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Size isn’t everything…unless it’s a scoreboard, perhaps?

She’s a perfect 10, but she wears a 12
Baby keep a little 2 for me
She could be sweet 16, bustin’ out at the seams
It’s still love in the first degree

Beautiful South – Perfect 10

The final training session of the season.

And there was no lack of effort out there.With so many players still carrying minor niggles and injuries, a number of the players involved under different circumstances might have been given the week off…

…or longer.

However, needs must and despite a few walking wounded out there, you wouldn’t necessarily have known any were carrying knocks, although there were a couple leaving the pitch a little gingerly come the end of a reduced session, cut short by a good half hour at least.

That said, I’m happy to relate that Scott Tolmie was able to continue his kicking duel with Will Maisey after the session had ended and, by the look of it, Will once again had the edge. And even though the season is now over for the Development Squad, several were there as opposition on the Captain’s Run. After training Max Titchener stayed out with one or two of the senior players practising his kicking whilst Sam Payne, the DS scrum half, was boxing-kicking with Pete White.

Several players were also on the side-lines, either just giving the lads some moral support or receiving treatment from Hannah following knocks in training. In the past the club have asked me not to name the team before the 9.00 am watershed, although with the announcement only a couple of hours after this post is published, it’s not too long to have to wait. ( I know, I’ve never seen the logic in that myself either…). There won’t be too many surprises though 😉 .

Both Latu Makaafi and Sam Tuitupou were also present and both looked well and full of smiles. Despite having just had his plaster removed Sam showed no signs of any discomfort, walking briskly and with no limp whatsoever. Latu was his usual beaming self and Rowland Winter hoped that they would find out a little more about his injury in the next couple of days. Latu’s desperate to return and has evidently missed being out on the pitch these past couple of weeks or so.

I thought RW looked a bit drawn yesterday. Or perhaps just a little battle weary.

I imagine the end of the season can’t come quickly enough for him now, or for the rest of the coaches and players for that matter. A 30 game-season is long enough, but it’s impossible to imagine how much tougher it must seem when you’re the league leaders pretty much from Week 1 and the pressure is remorseless from thereon in. A lot of talk in the last couple of weeks has been centred on the players’ physical and mental tiredness, but the coaches, too must be exhausted.

Okay, not so much physically but certainly mentally.

On local radio this week RW commented that he’d earned promotion a couple of times before in his career, but never with 5 games still to play. And far from being able to relax, with the players seemingly losing a little focus and struggling with injuries, there’s been no let up for Messrs Walsh, Deacon and Winter.

Arguably with a couple of defeats in the last two games it’s been much tougher than they might have expected after the Caldy game. The coaches and players have had to regroup and targets reset and when psychologically you’ve achieved that long-term goal, it’s a tough ask to regain that pre-Caldy focus when there’s far less at stake.

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After a fair few days, weeks even, of speculation about the new scoreboard, we got our first look at it yesterday evening.

And I can categorically confirm that it is big.

Really big…

I’m reminded of a football management game similar to Championship Manager as was back in the early years.

I think it might have been called USM (Ultimate Soccer Manager) or something close to it.

Some 20 years ago Sam used to play it on the pc, more often than not distracting me from work for which I was extremely grateful. Whilst much of the game was based on taking a team through a season of games, training and recruiting players and deciding on formations and tactics etc, you could also improve your ground. You started in what was the conference back then and worked your way up through the divisions with the aim of eventually managing a national team to success in the World Cup.

What I remember always doing though was spending far too much money on ground developments, thereby leaving little left for improving the squad. On the occasions I helped Sam, we always had the club with the best ground in non-league football and a fantastic state-of-the-art scoreboard but with a team that was lying at the foot of the table by Christmas.

And one that was managerless in January, the Board having taken the correct decision and summarily sacked me.

Fortunately, winding the clock 20 years on and Coventry Rugby Club’s management are somewhat more fiscally aware than I was  and the club is getting to the stage now of breaking even under the prudent leadership of Jon Sharp and the board.

However, they have still gone and got themselves the biggest scoreboard in League One and it must be up there with those in the Championship as well.

Now I can only imagine what it’s going to look like when someone plugs it in and switches it on, but first impressions are very favourable. I’m intrigued to see how the display is set out and whether by tomorrow it will be in use. I imagine there will be a fair amount of advertising to be added to the software and the club will have done extremely well to have got that included already. Hopefully, it can function just as a scoreboard on the day if necessary. 

By using the players in the forefront of the photo as a guide, it’s possible to get a sense of just how big it is and whilst those preferring to watch opposite the West Stand might not get much benefit, those in the East Stand and at the two ends will be exceptionally well catered for. I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that at least one more screen. and maybe even two, will also be placed inside the ground (I think somewhere near the main turnstiles).

If that is correct, then there should be 360º provision…

UPDATE: from Lara this morning via FB (many thanks Lara!):

The (ironically named) Jumbo screen splits into 3:

Scoreboard at top, tv in middle, main ads on bottom. Provides us with score, info and ads for commercial and fan engagement.👍. It’s not as overly dominating as it looks when idle.

Also, the marquee is predominantly for the City of Culture who are in attendance for this game….it’s a lovely thing….the hospitality was sold elsewhere well in advance by a number of people all working very hard..🎪

Like any club, growing and building in small stages is vital…. Exciting times for all.

Those supporters there at training last night were conjecturing as to how durable the screen is and how well it might stand up to a Jake Sharp/Will Maisey howitzer next season. I’d be amazed if there isn’t a little wager among the coaches or players on the minute of tomorrow’s game the scoreboard is first hit. Surely, no self-respecting opposition fly-half when awarded a penalty in or around their own 22 isn’t going to target it, if it’s within range? I certainly would.

And if truth be known, I rather think there will be one or two spectators who’ll give something of an ironic cheer when that does happen, not to mention one or two of the backroom staff holding their breath as they wait for the loud bang and wisps of smoke as the scoreboard is plunged into darkness.

‘Go on, Andy, it’s high time anteaters learned size isn’t everything!’

When the evenings draw in again from late October onwards, will we even need floodlights? The light generated by the scoreboard might well throw out enough lumens to illuminate the pitch and most of the west side of the city centre as well.

Needless to say, I’m well impressed.

Although size isn’t everything…

…unless it’s a scoreboard perhaps?

And it’s also symbolic, too. A message to all who come to the BPA that this is a club that is getting bigger and better all the time and that it might ‘only’ be the scoreboard for now, but before long it will be the all-weather pitch, then the developments at the railway end and so on.

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Preparations for what is hoped to be a bumper, if not record, crowd tomorrow were also in evidence. In the back carpark in a position somewhat isolated from the rest of the main facilities, the club has erected a marquee. Now I’m no expert on awnings or the like, but as big tents go this one looks the dog’s testicles.

Bigger and far more substantial than I was expecting.

I imagine it will be used for hospitality and quite whether it is as temporary as just the one game is unclear, but it’s exactly the sort of thing I hope we see springing up elsewhere around the ground next season and beyond until Stage 2 of the stadium build gets underway.

When we were last in the Championship Bedford had a couple of marquees that were always very busy and Doncaster also  had one when they were in National One for visiting supporters. Plymouth, too, have a couple.

It looks as if it’s furnished inside with tables and chairs from the photo, so perhaps the pre-match meal has been moved from the far end of the main bar area downstairs to allow a bigger area for supporters to access pre and post match, given the expected attendance?

I didn’t want to get to close and be accused of spying and suffer a similar fate to those taking photographs of middle-eastern airports from a distance – thrown into the opposition dressing room and the door firmly locked for a couple of nights isn’t something that appeals.

Sue would never pay the ransom either.

Full marks to Lara and those involved in securing the hospitality bookings on a match day – the last three games have been completely sold out. Shame the result last week didn’t go quite as planned, but the success of the team this season has certainly helped keep the tills a-ringing.

Just how big the crowd will be tomorrow is open to speculation. The club is looking to beat the league record of 3500+ and the game has been well advertised on social media and in local schools, but the vagaries of the English weather could yet play a part.

Hopefully, it won’t detract from what should be a fun day out for all the family and a chance to give the players and all those involved with Coventry Rugby Club the send-off they deserve.

 

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Yesterday’s poll on whether supporters would like a terraced standing area in any new stadium build unsurprisingly proved very popular. As always, I’ll let it run a second day for those who didn’t read yesterday’s post and I’ll  announce the results probably over the weekend.

The blog will carry on for a few days after the game tomorrow to tie up any loose ends and then take a break, resuming mid-July(ish), although I hope to post every now and again should there be any news emanating from Cov in between times.

As ever, many thanks for taking part…

 

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There can be no song more appropriate to a post entitled ‘SIze Doesn’t Matter’ than Perfect 10

Paul Heaton’s lyrics are always sharp and often amusing with it…but this song is different in that it’s full to the brim with innuendo, bordering on outright explicit sexual reference at times…

…and it’s probably wise to stop reading at this point if you’re easily offended:

If he’s extra large well I’m in charge
I can work this thing on top
If he’s XXL well what the hell
Every penny don’t fit the slot

and so it goes on…

Heaton and Jacqui Abbot take alternate parts as they show how true love isn’t necessarily based on size, shape or looks.

Beautiful South are well worth a revisit, or even a first hearing to the uninitiated, although I think most of their singles are recognisable even after all this time.

Late as it is, I’ve just spent 45  minutes jumping from one Beautiful South video to the next…I’d forgotten what a fabulous voice Abbot has.

The video for Perfect 10, the official one, reflects the innuendo in the song so well, with side looks and glances ago-go. Go get a coffee, make sure the kids are out of earshot and then just press play.

I guarantee a smile.

 

 

 

 

2 replies »

  1. Another informative read Tim. Regarding the marquee, it was mentioned a few months ago pre match meals would be moved from the downstairs bars next season. This is to free up the bars for the average supporter to drink beer and socialise.

    Tomorrow, due to the large crowd expected and health and safety no food will be served in the downstairs bars. Catering has been outsourced and will be available at various locations around the ground.

    I hope that helps.

    • Thanks, Alan for the updates.
      All good stuff and showing plenty of forethought. Hopefully they’ll look to continue the outsourcing of food around the ground next season…we’re miles behind some National One clubs in that respect.

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