The Ricoh Arena - Coventry City
We always score first at the Ricoh, trouble is we always lose at the Ricoh. 2 visits, 2 goals = 2 defeats about time we bucked the trend. Our visit to the Midlands sees us take on 3 centrally based teams on in 7 days and will no doubt go a way to shaping our season. WBA & Leicester follow at home, on paper this looks the easiest game out of the 3, but Coventry took a point off Swansea and as 'little old Blackpool' have proved, anyone can beat anyone in this division, let`s hope it`s not our turn for an upset.
How to get there
M55 M6 South, all the way down to J3 then as simple as follow the signs to the stadium along the A444.
For the non believers - leave at J3, sign posted Coventry North, then at the roundabout take the 4th exit on to Phoenix way - the A444. At the next roundabout take the 1st exit on to Rowleys Green Lane. At the next roundabout take the 2nd exit on to Judds Lane - your there.
Sat navvers - CV6 6GE.
Parking - I've opted for the £10 place literally 20yds from the away end, handy but expensive, and a queue and a half at the end of the match to get away from the ground. Last year we squeezed on behind the coaches in a minibus for nowt, try the retail park nearby and buy a £25 shirt from next, that'll give you free paking but a journey in to town on Monday to get a refund on your shirt.
For the Virgin lovers amongst us the main city train station is over 6 miles away. A joey at a cost between a few of you would beat the public transport on offer.
Open almost 5 years at a cost of £113million there's no denying the Ricoh looks impressive.
After 106 years at Highfield Rd, the arena is built on the site of the old Foleshill gas works and the huge glassed reception area must make a pleasant sight for visiting teams. Inside the running track around the pitch conjures up memories of the Shay over 25 years ago. Legroom was good but from the far end you are so distant that in recent seasons Pool goals at that end have almost passed us by. Capacity is 32609 and there's room for up to 3000 away fans and I expect around the 850 mark to travel.
The hotel offers fantastic value for money & hospitality starts from £35 - now I wonder if our chairman is thinking along the same lines for the South?
Where to drink
When enquiring previously we were told 'there's a pub over there, but I wouldn't recommend it for away fans', hence with the old man with us we stuck to the beer inside the ground. When you reach the junction of the Ricoh off the 6 take a left towards Nuneaton, after the roundabout turn back on yourself and the pub of choice from last season is there on your left (name escapes me). For those looking for something a bit closer to the ground, the main gist suggests Longford - an alleged 10 minute walk to the ground. The Blackhorse has been the pub for away fans, there is the Longford Engine and the bar in the Novotel walking towards the ground. The Rose and Crown on Walsgrave Road and Phat Larrys, the hand and Heart are both about 4 miles away.
There is ale on sale inside the ground for away fans.
Plod & Stewards
I've done the Ricoh twice now and each time the stewarding has been fine, infact last year they were surprisingly polite. The only thing for the youngsters to watch out for is that they trawl the bar in groups checking the ID's of anyone who looks under age and is drinking (best take my passport with me then).
Fear Factor Rating - 2
The games are coming thick and fast, an easy victory over the sky blues earlier this season came when we were on fire, our away form doesn't read too good and so far we've struggled against the teams below us, but Saturday is a good opportunity to keep right in the mixer and anything other than 3 points at 5pm could be considered a disappointment.