We’re on a road to nowhere
Come on inside
Taking that ride to nowhere
We’ll take that ride
Talking Heads – Road to Nowhere
By beginning the post with the lyrics from Talking Heads’ ‘Road to Nowhere’, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is going to be post full of gloom and doom; a warning that we are in danger of approaching a pre-apocalyptic scenario in which our away form spirals out of control and we end up crashing into the mire of mid-table mediocrity, with little to show for a season built on so much hope and optimism.
Indeed, as of 4.45 pm on Saturday afternoon, that’s very much where I was going with yesterday’s post. It certainly seems to be the case that when ever we travel south of Coventry we end up on the road to nowhere, with little to show for our travels other than a lot of endeavour and sense of deep disappointment…Blackheath, Esher, Ampthill and now Rosslyn Park.
Whichever way you look at it, there’s definitely a north/south divide opening up.
Up north and Hull – four points and a decent win, thank you very much.
Down south – not a point from the four games.
Anything south of Watford Gap and…
We’re on the road to nowhere.
Thank goodness the next away game is against Darlington…
And yet two days on and I’m over my nihilistic, somewhat resigned outlook, acknowledging instead that the five defeats away from home (including the one at Moseley) are part of a longer journey, one that might be painful and somewhat depressing at times, but equally one that will ultimately take us away from the disappointments of recent weeks towards a more definable destination…
David Byrne’s lyrics are often seen as a look into the abyss, a joyful anthem to the futility of life.
A life lacking purpose and direction…
A picture that’s not too dissimilar to that being sketched by one or two of those supporters who thrive on the ‘end of the world is nigh’ approach to life. You’ll find them in all walks of life, usually dressed in black and standing in the corner sharpening their scythes with hollowed eyes and skeletal fingers beckoning you over for an impromptu wake – in Cov’s case to mourn the loss of yet another away game.
The thing about sketches though is that they are rough and unfinished and can be changed at any stage in the process…which is precisely what will happen in the coming weeks and months and the final picture will be a very different one to the version we are gazing upon at the moment.
And there is always the danger that such mutterings and musings of future calamities become a self-fulfilling prophecy…if you hear it often enough, in the end you’ll begin to believe it yourself and eventually it will permeate through to the players and coaches. It’s like dripping water, harmless in itself but over time…
But I have chosen Road to Nowhere as the starting point for this post because actually it is anything but pessimistic in its outlook. Ask those who know the song to recite the lyrics and they’ll struggle to get beyond the chorus…which is ‘We’re on the Road to Nowhere’ repeated three times…hardly, a chorus to offer much hope.
The verses of the song remain hidden behind the overriding image of a journey leading to no future at all. Yet the main content of the song offers us plenty of hope for the future.
And the same is true of Cov’s current predicament.
With the present as unforgiving as it is, then there is no thought of the future, other than as an extension of the present. We are, present tense, on the road to nowhere…doing well at home, poorly away and as it stands we’re on the road to…well, nowhere really.
But what we forget is that this season is unlike any other that we’ve experienced since 2010/11, when we found ourselves in National 1 following our relegation from what was then the RFU Championship. A new squad, although with Phil Maynard remaining as DoR. And just as we had a new start back then, so have we witnessed one this season…more so perhaps with so many changes in the coaching and support structures as well.
Rowland Winter has maintained this season is just the start of a journey and that supporters shouldn’t be thinking about promotion at the moment – it’s about structures being put in place and a period of consolidation.
To get from A to B, we might have to go via C, D and E.
And that means a few detours, a few wrong turns, the odd cul-de-sacs leading to an occasional U-turn. It goes with the territory.
It’s uncanny just how applicable David Byrne’s lyrics are to the situation Cov are currently in….although the word ‘situation’ itself implies something negative, which might be overstating things slightly.
Byrne offers the warning that:
They can tell you what to do
But they’ll make a fool of you
Whilst supporters have every right to express their opinions, whether right or wrong, the danger in listening to them and even acting upon them is that they’ll end up making ‘a fool of you’. It’s times like this when you just answer the questions asked of you, explain why it is you’re doing what you’re doing and carry on regardless, which is what is happening at the moment,
We see the present, the coaches and the club see the future and they are two very different things…
As supporters, it’s very difficult to get out of the here and now…the disappointments of the away results against the elation of some of the big wins we’ve witnessed at the BPA.
(That reminds me, did the irony of Boris coming to see out the ‘arse-end’ of his career at The Butts occur to anyone else? No nor me, I have my wife to thank for thinking it through. Just hate it when she does that…).
Sorry…the here and now. 6 defeats, that’s all.
Okay, it’s not a great record but there are teams that have been together a lot longer who are also struggling to put a run together. But if it’s the end game that we’re about, which it is, then we shouldn’t concentrate quite so much on the present…
Jon Sharp, the board and RW have:
…a city in (their) mind
and have invited us to
Come along and take that ride…
…And it’s very far away
But it’s growing day by day and it’s all right
And it is growing…sometimes it’s hard to see where and how, but it’s just a case of not being able to see the wood for the trees. In a season in which we’ve lost 6 games already, winning promotion seems a long way off, even when we’re talking another one or even two seasons away.
Like most supporters, I’m emotive when it comes to my support of Cov. Predominantly optimistic, but sometimes finding myself in a bit of a downer, as I did when I wrote yesterday’s post. It was a fair reflection of the game, but a post very much written in the moment.
And actually what was in yesterday’s post wasn’t any different really to RW’s own post-match comments that appeared yesterday on the official website:
The performance simply wasn’t good enough…We didn’t perform anywhere close to the level we have shown so far this season – which is why this performance was so frustrating.
We lacked accuracy. We missed kicks to touch, we had loads of handling errors, kicked restarts out on the full, missed countless line-outs, made a mess of our own breakdown, and even our scrum struggled
…the common denominator between what he’s said, what’s been written on the messageboard and here in the blog is frustration. Most noticeably frustration at a team able to play with such confidence and self-belief at home, yet failing to deliver away from the BPA.
But frustration isn’t an emotion that need be destructive..
… and as with ‘The Road to Nowhere’,
I’m feeling okay this morning
And you know
We’re on the road to paradise
Here we go, here we go
I’ve got the angst out of my system and am far more reflective…I believe we’re on the road to ‘paradise’ not just because it suits me to do so or because it’s easier to hope than to despair (although I accept that’s not the case for everyone), but because over the last few months I’ve seen the progress that’s been made on and off the field.
And whilst others my differ in their opinions, I do think the squad we have this season is far stronger than last season’s, bar one or two positions, and has the potential to develop into one capable of beating the best teams consistently, rather than every other game which appears to be the case at the moment.
And whilst for me, I sometimes have a little wobble when it comes to believing that the changes that have come into effect over the last few months are the ones that will lead to Championship rugby, especially when we have results like we had last weekend, that’s not going to be the case with the coaches.
The future is certain
Give us time to work it out
Here is where time is on our side
Take you there, take you there
The road to nowhere? Definitely not.
As is the case with Byrne’s lyrics, I’ve ‘a city in my mind’…albeit a metaphorical one representing the promised land of Championship rugby with facilities to match.
However, given Coventry’s recent form away from home, one city that couldn’t be further from my mind at present is London…and fortunately it will be next season before we have to make that journey again.
I went to watch Wasps play at the Ricoh today…and saw Tom Howe and Jack Willis both make their first team debuts. I was going to post a few thoughts today on the Ricoh experience…until I got side-tracked.
It was a toss up between the original Byrne inspired video or a more recent BBC4 live recording (which is excellent)…
The video won…just. Ignore the gospel choir at the start though…