Statement By Onye Igwe

Last updated : 01 September 2011 By Covsupport News Service/RD

Coventry City Football Club director Onye Igwe, who is SISU Capital Private Equity's representative on the  club board of directors has published an open letter to all Coventry City fans. The letter reproduced below is taken from the club website,,10269~2438349,00.html

Dear Supporter,

These have been turbulent times recently for Coventry City Football Club. I want to start by thanking all of you for your support for this Club. Despite all the changes, and challenges, you have remained committed and continue to offer fantastic support to our players on
the field.

Off the field events at Coventry have sadly dominated the headlines over the last couple of months, and I want to use the closure of the latest chapter, namely the recent withdrawal of a much hyped takeover bid, to communicate directly with you all and address a number of important issues.

First, I want to say that I fully appreciate the frustration of supporters in recent weeks, and I also understand that we at SISU are an easy target for this anger. I have read a lot recently about people wanting
the 'truth' and I wish to use this letter to set out the position we are in currently, look to the future and share the vision with you.

It is widely reported that SISU have spent in the region of £30m on the day to day operations of Coventry City over the past four years, and we have not taken money out of the Club, but continue to fund the football club.

Given that sum, I think it is fair to suggest that all supporters would have expected the Club to achieve much more during this time. While there are many owners in the Championship having to cover their Club's losses, we would have hoped for Coventry to have been in a stronger position than we currently are. At SISU, we readily accept that if we had our time again a number of things would have been done differently. Not in the money that we have invested and continue to invest, but in some of the decisions made and with whom
we chose in the past to partner with.

We have also been too distant, so when the relationship broke down with former executives, we have not been able to put our side of the story. We like to empower the management teams to run operations and do not take an active public role.

It is clear that this business style does not work in football. Since March the agenda should have been set by the Club and owner,  building bridges with our supporters and other stakeholders in the City. Unfortunately our distance has allowed others to promote their own disruptive cause, damaging the Club as a consequence.
This has also undermined the good work done by the new management team to recover from past losses.

The position of SISU is absolutely clear. We are not looking to sell but have said that we would speak with any credible investors looking to be part of a partnership with us.Talks continue on a regular basis
but no truly credible party has come to the fore so far. Let me also be clear that a lot of time has been wasted by having to deal with people and parties who have promised much in public, but have delivered
absolutely nothing.

The new Board has been tasked with improving all aspects of the Club's operations. Many improvements have been made, although most of these are not of a headline grabbing nature. I fully appreciate that what matters to supporters is investment on the field.Those who were previously directly responsible for our football transfer policy left the Club in a difficult situation with 11 players out of contract in June leaving us to inherit a dangerously depleted squad of players.We want to see major improvements on and off the field, but like many of our competitors we are operating within a more practical and long term budgetary structure than in recent years.

Money has been available for the club to spend this summer, and I am delighted that as well as goalkeepers Joe Murphy and Chris Dunn, Cody McDonald, a striker, was signed yesterday. We will hopefully also be successful in attracting some quality loan players later this month to help Andy Thorn. Also, despite a number of approaches, we have declined substantial offers for Lukas Jutkewicz (sic) and, as widely reported, other players, in order to maintain our commitment to compete at this level.

A working capital facility has been made available to the Club to support it through the final stage of the turnaround plan and major improvements and innovative ideas are expected in the coming months. Coventry City is the anchor tenant at the Ricoh Arena and it should have at least a partial stake in the ownership of the stadium where we play; everything possible shall be done moving forward to reach the right solution.

A football club should be a leading light within a community, a vehicle for bringing people together and promoting a City.Personally, I have enjoyed some fantastic days at the Ricoh Arena over the past four
years. In the coming weeks and months I shall communicate further with supporters and outline a wider vision for the club. This season though is one of transition, as we move towards a Club that is unified from the top down, both on and off the field of play.

I and the rest of the Board understand that there is a lot of frustration right now and lots of work has to be done to clear this, so let me finish by reiterating that we are committed to getting it right for the Club for the long term.

Kind regards,
Onye Igwe
SISU Capital Private Equity


Considered responses and opinions to this open letter will be published later on this site.


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