Guest Post by Rugby Irons
There are enough of us on this site with football administration experience and player coaching/ management to truly recognise there really are major problems at the club. I’m very familiar with the Coventry City story. They were a long standing Premier club, who had greedy owners who moved the club to a new stadium without thinking it through long term. This lack of a ‘project’ has now badly backfired on them as they are in a sorry state. They don’t own a ground or training ground, have just got relegated again and have their fans flocking to the rugger or not returning at all. And I tell you this because this has our club written all over it.
I intended to write a review of the season but in truth you have to go back further than that and not just in time. We now have two owners who cannot take the club further. If you view them as using the club as a cash cow that is one angle, the other being they genuinely love the club but in truth do not have the money to take it further. They have also employed a number of people who have disrupted the club and its fan base with particularly poor judgement calls and lack of consultation/consideration with their clients, sorry supporters, which will now be difficult to put right. A number of these senior officials also look to be leaving for seemingly lower clubs so what’s the problem in retention?
The owners and Karren Brady have clearly used the club to promote themselves and their interests but by using their families and social media have opened a huge gap between having owners you can respect and those who keep embarrassing the club. What is ironic is the very comments they make with stupid speculating ultimately cost the club in terms of points, success and most importantly for them money, as these same outbursts stop these players from coming to us. I understand that as owners they can do what they want so why let hangers on do their bidding (and so badly) for them. It comes down to professionalism or vanity, and probably both for our club.
However, as owners, they are more than just that. The playing staff is just one area and frankly who knows or understands their thinking on how it works. For us last season it clearly didn’t.
This brings me to my other point. Just how does our behind the scenes team work? We have a frankly shocking injury record. Stop and think about this as it’s been going on for far too long. If you have a long term work issue that stops the production or productivity then you fix it and sharp about it. So why haven’t we? And it’s this lack of positive action that concerns me.
Being on the tele and social media is one thing but shouldn’t you be on the shop floor sorting out your grass root problems, or put another way, would you sit and do nothing if you were in charge? The fitness of our squad has been an issue ever since 41 year old Billy Bonds, who would still beat the entire first team squad in preseason running exercises, retired. Since then our preseasons have been very poor, our injury list no shorter and the fitness levels shocking. How many seasons have we got off to a good start and maintained it? Not many. So why aren’t the owners doing more about it?
If the medical team cannot reduce the injury list then bring in a new team. It should be the same with the conditioning team. I also want to include the statistical review teams and scouts, who don’t seem to being providing the right information to support the pregame routine.
And if anything the other huge area for improvement is our psychologist department (if we even have one). If you consider that statistically the best player in the Premiership has his own personal one, then why haven’t we been progressive enough to recruit in this direction. If the other departments cannot perform at this level at least if the head shrinks do that will improve the on field levels. The rest are doing it, we must raise the bar on this.
And if it’s the training ground then spend some money on improving or moving it. It’s the source of our problems and keeps being ignored. So too does the standard of the coaching staff. This has to change more than anything else. It’s the starting point for everything. I heard that Julian Dicks doesn’t take ‘defending but ’crossing exercises!
Whatever is going on the ‘intensity’ argument will rage on. On face value there isn’t any. SB may be a laid back sort of guy, but that shouldn’t stop his coaches pushing the squad. The whole kids in the tunnel v Liverpool seems to top off the real attitude of the playing side, it’s all haphazard and we’ll see how we go. Where is the real structure to what is going on? I wouldn’t argue with SB’s Managers assistant, as that’s more about support for him, but the rest of his team are lacking. Is Chris Woods appropriate for the keepers we have? Possibly. Is Julian Dicks, if he’s not helping in defence, then no frankly? We are crap in defence so why was Rio’s offer turned down? Without fit strikers to work with it must be difficult but we haven’t been anywhere near last season’s levels and you have to question why? If I was the owners I would demand answers not let someone bring it up in a Saturday rag as an excuse.
The players will soon be swanning off on their second holiday this year. The first was the disastrous jolly to Dubai, which proved form the results straight after it that’s it’s a complete waste of time and money. Again a lack of discipline and pandering to the players. So as they do go off again for a well-earned break ( not) isn’t this the time to get the backroom teams, give each a proper review , sack the ones who can’t improve and let them work across the summer to improve the set up before the players return , before the preseason holiday to wherever.
I have deliberately not commented on the players performances as that’s a row for another day but if you take them out of the equation and look at what’s left its pretty much a shambles. We have owners who won’t progress because they don’t have the money or ambition and are happy to stick to tried and failed practises in pandering to family and hanger ons. They have not truly engaged with their client base (you stopped being supporters when you left Upton Park) and if the seating arrangements are not sorted by the chief hanger on, then the cycle starts again and we continue from the wrong place. Regardless of whether we like it or not the Stadium has to be an asset to the clients and club. Keeping her away from it would help unless like the others she can prove she can vastly improve her performance.
If the owners can put the backroom facilities and staff right over the summer, then I would be much happier than having to wait for Jack and her to start spouting over who we aren’t getting in. No point in having good players if they aren’t kept fit or motivated mentally and physically. When all said and done its just simple working practises. Keep your production up to date and working efficiently. The end product will produce the goods. Then look to improve the process with better and better and repeat. Anything that holds up the process, get rid. Do this and you keep your client base happy and keep coming back. Fail to do this and everything like in the cases of Coventry, Leeds, Forest, Wednesday, the O’s you will fail. The first season at the new place is done. Now it’s time to be more honest and get it right next season. Personally I won’t be looking at which aging ex Worldy we will be bidding for but how the club looks at the picture as I see it above. I want the youths to be given a real chance and to see the club either improves or fails. If this season was a big one, next season will be even harder if we don’t prepare properly. You all know the phrase, like many of you am sure you used it in your own training sessions. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Over to you the owners of this magnificent club.
NOTE FROM IAIN: These are Rugby’s views and do not represent those of WHTID. Free speech can be a terrible thing sometimes… :)