It never used to be that bad
But neither was it great
Somewhere in the middle then
Content and much too safe
Take me out let me breathe
Now we’re getting somewhere
Crowded House – Now We’re Getting Somewhere
If the attendances at the Butts Park Arena are to grow, then three things have to happen.
The team needs to keep winning, the club has to keep working on selling the itself to the local community, both businesses and individuals, and supporters themselves need to spread the word and encourage others to tag along.
Probably an oversimplified view, but nevertheless not a totally inaccurate one.
With 10 consecutive wins, including the run-in to the end of last season, the team is certainly doing its bit. Not only that, Cov play some very attractive rugby these days and are scoring a shed load of tries into the bargain – 17 already in just two games, following on from a club record of 130 last season.
If it’s entertainment you’re looking for, on the pitch Coventry has it in abundance.
Recruitment has also made the headlines, both locally and further afield, so other than to keep producing the kind of form we’ve seen at the start of this season, it’s difficult to see what more the club can do on the playing front to attract more punters into the ground.
Behind the scenes, strong promotion of the club locally is an imperative. It was a common cause of complaint amongst supporters a couple of seasons back, but there has been a considerable turn round in this area in the last few months in particular, with Lara regularly detailing news of sponsorship deals via social media, executive dining on match days sold out and the renaming of the Centurions Club to the Vice-Presidents’ in an effort to, ‘put(ting) together an improved match day hospitality package that we hope will attract the business interests who can benefit from the superb networking opportunities and help support the club in many ways.’
Quality corporate hospitality, and the facilities to host it, are crucial if Cov is to attract yet more potential sponsors into the club. This seems to be an area in which Coventry are particularly strong and the envy of many clubs in and around National One. Those involved, working hard behind the scenes, deserve a lot of credit.
In addition, posts relating to the club both on and off the pitch via Twitter and Facebook have become commonplace, so much so that the same post can appear several times on the same feed, following the common practice amongst the Twiterati to ‘retweet’. The artwork is of a noticeably higher standard this year, too, and there seems to be a far greater number of active Cov supporters using social media at the moment, hardly surprising given the publicity the club is currently generating.
With 5,600 followers on Twitter alone now, that’s one heck of a lot of potential coverage.
Coverage in the local press is getting better, too, but with Paul Smith at The Coventry Telegraph committed to reporting on Wasps and Moseley, as well as the local junior sides, there is only so much he can do. I live outside the area covered by BBC Coventry and Warwickshire, so I can’t comment on how much airtime Cov gets on the radio, but the new weekly rugby programme that is to be presented by Alec Blackman should raise the club’s profile even more – I understand the first airing is today and our very own Peter Redhead will be guesting, so that should be well worth a listen.
The BBC was live from the BPA on Saturday, although obviously it was a far higher profile game than normal. Given the result, and the fact that Coventry totally outplayed Birmingham Moseley, it is bound to have whetted the appetite of listeners who might have thought about making the trip down to Cov but needed some more convincing that it’s time and money well spent.
There’s no doubting now that the product is a good one.
And, at the risk of alienating myself from any Mose fans who might have accidentally found their way onto this site, writing ‘outplayed’ and ‘Moseley’ in the same sentence is still one of the greatest joys available to a Cov supporter, or at least to this one. That’s said, now the derby is out of the way for another three months or so, I hope Mose find some kind of form and start challenging some of the other clubs who’ll be featuring in the top 3-4 over the coming weeks. Wins against Plymouth and Blackheath would be especially well received…
So as far as the club selling itself to the local community, that too is much improved and is still a work in progress.
So what of Coventry supporters selling the attraction of Cov to their friends and neighbours? Arguably this is the most important and lucrative form of advertising of the three and is dependant, of course, on the success of the team and on the quality of the matchday package offered by the club.
Many people I spoke to in the week leading up to the Moseley game were indeed bringing along a friend or two. Those who did venture along as guests, or who were returning to Cov after a lengthy absence, can only have been impressed with what they experienced on the day. If just 20% of those one-off attenders decide to come along to the next home game, then that’s another 200 onto the average home attendance last season, and then we’re almost at the magic 1500 mark.
I did my bit, I’m happy to say, and brought along my long-suffering wife and my 92 year old mum, a supporter of some 74 years, having first watched Cov play at Birmingham University in 1943 – she even remembers Harry Walker being in the Cov team that day.
And just a brief aside at this point in the form of a personal thank you to Jo in the Office. I popped in to see her on the Saturday of the Rotherham game to check if I could reserve a seat alongside the three we already have as season ticket holders so all four of us could sit together. She took all our details and within half an hour had popped up to place a reserved sticker on said seat, and that despite the Office looking extremely busy with just an hour and a half to go before kick off.
I was extremely grateful and mightily impressed. Thanks, Jo.
And it’s not just Jo. I’ve found everyone to be extremely helpful and courteous and that’s the kind of detail that might well encourage first time supporters to make a visit to Cov a more regular occurrence.
We are a family club, with family values and long may that continue.
I happened to come across a link from the blog to Sky Blues Talk which is basically the equivalent of our own Messageboard but for supporters of Coventry City. On there is a thread dedicated, would you believe it, bizarrely to Coventry RC 2017/18.
Some of the comments on there show exactly how important word of mouth recommendations can be:
2 years ago we went when we were away, and we really enjoyed the games, last season was the same, until finally we actually paid to go to the Butts even though we had CCFC season tickets. This season have dropped the CCFC season ticket, and will be going regularly to the Butts.
Very impressed with what I’ve seen and heard from Roland Winter, the faith the Club have in him, and the progressive recruitment especially in recent months. Add in the passionate home support, the overall matchday experience…the message already sent out to others in the first 2 games, it could be our year.
(and although this is a comment about the game and not the experience – it is a really interesting one nonetheless)
If we keep playing like not many sides are going to get anywhere near to matching us. It was notable that after Ben Palmer crossed over for that lovely last try, Callum McBurnie shook his head in disbelief and uttered to his team mate “Impossible”.
Given the fan base enjoyed by Coventry City, this will do Cov no harm whatsoever – performances on the pitch, as well as the experience around the ground on the day, are getting folk talking and once that starts to happen, provided what is said is positive in nature, then the club is onto a winner.
I guess it’s incumbent on us all to keep doing what we do best, namely to talk with pride of the Cov we love and with conviction when we speak of the optimism that surrounds its future over the next few seasons.
Saturday’s attendance of 2,242 was probably a couple of hundred below what I had expected, but still a decent enough crowd on the day. One of the most pleasing aspects to come out of all the comments made on our own Messageboard and elsewhere was that not one dwelled on long queues at the bar or food areas, or on the problems with parking or availability of toilets. There was nothing derogatory at all.
9 months ago, to quote someone of the CCFC Forum, the pre-Christmas encounter:
Was a farce…unfortunately they hadn’t planned ahead, lad at the bar said same number of staff on etc yet ground was x3 the usual.
Whether that was, or wasn’t the case, is immaterial, it’s how this particular poster perceived it to be and in fairness he wasn’t the only one.
What was particularly pleasing about last Saturday was that it showed that Cov has learned the lessons from Moseley’s previous visit to the BPA and, more importantly, when attendances of this size are very much the norm, then the club can take it in its stride. It was a really big plus to come out of the day for me.
If Cov are still competing for the promotion spot with just a couple of games left of the season, both of which are at home incidentally, then we could well have crowds of 3000 plus and with that comes additional problems on top of those that Cov had to deal with at the weekend. Saturday showed that the club is more than capable of addressing them…
And that figure of 2,242 was significant for another reason.
Maybe it’s happened before, perhaps even back in December of last year, but more people watched the Cov game than at any other ground below the Premiership last weekend…which actually is a pretty impressive statistic.
Had it not been for Monday’s re-count that wouldn’t have been the case, but the additional 142 supporters who had been lost but were subsequently reclaimed, (I have visions of some sort of lost property office somewhere in the ground specifically for supporters who are unaccounted for), put us just 6 above the 2236 who watched Cornish Pirates lose at home to Bristol and 67 ahead of the 2,175 who witnessed Bedford beat Scottish:
- Bedford Blues v London Scottish – 2,175
- Doncaster v Rotherham – 1,389
- Hartpury v Jersey Reds – 765
- Nottingham v Yorkshire Carnegie – 1,000
- Richmond v Ealing – 604
- Cornish Pirates v Bristol – 2,236
It just goes to show what the potential is at Coventry. Who’s to say we can’t pull in upwards of 3,500 should we be successful in our bid to reach the Championship? In the early days of the BPA, when Cov first moved there in 2004, there was a temporary stand opposite the main stand – how good would it be to see another erected as the crowds return.
Imagine the atmosphere then…
However, that’s just me getting ahead of myself again.
Performances such as the one against Moseley last weekend will certainly get the rugby community in and around the Coventry area talking.
And the more it talks, the more Cov benefits.
The club is working exceptionally hard to create the right environment in which to watch the fluid, exciting rugby that is the trademark of this current Coventry side and word is getting round…
Before too long, ours could indeed, be a Crowded House…
We’re not there yet, but at least Now We’re Getting Somewhere.
Crowded House – the ones that told us to always bring ‘The Weather With You’, one of those earworms that once heard kind of sticks in the back of your mind only to resurface when you least want it to…
Popular in the late 80’s and early 90s, they had a few hits of which this, Now We’re Getting Somewhere was one.
Having re-listened to it a couple of times, it’s not quite as bad as I remember… 😉