We hope we don’t get promoted…a dedicated follower of fashion

They seek him here, they seek him there
His clothes are loud, but never square
It will make or break him so he’s got to buy the best
‘Cause he’s a dedicated follower of fashion

And when he does his little rounds
‘Round the boutiques of London Town
Eagerly pursuing all the latest fads and trends
‘Cause he’s a dedicated follower of fashion

The Kinks – Dedicated Follower of Fashion

 

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JS addressing the many Cov supporters at the kit launch yesterday

By his own admission, Jon Sharp hadn’t expected to speak to those attending the official kit launch held in the clubhouse yesterday.

 

And indeed he said very little.

But one comment he made did bring a smile to everyone’s face:

We hope we don’t get promoted…

Now I should immediately point out that it was said very much with tongue-in-cheek, but it was an unsolicited remark that captured the mood of the evening.

No one of sane mind could  believe promotion is even a remote possibility, but yesterday there was an air of excitement, a feeling of excitement and anticipation, that was almost palpable. It’s been many, many years since I’ve witnessed such optimism for the season ahead; not since perhaps the summer of ’93 when Eves brought together a team good enough to compete in the Championship, let alone win Div 3 as was the case that season.

Jon Sharp,  wearing his SKINS Cov top, was clearly a happy man.

And why not?

The turnout was far, far better than I might have expected, with both the Sharp and Millerchip Suites near to bursting. With the weather as it was and the ever-present danger of being absolutely soaked even just walking up from the carpark, the response of the supporters in turning up in such numbers spoke volumes about the current levels of expectation.

Some strong recruitment over the summer on the back of an 8th placed finish last season, the prospect of free-flowing  rugby on a brand new synthetic pitch and a host of  backroom staff to up the quality of support available to the team – hardly surprising everyone was so upbeat.

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Players chatting to supporters helped make it a really informal event.

If those players joining the club in recent weeks needed persuading that Cov fans are some of the most ardent in the Championship, then this would have been proof positive.

Players mingled with supporters, supporters with players. It was informal and relaxed and much the better for it.

 

The presence of all the players, presumably a 3 line whip by the management, was a sensible one, as was the fact that so many of the academy/development squad players were also in attendance. The younger players outside of the full squad must have thoroughly enjoyed being amongst the fans and it will surely have hit home just what a big club this is.

Events like this can only galvanise the club and the more interaction early on between those who do and those who watch, the better.

The event had been clearly well thought out, with a couple of street food sellers parked up outside the Sharp Suite doing particularly brisk trade. Feed and water them as well and you’re guaranteed to keep everyone happy.

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DSC03811The kit was on display on one side of the Millerchip Suite, with different sized shirts, both home and away, on hangers for supporters to gauge the sizes before making their purchases. There was no queuing, not frustration at having to ‘buy before you try’ and whilst the amount of kit on sale was restricted, it seemed to be selling well.

Now I haven’t bought a replica shirt in years, but even I succumbed.

Caught up in the atmosphere and rubbing shoulders with the great and the good, the wallet actually made an appearance.

Once the dust had settled  and the moths flown clear, I  too was the proud owner of the new away shirt.

And here’s the thing, had the shirts just been available in the club ‘shop’ before a match day, then there’s very little chance I would have splashed the cash; the occasion sold it almost as much as the shirt itself.

And it’s the first away shirt that I’ve really been immediately taken with  since the red was introduced a good many years ago now, probably under Maynard in the early days of National One? It’s loose and although I still had to go a size bigger than I would have wanted, it’s a ‘comfortablish’ fit and looks to be really good quality. Given I travel to away games it seemed the better choice, although it was admittedly a close call.

At £55 it wasn’t cheap by any means, but I maintain that it’s reasonable value these days. You know you’re going to have to pay £50 plus and if you haven’t got that kind of money, there’s plenty of other merchandise available that comes a good deal cheaper.

I’d like a Ferrari, but my Corsa does the job..

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Select your size…
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Pay at the ’tills’

The process of buying the club shirts yesterday reminded me of the school uniform evenings we used to have back when I was teaching; only rather more good-natured. There were times back then when it all got a bit frenzied, with parents arguing the toss over everything from the sizes to the quality and cost, but the process was nevertheless much the same.

One aspect of the evening was somewhat disappointing though. It had been advertised as both an unveiling of the kit and a chance to listen and/or take part in a question and answer session with the players and coaches…

and we’ll be having a special Q+A with players and coaches…at 6pm.

The latter didn’t happen.

It’s a bit churlish to be critical when it was such a good occasion, but in fairness I wouldn’t have gone just for the unveiling of the kit – social media releases during the week had ensured the home kit was no secret anyway.

I’d really wanted to hear the coaches talk about the season ahead, be introduced to some of the new players and perhaps hear their reasons for coming to the club and of their expectations this season, as well as  learn a bit more about the backroom staff and the changes to some of the areas of support..

(The video will play as normal!)

 

A few words of introduction from Chris Wearmouth,  a walk of shame from the losing team involved in the afternoon’s city centre extravaganza and even fewer words  from Jon Sharp and that was it.

I waited…and waited…until the players started to drift off.

As, eventually, did I.

Poor communication really.

It’s a shame given the club had put on such a good show otherwise. Still, it’s probably just a me thing, no one else seemed particularly bothered,

It did feel like I’d been suckered though… 🙂

Being Bill-No-Mates, I didn’t particularly mingle, other than to say hello to a few familiar faces. However, as I was waiting for the ‘q and a’, Nick Walshe came over and chatted for a good few minutes. He’s a really personably guy, very articulate and clearly enjoying the challenges facing Cov this season. He seems far more pragmatic than most and was honest about the challenges that lie ahead and realistic about the performances last season, stressing that at times Cov played to their potential but it just wasn’t consistent enough. At other times we were, he accepted, poor.

What was really evident though was just how much has changed pre-season, with an emphasis on preparation and fitness that means not unsurprisingly the team will be far better prepared than they were 12 months ago as newbies to the Championship. There were no big, bold statements or predictions, but just a real sense that the belief is there that Cov can and will move on from last season and being far more competitive as a result. With the players coming in, competition for places on a match day will be that much greater, so expectations rise accordingly.

As owner of the club, Jon Sharp conveyed the real sense of excitement and anticipation. As Head Coach, Nick Walshe conveyed the belief and determination within the squad.

Each complemented the other well.

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Despite the lack of any opportunity to hear Winter and the coaches unveil not just the shirt but the battle plan to go with it, I do now possess my first Cov shirt in a good few seasons.

A few trips to the gym, a few less burgers and a lot less chips and hey, I might even be able to fit into it without being self-conscious.

Even Sue, who, it has to be said, is not a great admirable of sports’ tops, likes it.

It will probably get its second official unveiling over at Moseley and then Blackheath the following day.

The good news is that I no longer have to spend hours deciding on my matchday wardrobe the night before. A relief to the Smith household for sure.

I also got to renew my Supporters’ Club membership yesterday, too. With away day travel prices being frozen it’s a no brainer for anyone who goes to the away games by coach, even before considering all the other discounts that are available on production of your membership card.

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If you’re thinking about applying this season, someone from the committee is always available before every home game.

At £20, it’s a snip – which is incidentally what Duncan the rabbit is having done next week. He’s proved his worth and the grandchildren have thoroughly enjoyed handling the resultant kits but after 3 litters enough is enough.

Dunc the Spunk will be no more.

Great evening yesterday…the start of the season can’t come quick enough now.

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It will make or break him so he’s got to buy the best
‘Cause he’s a dedicated follower of fashion

Dressed in my new away top, I will indeed be a dedicated follower of Cov, if not of fashion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Tim

2 thoughts on “We hope we don’t get promoted…a dedicated follower of fashion

  1. Good to be reading the blog again Tim!
    Your comments on yesterday’s kit launch echo the thoughts of myself and the friends I attended with. It was great to see so many players and supporters at BPA and there was certainly a buzz about the place. It did have a feeling, however, of an opportunity missed, starting with the strange decision to email members with photos of the kit half an hour before the event was due too start and then, as you say, the lack of any question and answer session as promised.
    Still, overall it was a positive experience but, unlike you, I couldn’t quite prise the wallet open and buy a shirt… I’ll save my money for some promotion memorabilia!!

    1. And good to be hearing from you again, Rob. Hope all is well!. Yes, the email was a strange one (although I didn’t get one!)- perhaps they’d decided that given the release of the photos for the Championship launch and the tweets the players had been sending during the day on their jaunt around Cov, there was no point in trying to keep it secret. Would have liked to have heard RW took about the coming season, he’s always open and honest and it makes for good listening. Promotion memorabilia – lol. Some way off yet…although I reckon in terms of our squad, we’re a season ahead of where I’d expected us to be. It looks a very competitive one on paper…

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