This is the happy house — we’re happy here
In the happy house — oh it’s such fun
We’ve come to play in the happy house
And waste a day in the happy house
It never rains
We’ve come to scream in the happy house
We’re in a dream in the happy house
We’re all quite sane
Siouxsie and the Banshees – Happy House
Time to put aside the cynicism and angst directed chiefly at the RFU and the Premiership and concentrate on more immediate matters – tomorrow’s home game against Yorkshire Carnegie.
Ok, Siouxsie Sioux’s lyrics might well contain a rather large dose of sarcasm, but they do reflect very much how many will be feeling down at the BPA in just a few hours time. With everything that is going on around us at the moment, it’s not going to be a particularly happy house right now, but we’ll be there in numbers to watch Cov play and support Jon Sharp and the Board in what must be tough times for them right now.
For just a few hours tomorrow we can live the dream, enjoy the occasion and waste a few hours in the company of friends well away from the machinations of those who claim to have the best interests of the sport at heart but who seem to be doing everything they can to alienate themselves from everyone outside of rugby’s elite.
I’d like to think that the actions taken by the RFU this week will be enough to provoke supporters of Championship sides up and down the country to attend this weekend’s games in such numbers as to show the RFU just how much they have underestimated the mood of those genuine rugby fans who rightly recognise the importance the Championship plays in the success of rugby in this country.
Sadly, I don’t think it will, though.
The outpouring of anger and frustration that we’ve seen on social media these past 48 hours will continue for a while yet but it will soon be diluted as the end of the season looms and rugby takes a well-earned summer break. If change is to take place, it needs to be decisive and come from the top, not from a relatively few lone voices on the terraces of the Butts, the Mennaye Fields or Lady Bay.
Will tomorrow’s crowd at the BPA be any more than the average gate for the season? Probably not, even despite the fantastic support the club has received over the last few days. A quick tweet to show allegience is one thing, dipping in your pockets to pay to watch a game is quite another, however aggrieved you might feel. For the occasional Cov fans who might attend the odd game over the course of the season, the RFU’s announcement probably won’t be enough to get them through the turnstiles tomorrow.
It’s the likes of Jon Sharp and the other Chairmen of clubs in the Championship who have the real potential to force the RFU into a rethink – for me, getting behind JS and giving him my backing in whatever way I can is probably going to be more effective than Tweeting out my exasperation at the actions of the RFU (although I won’t stop doing that, either). A big crowd on Saturday, a warm appreciation of both teams as they come out onto the pitch and some sort of mass appreciation for our Chairman at some point of the game (a round of applause on the 18th and 74th minutes perhaps!) would be a good start…
In a comment on yesterday’s post, Richy W rightly hoped Cov supporters would show the Carnegie players the respect they genuinely deserve; whatever has been going on at Carnegie over these past season or two, it’s not of their making and they’ve had to come together at short notice to play vastly superior opposition for the most part and have been given a torrid time on occasions. Whilst I want us to win and win handsomely, let’s also appreciate just how hard it’s been for YC this season. It’s not their Board we’re playing after all.
The Player Ratings from The Rugby Paper have been updated (and thanks again for this, Sam), and with a couple of defeats since they were last published they have taken a bit of a hit, especially as performances generally haven’t been quite as impressive as pre-Christmas.
A reminder that these are the individual player ratings taken from The Rugby Paper every week and include the Championship Cup games. There are no scores for Sunday games (two in total) for obvious reasons.
Of the players who have played regularly this season, ie over 10 games, Rory Jennings and Ryan Burrows top the table, and with Burrows on the bench this weekend it might be that Jennings has an opportunity to further his lead over the Cov captain (whilst also taking over the armband as well).
With so much uncertainly over recruitment for next season following the reduction in RFU funding, those players with contracts ending this season will have much to prove, especially in the light of the interest that has been expressed by Championship players outside of Coventry in the last few days (see yesterday’s post).
The club has stressed that it will remain fully professional next season, so it should be in a far better position than most to have first pick of those players in the Championship who fall victims of the RFU’s draconian cuts. If any Cov players needed a wake up call, then this must be it. Players released from other clubs are hardly going to be in a strong bargaining position, either.
I’ve not watched much of Andy Forsyth yet, so I’ll be interested to see how he gets on at outside centre, a position that hasn’t yet been filled with any great authority so far this season and with Cov’s injury/unavailability list on the increase, Ryan Olowofela makes his debut and is sure to be given a warm welcome as he takes his place in the back three alongside Dan Lewis and Rob Knox.
Pace and power out wide then in a game where we’re likely to move the ball around provided the conditions allow for an open game. James Stokes’ departure looked like it might leave us with problems but Dan Lewis has stepped up and is putting forward a strong case for being a regular in the match day 23 next season.
Great to see Dan and Luc Jeannot starting – two ‘youngsters’ who played in the same school side and are now running out together in the Championship. Rowland Winter has suggested that the average age of the squad will be reduced somewhat next season and whilst it is always good to have players with the experience of Burrows, Ram, Halaifonua and Nutley, we’ve seen what talented youngsters like Luc and Dan can bring to the team too. Exciting times.
Tomorrow will be a welcome relief from all the emotion of earlier in the week and with supporters sure to be behind the team, it should make for a great atmosphere.
If you’re not at the game tomorrow, Coventry will provide updates via its Twitter account and it might well be that BBC local radio is also covering the game as well.
As always (holidays aside!), I’ll be tweeting a live ‘commentary’, too.
Whilst my tweets might lack the technical accuracy of the above, they’ll certainly convey the emotion of the game – although admittedly I do get a little carried away at times, averaging 140 tweets a game….
Predictive texting and fat fingers do mean that very occasionally (!) I come out with some pretty surreal comments, but I know a number of people tune in, for which I am always very appreciative.
I’m on @CowshedTim should you fancy giving it a go.
Loved this back in the day, as I did most of Siouxsie’s music.
Dark, gothic, surreal and often strangely hypnotic.
Dear Prudence and Christine were often on the playlist, together with this and Hong Kong Garden…
…grab a coffee and sit back and enjoy.