Mark Venus: Coventry City caretaker boss keen to keep best young talent

Coventry City's teenage midfielder Ben Stevenson
Teenage midfielder Ben Stevenson scored his first senior goal for Coventry against Oxford

Coventry City interim manager Mark Venus wants the club to be in a position not to have to sell their best young players, such as Ben Stevenson.

The teenage midfielder scored his first senior goal in Tuesday's 2-1 home win against Oxford, just eight days after signing a new four-year contract.

"He's a good young player," said Venus. "We're really pleased he's committed himself to the club.

"But I want to keep all the good players at the football club."

City's second win in three League One games since Venus took caretaker charge lifted the Sky Blues off the bottom of the table.

Although it has helped launch the process of lifting the Sky Blues in the right direction on the field, Venus knows that they still need more fans through the turnstiles.

Tuesday's gate of 9,912, although up on this season's home average, is still well down on last season's much-improved average league attendance of 12,570 - and obviously a lot less than the 20,000-plus crowds that they used to regularly draw before they were relegated from the top flight in 2001.

"Hopefully if we can get to the right numbers, we won't have to sell," Venus, who is in charge until at least January, told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire.

"And hopefully we'll get more and more of the young boys to commit themselves which would be good for us.

"I've talked on the radio about the business model. I think it's right I'm part of that. I understand that, so at least I can explain to the supporters where it is."

The current state of Coventry's finances

City chairman Tim Fisher recently told a fans group that the club have had to continue selling players to make ends meet, even though their financial position has improved.

The club published the minutes of its latest meeting with the supporters consultative group, in which Fisher revealed that the club's operating loss before player sales has fallen from £3.8m to £1.7m.

He added that the Sky Blues need to own their stadium and that there are long-term plans to move to Coventry Rugby Club's Butts Park Arena.

But he also said that these are on hold due to what he called "a political embargo", while the club's owners, the Sisu-run Otium Entertainment Group, continue their legal action against Coventry City Council.

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