Tonight’s game against a London Broncos reserves side at Butts Park Arena will herald a new dawn for all those involved with Coventry Bears.
Gone is long term coach Tom Tsang, who will be at the game leading his new Broncos team, with his replacement, former Bears CEO Alan Robinson taking charge of his first game in his new role of director of rugby.
Robinson has instigated many changes at the club, including the use of brand new Super League-standard training facilities at Warwick College. Add to that a brand new 4G playing surface at Butts Park, and a three-year deal to remain there, and everything looks to be in place for the club to make yet another step forward.
“It’s a big game all round because it is also Tom’s first outing with London and he’s coming back to his old home,” said Robinson.
“It’s the first real reality of being on the ground for me. I’ve usually been in the stands but I’ll be down there now influencing the game.
“Having been around other clubs in off-field matters for the last five years I have been able to see what we needed to put right this year. I have been working hard on getting the fundamentals right.
“It’s a bit of a back to basics culture now and hopefully that will stand us in good stead. We are working hard and I know we have to work harder than every other club if we are to get any closer to the more established clubs.
“The facilities we’ve invested in at Warwick have been great for us.
“When got a new 4G pitch to train on, a swimming pool to use and new strength and condition facilities to take advantage of and dedicate time to, it allows you to do all sorts of things weren’t able to do before.
“It means we’re able to operate now to a different level and a level some other clubs can’t. I am just hoping that will pay off this season.
“The players have embraced the changes and I can already see that they are better for them.
“The biggest thing about the game is that it sees all the changes we have made come together. It comes at a good time for us and I can’t wait to get started.”
The game also gives Robinson the chance to prove he is as much a Rugby League man on the field, as he’s already proved himself to be off it.
“Not many people within the professional game will know much about me,” said Robinson.
“I set this club up from day one 20 years ago and have always been behind the club from a business and marketing perspective.
“But I have also played the game. I have been a full Irish International, played in France, played up north for a number of clubs and have spent a lot of time around the game.
“As a player and coach I have been around many different levels so my knowledge of the game is there.
“Those who know me, know I am more of a rugby man than I am a backroom man – but many people in the game don’t know that.
“I am relishing this new challenge and there are probably people asking if I can do it, but I have been around the game and observed a lot about how other clubs do things over the years.
“I always like to prove the naysayers wrong in Rugby League and I am a bit more in the driving seat to try and do that now.”