Former Coventry City vice-chairman Gary Hoffman has offered to pay the rent to keep the Sky Blues playing at the Ricoh Arena instead of Sixfields for the next three seasons.
Hoffman, who now lives in Northampton and is friends with Cobblers chairman David Cardoza, has also said he will underwrite any compensation owed to Northampton Town if they pull out of the agreement to rent Sixfields on matchdays.
In an interview with the Coventry Evening Telegraph, Hoffman says he is only interested in keeping the Sky Blues playing in the club’s home city, and that he has no interest in making money out of any deal.
But he has also revealed that club owners have already rejected the deal offered.
Hoffman has attempted to negotiate a number of deals to buy out the owners, but is now offering to pay the Ricoh rent for the next three seasons and said: “I am as frustrated and heartbroken as any CCFC fan to see the club I support leaving my home town.
“The irony that I now live in Northampton very close to the NTFC chairman is not lost on me.
“My kids know his kids well
“I go and see the Cobblers occasionally when the Sky Blues aren’t playing, but I won’t go and watch Coventry play their home games in Northampton. It is just wrong.
“There is too much baggage and history and I know some of my own relationships with Sisu don’t help.
“It is a real personal regret if that has got in the way of progress. What a mess the whole thing is!
“Every party has said that if they could find a way for Coventry to play in Coventry they would. Otium, ACL, the Football League and, above all, the fans.
“In order to imagine a better future you have to forget some of the past.
“I would like to try to ‘unblock’ things, and I have a proposal.
“I have discussed with Tim Fisher (CCFC chief executive) and his immediate reply was “thanks but, no.” Emphatically no
“My proposal is this:
“I raise the money to pay the rent for the next three seasons. I assume £400k per season as that is the number speculated
“Otium has to pay nothing towards it.
“They save the costs of the deal on Northampton (excluding any break clause costs which we would pay too)
“ACL get their rent. The casino benefits, the hotel benefits. In fact everyone benefits. No losers
“I assume that the attendance at the Ricoh would be at least 5,000 per game more than at Sixfields. This is undoubtedly conservative
“So, 5000 at an average £15 per ticket for 25 games. £1.875m extra revenue. Otium can take half of this upside for trading purposes.
“The people who put the money up with me would take a return to cover financing and other costs. But kept to a reasonable sum. The rest should be invested in the Academy
“Forget the long term for the time being. If Otium want to build a new stadium that is up to them
“I am only interested in CCFC. Not making money. I wish I was not involved. But it is my club.
“I want Coventry to play in Coventry. It seems to me that this is in everyone’s interest.
“Otium, particularly will be financially better off and the club more attractive in the future
“I call on everyone to put the past behind them and end this heartbreak. What is there to lose?”