Cov’s pre-season friendlies – come on down, even if the price isn’t quite right…

27Jul - by Tim - 14 - In Club talk

I’m the dandy highwayman who you’re too scared to mention
I spend my cash on looking flash and grabbing your attention
The devil take your stereo and your record collection
The way you look, you’ll qualify for next year’s old age pension

[Chorus]
Stand and deliver
Your money or your life

Adam Ant – Stand And Deliver

Apparently, today is the day we all see red.

This evening we’ll be gazing into the skies, full of wonder at the longest ‘blood moon’ eclipse of the 21st century.

As it rises, the moon will turn a striking shade of red for a period of precisely one hour and 23 minutes.

It should be spectacular…

…although I have to say I started seeing red a good 24 hours before, just around the time Cov announced further details of two of its pre-season friendlies – those against Moseley and Wasps.

£15 to watch Moseley.

£20 to watch Wasps.

And whilst I’m sure Cov won’t thank me for saying so, that seems rather excessive.

Ignoring the importance of the pre-season games for the coaches and players, I always felt that these friendlies were opportunities for clubs to showcase their new squads to their supporters, charging nothing more than a token amount to watch.

A couple of good fixtures, some decent weather and two solid performances and you might well persuade some supporters to renew their membership, others that maybe a season ticket would be a worthwhile  investment, or those who have turned up because it’s fairly inexpensive that perhaps it’s worth coming along again once the season starts in earnest.

It seems to me that the chances of any those possibilities occurring is greatly reduced when non-season ticket members are being asked to dig so deep into their pockets for what are, after all, trial games for many players.

Interestingly, West Brom host Coventry City in the fourth of their pre-season friendlies on Saturday – the final fixture before they begin their Championship campaign.

A big game then, and an important one.

The cost to spectators…just £10.

And the Baggies have confirmed that some of the proceeds will be reserved for a legacy trust in honour of Cyrille Regis, something about which  I’m sure supporters from both clubs would have few complaints.

Yet Cov are charging £15 entrance for the Moseley game.

I’m presuming parking will be at least £3 on top of that, although I see it’s going to cost £5 this season for the Championship games, something that doesn’t appear to have met with any misgivings elsewhere.

So it’s the same price to watch a friendly against Moseley this season as it was to watch the National One derby game between the same two sides just over 12 months ago.

And that’s without any explanation as to what the format of the game will be.

For instance, it’s often the case in the opening couple of pre-season games that Cov play two different sides, swapping them over at half-time to enable everyone to get a run out in a ‘competitive’ situation.

And if that is the case, then yes it’s a chance to see most of the squad in action, but it does tend to mean games aren’t as fluid or exciting. And we’ve no idea as to how Moseley will be treating the game, either. Will they be putting out a full first team squad of 20 or will they opt to mix and match throughout the game.

And what is the agreement on the use of subs?

Will it be roll on, roll off as for National One, or once off, stay off as for the Championship?

Both games are included as part of the season ticket which is good news for those who have made the greater investment over the whole season, but that too poses a few problems, does it not?

There’s a two-tier entry in operation for season ticket holders, with different prices charged for those opting to sit in the main stand and those who prefer to stand.

Will that also be true of the friendlies (and Cup games)?

If not, then it might well be that a standing-only season ticket would actually include 6 games (3 pre-season including Cambridge and 3 Cup games at least) where you could choose to sit?

And what about the poor Moseley supporters?

Last season Cov refused  Moseley’s season ticket holders a reduction in the entrance price when they played us in December, despite the fact they generously offered a discounted price to our Supporters’ Club members in the September fixture.

And now they have to pay £15 just to watch a friendly between the two clubs.

For me, that’s probably the most disappointing thing of all.

If £15 is a lot to watch Moseley, then £20 to watch Wasps A is exorbitant in my book.

With Wasps playing Ulster the night before, it’s going to be very much a second-string side who visit us on the Saturday…still Wasps but hardly worth £20 is it, especially as I think I’m correct in saying Wasps were charging just £15 entry to some of their Premiership  games last season?

Wasps may have the potential to sting…but the supporters are the ones who’ll get stung the most when they come to the BPA.

And surely as a PR exercise, this will backfire big time?

For several seasons now I’ve heard it said at Fans ‘Forums and elsewhere that it’s important that we welcome back into the Cov family some of the supporters who were lured to the Ricoh and the prospect of Premiership rugby when Wasps arrived in the city to such a loud fanfare back in 2014.

Anyone interested in rugby in and around Cov will have been  well aware of Coventry’s promotion and of their dominance of National One last season. Local media was full of Cov’s  record-breaking achievements and the club’s resurgence received plenty of national coverage, too.

So what better time to entice back some of those prodigal sons and daughters?

Yet at £20 a pop, plus parking and maybe a programme to boot (although well done Jersey Reds for getting rid of paper copies of programmes altogether), that’s just not going to happen, at least not in the numbers that might have been the case at a more realistic cost.

I spoke to a couple of Cov supporters at the Bears midweek and they were optimistic of a crowd somewhere between 2,200-3000 for the Wasps game.

If that is the case, then fantastic and I’ll be happy to post that I got it all horrendously wrong, but it’s a big ask, especially with another home game and another £20 plus to play the following Saturday against Jersey.

And if you come with your partner as well…

If you are a bit short of cash, well it’s pretty obvious which of the two you’d opt for..?

Now I know I’m open to accusations of double standards here – well before the fixtures were announced I posted that my dream pre-season fixtures would include, wait for it, Moseley, Wasps and Cambridge…

…so I can hardly complain…

Especially as I get to see them at no additional cost given they are included as part of my season ticket.

But actually this blog, despite some opinion to the contrary, isn’t about me…it’s about Coventry Rugby Club. And I think for the ordinary supporter who isn’t a season ticket holder, then £15 and £20  respectively for   two pre-season games is a lot to ask.

Once again, I might well be out on a limb here and the consensus actually is that the club has got the pricing just about right, but this season I’m going to be true to myself as far as the blog is concerned and just say it as I see it.

If I’ve got it wrong, then I’m sure any comments posted below will reflect that.

Maybe this is simply an indication of the more corporate nature of the game now. Championship rugby comes at a greater cost….

The two-tiered season tickets, the increased cost of pre-season friendlies, a fiver to park, it’s all about maximising revenue these days and maybe the casual supporter coming off the street for the occasional game is the one who is going to get hit the hardest.

I do believe that the season-ticket itself represents good value, extremely good value in fact, as indeed would £20 for entry to a Championship game, but with that I would expect considerable reductions for both Cup games and pre-season friendlies.

Maybe it’s a way of part paying for the club’s visit to Dublin in August and the weekend’s bonding, even though I imagine Leinster has helped fund it as Jersey did in previous seasons?

I’ve not seen any reaction to yesterday’s announcement, so maybe for most supporters  the prospect of playing Moseley and Wasps is such that even at £35 for the two games, plus parking, travel and refreshment it’s still represents good value.

But to me,  £35 for two games that are, after all, just two friendlies seems somewhat steep.

Crowds for both games will be of a decent size, especially with almost 800 season tickets having been sold already. I just wonder how much bigger the gates would have been had the club opted for, say, £10 a game or a combined ticket for perhaps £17.50..?

Addendum

Thanks to Richard S for forwarding the following from Jersey Reds:

BBAzOBk.jpg

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It’s not been a great 48 hours for the club by my reckoning.

Having made what I feel is something of a faux pas over the pricing of the pre-season friendlies, there also seems to have been something of a mix up over the announcement of the new kit and kit sponsor.

As I understand it, tomorrow’s Family Fun Day was to include the unveiling of the new kit and with it, the new sponsor too.

However, I guess wires were crossed somewhere along the line and O’Neill promptly released details of the new kit, both home and away, on its website.

Now I’m not sure the club quite appreciates how quickly word spreads among supporters and in next to no time the news was out and numerous supporters had logged on to O’Neill’s website to view it. I’m not too IT literate so I didn’t take a screenshot, but several people did and these travelled the ether at some speed – and probably still continue to do so and I certainly sent links to one or two people…

…it’s hardly surprising us supporters get excited about things like this.

In the meantime, word obviously got back to the club and  it would appear someone contacted O’Neill and the link was promptly pulled, despite many fans having already seen the kit and even more being aware of it and of the name of the new sponsor.

I’m not sure why the club decided to contact O’Neill and have the link removed. I can’t think that there will be many going to tomorrow’s event purely to see the launch of the kit and by acting in the way they have, well  it comes across as something of a panic move.

The Supporters’ Club, on the ball as always, quickly sending out an email with the link to the appropriate page on the O’Neill website so its members could have a sneak preview which only appeared to heighten the confusion.

An early release of the photos wouldn’t have been a big deal really and might well have allowed time for those supporters who have yet to see it to get used to the new away kit which is something of an interesting combination of colours. It certainly isn’t going to appeal as much as some of the more recent away strips…to put it mildly.

If only the club had gone with those pink hoops back in 2015/16.

As I mentioned in a previous post, whilst the quantity of information coming out of the club over the last three or four weeks has been impressive, the content hasn’t always appealed. Winter, Walsh and young Joe Lane all came across well when interviewed for CRTV, but some of the other material hasn’t been that informative really.

However, I thought Scott Tolmie did a good job promoting the Family Day.

He speaks well in public and seems to have a good head on him from the little I’ve heard him speak  – and he looks to have done some pretty intense training over the summer and shed a good few pounds in readiness for the start of the season.

The battle for the no 2 shirt between Scott, Phil Nilsen and Darren Dawidiuk should be as competitive as any position this season.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ant Music:

So unplug the jukebox
And do us all a favor, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, that music’s lost its taste
So try another flavor
Antmusic
Antmusic
Antmusic
Antmusic

In the olden days you knew you were being robbed blind because the robber wore a mask…

Impossible not to smile watching this if you were around when Stu Goddard was in his prime…outrageous.  Good to see him get his life back on track in recent years.

Hard to believe I know, but I was always the dandy highwayman at fancy dress parties in the early 80s!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14 thoughts on “Cov’s pre-season friendlies – come on down, even if the price isn’t quite right…”

  1. It’s a tricky one. I think that only the committed Cov supporters will go to the pre-season friendlies so I don’t think the price will necessarily deter them. On the other hand every club needs to get their finances sorted for the season. Wasps are currently losing £2-3m a year and if I remember right Jersey had to sell their ground and other assets in late 2016 just to get through the season. I don’t think any supporter would want to see Cov in either of those positions. If this squad starts well in the Championship I don’t think many will begrudge the costs of putting such a strong outfit together. I for one am very excited for the season ahead.

    1. Hi Teddy! Yes, agreed about the concern over club’s overstretching themselves but under Chairman Sharp the club seems to be far more financially prudent…it would concern me though if the club have had to take into account the gates at two pre-season games when factoring in the amount of money needed to put such a strong side together. The only thing I’d disagree with is that I think pre-season is the one time when the ‘non-committed’ supporters will come on over to the BPA and take a look at what’s going on. In previous seasons at £5 or £10 it’s not a great dal to pay but at £20 you’re spot on, it will be the die-hards who don’t have a season ticket who will be the ones to attend. Pre-season should be about attracting those rugby supporters, not necessarily Cov fans, and putting on a package that will encourage them to return when the season proper starts. At least that’s what I Great to hear from you again, Teddy and yes, I’m excited too.

  2. Tim,
    thanks for your candid post. Being less than prosperous in my retirement days I’d pretty much decided I wouldn’t travel to the pre-season games but wait for the Championship games that matter idc. That was my thought even given my expectation that the cost would be the same as last year i.e. £11 as an OAP ( plus programme, drink, parking and petrol ). But at those announced prices there’s no way I can consider attending. Maybe I’m unusual , but I kind-of- imagine otherwise, I have to consider my disabled wife and be fair in how I spend my money so it’s disappointing and discouraging and raises the spectre of what future price hikes might follow. I moved to my present home, Cheltenham, from Bath a few years ago never having been able to afford to see a Premiership game there and at £11 a shot at Cov I was delighted to be able to get back into supporting my rugby team. Are those days numbered ?
    Bill Rumball

    1. Hi Bill! Yours (as in content, not persona) that I feared receiving. The loyal supporter (and I include away fans here too) for whom the price hike is just a step too far. I hope we won’t ever come to the day that those on minimum wages or a state pension can no longer afford to watch Cov – are those days numbered. In all honesty, yes they probably are if these prices are anything to go by, especially if Cov continue to recruit strongly in order to press the top 3 or 4 teams in this league in the next couple of seasons.

  3. I’d rather spend the £15 (+car parking) at Moseley’s shop, and wait for your excellent write up about the contest (almost as good as being there!).

    1. Brilliant, Martin! It does seem that someone’s ‘havin’ a laff’ at Moseley’s expense (quite literally). I’m looking forward to reading the Moseley Fans Forum nearer the game – should make entertaining reading. Can’t help but feel they’ve been harshly treated. Moses might be an old adversary but its supporters are also old friends and I’m not sure the club has treated them as such in the last couple of seasons…

      1. Lol…isn’t it just! Good to see so many Cov fans in agreement too. Although there are exceptions of course…which is why I no longer contribute to the Forum 😂😂😂😂

  4. The pricing structure for these games was mentioned in the letter with your season ticket signed off by the chairman.
    Unfortunately i believe cov have missed an opportunity to trial the system they are putting in place for segregation of spectators, standing and seating and if the staff will be overwhelmed with numbers, who are checking tickets and season tickets. Because otherwise this will not happen until the jersey game.The whole flow of spectators around the ground will effect facilities usage, especially with the new childrens area coming into play.
    i also agree tim they are squeezing prices for pre season games, especially as cuckoos will be a second/third team.

    1. Hi Mark – hope all is well, I haven’t picked up my season tickets but if that is the case that just shows the lack of understanding on the part of the club. Pre-season games are free to season ticket holders anyway, so no explanation would be needed – it’s those who have to pay on the gate that need convincing that £20 to see Wasps second and 3rd strong players represents good value surely? Totally agree about the need to trial the tiering system – it could prove a nightmare if it’s not handled efficiently and sympathetically.

  5. I agree Tim, the pre season friendlies would appear to be an opportunity missed in tempting new blood down to BPA. These type of games are never full on affairs so it’s very hard to justify those sort of prices and I fear the crowd sizes will suffer accordingly. Perhaps the unofficial message board is populated mainly by season ticket holders who have no axe to grind hence the lack of comments.

    1. Hi Rob, thanks for the comment. here’s been so interesting responses on Twitter. £55 on entry alone in just three weeks (including the Jersey game) is a lot when you then have to include all the add ons although Im sure Cov would argue that supporters are getting superior product to last season that comes at a greater price which is true – other than in the pre-season games of course, when I’d ague that Jersey and Rotherham last year provided just as mucha challenge

  6. Tim, agree. Like you cost is included in my season ticket, if it hadn’t been I doubt I would pay that for what is likely to be a large number of chopping and changing, and a 2nd string Wasps side. Also didn’t realise we were having a new strip this year, hope we’re not going football route and robbing people for a new kit every year?

    1. Hi Roger…it does seem steep, especially when you look at what Jersey Reds are charging. Still, let’s just hope we win both and get even better value for money!

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