Me and Sam in the car
Talking ’bout (Coventry)
Heading to the wishing well
We’ve reached our last resort and…
I turned to him
Said “Man, help me out
I fear I’m on an island
In an ocean full of change…
Can’t bring myself to dive in
To an ocean full of change
George Ezra – Pretty Shining People
Sue is into her music.
Different tastes to me for sure, but she knows her stuff and she has an annoyingly eidetic memory, so whilst I might sing out a line of a song in response to something she says, she’ll then finish the song in full…
…and with it the conversation.I’m not a great George Ezra fan, although that’s probably down to the fact it was on full volume every time I was in the car with her for the best part of 6 months when his first album was released some three years or so ago. It wasn’t a great surprise, therefore, when ‘Staying at Tamara’s’, the follow-up to ‘Wanted on Voyage’ was waiting for her when we returned from holiday, having been released whilst we were away.
There’s been little else played in the Smith household for the last 4 days.
Other than when I wear my headphones, of course.
Whilst George Ezra might not seem particularly germane to this blog, the sole purpose of which is to chart the success or otherwise of Coventry Rugby Club, it is indeed of some relevance in that one track in particular, ‘Pretty Shining People’, is a cautionary tale for those among us whose glass is never half full, but always half empty.
And whilst I have never suffered overly from the Eeyore Syndrome that I referred to in a earlier post a couple of months back, there are times when my optimism wanes and however good things may seem, disaster is always ust moments away.
‘Pretty Shining People’ concerns two people in a car, the one talking to another (who’s called Sam – spooky) about ‘heading to the wishing well‘ and ‘reaching our last resort‘. For me, the song conjures up all the away trips I’ve made with my Sam, during which we’ve talked incessantly of the journey that lies ahead for Cov, both physical and metaphorical. Each away day took us to the next stop along the road to promotion and during each of those journeys one or other of us, often both, would detail the possible pitfalls that lay ahead.
The nearer we got, the less inclined we were to commit ourselves to diving in to ‘an ocean full of change’. It was as if by admitting promotion was a given in the weeks leading up to Caldy, we would somehow jinx the team…
If you get into trouble swimming in that ocean of change, the danger is you’ll drown and many’s the time in earlier seasons we’ve had to be pulled out of the stormy seas, having abandoned ship after sailing into rough waters.
And there’s the danger…having reached that last resort of promotion, another wishing well of opportunity stands in front of us.
And even before the season has ended and we’ve properly celebrated the club’s fantastic achievements on and off the pitch, thoughts have already turned to September and just how difficult life is going to be in the Championship. But whilst planning for next season will have started months and months ago from within the club, for supporters the next 3 weeks should really be a time of celebration and not one of second-guessing how the club will fare in national rugby’s second tier. And I’m more at fault there than most.
Inevitably, as the club throws out teasers about the next tranche of players to join Cov for the coming season, thoughts turn to the Championship, but it would be sad if the excitement created by the prospect of life in the higher tier in some way lessened the club’s achievements these past 9 months or so.
It has been a phenomenal few months by any measure and one that should be enjoyed right up until the referee blows the whistle to signal the end not just of the last home game of the season against Hull Ionians, but also our time in National One. 8 long years.
Far longer than it really ought to have been.
For those of us who have followed Coventry for more than just the last couple of seasons, the changes the club has undergone since Jon Sharp appointed Rowland Winter have been simply astonishing. Phil Maynard and Scott Morgan, hard as they tried to turn round Cov’s fortunes, never got close to what has been achieved under RW.
Yes, we had a fourth and third place finish in consecutive seasons before the wheels came off in 2015/16 and however good that might have felt, success on the field was never even remotely replicated by progress off it. So in the remaining few weeks of our time in National One, it seems pertinent to reflect on the lessons that have been learned these past 8 years whilst celebrating the fantastic achievements of everyone connected with the club these last two seasons.
The build up to next season can wait a little longer.
In Happy Shining People, Ezra cautions about failing to make the most of having reached ‘the wishing well’ and failing to celebrate the moment by inclining to ‘overthink’ and ‘second guess’ the future.
According to Ezra, even if you’ve reach your goal, it’s still:
…a terrible time
To be alive if you’re prone
To overthinking and
Why, oh why?
What a terrible time
To be alive if you’re prone
To second guessing
Which is what we all tend to do at some point or other. Far better to jump into that ‘ocean of change’ and go with the flow and just enjoy where the currents take you. If you worry about the future you can’t enjoy the present…and the present for Coventry should be all about celebration, at least as far as us supporters are concerned.
And Ezra’s answer to it all? Everyone should just come together and enjoy the moment:
Hey pretty shining people
We’re alright together
We’re alright together
And whilst most of the Coventry celebrations appear to be in-house, yesterday evening Wasps seem to have been celebrating as well, enjoying a civic reception no less and at St Mary’s Guildhall, too.
Now apologies if this turns into something of a rant – they’ve been few and far between these last couple of seasons – but if anything is going to provoke a reaction from me then it’s this.
— Wasps Rugby (@WaspsRugby) April 10, 2018
No disrespect to Wasps. I’m sure 4th place in the Premiership thus far, some 14 points behind the lead leaders, is well worthy of a presence at a civic reception whether or not it’s in their honour, as is being knocked out in the pool stages of the European Rugby Challenge Cup.
I have no grumble with that at all.
But surely to goodness, at the very least Coventry’s achievements this season should be worthy of something similar? Okay, I’m being flippant, almost dismissive, of Wasps but only to make the point that whatever the grounds for our Premiership neighbours being invited to a civic reception, and I’m sure there is a richly deserved reason for it, it can’t be any more worthy than Coventry’s promotion this season.
Such occasions should be on merit and not dictated by the relative influence of the recipient…
It might be that whilst I’ve been away something similar has been announced for Coventry, in which case as always I’ll apologise profusely, but I’ve not seen or heard anything to that effect. Surely the city should be celebrating what is after all an historic achievement for a club that almost folded back in 2008/09. The mayor has been to Cov this season I believe and will be aware of the club’s success, and of the success it has brought to the city.
One can only hope that the council respond appropriately.
Perhaps it’s time to start a petition… 🙂
Just as a footnote – I know there are a number of Wasps supporters who are kind enough to support the blog and who read it regularly. They’ll know I’ve always been pro-Wasps, so before anyone has a go, the comments are not meant to be taken too seriously!
Update: Apparently it was part of the 150th anniversary celebrations (thanks, Ben) which I guess is fair enough, although quite why Coventry should be offering them a civic reception when they’ve only been in the city less than 4 years is an odd one…
Update: From Sam S:
Just to advise that there *is* to be a civic reception for the Coventry squad on 1st May at St Mary’s as well. It’s been on the cards for a few weeks to be fair.
In my defence, it’s not something of which I was aware. Was it common knowledge? If so I can only apologise…
It seems that the current weather is playing havoc with the Coventry pitch, despite the best efforts of Eric Richardson and co.
I think most people have expressed some concerns at various times this season about how the ground might stand up to the vagaries of the British weather and the increased demand placed on it by the arrival of Coventry United among others.
A couple of tweets yesterday suggest that the sooner the end of the season comes the better as far as the pitch is concerned.
Firstly, Cov Rugby had to change the venue of their Easter Rugby Camp to Allesley Primary School…
BPA Camp moved! 🌧
Unfortunately due to standing water on the pitch and the weather not improving the rugby camp at the Butts Park Arena has been moved to Allesley Primary School, CV5 9FY but hopefully back at the BPA on Thursday! pic.twitter.com/nQl0LFjYI4
— Coventry Rugby (@CoventryRugby) April 10, 2018
And then Coventry United tweeted that they have had to change venue as well, with the game against Boldmere St Michael’s now being hosted by the ‘away’ team.
To be fair, I’m surprised that Coventry United have been able to play their fixtures at the BPA for the last few weeks such has been the condition of the pitch underfoot. Eric’s efforts to keep the pitch playable have been well documented both in this blog and elsewhere and the Cov tweet yesterday again shows the work that he has undertaken to repair the damage caused by the wettest Spring for some time and the pounding it has taken from so many sporting events.
Will Coventry United be here next season…
…a case of an inclement whether, perhaps? (I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed that one).
It’s disappointing for the kids, I guess, although judging by Mark O’s comment, a good time was had by all at Allesley Primary and although Coventry United have been able to rearrange the fixture, it does beg the question whether the current situation is one that they will want to continue with next season. For the past few weeks the pitch can’t have been overly conducive to football and they certainly wouldn’t want a repeat of the situation next year. On the other hand, with fewer games in the Championship (although with the Cup games and presumably a number of Academy/DS games as well the number won’t be that reduced?), perhaps the pitch won’t take such a beating.
I imagine it would be a blow to Cov to lose Coventry United’s presence at the BPA and they’ll want to do all they can to keep them on board. With plans to move to a synthetic pitch shelved for at least another 12 months, maybe more, it will be interesting to see how Cov continues to make the best use of its playing facilities next year.
Every time I see videos of George Ezra sing, I always get a strange feeling that the voice doesn’t quite match the face. Blonde, very young looking but with a voice that is so mature and powerful, the one just doesn’t seem to go with the other. It is eminently listenable to though, although some of the lyrics are fairly explicit on occasions!
He does pen some great songs…cutting and ascerbic at times, none more so than in ‘Drawing Board’ (from the ‘Wanted on Voyage’ album, where he devises ways to get rid of his partner:
You said you needed a haircut, I recommended Mr. Todd
Of all the men in this big bad world
He’s perfect for the job, oh my, oh my, oh my
Anyway, here’s ‘Smiling, Happy People’.