Talk of the town and Twitter tweets

Oh but it’s hard to live by the rules
I never could and still never do
The rules and such never bothered you
You call the shots and they follow
I watch you still from a distance then go
Back to my room, you never know…
…Who’s the talk of the town?

Talk of the Town – The Pretenders

I just do not understand the present lack of communication coming out of the club over the past few weeks.

I know I’ve harped on about it ad infinitum, but this post will take a sightly different course to my usual rant (!)…and, hopefully, a more reasoned one.

Okay, news from the Butts has been much better this weekend, but generally speaking, it’s not been good for a while now. But at the moment, I do have some sympathy for John Sharp and the Board.

Leaving aside the promotion, or otherwise, of Saturday’s game for the time being, the furore caused by Telly1’s comments on the messageboard only heightens the problems confronting the Board at the moment. Some serious accusations have been made, facts if you believe Telly1, which need to be countered by the Club for the sake of unity and the appearance of a Board who are in control.

It is a difficult situation for them, one I certainly wouldn’t have to want to face.

But such situations demand strong leadership and that’s where my sympathy comes to an abrupt end.

Rather than ‘Your City, Your Club’, it feels a bit like ‘Our Club, Your Team’, with supporters left rudderless and forced to defend the club, and the Board, themselves.

By saying nothing, the club is in danger of fuelling those accusations and to those supporters reading them who are either confused by the whole thing (as I am) or believe in the old adage involving a lot of smoke and the hint of a flame,  then the silence actually gives a degree of credence to them, albeit unintentionally of course.

At the moment it’s a win/win situation for Telly1.

And the saddest thing about all this…?

…on Saturday, Scott Morgan and the players began to answer some of the lingering questions hanging over the team for the past few weeks. The players put in a good shift and went some way towards making amends for the disappointing displays in the last three games prior to the break. They must have been looking forward to some decent ‘press’ on the messageboard and elsewhere, but instead wake up on Sunday to find once again discussions about what matters most to them and to many of us, what happens on the pitch, have been hijacked by further accusation and counter-accusation.

If one of the underlying problems amongst the team, and indeed the squad generally, is a lack of confidence, here was a golden opportunity for supporters to ‘big’ them up prior to what will be a pretty difficult trip to Hartpury on Saturday. Finally, four weeks after the last win, we witnessed a really good performance with fringe players making their presence felt, giving a real lift to both the squad and the supporters at the same time. Yet we’ve allow ourselves to get completely side-tracked by what is fast becoming a pointless diatribe.

That might sound patronising to those who feel passionately about the club and it’s future and I apologise in advance if that is the case. It’s not meant to be, clearly it’s an really important issue, crucial to the long term success of the club. But it is a pointless discussion if the main protagonist, namely the Chairman, decides not to enter into the ring, as he appears to be the only one who has the answers. And actually, it is certainly not the right forum (apologies for the pun) for him to do so, as it will only generate another round of ‘ping pong posts’. So in that sense I can understand his current silence.

I can also understand supporters wanting to defend the club, the players and even the Board, but in doing so the continued ill-feeling it generates is preventing a real exchange of thoughts and feelings about what is happening on the pitch, which seems to me to be the real reason we buy our season tickets or hand over our cash at the turnstiles.

However, a statement to contradict what’s been said (as long as it doesn’t end up like the last e-letter), or another Fans’ Forum to answer questions in person, would be enough to ease the concerns of most genuine supporters. A statement in front of supporters would be the preferred mode of rebuttal as Jon Sharp is a convincing speaker and the impression he gives is that of someone who has a genuine desire to better Coventry RFC, both on and off the pitch. He comes across well. What he says, I have no reason to doubt.

It just needs to be said…

And just to play devil’s advocate, what if Telly1 is correct in his assertions? Or even partially correct…then it is incumbent on the Board and JS to confirm exactly what the situation is beyond what was said in the statements made in the Coventry Telegraph before Christmas.

Either way, it seems Coventry need to make a response.

One thing you can be sure of is that this just isn’t going to go away, not in the short to mid-term – unless the club put it to bed.

Once a statement is made, then Dave Roach could end the thread there and then. Job done.

But at the moment, it’s overshadowing everything – the discussions in the bars and on the terraces (okay stand, but it sounds a little less prosaic) on Saturday weren’t predominantly about the rugby, at least not before the game, they were about Telly1 and his posts. And that is unhealthy for all involved with the club.

The players deserve better, the supporters deserve better and actually, the club deserves better.

And there’s an argument to be made that in  even Telly1 deserves better.

Although not by me.

And Scott Morgan definitely deserves better…he merits praise this week. He’s had a bumpy ride of late but his willingness to stick to his guns paid off against Loughborough and you could see some clear signs of what he’s trying to achieve on the pitch. He’s obviously already looking forwards to next season and selection on Saturday had this very much in mind and I think he was able to take some several positives from the game.

And that, to me at least, should have been the real focus of yesterday’s posts.

I wanted to build this into the main body of the text above, but couldn’t without detracting from the importance of the message so I’ll add it as a footnote here – there’s more than a slight irony that the Detroit based soul group, Chairmen of the Board, had great success with their single, ‘(You’ve Got Me) Dangling on a String’…it makes me smile, anyway.


Rather than go on about the mistakes made with regard to the promotion of the Loughborough game in the two weeks leading up to Saturday’s game, and I think most people accept that more could have been done on that front, I thought I’d try and end this post on a positive, in the form of a suggestion, a suggestion as to how to use Twitter more effectively.

The idea actually came about from a tweet that the official club Twitter feed (@CoventryRFC) tweeted (this is going to sound so child-like) over the weekend when it finally emerged out its Christmas slumber.

And it was a good one at that…

It gives a sense of the crowd and the atmosphere and panning across the floodlit pitch is something any Coventry supporter would find compelling.

But instead of it coming after the game, it could be used as promotion for the next home game, perhaps on the Monday or Tuesday…then on subsequent days or alternate days a clip of the tries from the previous match, or the highlights, could be broken up into 30 second clips to build up to the final promotion on the Thursday or Friday of the game…Camera Shake’s excellent montage from the Loughborough game (and many thanks to him for letting me use it here) shows how easy this would be to do…

Split this into 7-8 sections, one a day and you’re generating interest quickly, effectively and in a very positive way. Even in defeat, there will be passages of play which highlight Coventry in a very positive way…tries, penalties, breaks from defence etc etc

For those supporters who aren’t Twitter savvy, the annual membership card could come with instructions as to how to log on to Twitter and to set up a Twitter account. But with 4261 followers, Coventry already have a wide base on which to start. Take several hundred pictures over the first few matches and use them to introduce new players, include behind the scenes photos of the changing rooms, the bar, medical room, kitchens, anything and everything to get people talking and interested and then hit them with the ‘hard’ sell as game day approaches. 2,3,4 tweets a day. Do what ‘Street do and have graphics to go with team selections (they look the business) and add a clip of Scott M or the other coaches, or players talking about the next game.

If we want to be a Championship side…well you know the rest.

A bit of imagination and creativity, a bit of IT know how and it’s a very straight forward thing to do, and it’s certainly not time consuming. In the time it takes to write this post, you could have produced the next two weeks worth of tweets.

And the best thing about it is there are players who are either full-time, or part-time but not working, who have the skills to do all this. Instead of buying someone in to do it, you could pay one of them an incentive allowance which would be far less than paying someone from outside the club to do it, or even taking someone inside the club away from what they might otherwise be doing.

As a supporter, I’d love to receive tweets of the best bits from recent games or interviews etc. It would draw me into the club, particularly if I wasn’t a regular visitor to the Butts. I’d get to know players and the ground.

Your City, Your Club…as it’s really intended to be.

Anyway…just a thought. It would work for me.

And at least I’ve ended on a positive!


Any thoughts:

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