Friday, 29 June 2007

Send me to Coventry

It looks like Coventry Rugby Club could do with a little help with their public relations. Andrew Green, who bought the club last summer, has presided over a number of PR gaffes in the subsequent months including:

- a positive drugs test against their Samoan fullback Apoua Stewart;

- the suspension and then sacking of fitness coach Darren Grewcock for allegedly verbally abusing a supporter, an allegation he strenuously denied, claiming that he had been "stitched up" and describing the club's disciplinary and dismissal hearings as "kangaroo courts"; and

- the suspension and subsequent resignation of club head coach Mike Umaga, allegedly for such heinous acts as allowing his wife to drive his club car.

However, the latest incident just beggars belief. Apparently the club has banned a lifelong fan from their ground after she was summoned to court to give evidence against them.

Claire Harrison, aged 19, who has been attending matches at the club since she was a baby, was summoned to give evidence against the club at a civil court hearing between the club and their kit provider over disputed invoice claims. The club lost the case and was ordered to pay the kit provider £4,354 plus interest over the debt and £220 costs.

Claire then received a letter from Andrew Green which reads:

"I would like to state for the record that your actions have caused us surprise and confusion...

"I feel unfortunately I only have one course of action and that is, from this date forward, to request that until further notice you have no formal relationship with this club.

"I would ask that you refrain from attending our premises under any circumstances, which includes any functions, games or meetings."

Petty and vindictive are just two of the words doing the rounds on the messageboards about this one and quite rightly so, and an online petition to get Coventry to reverse the decision is under way.

So, some free PR advice to Mr Green – apologise, reverse your decision and stop being a plonker.

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