Club talk

Homeward bound…more great retentions…Broadstreet

Deny the passenger, who want to get on
Deny the passenger, who want to get on
Deny the passenger, who want to get on
Want to get on
He want to get on
Want to get on
He want to get on

Elton John – Passengers
(The next two lines are : To make a chain of fools/ You need a matching pair – read below to find out why I didn’t include them…;))

There were plenty of smiling faces come the end of the game on Saturday, both amongst the supporters and those connected with the team, players, coaches and support staff alike.

Yes, it was Cambridge and that was significant in itself and I’m sure, given the sense of camaraderie already evident amongst this squad, there would have been a strong desire to win for the likes of James Stokes, Brett Daynes and Rowland Winter.

It’s what teams do – play for each other. The team will have known just what it meant to those who were at Cambridge less than 12 months ago to win and they will have done their damnedest to do so for the team and supporters, but for those three in particular.

Defeat would have made for a very awkward post-match meal and a pretty depressing journey back to Cov.

There were smiles, too, because a second consecutive win away from home will have put to bed some of the issues surrounding Cov’s poor performances away from the BPA. Saturday’s win hasn’t answered all the questions as to why Coventry have underperformed on their travels, but it has at least done much to increase the confidence of the players (and supporters!) going into the remaining two away games this season.

Perhaps the loudest applause of the day was reserved for Rob Knox and Scott Tolmie as they climbed aboard the Supporters’ Coach to offer thanks on behalf of the team to those who made the trip down to Cambridge – whilst talking specifically to those on the coach, the sentiments were clearly aimed at all the travelling support…and there was a lot of it.

It’s a nice gesture…in fairness, it’s not unique to Coventry this season as it’s something that has been done under previous DoRs, but quite often it was a hit and miss affair and when someone did come to say a few words, more often than not it was one of the coaches or a senior player.

It’s a regular occurrence now though and very much appreciated by the supporters.

Both Rob and Scott said exactly the right things and despite plenty of encouragement and clapping and stamping of feet, Scott T was quick to suggest they were performing in front of a ‘tough crowd’…

Even Jon Sharp made a brief appearance, stepping onto the bus, grinning like a Cheshire cat and applauding the applauders. If there had been one or two disappointing moments away from home for the Coventry Chairman this season, it very much looked as if Saturday’s win had gone some way to atoning for them.

A great way to end the visit.

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

One of the things I forgot to mention from last week’s training session was news of further retentions; ones which will probably go under the radar but which are extremely significant in terms of Coventry’s long term aim of promotion into the Championship.

Rowland Winter confirmed that the Medical and Performance Team will be here next season, and from what he was saying that would seem to include everyone presently included as part of that team. Their involvement has surely had a major impact on the success of the team in the second half of the season and if one of the key factors in Coventry’s recent run of form is consistency of selection, then the lack of injuries has helped create that and that must partly be down to the physio, rehab and condition the players are receiving.

There have been relatively few major injuries over the course of the season, Eoghan Grace’s arguably the most serious with a few strains, a few bumps  and sprains involving a couple of weeks off here and there, but little more, together with the long term rehab of Cliffie Hodgson and Pete White following rehab from operations. the result of problems that occurred well before this season began.

There have also been a couple of concussion injuries, but nothing to compare with the volume of injuries the club suffered last season for instance.

Some of it is down to luck, obviously – injuries will always happen no matter the amount of support in place. But the treatment of injuries, especially the rehab and physio, is important in ensuring that players return fit and aren’t rushed back into the team only to suffer further injury problems.

Indeed, the team also work closely with players to diagnose in individual players potential areas of weakness, providing plans to strengthen potential difficulties that might be lurking round the corner (knees, hips, backs, shoulders etc) to minimise the likelihood of future injury.

Proactive rather than reactive…

The  Medical and Performance Team are light years ahead of anything we’ve had in place at Cov before and its involvement in the club gives us a big advantage over other teams.

photo of Max Hartman

Max Hartman – the work he does often goes unnoticed

At the training session last week, Rowland Winter was asked about the Support Team and in confirming that they would be with Cov next season he also singled out Max Hartman as being one of the unsung heroes (my phrase not his) amongst his backroom staff.

Most supporters are very aware of the fantastic work undertaken by the likes  of Hannah Walker and Rob Norman in support of the team (something I have alluded to elsewhere in the blog), but Max Hartman barely gets a mention.

However, the work he does is central to ensuring that players recover quickly post-match and for those suffering injuries that are possibly match threatening, the rehab he puts into place is exceptional.

On a Thursday evening he’s always working with one or two players who are recovering from knocks or injuries  – the individual programmes he puts into place ensure players return when they’ve are ready and not before, but when they do return they are not going to suffer secondary injuries because they have come back too quickly and the original injury hasn’t been dealt with effectively.

More often than not it’s the players that get the accolades…at least this is a chance to redress the balance a little.

A big thank you to everyone in the Rehab and Conditioning Team, especially, in this instance, to Max Hartman

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

The top of the table clash in National League 3 Midlands on Saturday ended in an away win for Broadstreet, beating Nuneaton 12-17 and ensuring they retain the top spot for another week at least.

1. Broadstreet 23 83
2. Sheffield 23 81
3. Nuneaton 23 79
4. Peterborough Lions 23 77
5. Birmingham & Solihull 23 68

With Birmingham and Solihull in 5th place, local teams have had a very successful season in National 3. Whilst this might not appear to have a great bearing on Cov, given there are two leagues separating us and the likes of Broadstreet, the outcome at the end of the season is most definitely of significance.

It was unfortunate that AgentB’s post on the Messageboard regarding  Broadstreet appeared in the wrong thread as if Broadstreet are promoted come the end of the season, and they are certainly in pole position at the moment, then they will already have started to ‘gatecrash the minor leagues’. Just one more promotion would see them in the same league as us, and then wouldn’t life get interesting?

Whilst knowing very little of the current set up over at The Ivor Preece Field, it seems to me that they will hold most, if not all, the aces if they return to National League 2 North.

Great facilities, an artificial training pitch, and close links already with Wasps.

Coventry, too, will presumably continue to work closely with them, supplying Broadstreet with players on loan to help the club in its league programme, as well as to give our players much needed game time at a level much closer to National One than they are experiencing at present.

Cov’s relationship with ‘Street last season was by all accounts strained, with Cov loaning out players often for perhaps just a game or two at a time with the result that the continuity we have enjoyed this season was something that Broadstreet lacked back then. Changes were made at short notice and as a result Broadstreet found themselves struggling to compete. It wasn’t the reason Broadstreet was relegated, but it was a contributory factor. It certainly didn’t help in terms of developing a partnership between the two clubs.

Under Rowland Winter, most players put out on loan to junior clubs this season are done so for a fairly lengthy period of time…Cliffie was an exception, getting  a couple of games in before he returned to Cov from a lengthy absence from injury.

At the moment, I think Sam Hollingsworth and Sam MacNulty are at Broadstreet and have been all season and Cameron Gray and Jake Byrne were before being moved up into the full squad. By staying at Broadstreet for months rather than a couple of weeks, Broadstreet have that continuity which was previously lacking.

Hopefully, Broadstreet will gain automatic promotion this season, but whether they have the resources, especially financially, needed to go a step further and gain promotion into National One is open to debate. Attendances last year weren’t much more than 175 on average, and presumably lower than that this season, which would be a concern.  Much might depend on the partnerships they forge with Coventry and particularly Wasps, although with the Premiership side committing itself to working closely with Henley College, maybe that isn’t something that is like to develop as much as it looked like it might some 12 months ago.

Success this season for Broadstreet, if it comes, will certainly have been earned, and be by invite, rather than a question of a simple ‘gate-crashing’. The next level up is a significant jump and one I can’t see them making without some big changes taking place. Broadstreet’s presence in National League 2 North can only be a good thing for Coventry, and if it’s not Broadstreet then, fingers crossed, it’s Nuneaton.

Just as both Wasps and Cov benefit from the loaning out of Academy players from the Premiership side, so it is with Coventry and Broadstreet, provided it’s done with some understanding of both clubs’ needs. With RW at the helm that is pretty much a given.

With only three games to go, promotion is ‘Street’s for the taking.

Good luck to everyone involved.

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

Passengers – Elton John

‘Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player’ was one of the first albums I ever bought (it didn’t include Passengers) –

and one of the last I ever admitted to.

The only good things about this TOTP video is John Peel – Elton John doesn’t even appear.

Quite like Passengers though – 45ish years on…

and

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