Coventry City Profile

Major Honours FA Cup (1), Football League Trophy (1)
Year Founded 1883

The 1987 FA Cup winners Coventry City had a run of 34 years in the top flight of English football, but their recent history has been peppered with financial woes and stadium troubles.

Coventry City is an English professional football club based in Coventry, in the west Midlands of England. The Sky Blues currently play in the Championship, in the second tier of the English pyramid.

Nicknamed the Sky Blues because of the colour of their home kit, Coventry were formed in 1883. However, at the time, they were not known as Coventry City, but rather as Singers F.C.

From 1967 to 2001, Coventry City had a lengthy uninterrupted spell in the top flight, spanning a total of 34 years. Only Liverpool, Everton and Arsenal had longer tenures in the top flight of English football at the time.

Coventry City won the FA Cup in 1987 and the Football League Trophy in 2017.

They have also won the second tier of the English Football League once and third tier twice, the last coming in the 2019/20 season when they lifted the League One trophy.

Coventry missed out on a return to the Premier League at the end of the 2022/23 season after losing on penalties to Luton in the Championship play-off final.

Coventry City early history

Coventry City Football Club was formed by employees of Singer, which was a British motor vehicle manufacturing organisation, in 1883. Sixteen years later, they changed their name to what they have been known as ever since, Coventry City.

The Sky Blues were voted into the Football League in 1919 but didn't properly start their rise up the ranks until the 1930s, but when it did they made a good run towards the top.

They won the Third Division South title in 1936 after edging Torquay United 2-1 on the final day of the season. This meant that Coventry City earned the right to return to Division Two after 11 years in the wilderness.

Jimmy Hill ushers in the top flight era

Coventry City team photo in 1965

In 1961, Jimmy Hill took over as Coventry City manager when the club was in Division Three.

Hill had previously played for Brentford before an 11-year stint playing for fellow West London club Fulham.

The 1963/64 season saw Hill lead Coventry City to the Division Three title with a 1-0 win over Colchester United on the final day before they were promoted to Division Two for the following season.

Three years later, Hill immortalised himself in the Coventry City history books by leading the team to the 1966/67 Second Division title, thus ensuring their promotion to the First Division for the first time in the teams history.

Despite leading the team to the top flight, Hill left Coventry City in 1967 to move into broadcasting. However, this didn't stop Coventry, as they continued to improve and make team history.

Coventry City celebrate promotion with manager Jimmy Hill in 1964

Under the guidance of Noel Cantwell, Coventry City finished sixth in the First Division in the 1969/70 season, their highest finish in English league football so far.

Coventry City qualified for the Inter-City Fairs Cup for the 1970/71 season. In the second round, they came up against Bayern Munich.

They lost the first leg 6-1, but managed a heroic 2-1 win at Highfield Road over the German giants in the second leg of the tie. Nevertheless, Coventry succumbed to a 7-3 defeat on aggregate.

At the close of the 1976/77 season, Coventry City narrowly avoided relegation, but not without controversy.

Their 2-2 draw with Bristol City meant that both clubs avoided the drop, while Sunderland went down.

Coventry City and Bristol City were accused of match-fixing, as they both avoided relegation as a result of their draw and the result of the Sunderland match had been shown to them on the stadium screen before the fixture between Coventry and Bristol came to a halt.

Coventry City reached the semi-finals of the League Cup in the 1980/81 campaign, the furthest point they had ever reached in the competition.

However, after taking a 3-2 aggregate lead after the first leg West Ham United, they threw it away, losing 2-0 in the second leg, thus missing out on a final at Wembley.

That same year, Highfield Road became England's first all-seater stadium.

FA Cup winners in 1987

In 1987, Coventry City won their first and only major trophy ever, lifting the FA Cup.

Manager John Sillett led the club to a 3-2 extra-time victory over Tottenham Hotspur in an entertaining final which saw Spurs defender Gary Mabbutt deflect the ball into his own net to deliver what proved to be the winning goal.

Dave Bennett and Keith Houchen scored Coventry's goals in normal time, for a side that feature club legends such as goalkeeper Steve Ogrizovic, Lloyd McGrath, Brian Kilcline, Trevor Peake, Micky Gynn and Cyrille Regis.

Coventry City also won the FA Youth Cup in 1987.

Just 19 months later Coventry suffered one of the biggest FA Cup upset in its history, losing to non-league Sutton United in the third round in January 1989.

The Premier League era

Coventry were founding members of the Premier League in the 1992/93 season, finishing 15th in its inaugural campaign.

Player-manager Gordon Strachan took the helm in November 1996 and managed to avoid relegation on the last day of the season, though they were helped by a three-point deduction imposed on Middlesbrough for cancelling a fixture.

Dion Dublin was top scorer in the Premier League in the 1997/98 as Coventry once again hit their highest ever finish in the Premier League era reaching 11th position, they had previously finished in that spot in the 1993/94 campaign.

In 2001, Coventry City were relegated from the Premier League, ending their 34-year spell in the top flight.

Strachan was sacked five matches into the 2001/02 First Division season.

Moving house and climbing back up

oventry City celebrates winning the Checkatrade trophy in 2017

After a 106 years, Coventry City move out of Highfield Road and into the 32,609-seater Ricoh Arena in 2005.

The Sky Blues came close to going into administration during a disastrous period for the club in 2007.

Ray Ranson and hedge fund SISU Capital Limited completed their takeover of the club after rushing in to save the day with 20 minutes to spare.

In 2012, Coventry City were relegated to League One, dropping to the third tier of English football for the first time in 48 years.

The next few years were marred by financial peril as supporters grew increasingly wary of the SISU ownership.

In 2013, Coventry went into administration and were forced out of the Ricoh Arena and made to play their home game over 30 miles away in Northampton's Sixfields Stadium.

Over a year later Coventry return to the Ricoh Arena but protests against SISU continued to rumble on.

The Mark Robins era

Coventry City manager Mark Robins celebrates

Mark Robins had a brief spell in charge of Coventry in the 2012/13 season, but was poached by Huddersfield in February of that season two months after being named manager of the month.

In March 2017, Robins returned for his second spell in charge. He led the club to the EFL Trophy, their first trophy in 30 years, but he was unable to stop Coventry getting relegated to League Two.

Their revival and climb back up the leagues started in the 2017/2018 season.

Coventry finished sixth in the league, the lowest in the club's history, but were promoted to League One via the play-offs - beating Exeter City 3-1 in the final.

A solid eighth place finish in the 2018/19 League One season was then succeeded by winning the title in the shortened 2019/20 season to gain promotion back to the Championship.

After two seasons playing their home games at Birmingham City's St Andrews ground, Coventry returned to Coventry Building Society Arena (formerly the Ricoh Arena).

Robins kept Coventry in the Championship for the next two seasons despite increasing financial pressures and more problems with the stadium owners.

Finally in 2022 the wheels were set in motion to end the reign of SISU.

Doug King completed a full takeover of Coventry after buying the remaining shares from previous owners SISU Capital in January 2023.

Coventry came within a whisker of ending their 22-year exile from the Premier League in the 2022/23 season.

The club - who played seven of their opening nine league games away from the CBS Arena during the season after the Commonwealth Games' Rugby Sevens wrecked the pitch - were bottom of the Championship on October 19 and still in the relegation zone as November began.

But they rallied and lost only once in their final 17 games to finish fifth in the Championship and they edged out highly fancied Middlesbrough in their play-off semi-final.

But it wasn't to be in the Championship play-off final against Luton.

Jordan Clark's opener was cancelled out by Coventry favourite Gustavo Hamer.

The match finished 1-1 after extra-time and Fankaty Dabo's penalty miss meant a famous 6-5 sudden-death shoot-out victory for jubilant Luton.

It was a cruel way for the season to end - a £170million clash between clubs that have both gone through the mill during their decades away from the big time.

Coventry City fanbase

Coventry City fans ready for a pre-season game against Wolves

Coventry City supporters have held several protests against the SISU ownership in recent years. Their future remains unclear amid reported plans to move into a new stadium once again.

Coventry City rivalries

Coventry City's fiercest traditional rivals are Leicester City. However, in recent years, Coventry City's fortunes have been far worse than Leicester's and it has been difficult to maintain intensity in the mutual animosity between supporters.

Coventry City finances

Doug King completed a full takeover of Coventry after buying the remaining shares from previous owners SISU Capital in January 2023.

Coventry City News