Happy to be sent to Coventry

A young fan enjoys the atmosphere at Coventry.  Pic: Hussein Malla/AP Photo
A young fan enjoys the atmosphere at Coventry. Pic: Hussein Malla/AP Photo

Not all of the Olympic football cities thoroughly embrace their role as satellites to London 2012’s hub. Coventry, however, has.

This Midlands city of 300,000 seems thrilled to be part of the Summer Games, even if that means only 10 football games over a span of 16 days. Coventry does not flatter itself to be a rival to London, and the enthusiasm for their football role is refreshing.

More than 28,000 people, many of them children, turned out to see the football double-header of Honduras-Japan and UAE-Senegal on Wednesday, and precious few were supporters of the competing teams. Before the game, the man on the public address system shouted: “Is there anyone in the stadium who is from Coventry?” And nearly the whole crowd shouted in reply.

The Midlands city has organised a range of activities to run parallel to the Olympics, including dances, exhibitions of Olympic sports and a “Lady Godiva Awakes” show celebrating the famous 11th century nobleman’s wife who rode a horse naked, covered only by her long hair, to protest her husband’s heavy taxes.

The city is proving you do not have to be at the epicentre to feel the rumbles of a big event.

Published: August 3, 2012 04:00 AM

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