One step closer to Coventry Wasps?…and today’s game…
Love thy neighbor
And you will find your labor,
A great deal easier,
Life’ll be breezier
If you Love Thy Neighbor
Bing Crosby – Love Thy Neighbour
Another big game today.
Fifth place in National One up for grabs…
And with the celebration of Harry Walker’s achievements on and off the field of rugby also taking place this afternoon, it’s hoped there will be another big crowd at the BPA.
Not as big as for the Moseley game back in September, but it would be good to see a sizeable crowd for such an important day.
Second largest of the season? Here’s hoping.
Cov are in the middle of (hopefully!) a decent run, including two wins away from home, and with Rosslyn Park always attracting larger than average crowds, you’d expect a good turnout.
And on that self-same subject, behind the scenes, Coventry is currently looking very much to the future as far as attendances are concerned. More specifically, the club is investigating the practicalities of attracting crowds well in access of anything seen previously at the BPA in the 13 years since it staged its first rugby game back in 2004.
In fact, such is the club’s belief in the current squad’s ability to progress to the next tier of national rugby and, in the process attracting much larger gates, that it is looking at the logistics involved in a move away from the BPA for some of its fixtures..
Rowland Winter confirmed during training on Thursday that Coventry Rugby Club has been in talks with Wasps over the last few weeks about the possibility of playing 3, maybe 4, of what it terms its ‘Category A games’ (Moseley, Plymouth, Rosslyn Park and potentially Blackheath as well) at the Ricoh Arena next season.
And it appears that talks, which were initiated by Wasps and which have been the source of some speculation for a couple of weeks now, have focused on Cov playing a limited number of their games at the Ricoh, with kick off 3 hours before Wasps play their Premiership fixtures.
The premiership side is prepared to allow Coventry supporters with season tickets to attend the games for free and then remain in the ground for the Wasps game at no additional charge. A reciprocal arrangement will be offered to Wasps supporters so that they will have free access to the Cov game, with Coventry getting an additional, and generous, 7.5% of the overall receipts on the day, including bar and refreshment takings.
Wasps feel that such an arrangement could bring in between 3500 and 5000 supporters just to watch the opening Cov game, provided the usual pre and post match entertainment is offered for both matches. Wasps are looking at providing free Cov flags and other goodies for children and will are prepared to run coaches to and from the BPA on match days at no extra cost, so Cov can still run its own evening entertainment after a game.
For their part, following the 2700+ supporters who came to the Moseley game in December, Coventry feel that playing in front of a large crown in a big stadium, even if only seated in the one stand, will give Cov a big advantage. If the plans are successful, it appears there are those within the club who would like to see the move become permanent, with the club leasing the BPA ground out to local sports club/teams, including perhaps even Coventry City.
With the synthetic pitch at the BPA put on hold for a further 12 months, this could be a much more profitable solution.
Whilst the RFU have yet to agree, RW suggested that the initial 3 or 4 game trial was likely to go ahead, given Nigel Melville’s recent plans to encourage Premiership teams to ‘buddy up’ with clubs in the Championship and National One.
Wasps, it appears, are courting Coventry at the moment and not only will there be increased access, if Coventry are interested, to Academy players – Wasps are also prepared to loan out members of their first team squad recovering from injury to Coventry in an effort to speed up their rehab as well as providing Cov with access, limited at first, to own its medical, physio and rehab facilities.
According to RW, the likes of Cipriani, Daly or Eastmond could appear for Cov next season if the plans go ahead.
This season it was Hodgson to Broadstreet for a couple of games, next season we could be seeing Launchbury to Cov…
However, there is a catch…
In return, Wasps are requesting that Wasps Ladies, currently still playing at their Twyford Avenue ground in London, play all their home games at the BPA to coincide with those Cov fixtures that aren’t being played at the Ricoh. Double headers, so-to-speak.
Wasps are keen to get them up to Coventry, but the escalating costs of opening up the Ricoh Arena for a few hundred supporters apparently makes this a non-starter. Wasps have offered to play three of their Anglo-Welsh games at the BPA in return – games which would almost certainly fill the ground to capacity and offer Cov some serious additional income over the course of the season. With current AW attendances starting to drop, Wasps see this as a sensible option.
Wasps would give Cov supporters full access to Wasp TV and games played at the Ricoh would appear on the website and can be streamed live on to computers and apps for an additional annual subscription.
Much of this has come about as a result of the intervention of Jake Soti, former Cambridge Blue who made a few appearances back in the late 70s for Coventry Extras. His recent appointment to the Wasps Board has resulted in a much more cordial relationship with Cov and Rowland Winter in particular.
It’s certainly a move that is bound to create mixed responses amongst supporters. There will be those who see it very definitely as the way forward and a means of creating additional income for the club, income that can then be spent developing the squad further, whilst there will also be many who feel it is the first step to becoming Coventry Wasps…
Either way, it will hopefully generate some healthy debate.
For further information on Jake Soti, please click here
See you this afternoon…
Please don’t forget to vote for the ‘Man of the Match’ award over the next couple of days.
I’ll put a post out soon after the end of the game and it will be ‘live’ until Sunday evening with the results announced early next week. It’s always interesting to see whether spectators confirm the sponsors’ decision, something which isn’t always the case. At the moment of the 9 MoM polls on the blog this season, only 4 have coincided with official ‘Man of the Match’ award.
Thank you in advance for your support.
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.
Up the Cov
Favourite Dean Martin song? – ‘Little Old Wine Drinker Me’, ‘Mambo Italiano’ or even ‘That’s Amore’…
probably not, though, ‘Love They Neighbor’…