Club talk

Video verdicts and some mid-term musings

I met your children
Oh a oh

What did you tell them?
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star

Pictures came and broke your heart
Oh, a, a, a, oh

The Buggles – Video Killed The Radio Star

If you haven’t yet watched Paul Smith’s ‘Midland’s Rugby Video Verdict’ on the Coventry Telegraph website, I’d urge you to sit down with a cup of coffee, a mince pie or two, and spend an interesting and informative 10 minutes or so listening to Paul’s  summary of last weekend’s games, including a detailed review of the Moseley game, as well as summaries of other games involving local clubs.

It’s always interesting listening to someone’s else’s view of a game, especially when it’s a rather more objective one than your own. Paul clearly appreciated the local derby at the BPA, describing it as, ‘the best game I’ve seen in a long time, really enjoyable’.

Clearly a welcome break from watching the Wasps, then!

Okay, a cheap shot, but it was too good an opportunity to miss…

Whilst recognising that Coventry and Moseley are two equally matched teams in many respects, it is encouraging from a Cov point of view that Paul feels, come the end of the season, Coventry might just catch up and overtake Moseley in terms of positions in the final league table. He suggests that whilst both teams will improve over the remainder of the season, Coventry have the potential to make the most progress.

Amen to that…

Anyway, well worth a watch if you haven’t yet seen it…

Paul Smith’s ‘Midland’s Rugby Video Verdict’ 

I’ve watched a fair few of these video reviews and I do think they add another dimension to the standard newspaper review/article/opinion piece on which most papers rely, as indeed does Coventry’s own website.

Don’t get me wrong, they shouldn’t replace the excellent articles produced by John Wilkinson and John Butler, but they do offer a different dimension…opinions rather than straight forward factual recall and an immediacy that is always going to be lacking in any conventional report. They are also more flexible; I know Rowland has been included in post match video clips already this season, and it shouldn’t be too difficult to include the sponsors’ man of the match, for instance, or a spectator or too.

I seem to remember the club advertising for a media guru (or more likely an IT student from a local HE institution) – it would be right up his/her street. It must be the way forward and would certainly add more traffic to the official website as well…

The link to the video clip on the Coventry Telegraph site also leads to a review of Coventry’s season thus far…a half term report.

This, too, is also worth a read as it centres around an interview with Rowland Winter and in particular his thoughts on Coventry’s progress since his appointment. Whilst much of it is similar to what RW has said on the website in post-match comments or general interviews, a couple of things are worthy of note.

He makes the point that having had half a season to look at the squad both on and off the pitch,

(we) are now starting to have an idea of what our best side is which means we’ve narrowed a squad of about 35 to a core of 20 to 25.

Nothing new there, other than in a fairly recent interview Rowland Winter mentioned a core of 25 players. The fact that it is now between 20 and 25 suggests a further reduction in that group.

Off the top of your head, who would be the 8-10 players in the current squad that you might look to release from their contracts come the end of the season (remembering one has already gone)? It wouldn’t be hard to come up with perhaps five, but if  RW is looking at a core of 20, then that represents a significant reduction. From the current list, presume everyone is fit and then pick a match day squad…there’s your 20. Anyone not included is in the red zone…

I did ask RW at the last training session if it was his intention to bring anyone in before the February deadline…I got the impression he would like to, but it would have to be one in, one out, simply because of the financial implications. Reading between the lines, and I know that’s not always a healthy thing to do, the coaches surely won’t consider anyone who isn’t going to add something to the squad, which means they’ll come at a price…and that would mean either releasing one of the more costly players or two less costly…

Names on a postcard…

Rowland has suggested that the club has started planning ahead for next season with two players already ear-marked. He was, as you’d expect, tight-lipped about their identities, although for the rest of the training session that week those of us there were left hazarding guesses as to who they might be…

Me, I’m particularly looking forward to James Haskell’s arrival in July.

RW also mentioned that:

one or two of the players we brought in are longer term options, who are more likely to come through next season than this, whereas some have done incredibly well.

All a bit cryptic, but I can only imagine those in the ‘done incredibly well’ category might include Will Maisey, Rhodri Adamson and perhaps Sam Harry, all of whom have acquitted themselves well whenever they’ve played despite all being younger members of the squad.

Those ‘likely to come through next season’ – well that’s a harder one to call; Olly Povoas perhaps and maybe Ali Bone, although he hasn’t really impressed yet in the games he’s played.

I guess RW could also be referring to a couple of the Development Squad, the likes of Jake Byrne, Joe Foreman, Max Titchener and Sam Hollingsworth all of whom have been doing well at their junior clubs.

And here’s a moan, probably the first real one of the season so far…

…we were given to expect that on average there would be one Development Squad fixture a month, yet I think there’s only been two since the final Saturday of pre-season, both away (?) with one at Cambridge and the other against one of the armed forces (but I might have made that up).

The point I’m trying to make, and failing miserably in the attempt, is that there hasn’t really been an opportunity as yet for supporters to see the Development Squad in action. I know there were a couple of games planned against Moseley in the period before Christmas but nothing seems to have materialised. It’s a shame because if these players are the future of the club, potentially anyway, then it would be good to see them every now and again, but it all seems to have gone a bit quiet.

Hopefully, they’ll be a chance early in the new year.

Whilst the rest of the season clearly remains a focus, Rowland Winter has already started to talked about:

putt(ing) ourselves in the best position for the off-season

so it wouldn’t surprise me that once our position is absolutely safe this season, we might get to see some of these youngsters in the Development Squad promoted into the first team for the odd game so that they can get a feel of what National 1 rugby is about, whilst also allowing the coaches to examine how they might cope with the step up into the first team squad, if and when the time is right.

RW later refers to the opportunity to ‘do a lot more work in the off-season and we will be in a much better place come September’. Clearly, next season is when it starts to get really interesting…

He makes the point that:

we never set a target of winning the league this year, and while some of the players we brought in might have had a slight hope, they all knew it was a two or three-year project, so nothing has really changed

so it would seem appropriate to give those players who might well be the heart of the team in a couple of years’ time the chance to experience what it is all about at this early stage, surrounded as they will be by experienced players. I think that’s what I’d do, anyway!

Mention is also made of the appointment of Craig Newby and his experience which should enable to the team to ‘kick on’. Rowland Winter also makes mention of the ‘changing of the defence coach’, a phrase which seems oddly impersonal coming as it does from RW…? No mention of James Pritchard by name. This is where I’m in danger of reading far too much into something that just isn’t there, so I’ll move quickly on.

The mental challenge for the players of playing away from home seems to be a growing concern and partly explains Cov’s poor form on its travels – something which RW admits there are no quick fixes for, other than ‘prepping yourself individually and collectively’.

The article finishes with the hint that there will be one or two ‘key’ additions to the squad come the end of the season, something mentioned earlier in this post. However, if the coaches believe there is a core of between 20 to 25 players at the moment, I’d tentatively suggest that maybe that figure of one or two is probably going to have to be nearer 7 or 8 in order to get the squad up to the 30+ which is probably the minimum number needed.

I expect the emphasis is on the word ‘key’, with there being a couple of what I would call ‘headline’ players coming in, with a few strong squad players as well…

We’ll see…

Anyway, another very good read and should there be a lull in the festive celebrations and the kids are on the new PS4 and your partner sleeping off the excesses of the next few days, then do give it a read, together with a look at the video round up.

One thing no one can complain about this season is the amount of  information coming out of the club, either directly through John Wilkinson and John Butler via the website or, indirectly, through Paul Smith and the Coventry Telegraph.

It’s been a massive improvement and one for which I am extremely grateful.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Voting for Coventry’s ‘Most Valuable Player 2016’ is now over.

I’ll start releasing the results, from 12th place down to 1st, starting on the First Day of Christmas which I’m taking to be Christmas Day, and ending on the twelfth.

Without giving anything away, there were well over 700 votes cast with only three votes separating the top two.

Thank you so much to everyone who voted…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

One of the benefits of undertaking a mickey mouse degree at university was that it meant I had more time available to pursue some pretty ‘un-educational’ interests, one of which was making sure I went to every possible live concert at university and the surrounding area that I could afford…

…and amongst the gems – Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, Squeeze, The Clash, The Ruts, The Pretenders, The Tourists, Rockpile, UB40, The Police, The Undertones, Madness, Climax Blues Band, Q-Tips (Paul Young), the brilliant Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers and a whole host of other late 70s early 80s icons,  there were one or two bummers…Lene Lovich, Tenpole Tudor (Swords of a Thousand Men??!!) and…

The Buggles…

 

 

 

6 replies »

  1. Tim, thanks for informing and entertaining us once again. Some interesting points made about who will be moving on!
    Can Jacky and I add the compliments of the season to you and your family and hope you have a great Christmas and a Briliant New Year.

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    • Hi Peter and Jacky – huge thanks to you both for your encouragement re: the blog and for your behind the scenes support for the Supporters’ Club…true supporters both. Have a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful, restful new year and one without the drama of this last one!
      Take care both…
      Tim

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  2. Ho Ho Ho, Lene Lovich, she’s still touring by the way. She was never my lucky number though (sorry)!
    Good read Tim although somewhat harsh with Ali Bone or maybe it’s the way I read it? I think he has been OK and should get better with experience and more game time.
    So names on a post card…….this could turn into a supporters wish list over the Xmas period……Dylan Hartley as Captain? He may have a few free weekends in Feb/March time….only saying lol.

    Like

    • That’s awful…as indeed she was.
      Didn’t mean to come across as harsh about Ali Bone, just felt he had yet to show that he was the answer to our No 8 concerns. Maybe given time though…Hartley would do…or perhaps Joe Launchbury on dual reg…?

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  3. Another good read thanks Tim, as ever you have your finger on the pulse of all things Cov…
    I hope you and your family have a good Christmas, here’s to our great club going from strength to strength in the new year and beyond!
    Cheers
    Rob

    Like

    • And Happy Christmas to you, too, Rob. I know a lot of the work you have done for the Supporters’ Club Committee isn’t known by the members – the art work, production of logos and display material. It all looks fantastic and has helped sell the SC to the supporters. Onwards and upwards, indeed. Have a great one…

      Like

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