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:
How to deal with the growing feeling amongst supporters that there is something very amiss within the coaching/admin setup;
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.
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.