Uh! Open your eyes and look within:
Are you satisfied (with the life you’re living)? Uh!
We know where we’re going, uh!
Exodus – Bob Marley
Another exodus – but not of players this time.
I’m surprised no one has really made any comment as yet regarding the attendance at the Butts on Saturday, despite the fact that it was such an important game.
A fifth consecutive loss would have drawn Cov even deeper into a relegation battle that the club could ill afford to lose, how ever unlikely that might be. Yet only 851 made it through the turnstiles to watch a spirited Coventry performance.
Those who did make the trip down to the Butts were rewarded with an entertaining game, with two teams that on the day might have been lacking a little in skill but who more than made up for it in commitment.
I was very surprised by the turnout – it’s been a while since we had an attendance figure of under 900, but it is probably indicative of the situation the club presently finds itself in. The attendance was 27% down on this season’s average gate, which is itself down 22% on the 2014/15 average.
I know statistics can be manipulated every which way, but the brutal truth is that the figure of 851 is around 1150 down on our best attendance last season.
We have witnessed a steady decline in the numbers coming to The Butts over the last 15 months and this must be setting alarm bells ringing somewhere in the bowels of the Butts…(probably not the best of images to choose)…
It’s even more worrying really because this has come about in the very week that Coventry have been promoting next season’s membership renewal (which apparently is available to all-comers – and thanks to those of you who kindly contacted me to confirm this – I’m glad it wasn’t just me who was a bit confused by the details).
So, if the attendance at the Cinderford game is anything to go by, then membership renewals certainly aren’t going to be as healthy as the club might have been hoping for…?
I have no idea how much the club relies on season tickets sales to balance the books, but I’d imagine they generate a much needed percentage of the total income. Just how sustainable continued gates of under 900 are is a question that needs to be asked, as must how the club hopes to entice back those supporters who are presently making it fairly clear that Coventry RFC isn’t the place to be on a Saturday afternoon.
With just 10 minutes to go before kick of the main stand was eerily empty. It did fill up in the minutes leading up to the whistle, but there were large areas of seating that were empty, even in the central areas.
Supporters, presumably mostly those who pay at the turnstiles, seem to have been put off by the poor run of form and maybe the fact that there isn’t a great deal left to play for, given Cov even before yesterday were favourites to avoid the drop. The culmination of the 6 Nations programme throughout the afternoon won’t have helped and nor would City playing at home. But even so…851?
The news about the appointment of Roland Winter to the post of DoR appears to meet the approval of many supporters, judging by the responses on the messageboard, especially after the openness of his comments on the website and in the Coventry Telegraph.
However, to those supporters who might not be regular visitors, then maybe the publication of the list of players retained (and therefore by default the list of those who will not be returning) might have had a negative impact. If only possibly 10 of the current squad is being retained, then what does that say about the quality of rugby presently on show and is it worth £15 when I can go and see the Wasps for the same price a day later?
Or maybe the question was being ask even before last week – you’d be hard pressed to say that Coventry have been an entertaining side to watch this season and that is important to those who aren’t regulars at Cov.
Incidently, Plymouth Albion, whose season has mirrored Coventry’s in that they had a slow start to their campaign but are enjoying a rich vein of form, had a very healthy 1680 to watch their game against Blackheath.
Whatever the reasons, Coventry surely must look to be more proactive as far as promoting the last couple of home games this season is concerned. I don’t know how effective the club felt the ‘Bring a friend for a tenner’ promo was against Esher, but the attendance was around the 1180 mark which was a significant increase on Saturday’s attendance and was something that perhaps could have been repeated. (Or something along those lines – every adult who brings a child comes in for a tenner, or ladies come in for a £5 if accompanied by a ‘partner’, fancy dress, a ladies’ day, a free burger, or pint (provided the bar staff are prepared!)…I don’t know, something, anything, to get folk returning).
How about the use of the website/Twitter to promote the game – a daily feature on the Cov website connected in some way to the next game, which could include:
- updates on injuries (how good would that be?)
- interviews with players and/or coaches
- interviews with the odd supporter (and there are plenty of odd ones to choose from…!)
- something from the fitness coach about how players are preparing for the game
- a couple of quizzes for kids (the winner gets to lead the team out)
- quiz for the adults (how many pints of beer were pulled at the last home game etc)
- articles on the facilities available – food, the shop etc,
- how the pitch is prepared for a game or what happens on the morning of a home game
- a video tour of the dressing rooms
- the promise of a piece of card with ‘TRY’ emblazoned on one side and ‘PENALTY’ to any kids who come to the game with a paying adult
- a writing competition for the kids- 200 words on the player I’d most like to meet (and guess what the prize is\?)
- with over 44oo Twitter followers, tweet a £5 off voucher off the next home game, redeemable by showing at the turnstiles
- farewells to the players going with opportunities for supporters to say a few words (tweets perhaps that can then be displayed on a dedicated page o the website with a clear link on the homepage – that would be a nice touch) with a proper farewell at the final home game
- match the expert…competition where a supporter and a player match up against each other to guess that week’s National 1 results (rather like the BBC’s Lawro’s Premier Predictions
…someone with a bit of imagination could come up with something different each day. It might take 30 minutes of time but if your gate goes up by 300 paying members – that’s £4500, less concessions but plus bar and food takings. You could use the same sort of formula for most games.
Worth a shot, surely?
The website should be where much of this takes place. At the moment, if you want to know what’s happening at the club, you have to rely on John Wilkinson, without whom supporters would know little of what is happening at Cov, or you have to go to the messageboard. There’s a very good self-help service on offer there with supporters sharing what they know or have heard, or just their opinions – all of which are extremely welcome.
Certainly, the website should be something a little more interactive, rather than reactive. The last two home games should actually become the stepping stone to the new season, generating an interest that can be sustained over the close season. Otherwise, come Wharfedale, there will be three or four months of relative inactivity – features on every new player arriving at the club with photos up early would be a great start.
I’m wittering on, I know. But the club does need to do something positive to address what is now an exodus of supporters and not just players…
So we gonna walk, all right! Through de roads of creation,
We the generation (Tell me why!)
(Trod through great tribulation) trod through great tribulation
Exodus – Bob Marley