Club talk

No news is NOT good news….

I’m going off on one today, so I apologise in advance.

You’ve heard it before, from me several times and from a number of others, but I’ll keep repeating it until I’m blue in the face if necessary  (mixed in with alternate white hoops). And the source of my irritation? The club’s continued lack of communication with its supporters.

I know this is my own particular bugbear and that really I should just have to put up and shut up, but this is my way of dealing with it. I’m not going to publicise my frustrations through the messageboard in order to try an initiate a response and stir things up, that pushes people into reading it and given I may be in the minority with this, then that would be wrong of me. I’m working on the basis if someone decides to visit this blog and read a post, then they do so voluntarily and therefore can’t complain if they don’t like what they’re reading.

Disclaimer over…long-winded but I do think that’s important. It’s just me in one, I’m honestly not trying to change the world…

It all stems from a remark Mick Carter unwittingly made in response to yesterday’s post:

If another winning run is to start SATURDAY … the sixteenth man will be most important. So please if you can, turn out in force … visit to the forest of Dean.

Now, Mick as always, speaks great sense. We know that the players respond well to the fantastic support the travelling fans bring to away games and, as is his wont, Mick stresses this in his usual polite manner. He’s not alone in this, others have mentioned the impact fans can have, including the grateful thanks of the players themselves.

And this is where I become hypertensive; I can feel the nausea rise even as I type.

WotNoNewsIt was a great weekend, the sort that reminds you why you enjoy supporting Cov as much as you do. Three losses, supporters confused and frustrated and suddenly the team produces a fantastic 80 minutes of rugby with the promise of better times ahead…perhaps. Everything’s as it should be and the next game can’t come soon enough.

Here, then, is a fantastic opportunity for the club to keep the momentum rolling during the week with, initially, comments about the game, some quotes from Jon Sharp perhaps, thanks to the supporters and maybe an update about any bumps or knocks. Not via a match report in the Coventry Telegraph, that’s completely separate, this is actually from the club, on its own website. It could be done over the weekend, or if no one can do from home, then Monday at the latest.

Then, on Monday or Tuesday, some details about Cinderford – is there a coach (we know there is at the moment, but only if you use the Messageboard, which says a great deal really – I appreciate it’s run by supporters, but you’d think the club would help publicise it?), or directions of how to get to the ground, with a comment about how much travelling support can impact on the result, perhaps from one of the players? This could tie in with Tom Little’s extremely interesting and useful National 1 Review which would then put everything the club offers in the context of the National 1 results from last week. Tom’s efforts need replicating elsewhere.

Wednesday, the build up could continue with a brief comment from the coaches or a couple of different players (taken at the start or end of the training session on Tuesday so it’s not difficult to set up), or even a quick interview using a mobile phone and downloaded onto the website. Again, this could tie in with Tom Little’s equally informative National 1 Preview.

Thursday is  usually the day the team is announced – always eagerly anticipated, but even more so if the build up starts immediately after the last game. A  further comment again from the coaches on the Friday, together with something from one of the players taken during the Thursday training session would complete the build up. Every day something…it doesn’t have to be wordy, in fact it might just be visual, just something to maintain the interest and maybe hook a few new visitors to the ground each week. Over a season…well it could encourage lot more to attend the home games or travel to some of the away ones.

The club might argue that it is overly time-consuming and they haven’t got the spare capacity within the office staff. That might be a perfectly fair response, but there is a PR person in place, and it would take a maximum of 30-40 minutes to type something up for the website, provided someone knows how to add material to it. I think it would be worth it, but then I don’t have to organise it whilst doing  everything else that needs doing. I do accept that.

Leaving aside Tom’s contributions of the Weekly Preview and Review which I think are really important in their own right, for the last few weeks the sequence of weekly information tends to be the club’s own report of the last game and then the team line-up for Saturday, interspersed with some occasional news if there’s a signing (as with Gaston Mieres and the update on loanees  – which was much appreciated). That’s it. Not a great deal for a business with what must be a million pound+ turnover.

I do think there are times when Cov takes this to extremes

I do think there are times when Cov take this to extremes

I just don’t think there’s much of a push to whet supporters’ appetites. You can’t just rely on the success of the team to pull in the punters. Our best gate so far this season is over 800+ down on the best last season, so we know that there are potentially at least that many who will come down to the Butts to watch their team (in their city), but it’s no good just relying on Cov having another run again. At the moment, there’s  a lot being done on the corporate side to get businesses in and to promote the pre-match dinners, but that doesn’t appear to be making much difference to the final attendance figures.

Plymouth Albion are particularly good in this respect, providing daily updates through the Plymouth Sport Gazette. Now I appreciate the Coventry Telegraph might not be prepared to give room to that amount of Cov news, but the website is a ready-made alternative. But they aren’t the only club in National 1 to better share their news by any means.

Cov just seem to be happy to go from one game to the next without ever engaging with their supporters other than through team news or match reports. It becomes predictable and explains why the vast majority of supporters use the Messageboard in preference to the official website in order to find out what is, or isn’t, happening.

I’m sure there are people in the club who would take umbrage with what I’m saying, but to do so would miss the point. I’m talking about doing things differently, that’s all. I’m not for a minute suggesting no one is working on increasing attendances, I’m sure they are. What I am suggesting is there might be a different way of doing it that focuses less on business and more on the individual supporter.

And because the homepage is geared to attract the corporate eye, (with probably a 3:1 ratio in favour of the more profitable business interests, rather than those of the individual), then it is small wonder that the club’s communication with its supporters is sometimes called into question.

I  accept I’m grumpy and cantankerous when it comes to this subject and that’s why I won’t express such views on the messageboard because I understand that I’m a bit obsessive about it…but I do think somehow the club are missing a trick, particularly this week when everyone is that much more upbeat. We’re three months into the season now and the amount of news coming from the club is actually less than it was when the original concerns were expressed.

Bizarre.

I’m not talking Hedgehopper’s Anonymous here.

No news, for me at least, is definitely not good news…

11 replies »

    • Hi Tin…great to have you visit the blog. Please do continue to read the posts and comment, it’s good to hear from you. Where are you from…?
      Kind regards, Tim

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  1. I am on holiday in Luxembourg at the moment. Trying to keep up with all things blue and white. It has been the same for years not getting news about cob. I really enjoy reading your blog Tim it is A good alternative to the official lack of news. I always say keep the faith but I can understand people being frustrated with the lack of official information.:

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    • Have a great time in Luxembourg, Mick. It’s somewhere I’ve need been so I’ll be keen to find out what you think, it always sounds so beautiful whenever I’ve heard anyone talk about their visits there.
      Take care…
      Still keeping the faith,
      Tim

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  2. Good “rant” Tim and in my opinion you have said what most supporters think. The Official website is dreadful and although i believe there were things muted about updating it, this appears to have fallen by the wayside. The lack of communication from the Club frustrates the hell out of me, so you are not the only one with this Bugbear! It seems a quite straightforward thing to do, but with Cov it seems impossible to achieve.

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    • Lol – it was a bit of a rant, wasn’t it! It’s the failure to respond as was ‘promised’ that is so disappointing. You want to believe what is said, when nothing materialises you begin to doubt what else is said and that’s a shame. It just need someone to say that communication with supporters isn’t quite what we’d hope it would be, here’s what we hope to do…still, the result on Saturday, and the manner in which it was achieved, was hugely encouraging and the coaches and players should take credit for that…

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  3. Agree Tim, on FB just today noticed at least 3 different posts about wasps next games. Whilst as you say not a hot about coventry!

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  4. Dear ‘ Brother Tim’ , I share your pain. Maybe a little salve will ease it, the club will get it right in time. It’s just a question of when . I am sure in time it will get better. However, by invoking the spirit of Hedgehoppers Anonymous and ” Good News Week”, can I just say someone has just, unlike in the lyrics, ‘ ….dropped the bomb’. You just have, well done anyway.

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    • Lol…thank you, Brother Paul…I’m sure(ish) they will, but there are a lot of people who follow Cov from all around the country and indeed the world and if the only official news is a match report and the announcement of the team, well it is kind of frustrating. I’m starting again…off for a long walk!
      Back to normal tomorrow…will look at Cinderford stats…it will calm me down…

      ‘Someone’s found a way to give
      The rotting dead a will to live’….

      Your good deed for the day done and it’s not yet 10.00 am!

      Have a great day!

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