Tue. Apr 13th, 2021

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 paper

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.

Rugby Post
Jon Newcombe’s excellent article in The Rubgy Post – 2/7/17

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.jpgCliffie 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…







By Tim

7 thought on “Cov resurgence attracts national coverage…Cliffie H”
  1. I think that is partly because there hasn’t been any news of any major recruitment drive on the part of either team and whilst we struggled down at theirs, there certainly not as strong as Plymouth or Ampthill. Shanners might well have an impact, but he’ll need a team capable of winning the league as well and I’m not convinced that’s what he’s got at the moment…

  2. Hi Tim, excellent reading as ever. Just a thought as to the predictions for next season as to the teams who are likely to be in the mix – I’m surprised there appears to be no mention of either Blackheath who, if my memory serves me correctly are going to be DoR’d by James Shanahan ex OA’s), or of Rosslyn Park.

  3. Tim. Further to our exchanges – I live in the wilds of Lancashire. Home games for me are Fylde, Macclesfield (no longer) and I get to the Butts as often as possible. (My sister lives in Earlsdon.) So I don’t make all the home games, but having bought a season ticket to support the club as best I can, I intend to travel to as many games as I can, and will certainly head your way. One disappointment when the fixtures were announced, we are in France when Cov play Moseley. What a shame! Last Christmas the game and the atmosphere was wonderful and it will be sad to miss it, and a pity it is not around Christmas again. The boxing day specials were occasions not to miss. On another front I have a few COV photos and memorabilia from the past. My father rescued them in the haste of the move from Coundon Road to the Butts. I’ll dig out some of the more interesting ones. One in particular that caught my eye is a photo of the 1950 Lions featuring Ivor Preece..

  4. Hi Kevin…many thanks for taking the trouble to leave a comment, it is always very much appreciated. The blog is just a hobby really, something I decided to start up on my retirement just to have another interest as well as grandchildren, family and friends. The fact that others will read it is very much a bonus! 😂
    It should be a fascinating season ahead; I’m trying not to get too excited this time around, having been guilty of hyping things up in previous seasons.

    Big changes are taking place at the club and there is a vision shared by some extremely effective leaders on and off the pitch. That will do for me!

    Thanks again…Hopefully we’ll be able to meet up in person at the BPA over the course of the season!

  5. Tim.

    Keep up the journalistic work! In these days of limited local press your articles are top notch in keeping us informed of Cov’ s progress. ( That’s not meant to be critical of the local press, by the way, I understand their difficulties in the internet age.) Excellent stuff, I can’t wait for your next article!

  6. Hi Phil…really great to hear from you! I’ve made it a life goal never to do envy but on this occasion…!!! What must have been a fantastic trip before Saturday must have got a whole lot better with that late Farrell penalty! Great stuff!
    If you could send me a photo of you with the flag I’d love to put it into a post…? tim92@btinternet.com would get it to me…? Looking forward to hearing some of the more repeatable stories!
    Off to training this morning to get my Cov fix!
    Safe travels,


  7. Hi Tim
    Just popped in for my daily update while I have been on my travels.
    Another really enjoyable article and nice to know “Cov” are being talked about.
    You may be aware that I am carrying the CRSC banner with me, the conversations that it creates are really good, people always reminisce about the Cov of old, I would like to think that come April they will be talking about our resurgence.

Any thoughts:

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