Winning promotion to Championship on Zoom

In recent years, Coventry City have made headlines off the pitch almost as much as they have on it. So perhaps it was no surprise that promotion out of League One and back into the Championship would be achieved in an unusual way. Mat Kendrick, head of football for Reach’s titles in the Midlands, shares his team’s story for our Behind Closed Doors series:

Coventry City are back in the Championship after winning the League One title — on a Zoom call!

The Sky Blues sealed promotion to the second tier in a video hangout rather than on a football pitch (how very 2020), but that hasn’t stopped the club’s supporters lapping up CoventryLive’s coverage.

Sky Blues fans visited Reach PLC’s website in their droves to keep up to speed with the unprecedented process that saw Coventry’s elevation finally rubber-stamped around a Zoom-call EFL boardroom table in early June.

Our Sky Blues reporters Andy Turner and Tom Leach were on top of the story throughout, providing step by step updates on each of the meetings.

Readers were able to follow the narrative in traditional ways, in print in the Coventry Telegraph and online, but also across different platforms such as Streamyard Facebook Lives and Viafoura webchats.

To mark the achievement of the club’s second promotion in three seasons, Andy and Tom put together a commemorative Shorthand special.

Working with our video producers Scott Edwards, Dan Rolinson and Kieran Doody, the multimedia souvenir ‘Pump It Up — The story of Coventry City’s homeless heroes’ showcased the club’s celebrations in video, photo and written format.

It included scenes of jubilation from the dressing room to the terraces (although most fans were left partying in their own homes because of lockdown) along with detailed analysis from our writers about a remarkable season.

And what a campaign it was. Mark Robins and his squad started the season homeless — again — as the row with Ricoh Arena owners Wasps rumbled on.
Instead of playing in Coventry, the Sky Blues had to travel to Birmingham to play their home games, under a groundsharing arrangement at Birmingham City’s St Andrew’s stadium.

Coventry City celebrate promotion

Even then there was a twist as Birmingham were drawn away at Coventry in the FA Cup, meaning the landlords became the tenants for one game only, having to use the away dressing room and the away stands for the tie.

CoventryLive told that strange story brilliantly with video, live blogs and explainers — before normal service resumed as Birmingham won the replay — at home.

Coventry’s homelessness has dominated the agenda since the champagne bubbles started to drift away and the hangovers subsided and Tom has continued to lead the way on Reach’s coverage. With CCFC and Wasps still unable to reach an agreement, the Sky Blues will kick off their first Championship campaign since 2012 back in Brum, lodging with rivals now in the same division.

Notwithstanding the good luck that a B postcode brought them in 2019–20, the news is another sting in the tale for the Sky Blues army whose views are reflected in regular fan reactions, engaged Twitter and Facebook pages and insightful comment and opinion pieces reflecting the mood throughout these eventful times.

Coventry’s transfer back to Birmingham is not the only big move to unfold since the trophy presentation. Last year’s loan star Callum O’Hare has joined permanently from Aston Villa and is among a host of new signings covered comprehensively by CoventryLive.

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