As a supporter, in the days leading up to a game I always find it interesting to pop across to the opposition’s website to take a gander at how they view their forthcoming encounter against Cov.
Sometimes the way we perceive ourselves is very different from the way other clubs in our league perceive us.
Earlier in the week Telly1’s post regarding Coventry’s financial situation, while seemingly well wide of the mark, did bring home to those not in the know the fact that Cov continues to be on a financial precipice and reliant on the deep pockets of its Chairman and Board (who deserve far more recognition, and thanks, than perhaps they generally receive).
Unable to read with any understanding the most basic of profit and loss accounts, I was grateful to those who were able to so simply explain what the realities of the current financial situation are – not great, by any means, but by the sound of it slightly better than 12 months ago.
However, that’s not quite how other clubs see us.
Fylde, for instance view us as having…:
a fine stadium, a host of blue chip sponsors, a big city base and ambitions to get back to the RFU Championship as soon as possible. These ambitions have been given expression in a major development phase which began earlier in 2016.
An aggressive business strategy led by Chairman Jon Sharp is based on the utilisation of their Butts Park Arena assets and the development of various commercial opportunities in the city, including reaching a ground sharing deal to bring Coventry City FC to the Arena.
It paints a somewhat different picture; hardly one involving any sort of financial constraints.
If only it were as rosy as that.
And it’s not hard why visiting clubs, aware of local media reports and of speculation from around the National 1 circuit, might reach such a conclusion.
Old lady or young woman? How we see ourselves might not be quite how others perceive us.
The perception is amongst many clubs is that we are in a far healthier position financially than perhaps in reality we are.
Although in reality we might be, given their own financial situations!
It’s all a question of perceptions.
However, the fact that other clubs see us as ambitious and forward thinking is probably indicative of just how much they would like to be in our shoes…
…sometimes there is a tendency for us to be our own worst critics.
On the playing front, Fylde are extremely positive about Coventry’s ability to move improve on their current results:
It will always be tough to build a squad substantially from scratch and get it playing in harmony immediately. There is little doubt, however, that the form of the squad will improve, given its talent and experience, and that the club will climb the table from their current 10th place, one behind Fylde.
I’ve read many a review of a game which include phrases suggesting ‘it’s a game that the club should win’, or that the opposition are ‘going to find it hard going this season’…not so here. Okay, Fylde don’t want to write anything of that nature only to damn themselves if (when!) they come away with a loss, but this is a view shared by everyone we’ve played so far…
early days, all the pieces will come together, Coventry are going to be a force in this league.
Sometimes the only ones who doubt us are ourselves.
And it was good to be reminded that despite comments recently that the squad we’ve assembled doesn’t look to be a ‘Championship team in the making’, others see it as squad full of talent and experience.:
Roland Winter’s new coaches have an enormous amount of top level playing experience even if more limited time on the coaching front
Two opposing sides of the same coin, I guess.
And whilst the fact that Fylde’s side:
shows a number of changes due to injury or unavailability
I’m certainly not going to read too much into that, given Esher said much the same before they played us last weekend and we all know how that game ended.
Whilst I remain confident about Coventry’s prospects this afternoon and I’ve gone for a 5 point win in the Predictor League, there is just a slight nagging feeling that it wouldn’t be the first time that we’ve contrived to lose to teams that at home we should be beating if we are to become a side capable of a top three or four finish.
On Tuesday, the team’s training session looked extremely focused and as the players came out from the changing rooms and before Rob Norman called them all together, there was plenty of laughter and smiling faces as they went through some exercises and passed the ball around amongst themselves…the mood of the camp was certainly positive as far as I could tell.
The arrival of the three Wasps Academy players for a few weeks is an interesting move. I did expect a little more reaction on the Messageboard to the news, but once again this week has been quiet for the most part, other than Telly1’s offering and the subsequent responses.
Phil Reynold’s comment at the end of yesterday’s post on here probably summed up best how to view this latest link with Wasps…
…against Hartpury we played arguable some of our best rugby of the season so far, especially defensively, but we were ultimately undone by a couple of moments of magic from a young scrum half on loan from Gloucester, a youngster who might have looked a boy amongst men, but one that played like a man amongst boys…
And actually, to have seen young Harry Randall put in such a mature performance was a real pleasure, however masochistic that might sound. The irony was, the following week he was called back to Gloucester…if only it had been the week before.
Maybe it’s out turn this week to benefit from links to a premiership team and if we are able to profit from having Wasps just up the road, then I’m all in favour.
Maybe one of the ways of getting spectators back into the ground is by working together in such partnerships…?
If you are going to the game today, please have a think about who YOUR ‘Man of the Match’ would be – I thought I’d trial a blog readers’ poll just to see whether the supporters, at least those who read the blog, are in agreement with the sponsors’ choice as announced at the end of the game.
I have to say, usually I don’t and I’m just interested to find out whether that’s a me thing or whether the sponsors do tend to see things differently.
Whether it becomes a regular ‘feature’ will depend on how many get involved in the vote.
If you can’t get to the game but want to know what’s happening other than just updates of the scores, please let me know and I’ll be happy to tweet a ‘commentary’, although sometimes you have to decipher the tweets when the predictive text or my fat fingers get in the way.
I’m on @Cowshedtim.
If you aren’t familiar with Twitter or don’t have an account, then on the homepage of this blog (www.coventryrfc.me), all the tweets will appear in real time on the far right of the page, towards the top end.
Over the course of this week the numbers reading the blog seem to have gone up considerably, in fact by something like 20% above the previous highest total and with the two busiest days still to come.
Just in the five days of this alone, well over 1000 different viewers ( many more views!) have logged on to read at least one post, and this will have risen substantially by the end of Sunday…in effect, getting on for twice the number attending the last home gate.
I’ve no idea for the reasons behind the increase, especially at a time when results haven’t been going our way and when numbers tend to drop a bit. It might have something to do with the improved information coming out of the club these days and the resulting interest it creates. It might also be the result of a renewed interest in Cov following the arrival of Rowland Winter and the subsequent rebuilding of the team and rebranding of the club.
Or maybe it’s Wasps’ fans coming across to see how their three players on loan to us are being received…and if that is the case it shows just how important that partnership could be for us.
What is clear is that Coventry has a significant following and there is a real thirst for information about what is happening in and around the Butts, both from local supporters and from those further afield (since it inception 15 months ago, the blog has been read in 98 different countries).
Whatever the reason, a big thank you to everyone who has taken the time to pop over and have a read. And feel free to add a comment…a discussion between readers would be great!
Above all though, please do please come back!
Up the Cov!