Club talk

Feeling the heat…

Once upon a time you dressed so fine
Threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you…

…now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud

Like A Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan


 

Coventry RFC might not be a club in crisis…but it is certainly one that’s starting to show signs of succumbing to the pressures resulting from a hugely disappointing first half of the season.

They are definitely starting to feel the heat.

And if anyone doubts that statement they need look no further than yesterday. If the 8th defeat this season, with only half the games completed, isn’t indicative of fair degree of turbulence then a coach having a pop at the club’s supporters on social media surely is.

I don’t remember it happening before.

I hope it never happens again.

I wasn’t at the game so I can’t comment the match itself. But those who were there who had every right to do so, especially when it’s on the messageboard in an appropriate forum for such discussion. And understandably there was some disappointment and frustration at another seemingly tight game being lost in the final 20 minutes or so.

One poster who’d been at the game commented:

I counted three line outs within the Ampthill 22 in the last 10 mins. One was well defended, the other two throws were butchered

Now, ok, ‘butchered’ is an emotive word, but the point would seem a fair one. Three line-outs, three good opportunities to win good ball to use as a platform to attack the Ampthill line. Repeatedly this season we have struggled on our throw to win clean ball in attacking positions, whilst the opposition more often than not have used similar opportunities to far greater effect. It’s been a topic of conversation that’s come up time and time again.

Matt Price took exception to that comment, quite rightly stating that the throw is but one of three element to achieving good ball from a line out and if any one of these areas fails, then clean ball is lost. Brilliant…nothing wrong with that at all, perhaps a reply in the forum rather than on social media would have been better, but I understand totally where Matt is coming from. Upset and frustrated by the loss, the comment would have hurt…but it’s Matt’s next comment that is so disappointing really…

Before ‘supporters’ make their judgement work out correctly what the problem is…

Yes, he’s angry and yes, he’s on the defensive a little because the original comment on the board does seem to level the blame for the loss to some extent on his doorstep, but scare quotes around the word ‘supporters’ is unfortunate. He  might as well have said ‘so-called’ instead.

To make the journey down to Ampthill, to watch the game at a ground where the facilities are fairly spartan, and then to have to make the journey back having watch another Coventry defeat on your travels, something this supporters does week in week out, makes him not only a supporter, but a pretty dedicated one, too.

Matt has always given his all on the pitch and he was hurting. It might have been wise just to have waited 24 hours before responding, but we’ve all been there. In the heat of the moment, etc etc. And in Matt’s defence, more often than not he is the first player to thank Cov fans for their support.

He acknowledges it as a rant and signs of with a Merry Christmas, probably through gritted teeth, but he ends it properly. Good on him for that.

Matt’s comment was unfortunate, but forgivable.

Dave Addleton’s response was less so.

i agree mate sometimes people with no knowledge is dangerous

Now that’s wrong on all sorts of levels, but above all it’s extremely patronising and condescending and taken as it is , it shows a certain a mount of disrespect. Is that how the management see supporters, as some sort of inconvenience that must be put up with…? Because that’s how it looks when it’s left hanging in the air with no attempt to defuse the comment à la Matt with a ‘Happy Christmas’ or ‘rant over’ remark to conclude

Whether the supporter was right or wrong in his assessment, the comment is an informed one. He was there, that’s how he saw it.

The comment’s not dangerous, and the person who made it shouldn’t  be categorised by the generic term ‘people’ (quote marks, not scare quotes used there, please note!). He is a very  loyal supporter of the club…

Dave should know better; he’s done it all as Cov player and then as forwards’ coach (and Head Coach on a couple of occasions to cover, I think). Like Matt, he’s angry but a coach shouldn’t have got involved…a private message to Matt fine…but not that.

Alienate supporters, particularly those who travel at a pretty substantial cost to themselves  and the club is in trouble.

Instead of being so critical, I wish Matt, or Dave  or Scott  could highlight on the website or programme notes, or wherever, what the technical problems associated with the scrum, lineout or other areas of play are. It’s fascinating to just to read what Matt had to say about the lineouts…one evening every couple of weeks, a 45 minute session looking at different aspects of the game with a pint? And perhaps a training video to boot. You’d get a few extra in to the clubhouse during the week, probably  the diehard supporters who use the messageboard, and have a chance to win both hearts and minds.

It would help prevent some of the comments on the messageboard or on here that might appear very naïve to those who play the game at Cov’s level, I now I’m just as guilt and will have incurred the anger of many a player, I’m sure.

At the moment this is almost an estrangement between club and supporters, not helped by yesterday and not likely to improve unless the club takes the initiative.

And to borrow Matt’s words:

‘Rant over’.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This post though isn’t about the highlighting of comments themselves, or the need perhaps for the players and coaches just to take a step back immediately after a game and avoid exchanges via social media.

No, it’s more about suggesting that such comments and behaviours are indicative of a club that is struggling to come to terms what is happening on the pitch at the moment. As I said at the stat…it’s feeling the heat.

Remember, Scott Morgan said at the start of the season that we couldn’t afford to lose  more than 3-4 games during the course of the whole season.

Half way through it and we’ve already lost 8.

We’re 10th in the league and in something of a tailspin. The messageboard is full of gloom and doom and it’s getting harder and harder to find positives to pick out of the games we’re losing. Just two games after the managerial shuffle and the knives, if not out, are being sharpened.

If you don’t agree, just read the posts after yesterday’s game.

How much longer can Coventry sustain losses to this degree…?

I’ve said all along that Scott Morgan is the right person to lead the club forward and by giving him complete control of playing affairs as Head of Rugby, the Board has provided him with the time to put his mark on the team prior to what will, hopefully, be another promotion push next season.

But we now face another difficult run of games in the New Year – after Loughborough, at home, there’s Hartpury, Richmond, Plymouth, Hull, Fylde, Rosslyn Park and Esher and at the moment it’s hard to see where the points would come from. It’s going to be a tough couple of months and if present form is anything to go, we’re going to spend more time looking at what’s happening results wise to the 6 teams below us than we are at the 9 above us.

Make no mistake, this is a seriously worrying decline in our fortunes from the heady days of last season.

And I think part of the post-match response yesterday was aused by the players, and Dave A, feeling the pressure to an extent that they might not have done for a long time. That’s not a bad thing in some respects, whilst the effect (the comment directed at supporters) is inappropriate, the cause (the passion for the club) is what you’d want to see.

It just needs channelling a little more positively.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m not all clear about Coventry’s approach using their full squad of players.

At the moment there’s a core of 15 or so players who are used in most games when fit. That’s fine and it’s what many of us were hoping for post-Esher.

But, then you have a bench who are underused or who don’t contribute to the game at all and several other players, like Sam P and James T who seem to have disappeared off the radar.

Players have sat out the last two full games on the bench without getting on at all, which seems bizarre and can’t do much for their confidence, or indeed their levels of performance when they do eventually get game time ( a minimum of 3 weekends without playing and more likely to be 4…).

If one of the problems areas is the last 20 minutes of games, where the opposition are in the ascendency points wise, then surely the use of the bench is vital? Hopefully, someone will put me straight via a comment…please?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To leave things as they are over the two week Xmas break, with all the uncertainty and worry about what’s going to happen in the new year, isn’t ideal. If I could be granted just one Coventry Xmas wish, it wouldn’t be the most obvious of choices, I guess.

It wouldn’t be about changes to coaches, or bringing in new players or anything like that, it would simply be a wish to feel as a supporter I’m part of a club that wants me to be part of it. To be told things as they happen, to better understand the decisions that are being made on and off the field, and to feel that even if as supporters we don’t always have ‘no knowledge’, we will be listened to and our voice heard and the reality explained.

For instance, we never did hear officially that Caolan was out of the team for Saturday, or indeed what changes that necessitated elsewhere. 20 minutes before the game, via the messageboard, via a dedicated supporter. It shouldn’t be that way.

And that’s what my wish is all about – supporters feeling valued.

A club that creates that feeling is a happy club, and a happy club is, more often than not, a successful one.

Although I’ve had my moan at yesterday’s post-match comments, I do genuinely feel the players appreciate the support they get from the fans…I really do. They’ve always been brilliant whenever I’ve had any contact with them.

But I don’t get that feeling from the club though.

Perhaps that could be something to go on it’s new year’s resolutions’ list…?

Bah Humbug…

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Only 2 more days before the poll closes so if you haven’t already voted in the Coventry’s Most Valuable Player poll, please click on the link below and scroll down.

It remains very tight and with a few surprises in store it looks like it could go down to the wire.

The poll will have to close on Monday.

Thanks.

Click below if you still haven’t voted and would like to do so:

Coventry’s MVP poll

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once upon a time you dressed so fine
Threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?
People call say ‘beware doll, you’re bound to fall’
You thought they were all kidding you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hanging out
Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud

Categories:Club talk

2 replies »

  1. Hi Tim,

    I’m the supporter guilty of those comments. I really should choose my words more carefully, there was never any intention to lay individual blame, so I apologise to Matt that it was deemed as such. I meant that the line outs were lost, nothing more. The term butchered was perhaps a bit OTT but that was borne out of frustration. I maintain we played pretty well, and I think deserved the win, but then I would say that!

    In terms of the social media storm I seem to have created, I welcome it. The fact that Matt and Aggy (and others) have commented shows that they are as passionate, frustrated and downright angry as us supporters, which can only be a good thing. The results will turnaround, of that I am certain.

    Keep up the good work with the blogs, they are a pleasure to read.

    Like

    • Hi Keith
      Good post!
      And very honest of you, too.
      I do think that Matt’s reaction was fine up to a point and very similar to previous ones he ‘s made after games we’ve lost.
      But the use of ‘supporters’ did cross the line, even though, as you say, it was borne out of frustration.
      However, for me Aggers’ comment was wrong given he is a coach. It’s not how the club should be responding, whatever the situation.
      Tom Poole’s tweet, on the other hand, was exactly as you’d expect and hope for…if one person makes a mistake, then we all do.
      Thank you for coming across…look forward to hearing from you again soon.
      Kind regards,

      Tim

      Like

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