Don’t get me wrong, I think the appointment of Wayne Evans as club captain makes complete sense and is another positive step towards what will hopefully be a very successful season. Evans is the model professional, commanding respect from players and supporters alike. He is probably the first name on the team sheet, the player you would most rely on when the pressure is on. He seems unflappable. He was my player of the season last year and would be my choice of club captain, especially as he appeared to make such a good fist of the role when he took over from Cliffie following the injury to his shoulder towards the end of last season.
I’ve previously expressed misgivings about Cliffie in that when Coventry is at full strength, would he be the first choice full back, fly half or centre? I’m not sure he would have been last season, and with even greater depth this year, I just don’t see where he will fit in. Jones kicked exceptionally well in Cliffie’s absence and I’d be I interested to learn what their respective percentage success rates were. I don’t think Cliffie merits a place in the starting XV on his kicking alone. Clubs have to make tough decisions and I’m sure there will be games this season where Cliffie will find himself on the bench.
But there is a concern. As late as Tuesday this week, Cliffie was invited to speak to supporters at the Fans’ Forum and, as far as I can recall, he was introduced as the club captain. Certainly, I clearly remember him saying what a privilege it was to captain the side. So it would appear that the decision had not been made then.
Now surely, the Forum would have been the ideal occasion to introduce a new club captain, giving him the opportunity to explain his vision for the coming season and to acknowledge Cliffie’s contribution over the past couple of seasons. To do so would have given those supporters in attendance the opportunity to give the appointment their backing and announce the appointment officially.
Instead, the news broke in a CET article ostensibly about the forthcoming Chinnor game on Saturday. There was no quote from Wayne expressing his pride in the club, no thanks from the club for Cliffie’s contributions on and off the field over the last couple of seasons, no opportunity for Cliffie to explain it would be a chance for him to concentrate fully on his own game which had suffered a little last season by his own high standards and no statement on the official website. It’s all a bit of media cock up.
It’s as if it has been snook in through the back door and whilst it’s probably a decision that was made a while back, it almost seems like one that has been hastily reached and with no comment from the club, it is impossible not to speculate about the reasons for the change, yet speculation could easily have been avoided with a little more thought.
An announcement 72 hours earlier would have certainly helped clarify things.