Fan or Fanatic?
It’s interesting how supporters can become obsessive about their team, whatever the sport. I don’t mean that in an unhealthy, neurotic sort of way, but rather in an addictive, habit forming sense, where you are consumed by a passion for all things, in my case, blue and white. You only have to follow the unofficial message board for a few weeks to see how there are plenty of others who share my love of Coventry, probably even more so in some instances. If there weren’t, then there would be no messageboard and how sad would that be…?
Being fairly introspective, I think I’ve come to understand why supporting Coventry has become such a big thing for me, at least.
It’s simply this; it’s been one of the few constants in the 50 plus years I have been watching rugby both at Coundon Road and BPA. People come and go, relationships begin and end, but Coventry makes no demands of me! It’s been an ever present in my life, although the 2000 and 2008 financial crises were desperate times and more than once it looked as if the club might fold.
I was always confident that at the end of a difficult week in which I never quite knew what would happen at work, I could always unwind on a Saturday and leave behind the stresses and strains of everyday life for a few relaxing hours. Whilst I quite often get ‘involved’ in what’s happening on the pitch and get a little animated at times, I’m not one to take a defeat home with me. However disappointing the performance the week before, the following Saturday will always be better…as I’ve said before…I’m a glass half full kind of guy. So no, not obsessive in my support at all, just fervent.
The summer months are always a fallow time of the year in terms of Coventry news and I dread to think how many hours of the week are spent trawling through the internet and social media for info pertaining to signings and other club related news. Collecting my season ticket is always a great moment, summing up all the hopes and expectations of the coming months in that one little piece of plastic. I still get the same buzz when I pick it up from the ground in July or August as I did when my dad gave me my first junior vice president booklet, as it was then. I still feel, part of something very special every year and it remains on my person wherever I go. I couldn’t leave it in a drawer after a match until the next home fixture, it would just seem disloyal…okay, maybe that one’s a bit excessive.
Remember the wallet of tickets used by the club for a couple of seasons, perforated so that you tore off the appropriate ticket for the given match. Some things have definitely got a whole lot better.
Talking of bygone times, towards the end of last season there was some talk of a new ‘Cowshed’ being erected, presumably where the temporary stand is now. Everyone who remembers Coundon Road will have vivid memories of the old ‘Cowshed’ and of the fantastic atmosphere it generated on a matchday. A ball bouncing on the roof would inevitably result in punters brushing the ensuing rust off their heads, much to the amusement of those in the stand opposite. And the ‘toilets’ at the back of the stand… well it’s a smell I’ll never forget. Sadly.
however, as far as the new ‘Cowshed’ is concerned, Jon Sharp has ‘rained on that parade’ or more appropriately, ‘pi**ed on that particular bonfire’, by stating categorically, ‘bigger projects like a ‘Cowshed’ have to wait not only for further funding but also until they can be justified’.
I guess this is a polite way of saying it isn’t going to happen unless crowd numbers increase considerably over a sustained period. In other words, promotion followed by a couple of seasons where we consolidate our position in the Championship. I’m actually happy with that as I’m not sure the atmosphere that the old cowshed generated can ever be replicated in the more modern setting of the BPA, but I know there are others who would strongly disagree…