A conspiracy theory…Something of interest…Bedford on Saturday

I went down to those dusty streets, blood was on my mind
I guess that stranger hadn’t heard the news
‘Cause I shot first and killed him, Lord, he didn’t even draw
And he made me trade the gallows for the Mexicali Blues,yeh

Grateful Dead – Mexacali Blues

My son, Sam, isn’t usually one for conspiracy theories, but it might just be that he has hit on something.

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Sam on Saturday

My son, Sam, isn’t usually one for conspiracy theories, but it might just be that he has hit on something.

And it’s big.

Very big.

To do with Coventry.

And Mexico.

Normally, he’s ever the realist so when he comes up with something as monumental as he did on Saturday, you have to listen.

Walking around the pitch before kick off, as is our wont, he suddenly asked me if I thought Cov was under threat of some sort of Mexican takeover.

Not something that I’d pondered over myself I admit, but coming from Sam it was going to be worth a listen.

…a change in badge he proffered, as I looked at him somewhat askance.

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The new Cov badge Sorry, Mexican flag

The change in the badge this season, he repeated.

Out of the blue, not a hint of it beforehand.

And newly adopted colours…

…red and green. With the excuse that they are the city colours.

Lame to say the least.

And then suddenly, he continued,  up pops a Mexican Taco stall!

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The taco bar in question –  (I should add the pork belly tacos come highly recommended)

A taco stall, for goodness sake.

Not your standard fayre at rugby ground I had to admit.

Perhaps there’s something in this, after all.

Some drug cartel in Sinaloa wanting to launder its funds maybe?

As theories go, this certainly has legs.

And on top of all this, there was the rumour that spread like wildfire down row L of the main stand of the offer to the club of the Mexican hooker…

…Senor Guac O’Mole.

Apparently he hold dual citizenship, having an Irish mother.

Didn’t hear it…?

Well, you have now.

What’s next, I wonder. A summer tour to Cancun, perhaps?

Or the BPA to become the Corona Butts Park Arena?

He’s on to something is Sam.

When the elephant is ditched as the club mascot to be superceded by a mule ( a drug’s mule, of course), then you know it’s for real.

Apologies to anyone offended by this, but I’m not one to burrito round the bush (I know, I know).

Sadly, Sam won’t be attending any more games for a while as he’s now in hiding following the interest currently being  directed his way by a group of so far unidentified Mexican drug lords.

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I heard a really interesting factoid on Saturday, this one having rather more credence than the above. It came from someone whom I have complete faith in so I think it’s fair to say it’s genuine.

It concerns the team’s jog past the main stand on the way back to the changing room a few minutes before kick off.

Under Rowland Winter it has become customary for the players to jog from the posts, across the pitch to half way and then turn towards the main stand and then make a right along the touchline to the clubhouse entrance. As they do, the crowd applaud, many loudly encouraging them as they pass by.

It appears that not only does it motivate the players, it also unnerves the opposition. Back in National One and for a few games at the start of last season, the opposition used to stay out as Cov jogged past – now this isn’t the case.

Apparently, clubs have studied the routines Cov have pre-match and now the opposition leave the pitch well before Cov do, presumably turning up the volume of the stereo in their changing room to try and drown out the noise.

Yorkshire Carnegie were the first team last season to try and combat Cov’s pre-match home advantage by leaving all their equipment, tackle bags, ball bags etc, on the half way line. Phil Nilsen (ex Carnegie), captain on the day after Phil Boulton’s ban, led his players straight through the middle of it as you might recall, with a broad grin across his face as he did so. Other clubs tried other tactics but now it seems the accepted appraoch is just to leave well before Coventry’s exit.

I’m sure this is the case and certainly I’ve noticed for a while now that the opposition haven’t been on the pitch as the crowd take to their feet to acknowledge Cov.

It serves to show what an impact the Cov crowd can have and how just as it can lift the spirits of the home side, so can it demoralise the opposition.

It would appear at home at least, the Cov crowd really is the 16th man.

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I thought the performance against Bedford was an improvement overall on that against Jersey the week before.

In the second half defensively we were back to something approaching the display against Ealing, nilling Blues in the second half despite being under considerable pressure in the third quarter. Bedford had proved a threat in attack in the first half, scoring three tries with their three quarters looking particularly dangerous, especially their fullback and outside-centre.

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The penalty count was virtually half that of the week before, with Cov managing to keep their discipline despite being under considerable pressure at times.

When Phil Boulton was yellow carded, for taking a player out in the lineout, Cov conceded two tries – a reminder if one was ever needed of how sides in this league will punish you for such indiscretions. The loss of Jack Ram to accommodate the extra prop to replace PB was costly.

As we punished Bedford when they were down to 13 and the pressure Cov had been piling on them eventually told in the final moments of the game.

Rowland Winter has always maintained that if you concede less than 10 penalties a game you’re going to win more games than you lose.

I mentioned in a previous post that I thought Coventry’s bench would have an important part to play in the outcome of the game and so it proved. To be able to replace the entire front row and two thirds of the back row meant fresh legs in key areas and with many of those finishers arguably first choice in their respective positions (Wallace, Nayalo, Trinder, Denman…plus Kessell at 9) Cov were able to turn the screw on a tiring Bedford.

In all the games so far this season, Cov have seemed to finish the stronger or at the very least haven’t look to tire any more than the opposition. RW stressed pre-season that he believed the arrival of Chris Hart would make a significance difference long term to the fitness levels of the his squad and this already seems to be the case.

Rightly, Anthony Allen is getting plenty of mentions in dispatches as the defence looks far more organised so far this season but Hart, too, is having a significant impact.

There was a time when I would have attributed Cov’s showing in those final 20 minutes or so to the Cov Dog of old and certainly I heard that mentioned post match as I was leaving the ground.

But now I’m not so sure.

For me, it was down to the superior fitness of our squad, the experienced players taking more control, a full season in the Championship for the rest learning some tough lessons  and the influence of the crowd once it sensed the game was ours for the taking.

I was originally a big believer  in the Cov Dog, as early posts in this blog will verify, but was always unable quite to articulate what it meant in practice –  although immensely proud that it was unique to Coventry.

In truth, I don’t think it is.

When Rowland Winter came in he quickly dismissed the notion of the Cov Dog, saying that he had questioned many supporters and club officials as to what the Cov Dog was and found everyone he asked had given him a different answer.

A couple of seasons on, I don’t think it is unique to Cov at all. Big crowds will always lift teams in tight situations and that  is what I believe we saw on Saturday, together with the impact of the players coming off the bench and the improved levels of fitness.

I’d certainly prefer to rely on those factors listed above than in some vague and rather romantic notion of the Cov Dog, although amongst those of my generation I’m sure I’m in the minority. Ask Sam for instance, who has only been watching Cov since the late ’80s, and it’s not something he would particular identify with.

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The move to switch Jennings to centre to allow Maisey to come in at fly half seemed a bold one on paper but it certainly paid off. Maisey’s ability to unlock players with his passing seemed to pay off and his try was a piece of individual skill that was a thing of beauty. He did, though, miss a couple of fairly straightforward penalties in the final quarter which was unusual for him given in season’s past, and under similar levels of pressure,  he’s always seen Cov home.

I thought we’d be approaching the 2500 mark on Saturday. A new season, strong influx of players, improved facilities etc etc.

As it was, 2128 was encouraging (although it did include more away support than would be the norm) but at less than 100 up on the Cup attendances (a competition that many Cov supporters have yet to enthuse about), I thought we might attract a few more through the turnstiles. The same game last season attracted only around 100 less too, but with the RWC reaching the quarter final stages this year, perhaps that impacted on the gate too.

It’s all so much more positive – other than the poor wi-fi signal causing some problems in the club shop. And I know that’s being looked at…

If Cov can continue to get results right on the pitch and attract more punters into the ground, the club is doing all it can to ensure they enjoy their afternoon and they’ll want to return.

You can’t ask much more than that…

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If Cov can continue to get results right on the pitch and attract more punters into the ground, the club is doing all it can to ensure they enjoy their afternoon and they’ll want to return.

Early days still. Admittedly, just two games completed but with the exception of Ealing, the top 5  contains the teams you might expect to be there in 6 months time.  Either in the League or Cup competitions Cov have played the sides who finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th last season and although we have lost two of them, we’ve not looked outclassed at all and had chances to win both the games we lost.

The match-day experience is also far better this season with the fans’ zone proving very popular both before and during the game (at half time anyway) and again there have been far fewer moans about the bar service.

Ealing and Newcastle should finish in the top 2 even after Ealing’s less than confident start, but a top 4 finish has to be the target now. It’s a big ask but targets need to be challenging.  Pirates, Nottingham, Bedford and Jersey will all be in the mix and Scottish look to have started strongly as well, but Cov are going to get better as the season progress, especially with players like Purdy, Forsyth and Halaifonua yet to link up with the club.

It’s all so much more positive – other than the poor wi-fi signal causing some problems in the club shop. And I know that’s being looked at…

Top 6 should be certainly within our grasp and with the advantage of the new pitch and far better (and all-weather) training facilities, this season I think we should be looking to improve on that.

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Finally – if you haven’t already voted for the blog’s Man of the Match against Bedford, the link is here:

Man of the Match v Bedford (Championship)

Unfortunately, having go it ready the night before I forgot to post it after the game so will leave it another 24 hours before revealing the winner. As always, many thanks to those who have already voted. 

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Hard not to like a band with someone of Jerry Garcia’s ability in it.

So here’s the renamed Mexacali ‘Bedford’ Blues

 

 

Author: Tim

6 thoughts on “A conspiracy theory…Something of interest…Bedford on Saturday

  1. Hi Dave – sounds like you’re having a ball at the moment – an oval one of course! A win on Saturday and I should imagine you’ll have a headache for the rest of the week. Deservedly so, no doubt. Yep, I’ll be tweeting away…hopefully with plenty of Cov tries to report! Could be a pretty decent weekend for you! Up the Cov! When I ready your message out to Sue, she said something along the lines of @will he swap places the jammy b$%£^d! lol!

  2. Hi Tim,

    I’m on holiday down under at the moment,with Family, in the suburbs of Perth to be precise. We had a great afternoon watching the Aus v England game around the bbq ,with plenty of Aussies and Scots in attendance. The banter was great.
    Later, I kept in touch with the Cov v Bedford match via your Twitter feed. At 10 minutes to midnight when you tweeted “TRY” by Tom Kessell I nearly woke up the whole house with my cheering. Those last few minutes where I was constantly updating had me chewing my fingertips.
    I sure hope you are going to the Leeds game this weekend and will be tweeting as usual. I’ll be looking on from the other side of the world and cheering on Cov.
    Keep up the great work Tim.

  3. Hi Alan, thanks for leaving a comment!

    I’m just not sure the Dog is specific to Cov any more. I’ve seen lots of clubs suddenly turn it up a gear as the crowd gets behind them and they and the team sense blood. The bigger the crowd the greater the response…have started to feel the Cov Dog is something from a bygone era that isnt that relevant anymore…heresy I know.

    Hadn’t thought about the lack of competition for Maisey…that makes absolute sense in retrospect. Certainly he looked much sharper on Saturday.
    Jennings is clearly a level above any 10 we’ve seen at Cov for a long time and his ability to play elsewhere could be a godsend. He, Maisey and Fenner all fit gives us loads of options.

  4. Good insights again Tim. Not sure about the Mexican takeover theory but at least it gave the Grateful Dead a mention. Always a fan despite being a punk.

    Personally I thought Jennings passing unlocked the defence more than Maisey’s – although Maisey had good moments. However his kicking suggests he is feeling the pressure of Jenning’s presence. I felt Maisey stood still last year, the one player who didnt have a direct squad competitor.

    Good point about Alken Hart organisation and fitness. Although to me the Cov Dog is about a mental toughness, something hard to coach or train for? It is about everything, attitude, coaching, training, history, the colours… the crowd. Everything coming together. RW heard about it and scoffed at it…but I think now accepts it can exists?

  5. Bravacado, Sir.

    Like you, Quent, I’m a great fan of Guac…tends to dip in and out of the team though and can spread himself a bit thin at times. But definitely ahead of hass time…

    As for Mark Key – overrated, Thought he was heading our way a couple of seasons ago but never made it – not sure he’d even get in the match day 23 now.

  6. I’ve seen Guac O’Mole several times and looks very tasty. The Irish / Mexican pedigree looks a real winner, has that spicy edge, complimented by silky smooth Guinness like properties, what’s not to like. Indeed, looks like Mark Key is yet another big & impressive signing for the duration season and hopefully not a short term loan. Certainly seems to be getting rave reviews.

Any thoughts:

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