OUR recent visit to the Ricoh Arena certainly didn’t pull on the heartstrings in the same manner as last year’s FA Cup tie - which was a hugely emotional occasion for everyone.
But it remained poignant for the Trust, as it allowed us to thank Coventry City fans for their support last year in the form of a donation to two charities of their supporters’ trust’s choice.
Last year the Trust, in scenes sadly reminiscent of the early 1990s, rattled buckets in a bid to raise cash to help the football club.
This collection was of huge help at the time, as it allowed us to present a cash hardship fund to the football club to pay staff who had been unpaid for many weeks.
Nearly £5,000 was raised outside the Ricoh Arena, with generous amounts being donated from Sky Blues fans.
Of course, not all that cash was needed in the end following the welcome takeover from Kelvin Thomas, and shortly after that the Trust held a survey with our members to determine how any surplus money should be used.
The vast majority wished us to retain it as a rainy day fund, but they also wanted us to remember fans of other clubs who helped us out.
As a result, we decided to ringfence £5,000 for the next supporters’ trust of a club in crisis, but also to pay £1,000 to a charity of the choice of the Sky Blues Trust – to say thank you for their support.
Finally, after months of discussion, prior to the game last weekend the Trust was delighted to present two cheques to two organisations very close to the hearts of the Sky Blue Trust.
Firstly we presented £500 to the Coventry City Family Zone, which keeps children entertained at the stadium in the hours prior to kick-off.
Pat Raybould, from the Family Zone, was presented the cheque flanked by NTFC Supporters' Trust board member James Averill and Sky Blue Trust chairman Steve Bown.
Pat said: “I just wanted to extend, on behalf of my volunteer team, our gratitude.
“The family zone is open at every weekend game and we try very hard to entertain all of our young fans before kick-off. I am sure Northampton fans will appreciate that young fans are any club’s future.”
The remaining £500 was donated to the Alzheimer’s Society, in honour of Coventry City legend Jimmy Hill, who sadly died in December after a long battle against the disease.
NTFC Trust board member James Averill said: “I went and saw first hand the work being done by the team of volunteers in the zone, and it was heartening to see how much the children were enjoying it.
“We hope that both organisations find the donations useful, and we know both were thrilled to be receiving them.
“That the club is in such a drastically improved position off the pitch on our return to the Ricoh Arena did not go unnoticed by our friends at the Sky Blue Trust, and that is testament to the hard work from the club’s staff.”