As I have written about previously Coventry Sphinx Football Club have rapidly gained a place in my heart. I will attempt to tell you more about the club and give you a better understanding of why they are now my first choice for my football fix.
Why Coventry Sphinx? The key factor in my decision to start attending their games was they are my local team based in Coventry (a 30 minute walk from home in fact) so they were the obvious choice. I’ve continued to attend the matches regularly due to the enjoyment I get from attending their home ground on Sphinx Drive (off Siddeley Avenue), Stoke, Coventry CV3 1WA.
Sphinx have history too. They were formed in 1946 under the name of Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft FC. At that time there were a number of works teams in the Coventry area and AWA were always a leading force in the local works leagues and throughout the 50’s and 60’s they won many league and cup competitions . Sphinx were major players in the formation of the Coventry Alliance and continued to win a number of major trophies. Unfortunately in the early 90’s a recession led to the closure of a number of factories in the Coventry area and during this period many local teams were disbanded. The club therefore felt it needed a new challenge and in 1993 they joined the Midland Combination Football League.
In their first season in the Midland Combination, Sphinx were promoted from Division 2. In the 1994/95 season Sphinx were promoted to the Premier League. After their appointment to the top flight, it was decided to link the name of the club to the city in which they play and hence the name Coventry Sphinx was born. The ground was named Sphinx Drive and a stand erected and opened with a game against a Coventry City XI.
Coventry Sphinx completed a remarkable treble in May 2007 when they finally became Champions of the Midland Combination and achieved promotion to the Midland Alliance. In 2009 Sphinx had a record home attendance of 871 for the FA cup tie v Bedworth. As you can see, Sphinx are a club on the up. They are a club who do things the right way and are run sensibly with the attitude of if they haven’t got the money then they don’t spend it.
This seasons average attendance is 110 which is the 4th highest in the division. The highest gate this season is 209 and the average attendance has seen an increase of 112% on last season. This increase in fans has already allowed the club to improve the facilities at the ground this season with the creation of a hard-standing area in front of the pitch-side café and the recent fitting of a new turnstile. If the club could add just 100 fans to the average attendance then the difference that would make to them would be incredible
The ground itself is a pleasure to visit. On arrival at the ground there is free car parking if you need it although Sphinx Drive is easily accessible by bus from the city centre ( any bus going down the Binley Road will do). Personally I enjoy the stroll from my home on the old Highfield Road site to the Sphinx ground which takes me less than 30 minutes. There is a Social club on site which houses a bar with pool table and good quality toilet facilities. The bar prices are standard prices and is a very friendly environment to enjoy a pre-match drink.
Once you enter through the turnstile (£5 Adults, £3 concessions, under 16’s free) you will find the pitch-side café behind the goal offering the usual football ground food and drink. Pick up a match day programme for £1.50 and head for the stand on the halfway line or lean on the barriers around the pitch as I do.
The environment is vastly different to a League 1 match for example. The positives of that are no crowd segregation is necessary even though you will find away fans there. You will be surrounded by people hugely passionate about football and is a great place to bring your family. Take your pick of where you stand (or sit) around the pitch and enjoy the game. It’s a positive atmosphere down Sphinx Drive. No berating of the players or management, just positive support for the team. If you decide to give it a try then I’m sure you won’t regret it and suspect you’ll be back for more. One thing is for sure is that you will be in for a warm welcome and you will have played a part in helping a community club in the heart of Coventry to secure its future and maybe work its way up the Non League pyramid. Every fan through the turnstile makes a huge difference to clubs at this level and your attendance really does make a difference.
Leamington were playing in this division (Midland Alliance) in 2006/07 and after three promotions they are holding their own in the Conference North now. That just shows how rapidly a club can progress with the right set up and the support of the local community. I have already decided to purchase a Coventry Sphinx season ticket next season. I expect it to cost me approximately £100 and I know it will be great value for money. I will attend every match this season paying my £5 and I look forward to calling myself a Coventry Sphinx Season Ticket Holder.
I’ve not regretted my decision to attend Coventry Sphinx for one minute and I’m genuinely enjoying my football again, free of the politics and money driven nature that is dominating the professional game.
Forthcoming Coventry Sphinx home fixtures at Sphinx Drive (off Siddeley Avenue), Stoke, Coventry CV3 1WA:
Monday 17th February (7.45pm kick off) v Westfields
Saturday 22nd February (3.00pm kick off ) v Continental Star