Moseley – these days the support act rather than the main event. A poll.

10Aug - by Tim - 3 - In Club talk Match talk

I go out with the crowd, I play the game
Pretending out loud but it don’t seem the same
For the heart of the crowd is gone from sight
My part of the crowd is not with me tonight

Guess I’ll go along with the crowd, I’ll make believe
That you’ll come back to me, run back to me
Hurry back to the crow-ow-ow-owd a-and me-e-e-e-e.

 

This weekend has all the makings of being something of a tough one for Moseley supporters.

All too quickly, they’ve had to get used to their team being very much the support act rather than the main event…and that will hurt.

It always hurt Cov fans when the roles were reversed, that’s for sure.

And whilst it’s only a hop, skip and a jump for them down the A45 to the BPA, one imagines the gap in quality that currently exists between the two sides, and a gap that will hopefully be all to evident tomorrow, is rather greater.

However well Moseley have recruited, the likelihood must surely be that Coventry will prove just too strong for them in what is the first of this season’s pre-season friendlies for both sides.

Yet there’s no guarantee that Coventry will win a fourth successive encounter between the two sides and Moseley fans will be hoping their team can produce a similar performance to that against Premiership outfit Worcester Warriors just 12 months ago.

It was a game they won 24-15 in the final week of the pre-season. A clear warning of what can happen if there’s even the slightest degree of complacency…

And by all accounts, it was a strong Warriors side, too. I well remember the concern I felt when I saw the result knowing that we were due to face them just a couple of weeks later.

As it turned out, I needn’t have worried!

See the source image
Tom Poole as I’ll always remember him….

But despite being heavily outgunned in the first half of their home game against us last December, Moseley produced a strong second half performance to give some respectability to the score line, showing how just how dangerous they can be. Young Sam Hollingsworth, a former Cov Academy player, looked particularly sharp as I recall.

There are still a number of Cov players with links to Moseley and they’ll definitely be anxious not to come a cropper – Jack Preece’s excellent interview with Tom B made that abundantly clear:

If there’s a lesson to be learned from that Worcester result, it’s that useful as these games are, we shouldn’t read too much into them, whatever the outcome.

Yes, tomorrow’s game will be a marker of sorts, but of more importance than the result is the opportunity for the coaches to look at the players for the first time in a competitive situation and see if the squad is where it needs to be in its preparation for that first Championship game against Jersey in just 4 weeks time.

And with little at stake this time around other than bragging rights, Moseley have as much to gain as Coventry have to lose, so the pressure is on the home side far more than it is the visitors

Whilst I hope there will be passages of attacking, free-flowing rugby and moments of individual  brilliance, realistically these openers tend to be rather disjointed affairs. Play is often disrupted by wholesale changes to personnel on both sides that make accurately judging the chances of a team’s success over the course of the season a nigh-on impossibility.

Ever since promotion was confirmed against Caldy back in late March, I’d hoped Moseley would be one of our pre-season fixtures.

Both sets of supporters missed the games when we were relegated from the Championship back in 2010, so the announcement that for the next two seasons at least the fixture won’t be lost was welcome news indeed.

I’m still slightly surprised that Moseley are first up though, if truth be told.

I think I’m right in saying that in previous seasons Rowland Winter has opted to use the first game in the pre-season calendar very much as a trial game, often against much weaker opposition, even to the extent of negotiating  a specific number of lineouts or scrum, or having 3*20/30 minute periods of play.

I might be confused there though – too much Pepsi Max again.

What isn’t at all clear as yet, just 24 hours prior to the game, is what the approach of the two clubs will be. For instance, how big a match day squad will both sides be using? Will Cov opt to play two different sides each half? And how will they choose to use the bench given Cov will no longer be able to use roll-on/roll-off subs this season whereas Moseley will?

In previous seasons, this wouldn’t really matter greatly but with the cost of entrance now  £15, supporters will be expecting something close to a fully competitive fixture rather than a game often disrupted by change.

I’ve said my piece about the rights and wrongs of Cov’s pre-season ticket pricing so I don’t want to revisit that. It is as it is.

However, I do think there might well be supporters who could be put off from coming tomorrow because if Cov are true to form, then maybe £15 could be too steep for what might be in essence little more than a trial game.

For that kind of money you’d want to see a decent game  – or at least one played under normal conditions.

I thought we might have had some team news by now (I’m writing this later Thursday evening). It’s been the club’s policy of late not to release anything before 8.30 am on a Friday, but given it’s hardly a game that is going to hinge on one side knowing the relative strengths of the other, that shouldn’t apply.

Anyway…hopefully, the coaches will want to replicate near enough full match conditions…something akin to the friendlies against Jersey and Rotherham last season.

…Squads of 25ish but still competitive and hard-fought and without the need to make wholesale changes at the interval which mean you’re almost watching too different teams.

A big ask when there’s probably 30 plus players in the first team who need a decent run out.

Oh to be a coach when you’ve got moaners like me on your back, eh? 🙂

Perhaps I’m just looking at it too critically and maybe the format of the game has no bearing on a supporter’s decision whether or not to attend the game. However, I just feel when you’re asking supporters to commit that sort of money for a pre-season friendly, then they should have everything they need to make an informed decision well in advance of the game. However, I totally accept that I am very likely to be in the minority there.

So what sort of attendance can we expect tomorrow?

I’ve spoken to a number of supporters in recent days and the consensus seems to be that no one  has a scooby do…

Whilst there’s always the odd apologist around who will try to argue the reverse, it’s more than apparent that Cov has shot itself in the foot somewhat over the admission price for tomorrow’s game.

Had the club opted for a £10 admission then I think Cov could comfortably have expected around the 1800/1900 mark. The home game against Mose in September of last season saw a crowd of 2100 but, with well over 700 season tickets already sold, a further 1200 paying fans through the gate on the day – made up of perhaps 500 Mose fans and 600 additional Cov fans (and Wasps supporters at a loose end and interested to see what’s happening over at Cov this season) – might not have been too unrealistic.

As it stands though, I think it will be well below that figure – quite how low I’m not sure but maybe no more than 1100/1200 ish at best. Still a very decent crowd for a friendly, but far less I believe than might have been the case at the lower price.

I hope I’m wrong.

It’s a difficult balance to achieve – go costly and probably end up with a smaller crowd and reduced takings from the bar/food outlets or lower the price but maybe benefit from greater spending around the ground.

Whatever the final figure, it’s clear that there will be a significant number of Moseley fans in particular choosing to either stay at home or watch their rugby elsewhere.

There are some pretty disparaging remarks about Cov’s decision to hoick up the prices of the pre-season games on Moseley’s own messageboard.

I’ve read somewhere that actually it’s only a relatively few posts and therefore hardly reflective of any great concern but I don’t believe the one is necessarily indicative of the other.

The Cov messageboard, for instance, contains well over 30 threads on its home page covering  a range of really important issues, yet only two have had responses in double figures. That doesn’t mean folk don’t have strong feelings about them, they clearly do…it’s just that many choose not to air them in public.

I hadn’t been on the Moseley ‘board for a while and it was a surprise to find that you are now required to log-in even to view posts. That’s a shame really and whilst I’m sure there are some very good reasons behind the decision, it does mean that those interested in having a gander at what Moseley fans are discussing now have to register before they can access the site.

That might put off those who are passing through, perhaps supporters from other clubs in the league who might want to find out a little more about the club but  not so much that they are prepared to register for the privilege.

One of the real strengths of the Cov Messageboard is that it is open to everyone without the need to register and whilst you do have to log in to post a message, wen just viewing the site, you don’t.

And long may that remain the case. It also makes it seem rather more inclusive which is important…until you read some of the posts, that is.

So time for a poll just to gauge what sort of crowd those supporters reading the blog feel we might expect in little over 24 hours time.

Please indicate your prediction by clicking against the appropriate grouping – you don’t need to be attending to take part.

…I’ll publish the results on Sunday by which time we should have the official attendance to compare them against.

I’m going for 1165.

Nothing like putting yourself in the firing line…rest assured I’ll put my hands up if I’m wildly out!!!

Thanks in advance,

Tim

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Thanks to Sue for making me aware of this one.

I’ve used The Travelling Wilburys before but not Roy Orbison as a solo artist; it’s always going to be tough to work in Pretty Woman, although Crying and Running Scared could yet get an outing this season!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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