Thu. Mar 4th, 2021

Twenty f!!king five to one
Me gambling days are done
I bet on a horse called the bottle of smoke
And my horse won

Stewards inquiries
Swift and fiery
I had the bottle of smoke
Inquisitions and suppositions
I had the bottle of smoke

The Pogues -Bottle Of Smoke

There are many perks to being back in the Championship.

The ability to attract players of the calibre of David Halaifonua, Ben Nutley and Jack Ram, national television coverage of a limited number of games, more sponsorship opportunities, better burgers…

Life will be that much more interesting for Coventry supporters this season, of that there’s little doubt.

But it will come at a cost.

An increase in season tickets, more expensive on-site parking, a hike in the price of a pint in the clubhouse.

The better the quality of rugby, the more supporters will have to pay.

It’s inevitable and whilst I’ve had a moan about pre-season friendlies, I genuinely think the cost of watching Cov as a season ticket holder is exceptional value and I wouldn’t have quibbled had it been a couple of quid a game more expensive.

But it is still going to mean us supporters having to dig just a bit deeper into our pockets this season and that’s never a happy prospect.


But promotion into the Championship also offers a potential solution to all this extra expenditure…

…in the form of the bookmaker.

Now we are back in the Championship it seems that there are some bookmakers who will be offering odds on both the outright winner of the Greene King Championship and on the games in each round of the competition.

I’m certainly not advocating betting per se; although I’ve been known to have the occasional flutter in the past on the Grand National, it’s not something I’ve ever had any real interest in.

There are many better ways to rid yourself of your hard-earned money than the 3.45 at Goodwood…

…holidays and grandchildren being two of them.

Although if either Holly, Charlie, Amy or Laura ever get to read this, it’s not necessarily in that order :).

But this year I’m going to take a somewhat more adventurous approach to life and chance my arm rather more than I have in the past.

And take a punt on Coventry.

It could prove very rewarding.

Take the odds of Coventry winning the Greene King Championship, for instance. Whilst there are a number of online bookmakers still to confirm their odds,  Paddy Power has published theirs, making London Irish the odds-on favourites at 4/6 with Ealing Trailfinders just the wrong side of evens.


Now Rowland Winter isn’t a Claudio Ranieri, at least not yet anyway, and 500/1 on Coventry to win the Greene King RFU Championship isn’t quite the same as 5000/1 on Leicester City to win the Premiership, but surely it’s worth a shout?

Well, I think it is anyway and I’ve already invested £5 of the money I ‘saved’ as a result of not having to pay anything to watch the Leinster game on Saturday.

Speculate to accumulate and all that.

A £2,505 return on a £5 bet isn’t to be sneezed at.

And as I now have a vested interest in how the club does this season, things have become that much more serious.

It’s a massive commitment on my part, £5, and I’m anticipating some form of acknowledgement from the club.  I’ll obviously be looking for regular, personalised updates as to just how secure my investment is and at the very least a place at the sponsor’s table at the pre-match dinner for every home game this season.

In return, of course, I’ll be reinvesting some of my winnings in the club…a ground clock will be high up on the list.

Thinking about it, if the Supporters’ Club made 275 individual £11 bets, one bet for each of its members (I’m guessing the number there), then that would bring in just over £1.5m – enough to cover the cost of an artificial pitch.

And all Cov would need to do is to win the Championship.

Not a big ask, really.

Claudio Winter
Rowland Ranieri

Rowland Winter doesn’t strike me as being someone who lacks any confidence or has moments of self-doubt. Should he have moments of insecurity, though, he need look no further than this blog.

Anyone who’s seen the dust motes waft gently into the air on the rare occasions I open my wallet will appreciate just how difficult it is to prise money from me – and to do so in such a frivolous manner shows the high-regard in which I hold him and his fellow coaches, as I do the team as well. Accolades from me don’t come much higher …

For the purposes of this exercise at least, Rowland Winter is the next Claudio Ranieri.

One could hardly imagine a sounder investment…

I learned my lesson from the likes of Northern Rock and RBS.

I’m actually hoping to take it a step further, too.

I thought it might also be interesting to ‘invest’ £5 on every game Cov plays in the Championship this season and see if I can break even by April. To do so will mean I’ll have to win at least £110 over the 22 games…

It seems fairly likely that at 500/1 to win the title outright, odds for individual wins will be fairly generous, so just four away wins at 5/1 and I’m home and hosed. The odds will tighten over the course of the season, obviously, as Cov win more and more games and move inexorably towards the title and promotion into the Premiership, but with Cov also winning me the £2505 on the outright bet, it’s hardly going to make much difference anyway…

Whilst there are no odds available as yet for the opening round of Championship games in September, still have those from the final week of the Championship 2017/18 season up on their website:


There are always going to be a few surprises thrown up over the course of a season, so a fiver on London Scottish to beat Carnegie would have won in the region of £22 in a contest between the team 11th in the table, away to the one in 6th.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see just how much of a win/loss my £5 investment per game makes and should the worst happen and I find myself in April somewhat impecunious, having squandered all my worldly savings, then hopefully the Supporters’ Club will offer me a reduced rate for the trip up to Doncaster in what will be the final coach trip of the season, with only the away game to Jersey to follow.

Another  understatement…

I might be just a little on edge for that one if a win sees us promoted…

…and as understatements go, that’s something akin to the Black Knight’s in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

All a bit of harmless fun, but I genuinely do expect to be in the red in April.



Two big games coming up to this week.

On Friday we see the Nighthawks, the official name of the A squad will play under as I understand it, and on Saturday Wasps come to town …or rather cross the town…to face Coventry,  which should be an encounter of biblical proportions.

David v Goliath.

Or rather Goliath v David,  given we’re at home.

🙂 🙂 :).

Of the two, I rather imagine that the game against Cambridge on the Friday night will be the more entertaining and oddly it’s the one I’m most looking forward to. There are some really exciting players in Development Squad and they’ll be playing what is likely to be a pretty full strength Cambridge side. The visitors always play attractive, attacking rugby as do we, so it should be an excellent pre-cursor to the main event.

More on the Cambridge game nearer the time…

It remains to be seen just how big a pull a Wasps A side will be – when I spoke to Rowland Winter on Saturday he was expecting Wasps to bring a strong squad, that despite them having a game on the Friday night against Ulster.

Whatever Wasps side turns up on Saturday, they’re sure to have a buzz about them, although I hope it’s Cov that has the sting in the tail…

There’s been a lot of speculation surrounding just how big a crowd we can expect at the BPA for the visit of the Wasps.

Against a Premiership side, and a local derby at that, normally you’d imagine it would be a sell-out, similar to the Pirates v Exeter game last week. However, until we know the relative strength of the Wasps side on show it’s difficult to predict just what sort of interest their might be and, of course, at £20 it’s expensive for a pre-season game.

1204 came to watch Moseley.

Weaker opposition, but £5 cheaper. Cov have won both their opening pre-season friendlies , and won in fairly convincing style, which must raise the levels of anticipation as far as Coventry fans are concerned.

Hopefully, then, a bigger gate.

But just how big?

A number of people have suggested a poll just to get a feel for the numbers people might be expecting on the day. I’m always happy to oblige but the trouble is, I’ve no idea where the top and bottom limits should be set.

It could be lower than the Moseley turnout given the cost, although by all accounts there will be a lot more Wasps’ supporters present than there were Moseley in the opener two weeks ago.

Maybe 3,000?


In the end I’ve opted to stop at 3,000. I was really close when predicting the crowd for Moseley, but whilst I’m going for 1876 for the Wasps game , I’m far from confident.

Please do have a go, it’s always interesting to see if others are of the same opinion.

As always, all you need to do is click the button next to your chosen attendance. I’ll try and publish the result on the Saturday morning, before the Wasps game, just to add to the anticipation.

Many thanks in advance for taking part…


And many thanks, too, to the reader who messaged me to say that they were particularly impressed with my tweets from the game on Saturday. It appears that I managed 127 in just under 80 minutes of the play (the referee blew up a little early for the end of the first half).

That’s apparently one every 37 seconds…

I’m not sure how that compares with previous games, but it’s now officially a season’s personal best and there to be broken…

When you’re tweeting away at some speed, all fingers and arthritic thumbs, there’s never any time to check how (in)accurate you are in terms of your tweeting. And that invariably leads to some mistakes.

I have to say, such errors are often far more interesting than had the message been accurate. They are cause of some mirth amongst those kind enough to follow the tweets on a match day, although when they are highlighted, I have to say I do tend to cringe a little.

You just have to swallow your pride…I guess that comes easier to some than others.

Here’s some of my better work from this week 🙂 :

Should be able to compile a fair few of these by the end of the season.

In my defence, predictive text doesn’t help, especially when Latu becomes Katy!

Apologies to Latu…

…and to my cousin, Katy, too.



The last time I saw The Pogues was at The Institute in Birmingham.

It was a good few years ago now, a Christmas gig and one that I’d eagerly awaited for a good few months. I’d not seen them since my student days and I’d long feared that Shane MacGowan would hit the self-destruct button well before I got the chance to see him again.

So off we went…

Sadly, it was a bitterly cold day and I’d forgotten my inhaler. I’m a mild asthmatic I guess, but am never without one and invariably when I do forget to carry one on me, I’ll have  an attack.

Anyway, I manage to get to The Institute, but after a couple of drinks and before The Pogues set foot on stage I was struggling to say the least.

I had to get a taxi home and ended up playing Hell’s Ditch on my own at ridiculous o’clock.

The Sunny Side of the Street wasn’t quite so sunny that day.

Bookies cursing
Cars reversing
I had the bottle of smoke
Glasses steaming…
The moon is clear
The sky is bright
I’m happy as the horses shite
Up came the bottle of smoke








By Tim

4 thought on “Could Winter be the next Ranieri? At 500/1, I wouldn’t bet against it…”
  1. Hi James – great to hear from you.

    Yes, I think that’s a very fair point. We’re all looking at the promotion of the game from the Cov angle, yet it’s the numbers of Wasps fans coming to the game that will ultimately determine just how big the crowd is.

    Leinster weren’t remotely interested in promoting the Cov game last and as a result there was next to no-one there.

    Wait and see time, I guess

  2. I think Wasps promotion of Saturdays game will have a huge bearing on the potential attendance. A quick skim of their social media and you wouldn’t even think it existed. I appreciate it isn’t quite as high on their agenda as a future Tigers or Gloucester game, but a shame nevertheless… Maybe they’ll drop a token tweet out on Friday evening

  3. Good luck with the bet, Tim. I’m looking forward to seeing some great rugby this season & to see Cov compete for a top 6 spot. However, even if they won the Championship, I believe they wouldn’t be anywhere near ready off the pitch for it to work at this stage. Whilst I disagree with Mark McCafferty on a number of points, I do think his idea that club’s should have a 10 year development plan to make it work over the long term, to be a good one. Exeter are a good case where the development on the pitch was matched off it. They had Championship crowds of 4,500 that have increased to 11,500 in the Premiership & now compete at the top of the division & in the Champions Cup. Also they were the only club to make a profit last season. Maybe Cov are in year 3 of a 10 year plan & with all the proposed development off the pitch over the next 3-5 years maybe they will have a squad, ground, business ready to challenge in 2022-2023. There would be lots of great rugby to enjoy between now & then. Here’s looking forward to 2 cracking games this w/e.

  4. just a reminder. kick off is 2.00.p.m.on Saturday according to the original fixture list. is that still correct?

Any thoughts:

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