Fri. May 14th, 2021

Saturday seems such a long time ago.

Concerns about the off-the-field goings-on at Coventry are such that the result against Rosslyn Park on Saturday is almost of secondary importance this week.

Apart from sorting out the obvious difficulties on the pitch, the club must resolve the question of:

  1. How to deal with the growing feeling amongst supporters that there is something very amiss within the coaching/admin setup;
  2. And, if there are problems, how they can best be resolved quickly, with a minimum of impact on the club in terms of finance and personnel.
If 1)  isn’t true, namely there are no problems between the coaches and management of the club, then  2) becomes a non-sequitur.
However, if the anecdotal evidence is accurate, then the club has to address the issues that have been raised elsewhere.  And you can’t deal with the first, without tackling the second. That would be a nonsense.
Just how united is the Coventry setup at the moment?
Just how united is the Coventry setup at the moment?

So it’s going to be a tough couple of weeks, one way or another. The club is fortunate in that there is no match scheduled for next Saturday as it’s World Cup Final weekend, so the extra week of inactivity on the pitch means that Jon Sharp has longer to look into what has been happening at the Butts and decide whether a root and branch review is needed, or merely a bit of light pruning here and there with perhaps the odd clipping of a tail feather or two.

From the little I’ve seen of Jon Sharp, I doubt very much that he’ll be unaware of what’s being said amongst the supporters. Having invested heavily himself in the fortunes of the club, as was mentioned at the supporters’ evening back in August by either Phil or Scott, he will want to ensure he gets a good return for his money.
In 2012, on taking over from Peter Rossborough, Jon said:
We have made huge strides in the last two years and I think we are looking at a rosy future, certainly a future with great prospects. (CET – Jon Sharp)
(It’s worth reading the article in full…).
 At the moment it looks like he’s being short-changed by a squad that has now consistently failed to deliver on the pitch in the last 6 games (with the two wins in that period flattering to deceive). He deserves better. He’s definitely not someone who appears to revel in publicity; another thing to admire in him.
It’s not quite such a rosy future just now. It’s Jon’s first real public challenge, in the sense of one that those of us outside of Cov’s inner sanctum have been aware of. And cometh the hour…
It’s not for me, or anyone else outside of the club, to tell Jon what to do. But we can ask. And I would ask this of him and the club. Make some statement to the supporters to let them know that it is aware of the concerns and is speaking with those involved within the club to determine whether there’s any truth in the rumours. And, if true, the club will deal with them in the appropriate manner – or something along those lines.
No more than that. No details, no statements of intent…we don’t need that, we don’t actually have a right to know that. And because Jon is removed from all the rumours and is held in such respect by supporters, he is the best person to make that statement, not the Director of Rugby, or the Head Coach or any of the other coaches for that matter.
That would be all I would want to hear at the moment. I have always tried to be more supportive of Coventry than critical. But if I was to be at all disparaging, it would be that Coventry has tended not to speak directly to it’s supporters enough, that news filters out from the club via other sources well before any statement is made. Not this time, please.
I just want to hear that the club recognises the frustrations of the supporters, that it is aware of the concerns being expressed and it is looking into ways of resolving the current run of poor results. To Joe Public, saying nothing means doing nothing and that is only going to fuel the situation. There are too many rumours to ignore, some probably apocryphal, but where there’s smoke, invariably a fireman’s needed…
As a supporter you build up to match day during the week, you attend a game perhaps every other Saturday or even travel away, and then spend a hour or two reading the Messageboard on a Sunday – the club becomes a part of you. Worries about ‘your club’ aren’t going to go away merely because the club doesn’t respond to what has been said over the last couple of weeks, culminating in yesterday’s comments on the Board. If anything, it just increases speculation and rumours abound. Cov isn’t just a ‘Saturday’ club for most of us…to be forgotten during the rest of the week. In other words, this isn’t going to disappear until the next defeat. It needs acting on.
It’s a difficult position for Cov to be in, rocks and hard places spring to mind. However, all clubs go through slumps in their form and this inevitably leads to players and coaches being unsettled; ‘job’ security if nothing else. It’s how a club reacts to this run of poor form that is so important. Doing nothing can’t be the answer, just as wholesale changes to key personnel aren’t.
I always remain optimistic about all-things Coventry. Okay, this season is going to be difficult to turn around, but turn it around Cov will. And in reviewing the 2015/16 season, we’ll single this next couple of weeks as the decisive period in the change to our fortunes.
You read it here first….

By Tim

10 thought on “Cometh the hour…”
  1. Absolutely no need for an apology, Mojo…you only articulated what a number of us have heard and it needed someone to bring it all out into the open. I’m not going to mention it in a post, but Jon Sharp’s email doesn’t deny problems, the reverse in fact, he actually tacitly admits there are when he says, ‘there is nowhere the level of discontent speculated and some of reports are simply untrue’. Some might be untrue but that also suggests some are.
    So you’re I think you are correct, there is something that isn’t quite right…but I do believe it will be fixed…
    Please keep on doing what you’re doing, namely supporting your team with passion and commitment.

  2. Well done Tim, a thorough yet diplomatic blog of the current situation. Perhaps I was wrong on Saturday to share what I had been told by a number of players, and for that I apologise. I won’t however apologise for being a passionate supporter of ‘Our team’. I don’t care if they are promoted, I just want to get back to enjoying watching a team who enjoy wearing ‘our’ shirt and playing the game. I am a woman who has never claimed to know a lot about rugby but I have, and will always, whole heartedly support my team. My children have grown up watching our team play. I suppose in my frustrated prose I just want some response or recognition from the powers that be that something isn’t right and that they are working on a fix.

    Come on boys Our City, Our Team!!

  3. Hi Shane and welcome to Cov!
    I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to put a link on the messageboard to your comment as I think it’s really important to hear another side to the present debate that is dominating the discussions at the moment.
    Clearly things are not right on the pitch given the recent run of disappointing performances.
    The steps that have been taken to address this don’t appear to be having much effect and supporters are understandably frustrated.
    The fact that the Cov camp remains a happy place to be and Courtney is enjoying his time here is heartening, given some of the stories that are circulating.
    I understand the use of the word ‘mercenary’ in the context of rugby is unfortunate and I can quite see how that could be hurtful to those to whom it is directed. A club should reflect its community and Coventry is a diverse and multicultural city and Coventry RFC is diverse and multicultural club, albeit reflecting rather different cultures. It is important that it continues to be so.
    Players like Cliffie, Jacques, Devlin and Carpo reflect this diversity and no one would every criticise their commitment to, or passion for, the club. They are as loyal as anyone, more so in the case of Jacques and Cliffie given the injuries they have suffered.
    I would add though, players at this level will often move on if offered a professional contract or a better semi-pro package. They need to make a living and it is right they should look to improve their situations. It is frustrating for supporters, and the club I guess, when this happens but it is as it is.
    And when things don’t quite go according to plan, supporters will often blame the journeymen, those who have made a career out of moving between clubs, even if though , as you say, they put their bodies on the line for the club whilst there, just as all the players do.
    Supporters tend to be emotive and sometimes we say things without engaging our brains first. I know I do. Sometimes we upset people without meaning to. As I’ve said in tomorrow’s blog…it’s really not about individuals even if sometimes it seems that way, it’s just about loving your club when sometimes it doesn’t appear to love you back.
    You’ll have a lovely time when you do get to come here in Feb or March and I’m sure you’ll be made to feel most welcome.
    And by then, of course, we’ll be pushing for one of the top places in the league and all this will seem a long, long time in the past.
    Time for bed…
    All Blacks to win on Saturday…

  4. Hi everyone, I have been following Tims blog religiously and the comments and concerns seem justified by those asking the questions from the outside. My reason for posting is that my Son signed for Cov this year, and he has had nothing but very good things to say about the club and the supporters and has been made to feel most welcome. The comment from someone on the message board which I also read was that perhaps the club have signed mercenaries who have no real feeling for the club I know does not ring true especially for my son, he is enjoying the club the people and will put himself on the line week in and week out when required not just for the pay check but for the jersey and for the guys working just as bloody hard as he does to get Cov over the line. He was extremely excited about taking up this contract and had a very tough decision to make back here in NZ with regards to his provincial side, but he has not regretted it. Obviously we communicate regularly and my Wife and I are coming over in February and March of next year to hopefully watch him play but if not to enjoy the Club environment. All I ask is that when people make the comments about mercenaries please think the players that are there are there for a reason to play for the jersey and play for the club and its supporters and while the history may not be there with them they are working bloody hard to do their best and are just following orders.

  5. No, Cliff, I think Mick refers to those who post perhaps once or twice and aren’t seen again. I used to post under ‘Cowshed’ in a previous life; under Fairbrother’s governance in fact. He refused to answer any questions from anyone who used a name other than their own which was fair enough, so I decided come clean.
    Yes, good to meet you too, although the gents toilets at the Butts Park Arena isn’t perhaps the most salubrious of venues, is it!
    Your comment certainly made my wife smile!!!

  6. Very erudite and well composed comments, Tim. When someone puts their thoughts together in such a cohesive, well structured and well mannered way, the result is compelling reading. Congratulations.
    I hope Mick’s comments don’t include me, because he knows me. Yes, I do post under the name “charliebravo” but surely everyone knows the the “C” and the “B” stand for Cliff Bennett?
    By the way, it was nice to finally get to shake you by the hand on Saturday, even though in was in the toilets. That was your hand that I shook, wasn’t it?

  7. I totally agree about people hiding behind pseudonyms – it does make you wonder as to their intentions. I’d just like a statement from the club to either refute the rumours if they’re untrue or to confirm that they’re being looked into if they are…

  8. Tim. Very well put, I find it hard reading and listening to people who are telling/writing these stories of OUR club imploding. Yes I do believe that there club from people who have is great truth in what is coming out of the club. If this posted by people who are hiding behind invented names it does make you wonder. But on the other hand I can see the reason while you would take this course of action.

    As someone who was deeply affected by the last time the club went bust. I do hope that all the board members can remain untarnished by this and guide the whole club back on to a calm footing.

  9. Couldn’t put it any better myself. Well done. Absolutely essential reading for any Cov supporter , player or club officer. As Marvin once so memorably sang, ” ooh, ooooohh, I bet you wonder how I knew….”

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