Coventry City are in League One.
We’ve known that much since that wonderful day at Wembley on Monday, May 26 when Exeter City were swept aside.
But today’s there’s tangible proof, in black, white and sky blue as the League One fixtures are announced by the English Football League (EFL).
We’ll be bringing you the full schedule of matches, as well as identifying the key matches and the longest away trips,
We’ll also be sharing your reactions as Mark Robins’ men learn when they will face the likes of Sunderland, Walsall, Portsmouth and Blackpool.
Andy Turner will be analysing the fixture list, looking at the latest betting odds and giving his verdict on the season ahead.
Join us for big reveal, the analysis and plenty more besides.
‘All aboard the promotion bus’
City fans have expressed a mixed reaction to the new League One fixtures.
Many agree that the Sky Blues have been handed a decent start to the 2018/19 campaign and difficult final run-in, but there’s plenty of optimism for the season ahead.
The Christmas schedule has gone down well, with back-to-back home games and a relatively stress free trip to Wycombe on New Year’s Day, but the biggest disappointment has to be the fact that City’s trip to Blackpool – traditionally a decent weekender – has been scheduled on a Tuesday night.
Plenty of supporters are looking forward to locking horns with fallen Premier League Sunderland – by far the biggest and most glamorous fixture of the campaign.
Here’s a taste of comments so far:
Robin Allen said: “One of my favourite days of the year! Quite pleased starting with a home game, Plymouth away in January might be a bit cold! “
Crusty Revisited said: “New season and fresh hope for the Sky Blues on their way back up the leagues.”
Jimi Dyer said: “I don’t really look too much into the fixtures and what can be ideal because we only know at the time whether it will be tough or not. Let’s just see what happens.”
Chris Rabban said: “Got it circled already! Sunderland away.”
Jordan Newbold said: “Looking at that fixture list, no teams really stands out to me except Sunderland…. it’s going to be an interesting season. I honestly think we could get into the playoffs again.”
CCFC LGBT fans said: “So basically we need to be cemented in the playoffs by April.”
Andy Mee said: “All aboard the promotion bus to Doncaster.”
Neil White said: “Could not have hoped for a better start to the season. Real possibilities in August, September and even October. Not so sure about April!”
Ryan England said: “Closest seaside resort to Gillingham? “
Olivia Moore said: “Scunthorpe at home, a tough start to the season but should be a good test of our ability against a good side.”
Liam Cook said: “Sunderland at home on Saturday 29th September. That will be a tasty one.”
Curtis said: “Blackpool and Fleetwood away both midweek, Blackpool on my birthday. That’s the lads beano cancelled.”
Mark Egan said: “Wow, just sneaked a peek at the fixtures and that is a difficult start to the season, but what a boxing Day fixture for us!”
Club expresses sadness
Coventry City legend Ernie Hunt has died aged 75, following a battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
The former Sky Blues striker will be fondly remembered by fans for his legendary ‘donkey kick’ goal, scored against Everton in 1970.
Team-mate Willie Carr gripped the ball between his legs from a free-kick before proceeding to flick it up to Hunt, who volleyed home spectacularly.
Landing in the far corner, the goal was a landmark moment in English football.
The Coventry duo’s inventiveness caused the FA to outlaw similar goals at the end of the 1970/71 season – but Hunt did receive the inaugural ‘Goal of the Season’ award for his effort.
In his later years, Hunt was a prominent figure within the Coventry City Former Players’ Association, and vice-chairman Billy Bell led the tributes to the popular character.
“He was much-loved and respected by all the players,” said Bell.
“He was fabulous with his past, his history – and especially the donkey kick with Willie Carr.
“Ernie was an outstanding character and a great singer. He always sang Moon River at the Casino and got the whole crowd going on the numerous occasions he came to Legends Day.”
Born Roger Hunt, but later changing his name to Ernie to avoid confusion with the Liverpool striker of the same name, he began his career with Swindon Town.
Signing for his local side in 1957, whilst working for British Rail, Hunt became the club’s youngest-ever player when he made his debut two years later, aged 16.
Making over 200 appearances for the Robins, Hunt was top scorer at the County Ground for four consecutive seasons, firing his side to the 2nd Division, before leaving to join Wolves in 1965.
He repeated his scoring feats at Molineux, grabbing 20 goals as Wolves were promoted to the 1st Division in 1967. A brief move to Everton saw Hunt arrive at Highfield Road in 1968.
Scoring 51 goals in 173 games for Coventry, the striker started every game of the Sky Blues’ sole European adventure in 1970/71 – and even managed to grab a consolation goal in Munich, before Coventry’s famous victory over Bayern in the return leg.
He left the club in 1973 before winding down his career in non-league. In retirement, Hunt returned to the west country, holding various jobs including becoming a publican.
As Sky Blues fans go back to relive Hunt’s famous donkey kick, Barry Davies’ commentary seems ever-more fitting: “Well, they don’t come much better than that!”
Two for the hardcore followers
Early hopes and sting in the tail
Right time of year, wrong day of the week
Good start, tough end
Coventry City have been handed the perfect start to life back in League One with an opening day game at the Ricoh Arena.
City then travel to Wimbledon, who struggled last season with an 18th place finish, before their second home game of the campaign, against Plymouth Argyle who just missed out on the play-offs last month.
The Sky Blue Army travel to Blackpool in August, but there will be disappointment among the fans as the traditional excuse to make a weekend of it has been scuppered by the fact that it’s a Tuesday night fixture.
The computer has thrown out another horrible midweek trip with City set to play Joey Barton’s Fleetwood Town on a Tuesday night at the end of November.
However, Christmas has been kind this year, with back-to-back home games against Charlton (Boxing Day) and Southend United three days later, while there is a relatively comfortable away trip to Wycombe Wanderers on New Year’s Day.
City resume their local derby with Walsall this season, making the short trip to the Banks’s Stadium in early December, with the return fixture at the Ricoh in mid-February.
Newly relegated Championship sides Burton and Barnsley will be expected to push for a swift return, and City travel to the Pirelli Stadium in mid-November and to Oakwell at the end of March.
Supporters have to wait until next April for arguably the biggest trip of the campaign, to Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, which comes as part of a tough final run in against promotion hopefuls Bradford City, Portsmouth and Shrewsbury, before a final day trip to Doncaster Rovers.
Looking forward to it already
Sky Blues Kick off at the Ricoh
Coventry City will kick off their new League One campaign at the Ricoh Arena with a home game against Scunthorpe United.
The Sky Blue Army have to wait until next April for the big trip to Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, which comes as part of a tough final run in against promotion hopefuls Bradford City, Portsmouth and Shrewsbury, before a final day trip to Doncaster Rovers.
Christmas has been kind to City fans this time around, with back-to-back home games against Charlton (Boxing Day) and Southend United three days later, while there is a relatively easy away trip to Wycombe Wanderers on New Year’s Day.
The fixtures list in full:
04/08/2018 15:00 Coventry City v Scunthorpe United
11/08/2018 15:00 A.F.C. Wimbledon v Coventry City
18/08/2018 15:00 Coventry City v Plymouth Argyle
21/08/2018 19:45 Blackpool v Coventry City
25/08/2018 15:00 Gillingham v Coventry City
01/09/2018 15:00 Coventry City v Rochdale
08/09/2018 15:00 Oxford United v Coventry City
15/09/2018 15:00 Coventry City v Barnsley
22/09/2018 15:00 Bristol Rovers v Coventry City
29/09/2018 15:00 Coventry City v Sunderland
02/10/2018 19:45 Coventry City v Portsmouth
06/10/2018 15:00 Charlton Athletic v Coventry City
13/10/2018 15:00 Coventry City v Wycombe Wanderers
20/10/2018 15:00 Southend United v Coventry City
23/10/2018 19:45 Bradford City v Coventry City
27/10/2018 15:00 Coventry City v Doncaster Rovers
03/11/2018 15:00 Coventry City v Accrington Stanley
17/11/2018 15:00 Burton Albion v Coventry City
24/11/2018 15:00 Coventry City v Peterborough United
27/11/2018 19:45 Fleetwood Town v Coventry City
08/12/2018 15:00 Walsall v Coventry City
15/12/2018 15:00 Coventry City v Luton Town
22/12/2018 15:00 Shrewsbury Town v Coventry City
26/12/2018 15:00 Coventry City v Charlton Athletic
29/12/2018 15:00 Coventry City v Southend United
01/01/2019 15:00 Wycombe Wanderers v Coventry City
05/01/2019 15:00 Scunthorpe United v Coventry City
12/01/2019 15:00 Coventry City v A.F.C. Wimbledon
19/01/2019 15:00 Plymouth Argyle v Coventry City
26/01/2019 15:00 Coventry City v Blackpool
02/02/2019 15:00 Coventry City v Gillingham
09/02/2019 15:00 Rochdale v Coventry City
16/02/2019 15:00 Coventry City v Walsall
23/02/2019 15:00 Luton Town v Coventry City
02/03/2019 15:00 Accrington Stanley v Coventry City
09/03/2019 15:00 Coventry City v Burton Albion
12/03/2019 19:45 Coventry City v Fleetwood Town
16/03/2019 15:00 Peterborough United v Coventry City
23/03/2019 15:00 Coventry City v Oxford United
30/03/2019 15:00 Barnsley v Coventry City
06/04/2019 15:00 Coventry City v Bristol Rovers
13/04/2019 15:00 Sunderland v Coventry City
19/04/2019 15:00 Coventry City v Bradford City
22/04/2019 15:00 Portsmouth v Coventry City
27/04/2019 15:00 Coventry City v Shrewsbury Town
04/05/2019 17:30 Doncaster Rovers v Coventry City
Joey Barton, Highbury Stadium, Fleetwood.
While there will undoubtedly be a whole host of new managerial faces in League One this year, the one that really catches the eye is Fleetwood’s appointment of the somewhat controversial Joey Barton.
After spells at the likes of Manchester City, Newcastle, QPR, Marseille, Burnley and Rangers, the 35-year-old’s playing career was cut short due to being handed an 18-month ban from the game due to a gambling offence.
It was announced that after the conclusion of his ban, the Liverpudlian would take charge of the Cod Army, and the pressure will be on the former midfielder as the nation waits in anticipation to see how he does in his first managerial hot seat.
Best away food
Up and down League One there are plenty of fine pubs, restaurants and takeaways but none arguably beat the what is on offer just outside Spotland.
Newhey fish and chip shop is always rammed before kick off as home and away fans tuck into a hearty piece of cod ahead of the big game.
Walsall, Banks’s Stadium.
Just 28 miles away, the away end for this fixture should be bouncing for the nearest fixture resembling a local derby.
City fans will be pleased to have such a close to home away trip in the bag for this campaign after lacking a similar distance journey in League Two, when Port Vale and Notts County were the closest.
The trip to the Banks’s Stadium has produced a range of results for the City since their recent meetings in League One, with the Sky Blues winning twice from six occasions since the 2012/13 campaign – which was the same year the Saddlers eased to a comfy 4-0 victory over then Steven Pressley’s men.
City’s Longest journey
Plymouth Argyle, Home Park.
While promotion means fans no longer must trek to the far reaches of Cumbria to face Carlisle United, they’ll instead have to travel to the opposite end of the country when the Sky Blues face Plymouth Argyle.
The 439-mile round trip is comfortably the longest journey fans will face this year, but it is one they have not made since the 08/09 Championship season when a rare Freddy Eastwood goal was enough to seal a 1-0 victory away from home.
Away days to look forward to
Coventry City fans have some tasty away trips to look forward to in League One next season.
The Sky Blue Army never fail to travel in high numbers and the club’s return to the third tier should see an even greater support as City compete against a number of bigger clubs with grounds that hold larger allocations for away fans.
Sunderland is the biggest club to have come down from the Championship, but there are several other well-established teams in the division.
Here’s what we think are the pick of the bunch:
With the stadium located just a mile away from Blackpool beach, fans are sure to be in the holiday mood. Having to compete with all Blackpool has to offer – the football may even have to fight to be the main attraction as many supporters will make a weekend of it.
It may seem longer, given all that’s happened, but Blackpool were in the Premier League less than a decade ago.
Bloomfield Road holds 17,000 but as the Seasiders enjoyed their top-flight return, fans generated the noise that many felt sounded like twice their capacity crowd.
A club with a proud history, Bradford have moved between Leagues One and Two for the past decade, after being the first club to suffer freefall following their Premier League relegation in 2001.
Coventry City fans at Bradford City
With a capacity of just over 25,000, there will be plenty of Sky Blues fans who make the journey north.
The Bantams, though, will be hoping to spoil the party as they eye a promotion push, having appointed new manager Michael Collins this summer.
Averaging a crowd of over 16,000 when Pompey were promoted to League One in 2016/17, led by skipper Michael Doyle, of course, Fratton Park is a ground renowned for its atmosphere.
Like a few clubs on this list, Portsmouth have endured a torrid time since falling from the Premier League. However, despite the club being on the brink of extinction at times, the fans stood by the team.
The tightly-packed 21,000 capacity stadium means Sky Blues fans will likely be contributing to a huge noise on the south coast.
With the club based just two miles from the Southsea seafront, fans may even be tempted to stretch their day trip into a weekend, too.
Despite the Stadium of Light being the second-longest distance Sky Blues supporters will have to travel next season (Plymouth Argyle win that award), many fans will be earmarking Sunderland as the landmark away day for 2018/19.
A 400-mile round trip awaits those keen enough to make the journey to Sunderland’s grand stadium. The 48,000-capacity ground is the 8th largest in the country and has hosted England internationals, most recently in 2016 as the Three Lions prepared for Euro 2016.
However, after a 12-year stay in the top-flight, The Black Cats enter the third tier following back-to-back relegations from the Premier League.
An obscure rivalry exists between the two sides, after Coventry helped relegate Sunderland during the 1976/77 season, and some tension still lingers between supporters.
When the two sides meet in the North-East, it will be Sky Blues fans’ first trip to the Stadium of Light for over a decade.
Though it remains to be seen what type of team Coventry will face, with new manager Jack Ross looking to overhaul his Sunderland squad.
From one of next season’s longest trips to the shortest. A brief journey up the M6 will see Coventry fans descend upon the Bescot Stadium in high numbers.
Walsall represent Coventry’s main local rivals, next season, with all other West Midlands sides being held in the country’s top two tiers.
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