The end of the season is fast approaching.
An if I’m honest, I’m not quite sure how to feel about it. After all the disappointments we’ve had this season, in some respects it just can’t come quick enough.
I’m getting to the stage now where the remaining games are almost (almost, mind you) secondary to the news that has yet to emerge about the players making their exits out of and entrances into the Cov family.
The news this week of Rowland Winter’s first two signings, Phil Boulton and Scott Tolmie both with plenty of Championship experience behind them, only increases that air of expectation. A good start, now who else is on their way to the Butts?
It is the same every season…come April I always await the news of who the club are bringing in with great expectation. Even if they’re names I’m not familiar with, after a quick search on Google, in my head they will have become players capable of turning Coventry into a promotion chasing side.
It’s what I always do at this time of year…
Except no this one..
Because for the first time in 50 plus years of supporting Cov, there is another dominant emotion other than excitement. Not quite as strong as the anticipation of what is to come, but one that certain tempers it somewhat.
And it’s a strong feeling, too. A feeling somewhere along the line that the players leaving Cov have been hard done by, that they’ve been given a bum deal and that by feeling so excited by the prospect of a new team and all that involves, I’m in some way letting the current players down.
In short, there’s an element of guilt attached to it all.
Take a player like Sam Pailor, a player who typifies what most Coventry supporters love to see in those who wear the Cov shirt – commitment, honesty, respect and a willingness to put body and soul on the line for the team. Sam has openly said he would have loved to have stayed on another season had he been asked to do so, but that wasn’t to be.
But Sam has become such a familiar face around the club, such a well-liked character, that any feeling of excitement about the season to come quickly turns into one of guilt when I think of how he must be feeling when this growing sense of interest and excitement is happening right there in front of him.
It’s as if it shows a lack of respect. I know it’s nothing of the sort, but that’s how it feels. Whether or not it’s the right decision purely in terms of next season’s squad, it’s still hard to accept because he’s such a decent guy.
And there are many others, too, including the likes of Danny Wright, George Oliver, Danny Wright, Jacques le Roux, Dom Lespierre, Matt Jones – I could go on. All these players have become familiar faces, respected by Cov supporters in just the same way that Sam is. They have been here for seasons rather than months and established themselves as favourites amongst the Cov fans. I could also to that list the names of those such as Hope, Ryan, Weightman and Hough all committed to the cause despite being here for a lot less time.
Normally, I wouldn’t feel much emotion one way or the other.
Players come and players go.
But this year is very different. We know that there as been a great deal of uncertainty off the pitch and the players have clearly been affected by not being kept up-to-date about the situation regarding themselves or the coaches for a period of weeks. It’s not been the easiest of times for them and now they have the additional worry of where they will be next season.
Yes, they’ve had a part to play in the disappointing performances, a big part. But circumstances have conspired against them somewhat. I’ve said in an earlier post that I can totally understand why Rowland Winter is starting again almost from scratch and there’s little argument against those who say that after over 12 months of what can only be described as mediocre results, it’s time for players to move on.
And I agree with that view to a certain extent. I certainly do have that thrill of expectation when news of players starts to be released as it has this week, but that doesn’t stop me feeling just a little bit uneasy about the way it was handled back in January and February.
That feeling was heightened further when I looked across at Scott Morgan on Saturday, standing as he was behind the goal posts at the city end looking a forlorn figure.
Rowland Winter has his own plans and we knew they didn’t include the majority of the squad from day one. The fact that he made that clear was something that was actually quite refreshing in a way. No problem with that at all.
…I just wish I didn’t feel quite so uncomfortable about saying so many goodbyes….
And talking of goodbyes, there’s the forthcoming Awards’ Day.
Doesn’t anyone have any details about this other than what’s been on the website:
Join us for an enjoyable afternoon celebrating the past season and those people who have loyally and consistently contributed towards it. Our Awards day will be held at Butts Park Arena on the 1st May, from 12 Noon till late. Your votes for the Supporters Player of the Year can be accepted at the remaining two home fixtures at Butts Park on the 9th and 23rd of April using the ballot boxes provided or alternatively, by e-mail to XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Complimentary food will be available for all supporters who register to attend. Cov rugby staff and players look forward to welcoming you along to Butts Park Arena on the day.
I have to say that because I didn’t go into the clubhouse for the Darlington game, I didn’t get to vote. Presumably there were more details of arrangements available then. ’12 Noon till late’ makes it a fairly long session – but what time are the actual awards, is anything else happening other than the presentations…etc etc? There doesn’t seem to be any information about the event available elsewhere, unless I’m missing something obvious.
I haven’t yet decided whether to go or not…I imagine it won’t be the easiest of occasions for some of the players although I’m sure they’ll want to say their goodbyes to the supporters and probably most of their fellow players as presumably many will be going their separate ways afterwards. However, it will hardly be a mood of great celebration and it’s not as if they’ll all be looking forward to the start of the new season.
On my part, it’s back to feeling a little bit uncomfortable about it all.
Hopefully, there’ll be some other form of entertainment as well to keep everyone interested for that length of time, but without actually seeing some sort of programme for the day, it’s hard to know what to expect. If there have been such days at the end of previous seasons, then I’m afraid they’ve gone unnoticed as far as I’m concerned. It sounds like something that would need to be well attended to give it the right atmosphere, but there doesn’t seem to be much response on the messageboard about it, as was also the case when it was brought up in conversation at the game on Saturday.
Is it something that needs pushing a little more, I wonder?
I’m certainly a lot more decided about the Comedy Club evening that Cov are holding at the ground on May 26th.
We’ve read a lot recently about the importance the holding of events has in raising much needed additional funding. Sadly, there aren’t too many aimed at supporters but here is one that definitely will be of interest to many .
At a time when all is relatively quiet during the close season, it’s a great way to get supporters back into the ground, spend a few quid and have a really enjoyable evening in the process. Three comedians and a bite to eat for £20 (less to members) represents pretty good value for money and hopefully it will be well received, given there are other similar events in the pipeline.
It’s exactly the sort of things Coventry should get involved in and it might well attract people into the club who might not have much interest in either the club or, indeed, in the game of rugby. Add the incentive of free entry to one of the home friendlies and the club might be able turn a few unbelievers into converts.
I know we normally charge £5 for pre-season games, but I’d be looking to give away hundreds of tickets between now and August. If the club can offer something a little bit extra by way of entertainment either before or after the games, it could pay dividends. Get the punters in and let the team d the rest…
That’s the theory, anyway.
Great idea, I really hope it does well.
— Coventry Rugby (@CoventryRugby) April 12, 2016
And as a taster: