Club talk

Happy New Year and the eighth day of Christmas

Happy New Year!

To everyone connected to Coventry RFC, including players, coaches, backroom staff and supporters.

Let’s hope 2016 begins better than 2015 ended…

The new year should symbolise a fresh start with two-faced Janus, the Roman God of religion and myths, looking back on the past year and forwards to the new.

We’ve all dwelt too much on what’s been going wrong at Cov, on and off the pitch, so it seems appropriate now that we should concentrate on changing things for the better. A fresh start. Some new beginnings.

Rather than start January in 12th place, if I were coach I’d have a new league table up on the dressing room wall with all teams on no points. Forget where we’ve been, it’s the journey ahead that counts.

The coaches need to re-enthuse  the whole squad and make them believe they all have a part to play rather than suggest, as Scott did before Christmas, that they have already decided on those they want to hold onto next year and by implication, those than want to lose.

If you don’t believe you have a part to play in Coventry’s journey ahead, then you’re surely not going to be committed to the club, are you?

There must be at least 10-15 players who’s future at the Butts Park Arena is in doubt, yet they still have a massive part to play in Coventry’s remaining 15 games. These players need to get themselves noticed, work hard at everything they do and not give the coaches any reason as to why they should be left out of the match day squad.

If Cov are to achieve a decent second half of the season, then it will result from the efforts of the whole squad and not just those in the team selected to play on match days. To discount some at this relatively early stage must surely create a divisive element within the squad.

And if the players are expected to up their game, so must the coaches. The e-Letter from the Board seemed to lay the blame for the poor performances up to that point on the players. Scott has acknowledged since then that the coaches must look at themselves, too.

Players play to a game plan or plans. The extent the team is successful depends on their ability to follow the game plan effectively and on the appropriateness of the plan itself. Both are flawed at the moment.

If players don’t perform as expected, they are dropped.

But what of the coaches?

There comes a point when the blame for underperformance reaches out beyond the players themselves and the question we are then left asking is…what next?

A question we could be hearing a lot more regularly if results don’t improve over the next few weeks.

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Once again, we are left with silence from the club in a week where there is more need than ever to create interest in a game that is crucial to Coventry’s season. A week off, no news coming from the club and plenty of frustration on the Messageboard makes for anything but an optimistic beginning to the new year.

Other clubs in National 1 have released team news and started a social media campaign via Twitter and Facebook to galvanise support. But not Coventry. Oh no, definitely not Cov.

It will be Friday a.m. before this happens now. Friday a.m. and by then many families will have decided on their weekends. Brilliant preparation…

Coventry seem to be a club that’s reactive…not proactive. And if reactive is being generous because they’re not listening to their supporters. I’m not talking about the coaches here, or the players, but the club itself.

It must learn the difference between the two or else it will never make any real progress against its self-proclaimed target of promotion to the Championship.

To be a Championship side you have to think and act like a Championship side.

And it’s pretty obvious how they’re coming across to many supporters at the moment.

Fortunately, I have more faith in the players to perform on the pitch, than I do in the club to sell itself in professional way to its supporters off it. We will win tomorrow, but that’s in spite of, not because of, Coventry’s ability to promote the side and generate a mood of confidence and self-belief within its fan base, something that has a positive ,and direct, influence on the players.

The players, even in such a poor run as we are in at moment, are carrying the club, when if anything it should be the other way around.

I hope the Board will soon realise that they just can’t keep ignoring those genuine supporters who walk through the turnstiles  week after week, paying inflated National 1 prices, whilst at the same time seeming to court corporate sponsors and future investors.

Redevelop the Butts whilst kicking the team in the butt…is that really the future of this once great club?

Maybe not, but that’s how it’s beginning to look to those very much on the outside, looking in.

Happy New Year, indeed.

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Day 8 of the ‘Coventry’s Most Valuable Player’ poll results and this time it’s the 5th place that’s published.

And you voted for:

Cliffie Hodgson. Well done, Cliffie!

Cliffie’s impact on the pitch has never been in question since he joined Coventry from Rotherham back in 2012. He is Cov’s leading points scorer on National 1 with  943 points and he is always the player the team looks to when it needs digging, or as is more often the case ‘kicking’, out of a hole.

Only 4 Coventry players have made more National 1 appearances than Cliffie at 85 (and he’s only ever been substituted once!).

His record speaks for itself…

National One Coventry All time leading scorers

Players Points FH SH FS LS H A
Clifford Hodgson    943    572    371    27    25    501    442

He seems unflappable even in the toughest of situations, and is a leader on and off the pitch. With several new faces starting this season, some supporters questioned where he might start as the club seemed spoiled for choice, both at full back and fly half. Ten weeks later and we were praying for a quick recovery from yet another injury. He has been greatly missed this season. It’s not until his bsence that many of us have realised just how important he is to the success of the team.

He oozes confidence and despite many suggesting he lacks a bit of pace, Cliffie had scored 27 National 1 tries in his time with Cov which is a pretty decent return and only 1 behind leading club National 1 try scorer, Will Hurrell.

He is also solid defensively and never shirks a tackle, even when carrying an injured shoulder.

Many of Coventry’s best performances have been when Cliffie had been playing well and that’s no coincidence.

Whilst I don’t know him at all, he comes across as a genuinely likeable young man. He certainly appears popular with the players and is extremely well respected by supporters.

A true clubman in every sense of the word.

I’d be gutted if Cliffie were to move on at the end of this season. Coventry need him.

With four places still to be decided, those who finish above Cliffie must indeed have something special about them.

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Tomorrow will see 4th place in the MVP poll announced.

 

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Categories:Club talk

7 replies »

  1. Still no news about the team at 9pm. The message this sends out is that the club have no appetite for attracting possible supporters after a drought of matches but are happy to rely on the old faithful die hards and season ticket holders. Not nice to feel as though you’re taken for granted, is it?

    Cov have so much to offer – a team who can play superlative rugby when they put their minds to it, a passionate and vociferous crowd of friendly supporters who are knowledgeable about the game and the best facilities / match day experience in our division.

    You imagine the club would want to boast about that, wouldn’t you? No Facebook posts since December 23rd, one tweet this week and no team news least than 18 hours before kick off.

    Clueless.

    PS – absolutely fantastic blog, Tim. Required reading for any CRFC supporter. Thanks very much for your stellar service.

    Like

    • Hi Pixed, many thanks for leaving a comment, and one that sums up the mood of so many of us supporters too – ‘taken for granted’.

      Why Jon Sharp allows the situation to continue is beyond me; if he wants to create additional income to plough back into the team, why on earth would he condone a situation where the club is failing to attract additional support, week in, week out.

      Let’s hope the players feel more respected by the club than many of the supporters do.

      You’re right, Pixed, there’s plenty to boast about, but sadly Coventry RFC has lost its voice at a crucial time in the season and in the meantime gates drop, apathy reigns and the team continues to falter.

      Not the greatest start to the new year, is it?

      Have a very happy new year and many thanks or your kind words. Hopefully, see you on here again soon!

      Like

  2. Not the team as such in the Telegraph, just news of 5 positional changes. Does that mean the rest of the team is unchanged – that’s fine if you can remember what the line up was last time…
    Overall a pretty dour, negative article which, with 24 hours to go till KO, may serve to put more people off than it will attract – perhaps the worst build up to a home game yet?

    Like

    • It’s a shocker…honestly, you couldn’t make it up.
      Definitely the worst build up and coming to the end of the holiday season, too.
      There must be someone with responsibility for PR, increasing numbers through turnstiles, social media, etc etc…I’d love to be involved in their performance management review…

      Like

  3. At 14.00 , still nothing on the MB or the offy site about the team for Saturday. Point proved? Happy New Year to you and your family and may you, like me, continue to plough our laboured furrow!

    Like

    • It’s actually quite shocking really…there must be supporters who would have turned up tomorrow as a result of a well organised media campaign starting immediately after the Ampthill game but who now won’t be attending. As the teacher responsible for post-16 recruitment, had I just left it all to a poster on the website I would have been summarily sacked. I’m getting angry…time for an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, a cold shower and a couple of valium.
      Happy New Year, Paul and to all the Ingleston’s, be they big or small…

      Like

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