Ex-Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has evicted Coventry City from the Coventry Building Society Arena just weeks after his company Frasers Group bought the stadium for £17million. Ashley previously owned Premier League giants Newcastle for 14 years between 2007 and 2021.
According to the BBC, Frasers Group have informed Coventry that they must leave the stadium and have claimed the licence agreement they had in place with previous owners Wasps does not legally bind Frasers. Coventry have also been told they have no continuing right to use the property.
The Coventry Building Society Arena was previously owned by rugby union club Wasps. But they went into administration in October and ceased to trade. Ashley swept in to purchase the three businesses that ran the stadium two-and-a-half weeks ago, despite Coventry’s new owner Doug King putting forward a £25m offer.
A court ruled that King’s bid had come too late, with Ashley ultimately getting his hands on the stadium. But Ashley’s latest decision has proved embarrassing for the joint administrator Andrew Sheridan, who insisted the businessman’s purchase was a “pleasing outcome” and that the football club would still be able to play at the stadium.
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The eviction will now mean Coventry are forced to look for a new home. The club played at Birmingham City’s St Andrew’s Stadium during the 2019/20 and 2020/21 campaigns after previous issues with the Coventry Building Society Arena. And they were also forced to hold home matches at Northampton Town’s Sixfields Stadium during the 2013/14 season.
Coventry were unable to play home matches at the Coventry Building Society Arena at the start of this season after the pitch deteriorated while it was being used for rugby sevens matches at the Commonwealth Games. The club, who are currently 12th in the Championship table, last played there in mid-November when they defeated QPR 2-0.
Ashley was a divisive figure during his time in charge of Newcastle. And many Magpies fans rejoiced after he sold the club to a Saudi-led consortium last autumn.