Coventry seeking ‘normality’

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson had no complaints after

his side were beaten by a Cluj wonder goal on Wednesday.

The Romanians became the first visitors to win in the Champions

League at Old Trafford in three years thanks to Luis Alberto’s

swerving drive into the top corner from 25 yards.

The victory was not enough to see Cluj into the last 16 with

Galatasaray progressing to the knockout phase courtesy of a better

head-to-head record following their 2-1 win over Braga.

Despite the defeat, Ferguson was able to draw a number of

positives from the performance of his young side, who created

enough chances to get something from the match.

“It was a wonder goal that beat us,” said the United manager.

“We had a lot of good chances but with a goal like that we have no

complaints, You can’t do a lot about it.

“We had a young side out that did very well at times. I’m

satisfied they put a decent performance in.

“It was a good experience for the youngsters. Nick Powell I

though in the first half did quite well for us and Phil Jones had

an excellent game. It’s only his second game in about nine months

so I’m very pleased with that part.

“We qualified earlier so it gave us a chance to experiment and

play the players that needed a game. We gave some young players a

bit of experience and that will hold them in good stead.

“We’re into the next stage being winners of the group and there

are some big names in there. We could face Shakhtar Donetsk, Milan,

Porto.”

“We qualified comfortably and the real tournament starts in

February. The knockout stages are fantastic.”

The Sky Blues have been handed a 21-day deadline to pay their

outstanding rent on the Ricoh Arena.

ACL issued them with the deadline after being owed ?1.6million

by the Sky Blues, but the League One club will fight what they

believe are extortionate rates.

“We are disappointed by ACL’s actions to issue a statutory

demand to Coventry City Football Club rather than, as we had

requested, sitting down with us to negotiate a level of rent which

the club can afford and which is in line with the rent paid by

other clubs,” a statement read.

“For reference, ACL has been charging CCFC an annual rent of

?1.28 million, which we understand is the highest in both League

One and the Championship.

“We understand that the average annual rent paid by League One

clubs (excluding CCFC) is less than ?170,000 and that the average

in the Championship is less than ?290,000. All other clubs which

rent their stadia get full access to 100 per cent of match day

food, beverage and car parking revenues, unlike CCFC.

“The club’s objective in requesting these negotiations with ACL

has been only to bring about a state of commercial normality, where

CCFC pays the same level of rent and has access to the same type of

ancillary revenues as the other football clubs with which it

competes.”

The Sky Blues left their Highfield Road home in 2005 to take up

residence at the 32,000-seater stadium, but insists it has become

unviable to continue there.

The statement continued: “It is unsustainable for CCFC to be put

at a severe financial disadvantage to its peers.

“While we have been seeking to normalise the rent, we have

continued to pay match-day costs to ensure that ACL is not left

out-of-pocket.

“The club remains committed to the city and people of Coventry.

However, its viability depends on it finding an alternative home

ground where it can afford to play.”