Club talk

Coventry RC – biggish fish in a small pool: taking the bait…

i’ve been landborne for far too long now
my heart and head lie solely in the clouds
i’ve dealt with the stagnation, the oppression of this land

naysayers and cynics, they try to cut me down
but they won’t end me here, no, they can’t end me here
i’m the biggest f***in’ fish in this s***ty little pond
i’ve got so much more to live for, i was born to fly
Monomate – Big Fish, Small Pond
More often than not, the lyrics I use to accompany a post are from songs that reflect pretty much my own musical tastes  and are meant in some small way to complement my own thoughts in relation to said post.
 Not so today.
Indeed, quite the reverse.
In fact I want to distance myself from them from the very start of this post and make it clear that I don’t see Coventry Rugby Club  as being anything approaching the biggest f***in’ fish in this s***ty little pond’.
Not at all…Cov is nothing other than a National One side with ambitions to play at a higher level.
However, there are those, as witnessed on the Messageboard earlier in the week, who might indeed see Cov as a bigger fish in a smaller pool, a pool that is too small to provide for a fish the size of Cov.
Not so for me though; our results over the last few seasons clearly show that we are in the right league for us at the moment.

‘Bigger fish, smaller pool’ comes across as lacking a little realism to me, as well as being somewhat patronising to the clubs above us who have proved themselves to be better than we are, certainly over the course of the this season if not longer.
Okay, we might have the potential to succeed beyond some of the other clubs in our league because of resources and facilities, but the reality is that we currently the 28th best club in England in terms of position because our results warrant 28th position.

Bigger doesn’t mean better…

Potentially bigger…okay…but only potentially.
In truth, we don’t belong in the Championship or anywhere else, for that matter. We are where we are for a reason.
And, whilst I understand why the big fish, small pond idiom is one that Telly1 has chosen to employ to describe Coventry at the moment, and it’s one that I’ve used in the past, I’ve come to realise that it’s not a valid one.
Sleeping giant is better in that at least there’s an awareness that as a club we are presently  suffering from some form of rugby related hypersomnolence. ‘Sleeping’ suggests potential, whereas ‘biggish fish’ is comparative and gives the impression we are in some way above the other clubs in National One – or at least that’s how I read it.
And that just isn’t the case.
I do think Telly1 is something of a star though and is exactly what  is needed to stir things up a little.
Okay, he makes it all a bit personal on occasions and goes beyond what is acceptable at times (and I thought Russ’ comments in response to Telly1’s post were spot on), but he does say things that many others think but won’t say.
And for that reason, I rather admire him.
I guess I’ll incur the wrath of some for saying so, but actually I thought he raised a pretty important point which got overlooked in the ‘Warriors’ thread on the MB, simply  because Telly1’s tone got in the way of the content.
Well, I certainly took the bait…
Sadly, in the contest between style and substance, substance lost out big time.
And that’s a pity.
Telly1 raised the emotive issue of the cost of bringing in a player like Luke Narraway to Cov…emotive because Coventry has almost folded twice in the last two decades as a result of poor financial management.
It’s a fair question and one that I’ve chatted about with family and friends over the last few weeks. Players coming in, Grove, Preece, Makaafi, Dacres, Oram, Narraway are surely going to cost more in terms of salaries than the likes of Dyer, Bone, Conquest, Heath Harry etc who are leaving?
Snyman and Pritchard would have been relatively high earners, but we’ve also brought in Nick Walshe and Louis Deacon.
Is the budget the same as last year or is it greater? Are there additional monies being made available for recruitment from elsewhere this year or has the hard working business side of the club brought in additional funding streams?
I think they’re reasonable questions to ask, if asked reasonably…
…sadly, Telly1 probably stepped over the mark in his post on the MB.
The club has every right to turn round and say that the financial arrangements shouldn’t be in the public domain, at least not as public as the Messageboard or this blog, but I don’t think anyone from Cov would object to the questions being asked, especially of a club with such a chequered financial history as ours.
Quoting figures and making statements about the motivation of players coming into the club, as Telly1 did, is wrong and again detracts from the main point being made, but at least Telly1 has raised it, and for that he deserves some praise.
Maybe the salary bill this year is no different to that of last year, but with some big name players coming in, you’d imagine it would be. For me, I just have to believe that Jon Sharp continues to keep a tight reign on the finances and if there is an increase this year, it is part of a longer term financial forecast that allows for increases in player budgets over the next few years.
The Chairman has done a fantastic job in ensuring the club has reached some sort of break even point over the last six years and I can see no earthy reason why he would gamble with the club’s very existence by  bringing in players if they could potentially break the bank, especially as he has so much of his own money invested.
It just doesn’t make sense.
Phil Maynard was quoted in The Rugby Paper before Christmas as saying annual sales were at £1.25m, and although it wasn’t made clear whether that included gate receipts and food/drink on match days, the club would seem to have a strong war chest at its disposal – so I guess I become one of Telly1’s sycophants who accepts that the current Board wouldn’t risk the club’s security in a boom and bust approach to promotion into the Championship.
Fair play to Telly1, he knows exactly the reaction he’ll get on the Messageboard and he is clearly happy to take the flak, although my admiration is somewhat lessened by him taking a nom de plume – I guess for a pretty good reason ;).
But he has raised an important issue publicly, one that has been mentioned by many supporters in private…and good on him for doing so.
However, I do also think he has also missed the point elsewhere…
…I don’t think anyone believes that Luke Narraway is seen as any sort of saviour or hero. Leaving aside any payment for the moment, LK is great signing, something of a coup even, but I strongly believe that Rowland Winter is putting together a squad of players that isn’t built on any one, or even two or three, individuals.
We’ve seen in the second half of this season how results have improved dramatically because the team that is selected on the day is just that, a team. There are no big names at the moment and the Olly Povoas’ are just as important as the Phil Boultons or James Stokes’. Cov play 15 man rugby and certain don’t build the team around an individual…it seems to me to be more about adding to that depth of experience within the squad that is so important as far as recruitment is concerned at the moment.
Yes, RW has recruited players that are well-known and who have international, championship or England Counties experience, but I’m guessing they’ve been brought in to add experience and skill in their particular position, rather than to individual be saviours of any sort.
Narraway is different only in the sense that he has the added bonus of being a natural leader on and off the pitch, something that we have lacked a little this season, although Phil B has done an excellent job since January and shown just how important someone in that role is if the team is to be successful.
Simply because Narraway is coming here at the end of his career, rather than the beginning, doesn’t in any way suggest he is going to be any less loyal to the club – indeed, by signing a two year, rather than a one year, contract he has shown a fair degree of commitment already.
That said, we have all seen journeymen come and go at Cov over the years, players happy to stay so long as there isn’t a bigger and better opportunity elsewhere. This year has been markedly different, with many of the current squad having had offers from Championship sides that involve more money but who  have opted to stay with Cov. Telly1 knows this as well as anyone but I guess it’s a fair point to make, although once again in true Telly1 fashion, its made in a manner that doesn’t really consider the audience to which it is made.
Russ is absolutely right in accepting the content whilst criticising the tone…although I would like to think we’ll hear from Telly1 again, and soon, because although he polarises opinion, he always seems to make points that are pertinent and germane.
Biggish fish in a small pool?
No…right sized fish in the right sized pond but capable of a feeding frenzy and, rather like a pike, likely to get bigger and dominate the other fish in the pool.
Telly1 was right in one thing he said in this week’s post though…the BPA will indeed become;
a retalers (sic) paradise situated on the best location next to the City Centre
Any self-respecting local business will be queuing up to advertise around the ground next season.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#TuesdayNewsDay today and maybe the final announcement of players coming in until final adjustments are made during the pre-season?
We know it’s going to be another big appointment and, in the light of the above, it might well raise a few eyebrows.
However, if you believe that the club isn’t overstretching itself, then it’s going to be another exciting addition to the squad.
And the squad is going to need strengthening if we are to be a top two or three club next season.
Plymouth Albion have almost gone under the radar this yeae such are Hartpury’s results, but Albion have won their last 11 consecutive games and look to be setting themselves up nicely for next season. Yes, they’ve lost Dacres to us and their hooker to the Championship, but they are sure to recruit well too and they are likely to hit the ground running in September.
The likes of Rosslyn Park and Blackheath are doubtless going to be strengthening their squads as well.
It’s all shaping up to be a very interesting 2017/18 season already!

6 replies »

  1. Sorry Tim but I have to disagree with all aspects of this, telly1 does not just post, he rants, of his 54 posts please find one that says anything positive about our club. Everything is negative, it’s like he has a personal vendetta against certain board members and hides behind a non de plume so that he can vent his spleen. If Cov were ever to get into the premiership this keyboard warrior would still find something to complain about.
    He may well ask questions, but the bile, vitriol and personal attacks over shadow everything he says. When he suggests that all cov fans are sycophants then for me he deserves all the animosity that he gets.

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    • No need to apologise, Phil…I knew I’d be in the minority (of one!) on this one…
      I think it’s perhaps the teacher in me, looking beyond the surface for a subtext. I genuinely like the way he doesn’t care what people think, even if he is objectionable at times. But I do believe he does care, even if it’s only enough to be negative about what is happening…perhaps o just want to see good in everyone. Personal attacks aren’t acceptable and he’ll rightly get banned if he continues in the same vein…but the questions he asks do need to be raised, that’s all I saying. There’s certainly plenty of angst in what he says…to be fair even this week he does say something positive

      ‘ Look clearly this is a positive signing, clearly nowhere in the league of a Zinzan, but positive, especially just before the new season ticket offer, Jon Sharpe is keen to demonstrate how much he wants Cov To succeed’

      If you or I raised the same points they’d be treated respectfully even if they were summarily dismissed. Telly1 is just hos own worst enemy really…
      I’ll shut up before I annoy anyone else..

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  2. There has to be room for people to express all types of opinions .Whether you agree with them or not is the readers choice. I for one in the past would not of been able to express my views and truth about a certain previous owner. All of which turned out to be true.As for P Maynard quoting a turnover of 1.25 million, the question should be …what was the actual profit of that . With that being made up of all sorts of different revenue and varied % levels.
    At this point, the promised land is just that…except no team or set of supporters gets promised to go there.

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    • Totally agree, Mark – the Messageboard should be a sounding board for all supporters, whatever there feelings, provided there is nothing libellous or defamatory. The turnover v profit is the crucial question in many respects, but given the spend that seems to be taking place in preparation for next season, I would imagine it is fairly healthy, otherwise someone is pumping some money in somewhere along the line???? Agree about the promised land…!!!

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  3. Tim I usually agree with your blob contents, but on this occassion, not sure. I totally agree that constructive criticism and questions have their place in all areas of society, but personal attacks, especially to the board have, no place in what should be a place for supporters to make rational comments. Again your point regarding players renumeration reminds me of Dickens ” income £1 expenditure £1 1d misery : income £1 expenditure 99d joy” I see our chairman smiling.

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    • Sorry, Peter, you’re absolutely right and perhaps I didn’t make that point forcibly enough. Telly1 was absolutely out of order to make any person comments about anyone connected with the club and I thought Russ dealt with that well (just as supporters shouldn’t in turn imply anything from the time he was writing or the typos – I’m often posting in the early hours and make a fair few errors myself ;)) I’m old school and believe in manners and social graces, so what you say resonates with me too.
      That said, I just like the way Telly1 asks the questions few others do…that’s all.
      Love the Dickens quote…wish I’d have come up with that one!!! For me, it’s about trust and am happy to believe what is happening at Cov is based on a sound financial footing until proved otherwise, but I can equally see why there is some concern…Hope all is well with you and Jacky.

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