The new shirt (back to the future)…Tyg, you’re on…Everyone’s got a hungry heart

Everybody’s got a hungry heart
Everybody’s got a hungry heart
Lay down your money and you play your part
Everybody’s got a hungry heart

Bruce Springsteen – Hungry Heart

As pre-season fast approaches and with it the chance for supporters to get their first glimpse of the squad in action, it is indeed a time for hungry hearts.

Anticipation is high.

Fixtures are out.

The Supporters’ Club is planning trips to some of the pre-season games.

And we’re all ready to play our part in what we hope is another highly entertaining and, ultimately, successful season.

And on Friday supporters get their first opportunity to see, and maybe even purchase, the new kit.

Full marks to Cov on that front. So often in the past it’s been September or beyond before we’ve been able to get our hands on the replica shirts. To do so before the start of pre-season is a big step forward and one that is well worthy of a mention in my book.

And, of course, it’s also the first time we’ll get to see the badge close up. Regular readers of these rather irregular blogs (something that is soon to change I might add) will know that I’m not the greatest fan of the new Cov crest.

Elsewhere, it’s rightly been well-argued that the addition of  green and red is an explicit recognition of the City’s coat of arms and clear statement that Cov Rugby Club is both of and for the city. That’s as it should be.

And that’s not necessarily true of its closest rival from across the way.

And let’s not beat about the bush, Cov are becoming genuine rivals to Wasps’ dominance of rugby city-wide. Now looking to become a top 4-5 team in the Championship, Cov could end up less than 10 or so places behind Wasps in the national pyramid of rugby.

There’s obviously still a massive gulf between the two clubs, but no longer is that gulf widening and with Wasps in a state of transition after so many big-name players left at the end of last season, it might narrow yet further come April 2020. Fingers corssed on that one.

And on top of all that, we might soon have a purpose-built stadium that will put us up there with the elite of English rugby.

Anyway, back to the green and red.

I’ve tried to embrace the change and those readers who use a pc to read the blog will have seen the new look homepage – an homage to the new badge, at least as far as the change in colours is concerned.

Many supporters are delighted by it which suggests the club read the mood of the fans fairly accurately. However,  whilst it is clearly an attempt to reconnect with the city, it’s a disconnect for me. Not being a local lad myself, green and red had nothing to do with Cov Rugby back in the ’60s when I started watching, so it’s all come as a bit of a shock to me but I appreciate Coventrians will most likely embrace the change.

However, my less than enthusiastic regard for the badge is eased somewhat by the look of the new home shirt, although I think ‘home’ and ‘away’ shirts are generally regarded as things of the past now, with clubs seeming to prefer to play in their regular shirt away from home provided there’s no clash with the opposition kit.

The official unveiling of the new club kit was due on Friday, but several photos of Phil Boulton wearing the shirt at the Championship launch now mean that is it readily accessible. A shame for the club really as it takes away some of the interest from Friday’s launch.

20190708_133537Given that it is so freely available on Twitter and has appeared on the Unofficial Messageboard, I don’t think I’m giving away any secrets by including it here.

And doesn’t it look good? For me, it harks back to that golden era of Cov rugby back in the 60’s and ’70s and is evocative of the successes that saw Cov arguably the best club side in the northern hemisphere at that time.

The big hoops are simple and traditional and whilst the badge will take some getting used to on my part, it’s still a big thumbs up overall.

A case of Cov going back to the future…

There seems to be a lack of sponsors on the shirt this time round, although maybe they will be added before the season officially gets under way.

No collar as such and no white on the sleeves means there’s no shortage of the Cov blue. All good.

giphy10It’s also not figure-hugging which makes it far more likely that those of us who have succumbed to age and with it the tendency to become rather more portly in our advancing years, won’t have to go for some outrageous XXXXL size in order to ensure a more comfortable fit.  I’m a genuine L but would have had to buy an XXL shirt in the previous range,  something I just couldn’t bring myself to do…

I’m guessing Phil Boulton is wearing  the supporters’ shirt rather than a matchday one as they tend to be far more aerodynamic these days…!?

If the badge is a return to the club’s roots, then the shirt is a clear reminder of the all-conquering teams of the 60s and 70s. Three years ago I remember Rowland Winter talking passionately about his desire to bring back the old-fashioned larger hoops of that by-gone era. He has now done so.

Another boxed ticked.

Another plus from me.

Even though the new ‘home’ kit is no longer a secret, there’s still the away one to be revealed. Last season’s red and gold (?) was initially a bit of a shocker when it first appeared but I quickly got used to it and it really grew on me.

I’ve no idea what the colours on this season’s away strip will be but I’m hoping the club will stick with the same combination. Personally, I thought they worked well together although that might not be representative of the consensus.

I always offer to buy Sam shirt every season, but this year he’s declined the invitation as for once we’re in agreement – he’s not a great fan of the badge either and he’s opted to stick with his current shirt which is probably circa 2017.

Maybe he’ll go for something else from the club range, although when I suggested that he felt the only likely thing to tempt him on Friday would be a burger.

Like father…

…just without the belly.


Good to see Phil Boulton has been offered the captaincy for another season. Whilst I don’t know Phil at all, he seems an ideal front man, always eloquent and witty when speaking off the field and a born leader on it, as we’ve seen many times over the last 18 months.

Yesterday’s announcement suggested Phil B is remaining as club captain, so presumably the club will continue with a different match day captain again, depending on selections? Heath Stevens got an honourable mention in the article on the website, as did newcomer Ryan Burrows, so perhaps we can expect them to lead the side out on match days.

Interestingly, Tony Fenner also got a namecheck. Fenner’s name repeatedly crops up whenever talk of experience or skillsets are mentioned.

He’s someone who has become such an important part of the squad.  I rather expect that even with the influx of some very experienced players over the summer, players who have seasons of Premiership and Championship rugby behind them, Tony Fenner will get plenty of game time provided he can remain injury free.

His fellow players and coaches clearly respect him and he is a real favourite with supporters too. In the games he played last season he looked even more suited to the Championship than he did National One which says much for his ability. Maybe he’ll be given the chance to show his leadership skills by taking the captaincy on occasions too.

Provided the weather holds, I’m looking forward to getting back to the BPA on Friday. The pitch should be nearing completion, there will be new players on show and the  kit ‘officially’ unveiled. I imagine there will be a chance to chat to coaches and players and probably a brief talk fronted by RW which seems to be the norm on such occasions these days and is always of interest.

And then there’s the chance to meet some old friends. Doubtless the mood amongst supporters will be one of excitement and anticipation.

We’ll all  pay our money, we’ll all play our part.

After all, we all share that hungry heart…


20190708_133548At 94, my mum remains a Coventry girl at heart. Born and bred in the city, she understands far more so than me  the symbolism of Coventry Rugby Club’s decision to include the red and green of the city crest.

She’s moved to somewhere much smaller recently and Sue and I have had recourse to clear her previous property of its possessions. So many things we’ve found have had connections to Cov and, as it happens, this week I happened on a miniature tyg with the City of Coventry crest on it – particularly pertinent to Cov given the change of club badge.

To the uninitiated,  tygs (and I freely admit I was unaware of them until recently) are three handled (or more) large drinking vessels and this one was produced by Spurrier and Co who had premises in Birmingham in the 1890s. It is one of their earlier ones and the badge on it must be very similar to some of the early badges on Cov shirts back in 1870s and ’80s when the club first came into existence


The badge on the far left can be found on the main staircase in the clubhouse and is a very early one, with green and red being the two dominant colours back then (although reversed – is that significant?). The new badge on the right clearly shows the transition back to that earlier crest, so whilst I’m not its greatest fan, even I can acknowledge the reasons behind the change. (Many thanks to Rowland Winter for forwarding me the image above).

Plus ca change…

Tyg, you’re on.


The Boss makes a welcome return to the blog…and I’m sure I’ll get a few brownie points from my daughter-in-law who is Springsteen mad.

Bonkers in fact.

Everybody needs a place to rest
Everybody wants to have a home
Don’t make no difference what nobody says
Ain’t nobody like to be alone
Everybody’s got a hungry heart

For fans of Cov Rugby, home is the BPA.

For Cov City fans, well, I genuinely feel for you.

May your hearts be just as hungry.

Not seen a better live version on video than this. 1980…the year it all happened for me.



8 thoughts on “The new shirt (back to the future)…Tyg, you’re on…Everyone’s got a hungry heart

  1. Hi…many thanks for leaving a comment. I do totally get why anyone from Coventry is very much in favour of the change as it harks back to the city’s cost of arms and all that represents. Me, I’m just a Brummie lad who had supported Cov for 50 plus years. For me Cov is blue and white…it will take me time. In my defence, if you use a pc you’ll see the blog is now all green and red. I am trying!

  2. As a Coventrian and Freeman, I can tell you the new badge is bang on correct. Coventry Amateurs, Coventry Sporting and now Coventry United play in Red and Green with very similar badges in each case. Red and Green have been our colours for centuries. My Freeman’s badge is the almost same minus the rugby ball.

    Well done Cov.

  3. I think your more recent posts have convinced me to get the little red number shipped out to Australia as soon as a web store is open. It can double as a jersey for watching the Sydney Swans 🙂

  4. Hi James…I’m probably over-egging the pudding about the away shirts…perhaps they shouldn’t be referred to as ‘away’ shirts any more. In effect it’s just an alternative strip. Really loving this season’s though…the all red is really striking.
    Did wonder about the collar…but on balance think it’s absence isn’t a great loss. I’d go further back and have a replica cup winning shirt of the mid 70s, but we’re all different.

    Great to hear from you again, James. The first of many comments hopefully this season.

    All the best…

  5. (Bare with me, I work in fashion so it’s the first time I can speak with any sort of authority 🙃).

    I don’t mind the new badge. I don’t think it needed changing, but I don’t mind it. As a Newcastle United supporter, in another code I follow, I’ve lived through changes from a traditional crest – to a modern monstrosity – to a modern take on the traditional crest. A pretty similar evolution, only the previous Cov badge wasn’t a monstrosity… It was pretty bloody good as it was.

    Nothing to get upset about it. I’m sure it’ll feel pretty normal in no time at all.

    Shirt- wise: I wholly support the wider/ simple stripes but it needs some sort of collarin my opinion (reference the Jersey and Hartpury shirts in the Twickenham line- up), which I’d have done in white as per traditional Cov jerseys. It looks a bit too basic as it is. Like you said, it’s missing the usual avalanche of sponsors. Perhaps we’ll be surprised with other details on Friday and this was a quick mock up for the media day?

    Regardless, it’s what’s inside the shirt that counts!

    I’ve long hoped the club would do a shirt in the style/ spirit of the 96/ 97 Canterbury number. Think I even wrote to the office about it around the 20th anniversary. All for keeping the ‘home’ shirt blue and white hoops, but an away version in that 96/ 97 block stripe set up in red and white would have a nostalgic appeal?

    One thing: You say, “‘home’ and ‘away’ shirts are generally regarded as things of the past now, with clubs seeming to prefer to play in their regular shirt away from home provided there’s no clash with the opposition kit”.

    I’m pretty sure it’s never been any other way, no? Traditionally in (at least International) Rugby its the home side that wears an alternative jersey in the event of a clash. Teams never change when there isn’t a clash. I think the terms ‘home’ and ‘away’ have been borrowed from American sports and become part of our vernacular, first in football and now into rugby. Although it does seem in the professional leagues, the away team changes – which would mean our ‘away’ kit might get 5 or 6 run outs next season.

    Again, not really that important 😂. Thanks for the blog and, also excited to hear it might be a bit more regular again soon.

  6. Phil…I know the song well; I guess anyone of our age will. It’s an absolute classic…the storm that was raging has blown over now though!! People have been very kind about the blog in the past but as comments go, I’d happily use this as a testimonial. Your support was, and still is, hugely appreciated. Thank you.

  7. Tim,

    Man I am so excited for the new campaign and the suggestion that your blog may become more frequent is great news.
    Me I love the new badge, being a Freeman of the city and a member of the Coventry Freemans Guild it shows so much heritage.
    Anyway I digress, you as a man.of music with an exceptional good taste what sprang to mind immediately was a 1984 song (I think) by a guy called John Waite entitled missing you, I am sure you know the song and for sanity please do not take it literally., but the lyrics are superb in my opinion to possibly you reigniting the blog.

Any thoughts:

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