From Riglar’s point of view, training with her team-mates was what she had missed the most. “It’s been like a blessing to be back training together. It was quite emotional for a lot of people,” said the former Leicester City, West Bromwich Albion and Bristol City defender.
The club lost their first game back, 3-1 away to in-form Sheffield United, before the takeover was formally completed with legally-binding documents signed and the keys handed over to Taylor last Friday.
“I can’t stop smiling,” he told Telegraph Sport afterwards. “It’s only really today that they can breathe a proper sigh of relief to say ‘the deal is done’. For me, it was never in doubt, because we were dealing with reasonable people.”
Despite the positivity around the takeover, the rest of the season will not be without its challenges. The team were deducted 10 points in the Championship by the Football Association, under its insolvency rules, and – although the club have submitted an appeal against that penalty – they have dropped to the foot of the table, on minus four points. But, for Taylor, in the long term, the sky is the limit as to where this team could go.
“In the immediate term, it’s about rolling the sleeves up, there’s a job to do. We need to get to safety. It’s going to be a battle, but there’s a really good squad here and a really good management team,” he said. “Jay’s been given the green light by me to try to strengthen the team where she can if she feels she needs to. This season is all about surviving. Then next year, it’s about building to get to the WSL and ultimately to bring some European football to Coventry. Life’s too short, we have to have big audacious goals.”
For a team who were expected to close only a few weeks ago, the prospect of playing on a continental stage might feel like light-years away, but after the miracle pulled off over Microsoft Teams, they will not be ruling out any football fairy tales in the future.
My best friend plays for Coventry, it was a huge relief to see the club saved
By Alex Greenwood
When my best mate Mollie Green told me her team Coventry United were going into voluntary liquidation right before Christmas, I genuinely thought she was winding me up. Hearing that a club in the Women’s Championship, just one division below my team Manchester City in the Women’s Super League, could soon cease to exist was a shock. As a friend, immediately your thoughts turn to those who you know will be impacted.
Naturally it affects you, to see a great friend being worried about her future – her livelihood, her club – it was not nice to see. And you feel the same for all of the other girls on the squad too, many of whom I know had changed careers so that they could play professional football for Coventry and train on a full-time basis. Mollie turned down other opportunities to pursue her career there full-time, and suddenly that plan was all in jeopardy.
Thankfully they were taken over at the eleventh hour and they’re now going to be able to carry on playing in the league, albeit with a 10-point deduction, but I’m just really glad that somebody stepped in and helped them out.
To know that somebody would put their money in to help women’s football was massively pleasing, and hugely encouraging. The new owner, Lewis Taylor, bought the club even though he knows they’re on -4 points and that it’s going to be a really tough challenge for them to stay in that league. It’s not going to be impossible for them to stay up, anything can happen in football, but he knew going into that process that they would drop to the bottom of the league, so fair play to him for doing it and sticking by his investment offer.
Personally I was most glad for the girls that they were going to be paid the wages they were owed from December, and looked after for at least the remainder of their contracts, however long they’ve got left on their deals. After seeing the effect of that worry close up, through Mollie’s experience, it had really hit home.