In a comment left on the blog a couple of days ago, Phil Reynolds referred to Rowland Winter’s ‘prowling of the touchline’ and how he loved to see such passion. Whilst it was the first time that Phil had spotted RW doing this, sitting as we do fairly adjacent to the dugouts near the half way line, it’s something that Sam and I have noticed in all of the home games (and a couple of away ones, too).
I’m not altogether sure where RW sits during a game, but during the final quarter he’s usually down at the front and invariably at some point in the final minutes of the game you’ll see him with his arms outstretched, as if in supplication, pleading to the referee to take action against some injustice done to his team.
It’s a gesture he’ll hold for several seconds in an exaggerated exhortation. If he were a player on the pitch, he’d be marched 10m back.
That’s just before he received a yellow for a second offence, of course.
And I’m with Phil on this one…I love to see that degree of passion evident in a DoR, or senior coaches, players or supporters for that matter. Perhaps there’s an argument to say coaches should remain emotionless and expressionless during the course of the game, and indeed many do, but to show the kind of fervour that RW sometimes displays just makes him appear more in touch with the supporters; we get animated because of the intensity of our feelings and passion, so why shouldn’t the DoR?
Personally, I want to see someone in charge who hurts when we hurt, who understands what it means to supporters when the team loses or plays poorly and who isn’t worried about showing his feelings every now and then.
At the end of the Esher game, having just witnessed a pretty woeful performance really, we stayed out to watch the players go into their huddle and then trudge off. Rowland Winter was the last to go back in and as he walked past us he looked over towards us and said a ‘thank you’ in appreciation of the away fans’ support. The usual smile as nowhere to be seen, there was no check in his stride, no attempt to come over towards us. It was obvious that he was hurting and whether it was the result of anger at the way the team had, or hadn’t, performed or embarrassment at meeting with spectators so soon after the game had ended I have no idea. But the passion was still there, even in defeat. I’m not altogether sure I would have wanted to be in the Cov changing room a minute or two later.
As a supporter, I want to know that for the coaches and players, representing Cov is something special. The players who are always the most popular with the Cov crowd are the ones who wear their heart on their sleeve, the Matt Prices, the Sam Pailors, the Dan Rundles. They share their emotions both on and off the pitch and you can see what it means to them to win or lose. Of the players who have recently joined, the likes of Tom Jubb, Pete White and James Stokes have already shown themselves to be similar in many respects – passionate and demonstrative in everything they do. Others are beginning to as well as their confidence builds following the move to a new club…which is why I believe this group of players will become firm favourites with supporters.
James Stokes, in this week’s interview with John Wilkinson revealed that he’s:
loving it here and hopefully it’s showing on the pitch. I believe that if you’re enjoying your rugby it kind of reflects in your performances. I’ll just keep working hard….the support here is unbelievable, week in and week out. I’ve not really experienced anything like it, it’s definitely an interesting experience and I love playing at home. You can definitely hear them on the pitch.
And the reverse can be true for spectators too.
If you see a team enjoying themselves, a team clearly proud to wear the Cov shirt and one that will always give of its best, then as a supporter of course you’re to get behind them – even when things get difficult.
And we saw just that on Saturday.
That’s why the Plymouth game could be a turning point in many respects.
The players might not yet understand what is meant by the ‘CovDog’, but it was out there on the pitch those last 10 minutes and once we had secured the lead, with its bull dog-like grip, it was never going to let it slip.
It’s a game that will long live in the memory. There was plenty of passion out there on the pitch last Saturday and just as much in the stands.
Let’s see a bit more of it against Hull.
That away win is long overdue.
Three events on at the Butts tomorrow evening, all three of which I might have attended had they all been held on different days. A bit of a dilemma, really.
First, there’s the usual Thursday night training, something that I’d originally hoped to pop along to – there are a growing number of supporters who come along to watch and I know that Rowland Winter is more than happy to have people just turn up and see what’s going on. It’s one of only a couple of occasions in the week when the full squad are together (other than those players who are attached to junior clubs, as they will train with them on a Tuesday and Thursday) and is a good opportunity to see those players either on the fringe of the match day squad or who are coming back from injury.
And because RW is always willing to stop by for a chat, it’s also a great opportunity to have answered those questions on anything related to the team or the rugby side of the club that haven’t been addressed via all the information coming out of the website. (Roger Pulley – the gentleman who did such a fantastic job helping to refit the home changing room – did suggest that one of the reasons why the Messageboard was so much quieter these days was because of all the information being released through John Wilkinson via the official website. It hadn’t occurred to me before he mentioned it but there might well be something in that. A lot of questions are now being answered well before anyone gets around to asking them…!). As the evenings get a bit colder, wrap up warm, take a thermos of coffee and enjoy watching the squad being put through their paces,
Secondly, Cov are also hosting another Comedy Club evening. I’ve been to a couple of them and they are very enjoyable, with three comedians performing in front of an audience of perhaps 80-100. My wife saw it advertised and so having invited a couple of friends, that’s where I’ll be headed. Supporters’ Club members get a discount (well done SC, again!) which makes it all the more enjoyable!
Thirdly, there’s the 9th Supporters’ Club Committee Meeting taking place as well. 9th…that in itself shows just how hard the Committee have been working not just to get everything up and running, but also to continue to look for ways of providing SC members with the best Cov experience possible. And rest assured, I know there are things lots of events currently being discussed that will prove really popular.
The Committee members continue to work extremely hard, including on match days when they have given freely of their time to man the SC desk in order to take bookings for the away travel and to answer any queries relating to the SC.
At this point I should add that earlier in the week I ‘resigned’ from the Committee and after Saturday’s trip to Hull, I will not have a role to play within it. It’s not appropriate to go into the reasons why here other than just to say they are to do with my own situation and nothing to do the Committee itself!!! I just want to make that clear from the onset. My absence will have absolutely no impact on the innovative things the Committee are doing.
They are a fantastic group of people whose abilities complement each other so well and Cov are very lucky to people with such passion and integrity working alongside them.
So Comedy club it is then.
Hopefully, there’ll be one or two familiar faces there…