Club talk

Every ‘Cov’ dog has his day…

I thought the e-letter sent out to members earlier in the week was really positive and a far cry from November’s which did little to ease the furrowed brows of  supporters who had witnessed such a poor start in a season that had started with so much promise.

It’s taken a while, and in all honestly probably longer than it should have done, but the Board are responding to the on-going concerns and seem to be doing much to address the many problems that have plagued Cov’s season so far.

(I was going to use the word ‘dogged’ rather than ‘plagued’, but ‘dogged’ and ‘dogging’ seem to have very different connotations these days – although, and here’s another little money spinner,  direct one of the floodlights onto the car park, put an advert or two in a few local phone booths and charge a £5 entrance fee, so-to-speak, and the club could be onto a nice little earner…).

Even though the reality is the results haven’t improved from the time the first e-letter was sent and we are a couple of places in the league below than where we were back then, it has been greeted by supporters in a far more constructive way. Gone is the almost accusatory tone of the pre-Christmas e-letter.

Remember:

the simple questions around the ability of the squad we have and whether game plans are right…must be answered;

to be replaced by the non controversial, and factual:

There have been a number of factors behind the drop in fortunes this year and, certainly, injuries have loomed large all season but we have to address all the causal factors

That’s a really positive change in itself and hopefully a recognition that maybe the earlier comments weren’t particularly well thought through?

There are lots of really strong statements that most Cov supporters will be pleased to hear. A season like the one we’re having might put off a faint-hearted Board or a Chairman who hasn’t seen much return on his investment these last few months. I certainly would have understood if Jon Sharp had decided to put the wallet back into his back pocket and hold fire for another 12 months to see how the new regime fared. But not a bit of it…

…we still seem to be on track.

The talk is very much about preparing the way ‘for full time rugby’ with a DoR who will be given the time:

to dedicate to the multiple aspects of running a successful professional side of the modern era’

No time frame, but I guess that’s very sensible given that as soon as you put in a quantifiable target, you’re going to be held accountable to it…having said that, the e-letter one of the important aspects of Rowland Winter’s appointment now, rather than at the end of the season, is to help Scott ‘drive to improve our match day results in the short term’.

No pressure there then, Rowland!

Certainly, though, performances have improved, even if results haven’t. And with the new DoR saying that the number of changes:

will depend on the individual and collective performance over the next six weeks or so, as well as continued observations of training sessions

you would expect results to improve.

Contracts clearly depend on it. And he’s quite candid about it, making a clear statement that there will be a ‘new look to personnel on both the playing and coaching teams’.

I struggled a little to see how such changes will depend on ‘individual and collective performance’ – it seems a tad unfair that if say, for the sake of argument, Dom has a good run-in to the end of the season yet the team loses most games, Dom’s place in the squad could be in jeopardy. But maybe the collective performance is more about the coaches…

Be that as it may,  given that RW has stated that there will be a new look to personnel, there are a few ‘dead men walking’ at Cov at the moment. I’m tempted to produce a poll that includes a squad list, together with the names of the coaches, and ask readers to identify who they’d keep…would that be insensitive to the players who read the blog though…I know there are those who do?

Anyway…he’s clearly prepared to make difficult decisions and that’s something I believe is important. There will be some strong characters still remaining at Cov next season…

One of the biggest changes outside that of personnel would seem to be the increase in training time from 2 to 3 sessions a week. In the light of the move towards a more ‘professional’ side, this is clearly a step forward and it’s easy to see why  Rowland Winter would want to take this leap. However, it won’t be without it’s problems.

For instance, will some of the more senior players, the likes of Jones and Evans for instance, be willing to make an extra midweek journey from Wales, a round trip of 250+ miles…especially if they have are in employment (I have no idea on that one).  The same goes for Scott who had indicated he couldn’t take on the Head of Rugby position on a full-time basis for that very reason. Those who live more locally and who are self-employed might also suffer, so it’s going to be interesting to see who leaves for those reasons, as opposed to those who aren’t offered a contract. Other factors such as where and when they will train are being discussed on the messageboard so there is no need to repeat the points already made – and an excellent thread it is, too.

However, it has to be a step in the right direction and should make us more competitive. Players will have to be even more committed in terms of time and aren’t able to show the required fealty will have to move on.

Tough love…

It also appears that the new DoR is going to be a ‘hands-on’ coach and he’s already said he’ll lead on attack. Given this has been an area many have highlighted as a concern this year, I’ll be particularly interested to see how he impacts on this area of Coventry’s play. A back division that is confident, well coached and has the opportunity to be creative is not only going to score tries, it’s also going to attract the punters back to the Butts. Maybe not to the levels of 2014/15, but it will definitely  create a buzz again.

It’s great that Matt Price is leading try scorer as of now, but it is a reflection on the style of rugby we’ve played (been forced to play?) this season and in his interview with John Wilkinson he said as much. Whatever the reasons, Cov haven’t really excited or entertained supporters on the pitch in the way that most had hoped they would.  Hopefully, Dan will be back and there’s bound to be a few recruits in the backs, presumably agreed by RW and able to play according to his preferred style of rugby.

My only gripe, and this is really because I’m nothing if not loyal, is that the e-letter was an opportunity to set the record straight. But it’s a chance wasted.

There are those who felt uncomfortable, and still do, with the manner of the announcement Rowland’s appointment. Although I acknowledge not everyone feels this way…

The evidence from the e-letter and from what Scott himself has said is that it is definitely the right appointment. But the timing and the secrecy that went on leading up to the announcement made it all a bit unpalatable.

A recognition of the good work Scott has done, and still continues to do, might have gone down well.  There didn’t need to be anything more…just an appreciation. There is much talk about the work Rowland Winter is already doing – I just feel it could have been balanced out by a recognition of the efforts being made by Scott and his coaches to help turn things around too. It can’t be easy seeing the new man come in whilst you’re still in office. A public vote of thanks…

Anyway…a minor moan and really one that perhaps many won’t relate to.

We’ve fallen on some hard times of late. In fact, if you’ve been a Cov supporter for less than 20 years you’d struggle to find much to really celebrate. But every dog has it’s day and perhaps it’s time for the ‘Cov dog’ to have his (or hers).

New team, new DoR, new coaches, new set up…I’m already atingle!

And isn’t that just what this e-letter set out to do…whet the appetite amidst a period of uncertainty.

Job done…

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I know a lot of people have very kindly completed the poll in yesterday post. If you haven’t, or if you haven’t seen it, I’ve copied it below – please take a minute (that’s all it takes, if that, to complete it.

I’ll publish the results over the weekend – some interesting things coming out of it already…

A lot of really positive discussions have taken place over the last few weeks amongst supporters on the messageboard or elsewhere with suggestions about areas the club could or should be prioritising to further develop over the coming months. I’ve sifted through some of them and put them into a poll. Please take a minute to complete it.

Please highlight in the appropriate spaces  just 4 of the 8 options that you think are the most important, given the obvious constraints. The choices appear randomly, so the order you see them in will probably be different to the order most others will.

Hope this makes sense.

Thank you in advance for taking part…

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2 replies »

  1. As I have said before, as a newcomer to Cov rugby I do not have the emotional attachment to SM that a lot of the supporters have for the undoubted loyal service he has given the club over the last few years. To that end, I don’t have a massive problem with the way RW was employed. I’m not that happy with the whole movement ‘up’ of PM and then SM, then seemingly changed within weeks and SM left to carry the can. It was not handled very well and not very well communicated to both the fans and especially SM (bad manners about RW more than anything) but I took the piece he wrote in the RP match programme as a line drawn under the whole debacle from his point of view (although personally and privately that may be different!), and that we should move on also. It was a great move on his part, and I know he gives as much of himself to Cov as he can. I have to admit that I was quite negative on the forum about SM at times as the team were failing badly week after week, and I’d said -amongst other things- that if he was doing a better job he may have been more involved in RW’s arrival. That was unfair of me. The powers that be should have had a more clear vision rather than how the situation was played out, unless RW was an opportunity that arose too quickly and was too good to miss regardless of the collateral damage that would occur. As Spandau Ballet once sang…

    Communication let me down,
    And I’m left here
    Communication let me down,
    And I’m left here, I’m left here again!

    ‘Communication’ (1983).

    Like

    • Hi Warren – I think you’re being a bit hard on yourself really…you’re seeing thinks through less blinkered eyes than many of us. Me, I know that I always prefer the underdog, especially if they’ve been handed a bum deal. No coach good really expect to survive a run of the kind we’ve had this season, especially not when aspirations were so high…and indeed still are. You can be rather more dispassionate and therefore perhaps be a little more reasoned…there certainly were mistakes made by the club over the way it was all handled but they do seem to be trying to address many of the current problems. I do wish the club would acknowledge their mistakes though when they get it wrong…we do so why not them. Great post…

      Like

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