Former Coventry City director Leonard Brody, who resigned from the board yesterday, but who remains a shareholder, has spoken to the Coventry Telegraph about the cost of leasing The Ricoh.
Brody, who has about a 20% shareholding in the parent company that owns Coventry City insists that the club is being overcharged by a factor of three for the lease and the cost is damaging the club.
The club currently pay about £1.2m rent a year for The Ricoh which, according to Brody is about three times the amount other Championship clubs in a similar position pay for their their grounds and that as a shareholder he will be working closely with Sisu to “turn the things that need to be turned around”.
Brody says the rent is one of the biggest single factors holding the club back.
Speaking to the CT on the telephone from San Francisco, Brody said:“The truth is that one of the biggest financial obstacles this club has is its lease at the stadium.
“You can’t have a situation where the club drives in sales for the stadium but at the same time has a noose around its neck because it is dealing with a lease that was negotiated well before anyone realised and well before my time that the club would be in the Championship for as long as it has been.
“Our lease is absolutely out of line with all the other leases, save for maybe one or two like Leeds, and is one of the single greatest cost line factors that need to be addressed immediately.
“If you look at other league situations in their facilities, the range that Championship clubs are paying is anywhere between £300,000-£500,000 a year, and that depends on multiple factors.
“It is not sustainable to have a team in the Championship paying north of £1million in rent, especially at an arena where the average attendance is anywhere between 12-17,000 depending on the game.
“One the one hand the city council and the community want the club to be financially stable which I fully agree with, but on the other hand it is one of those contracts that is causing this instability.
“So that’s a tomorrow morning thing that needs to get done and as a shareholder I am quite convicted about ensuring we fix right away.”
Brody admitted that since he became a director of the club, he has never actually seen them play live.
He said, “No, I never saw any games as a director. This is one of the things I’m quite sad about; all the times I was in Coventry was either on none-game days or when I was there there were no games happening, so my timing was always off which, in my mind is regrettable, but I was watching very closely from afar.
“I’d be up very early on Saturday mornings listening to the games on line and watching them through feeds when they were publicised on Sky.”