“I felt we controlled large portions of the game again,

certainly in the first half I thought some of our play was

excellent, we created some good chances which we didn’t take and we

were punished twice on the counter-attack towards the end.

“Again we make life difficult for ourselves to be honest.

“It’s just a case of when we’ve been in a strong position in

games, when we’ve dominated possession, we’ve never capitalised on

that.

“We’ve missed chances at important parts of the game and

ultimately we’ve been punished when we’ve given the other team a

bit of initiative.

“We have to start winning games, we have to get a winning

mentality into this group of players.”

Captain Steven Davis added: “I think it’s been the story of our

group so far. If you don’t take your chances at this level you get

punished.

“If you analyse the game we had the majority of chances and

possession. So we’re massively disappointed again tonight, we can’t

keep letting this happen to us.”

A High Court judge has been analysing the League One football

club’s finances.

The lawyer, who was representing financial experts managing the

firm’s affairs, told Mrs Justice Proudman of the debts.

Detail of debt levels emerged at a High Court hearing in London

days after the firm involved was placed into administration.

Adam Goodison, who was representing administrators managing the

financial affairs of Coventry City Football Club Ltd, told the

judge that the level of “deficits” to creditors was “in the region

of ?60million”.

He added: “It is a fairly catastrophic insolvency.”

After the hearing a Coventry supporters’ club official suggested

that fans would be concerned by what had emerged.

“It’s a lot of numbers to take in,” said Michael Orton,

membership secretary of the Sky Blue Trust.

“They were talking of debts of ?60million. A catastrophic

insolvency. These are not things we’d heard before.”

A firm which owns the stadium where Coventry plays had said it

planned to ask the judge to place the club into administration,

because it was owed more than ?1.3million.

But Arena Coventry today asked for that application to be

dismissed, after learning that Coventry City Football Club Ltd had

already gone into administration.

And debt detail emerged as lawyers discussed legal issues with

the judge.

Another firm involved with Coventry had announced the

administration move last week.

Coventry City Football Club (Holdings) Ltd said it would pay

wages and meet “creditor commitments” – and said the “football club

itself” was not under threat.

It remains to be seen whether the football team is the subject

of a points deduction from the Football League for the subsidiary

going into administration.

A statement by Coventry City Football Club (Holdings) Ltd last

week said the firm which had been placed into administration was a

“non-operating subsidiary of the club”.

Coventry City chief executive Tim Fisher said, after the hearing

today: “I hope all parties will now focus on re-establishing a

constructive dialogue for the good of the club and football in

Coventry.

“We would like to ensure that Coventry City Football Club can,

in the first instance, continue to play its remaining home matches

this season at the Ricoh Arena.”