IKEA looking to support Cov Rugby after city store closure…

cov-ruby-banner-2019Clouds and silver linings and all that…

Last month, IKEA announced plans to close its Coventry store in the Summer, 13 years after it first opened, citing the reason as ‘substantially lower visitor numbers’, the result of changing customer habits – most notably an increasing desire to shop online.

In the statement that accompanied the announcement, the company accepted it would have to enter a ‘consolidation’ period with the 352 workers employed at the Coventry store to discuss the ‘next steps and proposals’ and that:

‘IKEA has the ambition to retain as many people as possible within IKEA and, where this isn’t possible, support them to find new employment. Our priorities are to seek redeployment opportunities, minimise compulsory redundancies and secure the best deal we can for our members’

The Evening Standard – Ikea to close Coventry store

What might be hugely disappointing news for the city as a whole could yet prove to be a blessing in disguise for Coventry Rugby, with the club apparently in discussions with the Swedish company to ensure that although soon gone, it will never be forgotten.

At least not by Coventry Rugby.

Although IKEA’s founder, business magnate Ingvar Kamprad, sadly passed away in 2018, he had visited the city a number of times and had made it clear how much he’d enjoyed himself when he stayed at the Ramada Hotel, close to the BPA.

Kamprad had watched Cov play on a couple of occasions and had apparently loved the  ground and the atmosphere it generates and it appears that whilst he came to rugby late in life, he was a big England fan and enjoyed watching the game live.

As I understand it, Kamprad had followed Cov Rugby’s fortunes closely before his death two years ago.

IKEA’s Head Office in Milton Keynes decided to get in touch with the Cov Board soon after the announcement of the impending closure of its Coventry store when it was made aware of the RFU’s decision to cut funding to the Championship.

They realised the likely impact that would have on Cov and wanted to do something to support the club that Kamprad had grown to love in his final years.

Initially, it appears Cov were offered first refusal on any of the surplus stock left after the summer closure of the Coventry store at no cost to the club – in itself a generous offer. With IKEA selling anything from tables and chairs to storage and outdoor furnishings, Cov could certainly make use of such a generous gift.

But I understand IKEA’s support doesn’t end there.

Aware of potential damage a sustained Coronavirus lockdown could have on the club’s finances, meetings with Cov Rugby have increased of late. Rumour has it that, and this is only a rumour, IKEA is to totally re-equip the kitchens/catering areas at the club and will use staff made redundant by the closure of IKEA (and paid for by IKEA) to augment Coventry’s own catering team.

Apparently, it intends to offer some of the standard IKEA fayre so popular at its stores’ cafes and restaurants, including  Swedish meatballs with lingonberry jam, chips and cream sauce, SjÖrapport salmon and Iste BjÖrksmak – provided there is a demand for it.

I can think of two interested parties on a match day, for sure!

Whilst this has yet to be confirmed, it does fit in with IKEA’s February statement that it was anxious to seek redeployment opportunities for its work force.

Furthermore, IKEA is in negotiations with Volvo, with whom it has a number of partnerships, to explore a major sponsorship deal including cars for the coaches, players and support staff and  coaches both for the players and the CRSC for use on match days.

Not content with stopping there, IKEA is also exploring the possibility of  also involving telecommunications giants Ericsson as they look at further ways of strengthening their bond with Coventry Rugby – I understand this would include a new public address system, better use of the scoreboard and further boards elsewhere around the ground.

With the likelihood of further ground expansion, having IKEA on board so early could be a real coup for the club.

Speaking from Sweden, IKEA’s UK Operations Manager, Loof Lirpa, commented:

The company has tried a number of initiatives to keep the store open but these have not resolved the fundamental challenges connected to the location and the format of the store…an attempt by IKEA to downsize or redevelop the site was not a realistic option.

(We) have already started a consultation with the 352 workers affected and we have the ambition to retain as many people as possible within IKEA and, where this isn’t possible, support them to find new employment…

Who knows what the future holds in the light of these current discussions – Nordic Hotels opening their first hotel on site, an H&M store perhaps or even a drive-through Smörgåsbord store, perhaps?

Exciting times…

12 thoughts on “IKEA looking to support Cov Rugby after city store closure…

  1. excerpt from today from Cov Observer,a good read for log followers whom cannot see the free paper……COVENTRY Rugby have been confirmed as fourth-placed finishers in the 2019/20 Greene King IPA Championship table.
    Following the early end of the season the RFU has applied a formula for the remaining games of the season – taking into account each club’s respective home and away form over the campaign to date.
    The formula took the weighting for home and away performances, with the average number of league points gained for all home matches added to the points total for each outstanding home match and the same for away matches.
    Newcastle are top on 104.5 points and will be promoted to the Premiership, with Yorkshire Carnegie relegated to National League One.
    For Coventry Rugby the fourth-placed finish represents the highest the club has achieved since 2001/02 and is the fourth successive year in which the team has finished higher than the previous season.
    Indeed, in that time Coventry have gone from being the 33rd-ranked team in England to 16th.
    Cov were also set to beat the playing records from last year, too. When the campaign had ended with 15 games played, there had been eight wins compared to nine from 22 matches last season, with 3.6 tries scored per game compared to 2.9 in 2018/19 and 2.5 tries conceded this year compared to 3.8 in 2018/19.
    Off the field, Coventry Rugby have been going from strength to strength, too, with average attendances up by more than ten per cent year-on-year and a range of partners from across the Coventry business community getting behind the club.
    The new Band Hatton Button Marquee was also a popular addition and hospitality was sold out for more than half the home matches played at Butts Park Arena.
    The match day community programme went from strength to strength, with junior clubs and organisations enjoying time on the pitch and seeing behind the scenes.
    Director of rugby Rowland Winter is understandably delighted. He said: “Fourth is a significant improvement on last season and, given the results we’d expect from the remaining matches, we would have expected to finish in that position.

    “It is just reward for all the hard work that has been put in over the season and I’d like to thank the players, coaches and staff for their efforts and the supporters and partners for their commitment throughout the campaign.

    “We’d also like to congratulate Newcastle on their promotion, especially now our home record means we’d have beaten them at Butts Park!

    “Commiserations to Yorkshire Carnegie and we’re looking forward to seeing Richmond back in the Championship next season.”

    Managing director Nick Johnston said all of the staff at Butts Park deserved praise.

    “It’s been a full team effort and we’ve seen huge improvements in all areas,” he commented.

    “It stands us in good stead to meet the challenges ahead.”

    The same formula has been applied to all of the RFU’s leagues, meaning Richmond have been promoted back to the Greene King IPA Championship at the first time of asking.
    ……..and after pools panel style verdicts final table for 2019-2020 ends up as below

    Club Points
    1. Newcastle Falcons (P) 104.50
    2. Ealing Trailfinders 83.42
    3. Cornish Pirates 75.43
    4. Coventry 65.80
    5. Ampthill 58.34
    6. Nottingham 50.88
    7. Jersey Reds 49.04
    8. Bedford Blues 46.36
    9. London Scottish 42.43
    10.Doncaster Knights 36.84*
    11.Hartpury University 35.29
    12.Yorkshire Carnegie (R) 2.75
    *Doncaster Knights were deducted 5 points on 31/03/20 for use of an unregistered agent
    contrary to Regulation 8

    top 4th spot final position good outcome.status quo as thats the position before season was aborted,well done Cov.

  2. Can you imagine…David Icke 😂😂😂 Would be a fair few conspiracy theories doing the rounds for sure. Cov could do with some spiritual guidance I reckon. Heck, I’m not religious but I’ve said a few prayers quietly to myself over the years.

  3. also spotted again for about the fifth time at fort BPA on the morning of 1st of April Mr David Icke ex bbc sports commentator sky blues goalkeeper personal messenger from God and of the pink shell suite fame,
    the rumour flying around was that he will be the signed up as the next pastoral manager of the whole Cov rugby set up
    covering all the teams and backroom staff ,al and sundry.
    I finally managed to catch up with Mr John Sharp and asked if this appointment was true?
    His reply quote was brisque Trevor we are running this rugby club to make a profit,we dont need to sign a Prophet!

  4. Great April fool…..had me believing and wondering why the club hadn’t said anything! Nice one and a bit of fun and a Change from all the mostly excellent clips and light hearted stories doing the rounds. Excellent.

  5. Oh Tim, if only. You had me hooked there for a while but then I tumbled to it. We also had a note today to say that the Scottish Parliament is going to be the first the ban sales of alcohol during the Coronavirus shut down.

  6. Nice one Tim. You had me convinced for quite a while. The penny dropped when Loof Lirpa appeared. Stay safe.

  7. Gotcha!

    Cruel but fair.

    Personally, I’ve forgotten what day it is!!
    Time drifting at the moment.

    Keep your distance.


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