Some hope for the future
Some wait for the call
To say that the days ahead
Will be the best of all
We will build bridges
Up to the sky
Heavenly lights surrounding
You and I
Marillion – Hope For The Future
Yay, I’ve found my screensaver for the next few weeks.
Cov hasn’t always been particularly forthcoming in publishing team photos over the years, so to have this one, made available just a day or so after John Coles was in taking individual/team photos, is very much appreciated.
And, just by way of an aside, if the club decided to put a transfer print of it onto a mug for Christmas – I’d buy one.
And whilst it might be somewhat early to be talking of the festive period, is there any chance of Cov producing a club calendar for 2019?
It could even do a Countryfile style build up, with supporters voting for the 12 best action photos from John Coles’ snaps over August, Sept, Oct and early Nov. £9.99 a pop – two for £15. And what’s more, I’m happy to go as low as 5% for my cut of each order.
Am serious about the club calendar though.
Anyway, the photo definitely adds to the excitement that is already building up nicely as we approach the Moseley game on Saturday.
It’s probably just me, but I have the same difficulty when I look at team photo as I do when I’m trying to read the letters on an electronic eye chart at the opticians – I can reel off the characters in the first two rows with some confidence, I’m pretty sure of all but the odd one in the third, but by the time I get to the top row then I’m well and truly struggling.
Having said I was fairly confident at putting names to faces yesterday, there are one or two there who, when sitting side by side with their teammates, well suddenly they begin to look the same.
Who, for instance, is between Will Maisey and Max Trimble?
I’m presuming it’s a back…?
At the open forum during the Family Fun Day event I think Rowland Winter mentioned that the combined full/A squad totalled 56 or 57 players. There are just 45 in the team photo, so a fair few are missing, although I’m not exactly sure what the full/A squad split is.
Sam Tuitupou isn’t there, nor James Voss (?) or Nathanael Titchard-Jones (?), but after that I’m struggling to identify the other absentees, although I’m sure some of them will be A squad players whose faces won’t be quite so familiar anyway…?
That apart, it’s great to see all the players wearing the home strip – last year the Development Squad players wore the red away shirts as I recall.
With all the players wearing the one strip, it creates a far more united, inclusive feel to the club, and I’m sure the lack of differentiation between the two squads will have gone down well with younger players.
That said, given RW’s response to the away strip, it might be that the decision was made purely on the grounds that the contrast between the two shirts is just too great, although I’m definitely coming round to a greater degree of tolerance towards the red and gold away strip now I’ve seen it in the flesh, so-to-speak.
I might have jumped the gun somewhat yesterday over the Public Notices that have appeared around the ground in recent weeks concerning the ‘removal’ of the five Portacabins (and thanks again to the PC for clarifying the reason), but even so it does seem that plans to develop the ground continue apace…
In a CoventryLive online article, written just a couple of days ago, Bobby Bridge confirmed that discussions between Jon Sharp and property developers and Coventry Council were ongoing with the intention of pushing the club:
into a progressive financial position to match its on-field achievements
The Coventry Rugby Club Chairman then went on to detail his vision for the future, a future in which:
we will have a mixed development site there that will incorporate some housing, some entertainment other than sport, excellent indoor sporting facilities and obviously we would like an artificial pitch so we can use it all year round, cafes and bars (too)…
By all accounts the brochure that the club released in April outlining what the ground could look like once the redevelopment was complete went ‘viral‘ with ‘all sorts of people‘ expressing an interest.
As far as I can recall, in the original brochure that was released back in April the railway end development included the building of a second stand and additional bar and hospitality areas, but this has now been expanded to also feature, perhaps, a ‘sports’ hall, a gymnasium, all that sort of stuff‘.
With Coventry being awarded the UK City of Culture in 2021 and European City of Sport in 2019 and the Commonwealth Games coming to the Midlands in 2022, the need/demand for top quality sporting venues in and around Coventry has never been greater.
Crucially, Jon Sharp is at pains to point out that no deal been made as yet:
Nothing is signed up, nothing is definite. I want to make that very clear, but that’s an ambition we should cherish
However, it’s also equally evident that JS is determined to see the club developed as much off the field as is currently the case on it and he was recently quoted in The Rugby Paper as suggesting most of these ground developments were achievable within two years. If that’s so, then we could have a ground fit for the Premiership well before 2021/22…
…and hopefully a squad to match
The plans the club are currently proposing are in line with those the Council has for the city as a whole and from what is being said publicly, it appears the club has its full backing.
The real strength of the proposed redevelopment of the ground lies in the BPA’s proximity to the city centre, giving it a massive advantage over The Ricoh and the new build at Warwick University.
With the ground within walking distance of the station and the cost of living so much cheaper than London and Birmingham, Coventry is an attractive proposition for property developers looking for this kind of investment.
One of the key stumbling blocks to the plans to redevelop BPA into a 25,000 seater stadium as part of a groundshare with Coventry City, other than Sisu of course, was the cost of changes to the roadworks which would be necessitated by the sheer volume of traffic involved on matchdays.
A £26m bill, to be met by the club, was never going to be manageable.
However, whilst a capacity of some 12,000 at the new ground would still presumably be a concern, it wouldn’t require anything approaching the same degree of road alterations, making the costs incurred far less of an issue.
One way of alleviating some of the traffic (not my own suggestion although I’d like to claim ownership of it) is that additional buses could be put on to cover the main arterial routes into, and away from, the ground so as to minimise the amount of traffic accessing the Arena.
Further, with the ground being so close to the city centre, within walking distance for most supporters, reduced rates at all city centre carparks for those with match day tickets could be another way around the problem. I guess it depends just how much the Council want to back the club’s bid.
With Jon Sharp retiring within the next 12 months, it looks as if he’s giving himself more time to concentrate on achieving his vision for Cov and for the city of Coventry, too. He knows that in order for his plans to come to fruition, the club must be self-financing and therefore profit-making, but that’s only ever been in the context of wanting to leave a legacy, to put something back into the city that has given him so much in the past.
With JS it’s never been about self-interest or self-aggrandisement, which is precisely the reason why his vision for the club has a much greater chance of becoming a reality than that based on the short-term, cheque-book chairmanship we’ve witnessed in Cov’s not-so-recent past.
Part of the excitement of starting a new campaign in the Championship is the fact that this time around supporters recognise that there is a plan in place to move the club forward…it’s very much a shared vision and because of that there’s a belief that the club does have real direction and leadership now, something that hasn’t always been so obvious in all the years I’ve been watching Cov.
Being in the Championship is fantastic for sure.
But knowing that this is only the beginning and that the club is at the same time setting itself short, medium and long-term targets, all demanding but, equally, all attainable; THAT, for me, is the really exciting thing about all this.
In the past we’ve often lived season by season with little evidence of any joined up thinking, or at least if it was joined up then it wasn’t always legible.
The strength of the Board at the moment is that for the first time in ages it is providing us with a real sense of belief. It has delivered exactly what it has promised and delivered it a good 12-24 months early…
…that in itself creates a sense of trust so that when we hear about the club’s ambition to be a Premiership club, with a ground to match, then its natural supporters embrace that ambition.
What’s not to believe when the Board has delivered so effectively thus far under the new management structure…?
Usually it’s a case of me having to be corrected about factual inaccuracies, but for once I can point out an error on the club’s part…
Having booked flights etc for the trip to Dublin next weekend to watch Cov’s first team squad take on Leinster in the second of their pre-season friendlies, I’d become a little concerned that there’s been no reference whatsoever to our visit on the Leinster website…
…although on the Cov website:
The Blue and Whites will travel to the home of European Champions Leinster to play their Development side whilst the Irish Province first XV take on Newcastle Falcons on the Friday evening.
Leinster Development reached the British and Irish Cup final last season, losing 22-7 to our Greene King IPA Championship rivals, Ealing Trailfinders.
And whilst it is absolutely correct to say Leinster did reach the final of the British and Irish Cup last season, it was in fact their ‘A’ side who had the Cup run, not the Development side.
I contacted Leinster’s ticket office just to see if we could get tickets in advance and it was a very nice lady by the name of Lisa who clarified this. She also explained that:
as this is a Leinster Development team match, tickets are not sold through the website and details would not usually be listed on the fixtures section.
I can confirm that the match will be taking place at Energia Park on Saturday 18 August, kick off is at 3pm – you will be able to pay in at the gate.
Presumably, the Development side is going to be a group of very talented, very motivated youngsters in the late teens and early 20s.
But still a fairly low key fixture for the home club.
It’s a little disappointing in some respects given it would have been great to see Cov take on the European Champions’ A team, but I guess it will still be one heck of a contest.
Those of us with memories long enough to remember Cov playing a similar Saints’ side when we were last in the Championship and losing by 70 odd points (I think!) will expect nothing less.
But before Leinster comes Moseley…
…and they’ll be well up for it after a couple of heavy defeats against us last season and now suffering the ignominy of having to play second fiddle to their oldest and arguably fiercest rivals.
And having to play £15 for the privilege.
Given their post-new wave/soft rock origins, I should have warmed to Marillion really.
As it happens, I never did.
Almost certainly a first and last appearance in the blog.
I don’t think Marillion ever really knew what they were, trying to cross too many musical forms for my liking…but they had, and still have, a huge number of very loyal fans, so they’ve done alright for themselves.
Song For The Future seems to move from soft rock to folk to something in between…
But given much of this post is about future plans and future hopes, well it kind of fits.