It’s a serious business you know – restoring position and pride back to Coventry rugby club – and that means text messages containing frivolous phrases such as ‘Operation Phoenix’ do not pass without comment.
“We don’t do phoenixes here any more,” chairman Peter Rossborough tells me in response my request for an update on the state of the Blue and White union.
“A phoenix is a mythical creature and we are fed up with myths. We are based in reality here and that means good players, earning sustainable money and playing for the shirt.”
The reality of paying players, good or otherwise, hasn’t been great for Coventry and while the Cov dollar has brought legends like Zinzan Brooke to the club, the vast majority of players who have worn the famous old shirt since the advent of professionalism have been legends in their own minds only.
But that’s all in the past and the exhumation of old skeletons is not what Rossborough and new Coventry are about, and the other soundbite that stands out from our interview confirms as much.
“Our mission is to make the city as proud of the rugby club’s present and future as its past,” he says.
And to be fair the current custodians of the institution are doing a pretty good job. Indeed on Saturday victory over Macclesfield could lift them from fifth to second in the third tier of English rugby.
Not as high as they have ever been, but as high as they have been for some time and certainly confirmation that their fortunes have bottomed out.
Seeing it in print might make their officials wince but the signs are Coventry are on their way back and the emphasis has changed from ‘if we get back to level two’.
“We are anxious to make sure that when we return to the Championship the finances are in a healthy state and we know we can sustain it,” Rossborough says. “I don’t want us to go up and come straight back down again.
Even with the central funding we would get we are probably not there yet but I hope that will change in the next couple of years.
“The word seems to be spreading around the city that we are a reliable, trustworthy and honest group of people because we are getting a lot of feedback from local businesses.”
The twin pillars of Coventry’s rebirth have been sponsorship deals with Jaguar Land Rover and Unipart Logistics, whose contribution includes the inestimably important role of handling talismanic centre Luke Myring’s transition from full time rugby into the workforce.
The former Leicester and Northampton midfielder is cited by many of his team-mates as the main difference between this year and last when Cov struggled in front of the sticks.
With three tries and 78 points via his unerring boot, Myring is the division’s leading scorer and rugby director Phil Maynard is fulsome in his praise of the 27-year-old.
“It’s been some time since we’ve had someone who can claim that,” Maynard notes. “But what’s really valuable has been his leadership quality, which has come to the fore.”
Myring’s presence at inside centre has also brought to an end the revolving turnstile policy that characterised last year’s defence. From having the third worst points against total last season, they now have the third best.
“We can thank Dave Ellis for that too,” Maynard says. “It’s nice for the club to have worked with someone who has taken France into the World Cup final although he’ll probably put his prices up now.”
And Rossborough feels Maynard is due a slice of the credit too. When he was originally appointed the abrasive 56-year-old was as popular in Coventry as mouldy cheese after he spent many seasons at Bees goading their rivals and taking pot shots from down the A45.
However, times, people and opinions change and Rossborough maintains the former Stourbridge and Worcester coach has played an integral role in Coventry’s history.
“Sometimes Phil can be a little off hand with his detractors but he is very enthusiastic about what he’s doing,” Rossborough insists.
“He has done absolutely tremendously for us. The year we got relegated he worked his socks off to get a viable group of players to stop our slide and he has done that admirably. He also has a contacts book that spans the world and every division in England and that has been an enormous benefit to us.”
As useful as tricks like finding Myring out of sorts at Roma Olympic are, though, it has been Maynard’s ability to judge players and assistant coaches closer to home that has been crucial.
The appointment of Pete Glackin as backs coach meant wingers Jeff Gregson and Tom Harris and several other players followed him from Rugby Lions.
There has also been some useful fortification the front row from Northampton Saints and the introduction of local players which, combined with the retention of club stalwart Dave Addleton as forwards coach, has created a team spirit in stark contrast to that engendered by the mercenaries who were relegated.
“We are really pleased with the start to the season,” Rossborough says. “We’ve got 25 points and it took us until December or January to get that many last year.
"The players are all very positive and it’s good that they feel that way and having taken five points from each of our last two very difficult away matches, they have every reason to be positive.
“Whether or not that means we can compete with Ealing Trailfinders or Fylde is another matter, though.
“We have a healthy amount of support but we need to increase that to sustain ourselves at a higher level, we don’t want any more false dawns.”