rugbyunion
Latest News:

The Sound of the Crowd


By Mark Forster
January 16 2019

SUPPORTING any Coventry side can be a bit like finding a big grey cloud behind any silver lining.

The loss to Doncaster Knights at Butts Park Arena was disappointing. The manner of defeat was disappointing.

But there was a bright spot - the attendance.

Now I don't know how many travelling fans followed the Yorkshire side down to the Midlands, but 2,147 was a good turnout for those of us who remember BPA seasons where 1,200 was a result through the turnstiles.

Even so, it's not quite as good as Coventry's 2,226 average crowd thus far this campaign, and dwarfed by the five figure crowds across the city at The Ricoh.

Yet, it's an upward curve. Coventry is a club that nearly went bust, that's enjoyed a renaissance, that exploded out of National League One, that has fared better than most promoted to the Championship in recent years. People are coming back. And that has to be a good thing.

Opponents don't like coming to BPA. It's partisan, they say. Brilliant.

While I'm not a fan of the nomadic Londoners coming to my city and upstaging my club, I have to admit Wasps are doing well spreading the rugby gospel. I don't care how they're doing it, whether they're throwing out free tickets or begging passers-by on the streets to take a seat. They're encouraging people to watch, back their brand and for me, that's a positive for the future. Yes, they might be losing money hand over fist, but isn't almost every Premiership club bar Exeter?

Jon Sharp and his cohorts that have given Coventry a bright future don't have to follow suit, damaging the cashflow with oodles of free tickets. But where have the people who packed into Coundon Road gone? Some undoubtedly have gone to Wasps, some undoubtedly have remained faithful to Cov.

The rest?

Attendances for live sport aren't as good as they were. I remember being barged (unintentionally) due to lack of space in the Cowshed at Coundon Road in a game against Northampton Saints some 30 years ago. And again against Leicester. Moseley was another big crowd, I remember in the old days. I don't know the attendances for some of those games, but Coundon Road had a capacity of 9,000 and often it was jam packed.

I'm sure more squeezed in on occasion.

It's been different at the BPA, with its 4,000 cap. For those of us lucky to be at last year's record breaking finale, the 3,758 crowd was a record for National League One, and what an atmosphere it was. But Coventry's average attendance last season was 1,869. The season before, Rowland Winter's first in charge, it was 1,264. In the 2015/16 season, the average was lower, at 1,152.

So our crowd is growing.

My biggest disappointment is that circumstances have meant I've seen just three games this season. Living in deepest, darkest Cornwall it's not easy getting to the BPA as it is.

Every voice helps the team out on the pitch. Every body in the stadium helps the club financially. Especially if they're buying food and drink.

So, while the 2,147 isn't as good as Coundon Road or some attendances at BPA already this season, it's moving in the right direction.

Roll on the days when BPA is packed to the rafters as we entertain Saints and Tigers again. And before any quips, that's with us in the Premiership, not those clubs being relegated. Roll on the days of 6,000 attendances. Of 7,000 and 8,000. It will come with success, but the fans have to be part of it. Results haven't worked in our favour on the pitch, but results off it are hugely encouraging.

View a Printer Friendly version of this Story.

Bookmark or share this story with:

Unofficial Coventry Rugby
The Sound of the Crowd
Unofficial Coventry Rugby (IP Logged)
16/01/2019 12:03
What do you think? You can have your say by posting below.
If you do not already have an account Click here to Register.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:01:20:13:06:15 by AdminBTCov.

 
markoddy
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
Mark (IP Logged)
16/01/2019 13:26
A lot of those from 30 years ago will have sadly passed on.
not too many of the young population of the city have been brought up on high end rugby with a decent matchday experience which is a problem to overcome, success on the pitch and exciting brand of rugby is what is needed , build on last season we are showing glimpses of having a wow factor this in patches at home and hopefully it will arrive in the not too distant future as a long term entity.
The local press still has Coventry way back in its priorities behind the nomads, Cov City Wasps netball and even the Bears some weeks.
Most weeks the match report in the Coventry Observer would be smaller than most others on an inner page , jostling for space with a cyclling event or an indoor bowls match !
The club, players , venue and history deserves better



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2019:01:16:13:57:14 by Mark.

 
Old Faithful
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
Old Faithful (IP Logged)
16/01/2019 17:48
A couple more positive points Mark:

1. Saturday's gate v. Doncaster of 2147 was our 2nd highest home attendance of the season behind the 2943 v. London Irish.

2. Our lowest home gate of 1686 v. Nottingham is still higher than any of our away attendances this season.

We may not be getting the numbers of years gone by but thanks to Jon, Rowland, the players, et al, we do seem to be slowly building again. I'm not being complacent, just looking at the positives.

 
Diesel74
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
Diesel74 (IP Logged)
17/01/2019 09:01
Good points, well made, chaps.
The piece is meant to provoke comment and sometimes, won't chime with other people's views.
I still think that we're on an upward curve with everything re Cov
Jon Sharp, Rowland Winter, everyone involved, Supporters' Club, the fans.
My old newspaper is out of touch with the city and county, but has fewer reporters than the weeklies of yesteryear.
Wasps is an easy target audience, because it includes people from out of the area. Extra clicks on the website and that's all they care about.
But had it not been for the sterling efforts of certain people, we might not even have a club fighting for column inches.

Mark

 
HoboAl
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
HoboAl (IP Logged)
17/01/2019 09:59
1. I am not sure Coundon Road was always as jam packed as people remember?
2. If you go back to the 60's and 70's a lot of sporting events were better attended then.
3. I am happy with the small but steady upturn in support for Coventry. We don't want too big an increase too soon as the infra structure for fans needs improving to cope with a decent match day experience. I thought the semi permanent marquee clubhouse at Nottingham was excellent. Also their temporary stands were also better than they looked. Something Coventry could consider. Also Ealings freight container bar?
4. One thing I think is great for Coventry is how many of the 1,500 hard core fans have committed themselves to season tickets and Supporters Club membership.

A lot to be positive about.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:01:17:10:04:37 by HoboAl.

 
Diesel74
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
Diesel74 (IP Logged)
18/01/2019 10:15
Quote:
HoboAl
1. I am not sure Coundon Road was always as jam packed as people remember?

Good point. I was playing rugby regularly myself - in days when I had to work Saturday shifts, before becoming a specialist reporter I'd play every other week and try to get to Coundon Road after work the other Saturday if there was a home game. If not, I'd go to my own club and support them.
It always seemed to be noisy, fun and vibrant from memory, but I think that was largely the Cowshed.
I would hazard a guess - and it is very much a guess - that there were still people about from the 'glory days' of the post war period, certainly my next door neighbour was still going in the 1990s and he would have been in his 80s,
We didn't have much consistent success in the 80s or 90s - some brilliant games, exciting performances, but it's success that brings in the crowds.

Mark

 
Roger Fox
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
Roger Fox (IP Logged)
18/01/2019 16:22
You could almost smell the atmosphere and the history in Coundon Road particularly in the corrugated iron urinal at the back of the Cowshed. Why was it Coundon Road when it was in Barker Butts Road. The ash terrace from the gasworks, at the City end, used in big matches? The plebians in the Cowshed looking over to the posh lot in the stands. Some big names played on that pitch, Judd, Godwin, Mc Lean, the Walkers, Jackson, Preece, Duckham, on and on. County Finals, South Africa, and did I see the Rest of England v Warwickshire, where Warwickshire won. A long time ago and if I'm wrong forgive me. How could you get 9,000 in that tight little ground. Sold for a mess of pottage. We didn't have a ground subsidised by the Council, nor run by a bunch of posh boys. Just a proud working class club run by members, which punched above its weight.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:01:18:16:34:41 by Roger Fox.

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
OldNick (IP Logged)
18/01/2019 17:20
Iirc, Coundon Road as far as the level crossing, and Barkerís Butts Lane past the ground.

 
GetxoGreg
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
GetxoGreg (IP Logged)
18/01/2019 18:52
An interesting and thought provoking post. I do dream that if football can have Liverpool and Everton, can rugby be big enough for Coventry having Cov and the buzzing insects. Any way, off to Murrayfield now for Edinburgh v Montpellier. I'll be back down for the Hartbury game and thanks for the friendly chat at Nottingham before Christmas.

 
Roger Fox
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
Roger Fox (IP Logged)
18/01/2019 20:30
I believe that the road outside Cov Rugby was Coundon Rd. when the club moved in. The road was renamed Barker Butts Lane when the surrounding area was developed. Was there any other ground where there was a line of benches pitchside, in Cov's case on the Cowshed side. A precarious position.

 
markoddy
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
Mark (IP Logged)
18/01/2019 20:46
Coundon Rd starts at the city side of the railway line

 
Diesel74
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
Diesel74 (IP Logged)
19/01/2019 15:19
I seem to think I had a conversation with someone many years ago when I started at the CET, who seemed to think the ground was named after the nearby railway station. Because after World War One, work on building Coundon began in earnest and the rugby club had got in there for prime land quick.

There wasn't a 'road' as such past the railway station, and, interestingly, the road from the city to the station was until the early 1900s called Coundon Lane and until 1870-something the station was known as Counden Road.

[maps.nls.uk]

Anyone who loves looking at old maps could do well to have a play on the National Library of Scotland website. I have loads of fun researching.

Mark

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
AdminBTCov (IP Logged)
19/01/2019 15:23
I use it a lot Mark. Great resource.

 
Roger Fox
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
Roger Fox (IP Logged)
22/01/2019 19:49
Quote:
Diesel74
I seem to think I had a conversation with someone many years ago when I started at the CET, who seemed to think the ground was named after the nearby railway station. Because after World War One, work on building Coundon began in earnest and the rugby club had got in there for prime land quick.
There wasn't a 'road' as such past the railway station, and, interestingly, the road from the city to the station was until the early 1900s called Coundon Lane and until 1870-something the station was known as Counden Road.

[maps.nls.uk]

Anyone who loves looking at old maps could do well to have a play on the National Library of Scotland website. I have loads of fun researching.

Mark
Thank you. I will check, but I believe you are right. The street out of the town starts with Hill St. Then Coundon Rd.. After the level crossing it becomes Barker Butts Lane. I can only assume that there must have been a roadway of some sort after the crossing, otherwise why the crossing and underpass. Was it Coundon Road still. Oops.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2019:01:22:19:58:39 by Roger Fox.

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
AdminBTCov (IP Logged)
22/01/2019 22:14
Counden Rd was changed to Coundon Rd in 1894.

 
Diesel74
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
Diesel74 (IP Logged)
23/01/2019 08:38
Quote:
Roger Fox
I can only assume that there must have been a roadway of some sort after the crossing, otherwise why the crossing and underpass. Was it Coundon Road still. Oops.

While it would have been known by some name, locally, the maps don't show what is today Barkers Butts Lane as having a name.

My great grandparents moved to Batsford Road after it was built in the early 20s and my great grandfather did a lot of walking in the area before Coundon was built. He told me that the roads around Coundon and Allesley were like Staircase Lane was (before the Jaguar road), apart from the Toll Road - now Holyhead Road in Coundon and Birmingham Road in Allesley, and Allesley Old Road, which used to be known as simply Allesley Road.

[www.british-history.ac.uk]

Coundon was a pretty quiet area until the advent of housing estates as can be seen by the latter part of that link.

The main roads out of the city were the Holyhead Road and Radford Road. Coundon Road, as a station, was important for some workers coming into the city from Longford and Nuneaton direction, and schoolboys at Bablake, but its real importance was as a major coal yard. So it was well enough known to give its name to the rugby ground as an indicator given that Coundon, as such, was still being built. The houses near the level crossing were, I'm given to understand, built for the railway workers manning the station, signal box and coal yard.

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
AdminBTCov (IP Logged)
23/01/2019 10:28
Yes, the coal wharf was very busy, with eleven sidings at one time.
The station itself acted as a terminus for a while after the collapse of the Spon End viaduct, with passengers from Nuneaton having to walk down Coundon Road and Hill St to get to town.

 
Diesel74
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
Diesel74 (IP Logged)
23/01/2019 11:35
It had 17 at its height, handling much of the north Warwickshire coal, and almost an extension of Cov goods yard. They talked about a line from there down to the gas works but there was before Foleshill gas works, which, of course, had its own dedicated lines. THere was also talk of a branch line to Allesley from Coundon Road, but that was left on the drawing board.

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
AdminBTCov (IP Logged)
23/01/2019 11:59
I'll take your word for it, but I've only ever seen 11 on maps - and that looked pretty cramped!

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
OldNick (IP Logged)
23/01/2019 12:18
[www.warwickshirerailways.com]
Particularly [www.warwickshirerailways.com] is an excellent resource.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:01:23:12:19:32 by OldNick.

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
AdminBTCov (IP Logged)
23/01/2019 13:55
That seems to tally with the 11 sidings figure. I'm trying to find a map showing more, but failing badly.

 
markoddy
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
Mark (IP Logged)
23/01/2019 16:55
Quote:
AdminBTCov
That seems to tally with the 11 sidings figure. I'm trying to find a map showing more, but failing badly.

My dad had coal bunkers in the railway yard, i spent many a saturday morning shovelling coal off the floor from lorry deliveries and out of railway carriages.
Cant beat a steel floor carriage for slips , cuts and shuddering wrists when it started to lift causing the shovel to come to an abrupt halt !
I dont thinlk there would of been 17 sidings from memory.
A few short splinter lines off the sidings to hold the odd carriage so we had time to empty them.
Match days we had to be out by 12.30



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:01:23:17:02:06 by Mark.

 
Diesel74
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
Diesel74 (IP Logged)
24/01/2019 08:45
Love that, Mark.

And AdminBTCov, yes, sorry, my mistake. There were 11 at the height, but, before the houses were built backing onto the coal yard, there were plans for more roads, along with the line to the gas works. That's where the 17 roads came from.
Memory and thumby fingers on a mobile phone screen. That'll learn me sad smiley

Mark

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
AdminBTCov (IP Logged)
24/01/2019 08:54
No probs Mark. We're digressing slightly anyway!

 
Roger Fox
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
Roger Fox (IP Logged)
24/01/2019 14:19
Quote:
AdminBTCov
No probs Mark. We're digressing slightly anyway!
Yes, but very interesting.

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
AdminBTCov (IP Logged)
24/01/2019 15:51
I think so too Roger - but no doubt others are muttering!

 
Diesel74
Re: The Sound of the Crowd
Diesel74 (IP Logged)
24/01/2019 21:41
Keeping it off-topic for a moment winking smiley

[markdieselforster.wordpress.com]

Mark

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
We record all IP addresses on the Sportnetwork message boards which may be required by the authorities in case of defamatory or abusive comment. We seek to monitor the Message Boards at regular intervals. We do not associate Sportnetwork with any of the comments and do not take responsibility for any statements or opinions expressed on the Message Boards. If you have any cause for concern over any material posted here please let us know as soon as possible by e-mailing abuse@sportnetwork.net
 

Coventry Poll

Where will we finish at the end of the 2018-19 season?

See results > Submit >>