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League One

The Enemy hoping for bright future for Coventry City

2 October 2013

Since Coventry City relocated to the Ricoh Arena in 2005, ending their 106-year stay at Highfield Road, the club has endured some tough times.

The 32,609-seater stadium has rarely seen any high moments in football, while it has witnessed many dark days - most notably last season when the Sky Blues were relegated to npower League 1 for the first time in 48 years following a 2-0 home defeat to Doncaster Rovers, who were bottom of the npower Championship at the time.

The stadium has played host to a number of successful music events, though, and one band who have many happy memories of the Ricoh Arena and the electric atmosphere it has when it's at capacity is The Enemy.

"It was absolutely quality when we played there," recalled the band's bass player Andy Hopkins, who is a diehard Coventry City fan.

"I looked out and saw people I went to school with, who I hadn't seen in years.

"It was like, 'oh my god.' It was absolutely mad, it was brilliant, and I absolutely loved it."

Coventry-born Andy makes up one third of the band, which formed in 2006, with drummer Liam Watts, who is also from Coventry, and front man and multi-instrumentalist Tom Clarke making up the other two thirds.

The trio shot to prominence in 2007 when they released their first album 'We'll Live and Die in These Towns', which went straight to number one in the UK Album charts.

They have supported the likes of Oasis, Kasabian and the Rolling Stones, and have played twice at Glastonbury, as well featuring on the Leeds and Reading festival line-ups.

While the band's stock rose in the music world, Andy's beloved Sky Blues were plummeting down the football pecking order.

Although the guitarist hasn't been able to go and watch them much this season, with only a couple of League 1 games taken in, he's relatively pleased with the progress they are making under Mark Robins, but remains cautious.

"Things are starting to look up. It needs to carry on, it just never does. Fingers crossed, though.

"If they carry on, a lot more people will start to go down to the games. There will be much more of an atmosphere and it will be a lot more enjoyable, but we've just got to see how it goes.

"People lose interest the further you go down. When you're in the Premier League everybody loves it but when we started in League 1, a lot of people stopped going down.

"It's not as good a vibe at the ground at the moment but let's hope things pick up."

Andy's passion for the Sky Blues came when he was a youngster, with his granddad, who witnessed the glory days of the 70s and 80s, heavily influencing his choice of team.

He believes it was inevitable, though.

"I've always supported Coventry and used to follow them a lot more.

"I was guaranteed to be a Sky Blues fan because my family are all into it, particularly my granddad.

"There hasn't been many highlights supporting Coventry. There's not really anything good when it comes to Coventry, it's just a nightmare. It's annoying!"

Andy and the band have become heavily associated with football due to their music being used on television and computer games in recent years.

Their single 'Be Somebody', which was released in 2009, was used as the title sequence of ITV's FA Cup coverage, while they have also had a number of singles featured on EA Sports' FIFA computer game.

And the Ricoh Arena isn't the only football stadium they have performed at, either, with an appearance on the roof of Wembley Stadium before the 2012 FA Cup Final a highlight.

"We've done Leeds United's Elland Road, we've done Sunderland's Stadium of Light, and of course Wembley, and I've actually played football at Wembley," 25-year-old Andy said.

"It's mad. You get a weird vibe when you go into a stadium, you just look around and it's like 'oh my god'.

"I absolutely love being in a band, to be honest it was my dream. When I was younger I was playing football saying I want to be a football player but when I hit about 15 I really wanted to be a singer.

"I worked hard at it and progressed. It's just unbelievable when you stand back and take it in."

And progress they did. After the triumph of their debut album, The Enemy's second album 'Music for the People' was released in 2009 and reached number two, while 'Streets in the Sky', their third studio album, was released in May 2012 and made the top 10 in the UK Album charts.

They also toured at the back-end of 2012, after a couple of years off, playing 18 gigs around the country, and they have a busy 2013 planned.

"It [the tour] was really good, we got a good reception everywhere we went.

"A couple of gigs were unbelievable. Glasgow and Newcastle were very good. There was nothing particularly special about them, they were just really good gigs.

"When I finish a tour I always think I'm going to calm down and not drink or party for a bit and then when you get back you can't sleep because you are waiting to do something - you have to do something.

"We've got to start writing our fourth album at some point, though, to get ahead of the game. It won't be out for another year or something like that but we never stop writing."

Andy will be hoping to see the Sky Blues write their name back into the line-up for the npower Championship for next season, at the same time as he and his band-mates pen their fourth album.

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