If you want to know ’bout the bishop and the actress
If you want to know how to be a star
If you want to know ’bout the stains on the mattress
You can read it in the Sunday papers
Sunday papers, don’t ask no questions
Sunday papers, don’t get no lies
Sunday papers, don’t raise objections
Sunday papers, ain’t got no eyes
You can read it in the Sunday papers
Read it in the Sunday papers
Joe Jackson – Sunday Papers
For several seasons now, first John Wilkinson and, latterly, Paul Smith have done a lot to spread the word regarding Coventry’s upturn in fortunes in the local press.
But the publication of Jon Newcombe’s 3/4 page article in Sunday’s ‘The Rugby Paper’ will have surely gone some way in helping raise the club’s profile nationally, providing as it does an informative overview of the changes currently taking place at the Butts Park Arena, changes which are now beginning to attract the interest of the rugby world well beyond the confines of the city boundaries.
Under the banner headline ‘New Dawn at Cov under Winter’s rule’, Newcombe details the club’s progress both on and off pitch, quoting Rowland Winter and Jon Sharp at various points in the piece and presenting what is a very positive picture of the transformation Cov supporters have been witnessing for some time now.
And the added bonus is that it is published in the edition that includes reports on the Lions crucial victory over the All Blacks in Wellington on Saturday.
And that makes it an edition that will be particularly widely read.
No news might be good news…
…but Cov news following the Lions win is even better.
Whilst it might not contain any scoop or major breaking story lines, it does certainly add a little detail to what supporters already know and, perhaps most importantly of all, it puts well and truly to bed the argument that we have already begun to hear outside of Cov, namely that the club is currently spending beyond its means to attract quality players to the club on over-inflated National One salaries.
I say outside of Coventry, but there have been a few lone voices on the Messageboard that have tried to argue the same case.
End of on that one at least.
For those not able to get hold of the article, the bullet points below paraphrase the key areas covered:
- the club is thriving despite initial concerns that having Wasps down the road might impact negatively;
- the club now has a sustainable future under first Peter Rossborough’s, and then Jon Sharp’s, chairmanship – one that is ‘every bit as bright as their past’;
- following near bankruptcy under Andrew Green, the club has doubled its turnover in the last three years to £1.2m, and in doing so mentioning the success of the conferencing/banqueting side of the business, and quoting the community project as bringing in a very impressive quarter of a million pounds annually;
- the club is already close to selling 500 season tickets (even before the pre-season games start);
- the club is ‘almost self-sufficient’ – presumably alluding the RFU grant…although it qualifies that comment by implying that it is also close to the point of not having to be ‘reliant on any individual’;
- brief reference is made to the club now owning the whole BPA site and also to the plans to redevelop facilities for the benefit of the club, its supporters and the local community, including the exploration of ‘retail possibilities’;
- the article recognises that this season in particular is one that National One clubs will be targeting for promotion, given the absence of any relegated Championship side. RW suggests competition will be fierce, naming Plymouth Albion, Ampthill and possibly Moseley alongside Coventry as clubs most likely to be looking for a place in the Championship come April;
Nothing new there at all, but the article does then go on to provide a little more information about the way it has been able to attract to the club players of the ability and experience of Phil Nilsen, Luke Narraway, Latu Makaafi and Sam Tuitupou, without actually breaking the bank in the process.
Through quotes from Rowland Winter it goes on to explain that such big names have come to Coventry because they have all bought into what the club is trying to do and that the club is not interested in buying in ‘mercenaries’ – always an emotive word but one that, together with ‘journeymen’, has been used on more than one occasion to describe some of the players coming into the club pre-RW.
Rowland Winter is quoted as saying ‘They’re not paid what people might expect’ and gives examples of how several of the player have outside interests as well or, in the case of Phil Nilsen for instance, are using the time at Cov to also retrain – in his case as a paramedic.
In one of his final comments RW says:
After untangling the mess of past regimes, the club is in a better position than it has been for some time. We’ve got a great squad and an infrastructure is in place with a new gym and improved medical and physio facilities, it is now a case of doing the job…
It all makes for a very positive read indeed and I’m sure anyone taking the time to take in the article will be left with the feeling that Coventry is very much a club on the up and those who have responsibility for its success are doing everything they can to achieve Championship rugby without in any way jeopardising its integrity.
What the article doesn’t do is give the impression that promotion is a long-term goal and that the club is willing to bide its time, if necessary, to achieve its goals.
Great if promotion is achieved this year, but if not then it’s simply a question of adding to the already strong squad next season and beyond and continuing to build for the future.
Perhaps it’s just the way I read it, but the article comes across as being about this season only, rather than what we know to be ‘Project Cov, something that both Jon Sharp and Rowland Winter have quite rightly been a pains to stress over the last 12 months.
However, that aside, it is a really interesting read with the most important thing to come out of the article being the national coverage itself. It’s been a while since Cov has been in the spotlight outside of Coventry for the right reasons and as such it makes a very welcome change.
From now on, all those supporters at National One clubs up and down the country who have made reference in the past to Cov on various discussion forums as ‘perennial underachievers’ will have to rethink their views about the club that has been something of a whipping boy for many in our league in recent years. If they weren’t already, supporters from those self-same clubs will doubtless be a bit more concerned and respectful having read yesterday’s article.
As a Coventry supporter, it is great to see the likes of Jon Sharp and Rowland Winter, together with all those others involved in the club’s recent resurgence, are now beginning to be recognised beyond a purely local level.
It’s a good time to be a Cov supporter…
…come and join us.
Cliffie Hodgson, along with a few of his closest mates, was over in Dublin this weekend on a stag weekend to celebrate his forthcoming nuptials.
There have been a few posts on social media over the last 24 hours updating everyone of their progress and Callum MacBurnie kindly agree to allow me to use one such photo in today’s blog…
There are a few familiar faces in there, including Brett Daynes, Chad Thorne, Jacques Le Roux, Liam Munro and Tom Poole.
I should imagine it was one of those occasions where what goes on in Dublin, stays in Dublin, but doubtless it will be something that Cliffie will remember for a long long time…or perhaps not if it went the way of some stag dos I went on in my more formative days.
I think he’s getting married fairly shortly and I’m sure I won’t be alone in wishing him much happiness in his future life.
Cliffie Hodgson, a crowd pleaser and above all a seemingly really genuine guy.
All the very best, Cliffie…
Back in 1979 it was all about post-punk New Wave for me.
At the time, Joe Jackson was up there with the very best and his first album, Look Sharp! is still a classic….’Is She Going Out With Him’, ‘Different for Girls’, the bitingly ascerbic ‘Sunday Papers’ and my favourite, ‘Happy Loving Couples’ (‘happy loving couples make it look so easy, happing loving couples always talk so kind…happy loving couples aren’t no friends of mine’)…
However, ‘Sunday Papers’ is still a damn fine song…