Club talk

Can’t do right for doing wrong…

If I seem kind of blue to you,
it’s just coz I’m not getting through to you,
and I’ll do anything you want me to,
but I can’t do right for doing wrong,

we could get to where we want to be,
with just a little faith and honesty,
instead of drifting where we don’t belong,
and I can’t do right for doing wrong
I can’t do right for doing wrong…

I can’t do right for doing wrong – Lindisfarne

…and once again for Cov they have got it wrong! Not just this time but every time a change happens from Umaga onwards. When will we learn , backroom politics happen but as for announcements wait till end of season!!!!!

When will we learn indeed…?

The above quote is taken from a comment left by ‘Tip’ yesterday and encapsulates the frustrations that I think many Cov supporters must have felt over the years, and especially over the last few months.

Too often the club can’t seem to do right for doing wrong and it’s a real shame because there’s no doubt the management of the club has made huge strides since the days of Andrew Green. If it hadn’t been for the actions of initially the Advisory Board and then the Board of Directors in 2009/10, the club as we now know it wouldn’t be inexistence.

I know very little about the Board or about their background and certainly couldn’t put names to faces but to be fair to them (although thanks to Peter Redhead I now know the names), under Jon Sharp’s chairmanship they have kept the club afloat. They have also ensured that over the last 2 or 3 seasons any discussions about the club’s short to mid term planning have centred on promotion to the Championship and the developing the Butts Arena to provide the facilities that will attract revenues to sustain the club’s continuing drive for success.

There’s been plenty of talk in the not too distant past as to how that is to be achieved and the extent to which any monies made from future ventures will go directly back into the club’s coffers – and doubtless there’s more yet to come.

However, as an ordinary supporter, someone who really only visits the Butts on a Saturday afternoon every couple of weeks and who goes to a few away matches, my love of the club is far more about what happens on the pitch than it is about the bricks and mortar. I totally accept that the one is inextricably linked to the other and that it is short-sighted of me to focus so much of my attention on playing matters to the exclusion of the development of the ground,  but I’m probably not the only one who feels that way.

Despite all that the Board has done to move the club forward and for all the respect that it deserves, and whilst I don’t know about the relative contributions or otherwise of Board members in the rebuilding process over the last 6 years or so, sometimes the Board does get it wrong.

And I do actually feel for them because they’ve acted in the best interests of the club, made absolutely the right decision regarding the appointment of Rowland Winter and in the process hopefully given the club a great chance of challenging for promotion over the next 2 or 3 years. Yet there’s so much negativity surrounding the announcement and the retention/release of players for next season.

I think most supporters would agree that change is needed and although loyal to Scott and appreciative of what he has done, the writing was on the cards when we lost four out of our first 8 games earlier in the season and by the Esher game back in November, the cards had been posted, opened and RSVPed…particularly on the messageboard.

But as Tip has suggested, timing is everything and from January onwards things have turned a bit sour. The manner of the announcement didn’t help, and whilst Scott put his weight behind the announcement of a full-time DoR, he was clearly unhappy about the manner in which the appointment had taken place and the way he had been treated. And the Board do have to take responsibility for that.

That there was no public statement from the club  to express gratitude to Scott for all he had done as player and coach  was, to me, very odd and a little disrespectful really. So a decision that is in the best interests of the club suddenly becomes secondary to the way the decision was made and positive discussions about what the changes might mean for the club in the future immediately become secondary to the process leading up to the announcement. The club finds itself very much on the back foot because it misjudged the mood of its supporters.

I think for all their good intentions, they failed to see that despite the losses and the poor performances, many supporters didn’t actually attach all the blame to Scott and his team of coaches.

Since then, the Board have found themselves in a really difficult situation.

By saying nothing whilst so much rumour and speculation surrounds the futures of individual players and coaches, the club appears to have distanced itself totally from the concerns of its supporters.  We all know that players will have to leave at the end of the season, and in large numbers, but with 6 games left and the club’s place in National 1 next season by no means guaranteed, there is some unease as to how the players will respond to this. And I think there is an expectation that the club will respond to this in some way…no, to be fair, I’d expect the club to respond.

I’m not sure what the club can now do to calm the situation, other than to state publicly their gratitude to the squad for the way they have pulled together in such difficult circumstances this season, especially given the number of injuries, and ask spectators to get behind the team against Cinderford and make it an atmosphere to remember. The players will perform on the day, whatever their thoughts and feelings because they have pride in their professionalism and they respect the supporters.

Let the fans do what the club is failing to do at the moment and get behind the players because they deserve that.

The announcement of Rowland Winter’s appointment was always going to create uncertainty. Could it have been left until the end of the season? Probably not because social media would have meant it would have become common knowledge pretty much before the ink had dried and the club would have been hugely embarrassed had it been common knowledge yet no announcement made.

However, it certainly could have been handled far more sensitively and in a way that didn’t put the Scott and the present coaching team in such a difficult position. How it will impact on the players now, well we’ll have to wait to see what their response is on Saturday, but there appears to be a fair amount of exasperation on their part at what has happened since the announcement.

A shame for Rowland Winter too, given that all the talk is about releasing players and not about his vision for the future a lot of which sounds very similar to what many of us have been saying o the messageboard and elsewhere.

It was and still is a bit of another PR disaster and I really hope the players make a massive statement to the club against Cinderford and in the remaining games. Players who haven’t necessarily performed as expected this season could leave the club wondering whether it was the right decision to release quite so many – more performances like those we’ve seen since Christmas will merely confirm that it is absolutely the correct thing to do.

As for the club and the Board, they can’t be held responsible if the team hasn’t performed on the pitch this season as was hoped. And they have responded in a positive way, but lessons regarding communication clearly still blight Coventry RFC.

My club membership isn’t just about me having access to the ground on match days, its about being part of the Coventry ‘experience’. It involves receiving news about the club, the players, the developments that are going on in and around the ground – it should be a package. And by failing to enter into dialogue with it’s supporters, the club will struggle to break down the present feeling of unease felt by some supporters about what happens behind the closed doors of CV1 3GE.

A more open approach, one that involves real discussion and dialogue, will mean far more respect and trust – yes, there’s a another Forum in April, but would that honestly have happened if Mick Shaw hadn’t taken the initiative and written to Jon Sharp…it really shouldn’t have to be that way round.

The club are do need to learn from mistakes and perhaps the appointment of a new media officer next season is partly an attempt to address previous difficulties in this area. You’d hope so anyway…

The Board are caught between a rock and a hard place and whilst I might be frustrated by them at times, it would be disingenuous of me not to stress that the club has come a long, long, way under their watch and they’ve done and continue to do a pretty decent job. There are members on it who work tirelessly for the good of the club.

The Board are full of good intentions …but isn’t the road to hell paved with them, too?

Or is that the just the roads that lead places like Macclesfield, Sedgely Park and Stourbridge…

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1 reply »

  1. Congratulations Tim, great content and ouput, you are bang on the money about the board, but, I think they have frozen in last 4 months,like rab b its in headlights, I also believe that they really do think it is none of our business and we should keep our nose out , “don’t complain don’t explain” is their motto, cheers, Roy r

    Like

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