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Bad times in West Cumbria


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#21 The Parksider

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 07:30 AM

QUOTE (nadera78 @ Jul 9 2010, 01:22 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
They'd be complaining about forced mergers and whatever else, and instead of asking the opinions of 160,000 people living in the area everyone would be paying attention to a couple of hundred refuseniks with loud voices.


That is so so true.

When clubs get down to the last 6 fans will they still reject radical changes in case they upset the six??

What sane business would pay any heed to a dwindlling customer base? They would seek to remodel and attract a new bigger one wether the old customers liked it or not.

I suppose the answer to that may be the usual "it's not a business it's a sport".

Well if fans want their clubs to run as a "sport" then join the amateurs and sport away.....

I have always noted how county games in Cumbria over the years seem to have attracted really good crowds and I think the thousands beyond the "refuseniks" would create a potential, but it will all come back to the money to provide the stadium at least - and even then more will be needed.

HKR's break even crowd is 10,000. Now I'm not sure that's achievable by Cumbria especially if they languish in an SL bottom four.

I like the idea of a merged club in NL1 - they'd probably win that annually by a mile. (Hides from Derwent - just a bit of fantasy mate, your clubs are nowt to do with me)


#22 Derwent

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 07:41 AM

Parky, no need to hide from me mate !

I've always said that anyone who wanted to put a SL club together needs to canvass opinion from the thousands who like RL but who don't watch either Town or Haven. Their opinion is much more important IMO as they'd form the bulk of your target audience.

The problem up here really is the start up costs. You'd need a new stadium, new squad, new infrastructure. Nobody would get a return on such an investment for quite some time, if ever. The money just isn't there to for someone to take the risk.

However, I reckon a SL club here could attract maybe 7k to games, more for big games (Workington got nearly 6k for a cup game against Leeds a few years back). Plus there would be other advantages for a team representing a region in that you'd potentially have not 1 but 3 councils to tap into funding from (Allerdale, Copeland & Eden), plus other county wide organisations like the new University of Cumbria.

As for the merged team at a lower level - what would actually be the point in that ?

Workington Town. Then. Now. Always.


#23 Keith T

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 04:27 PM

Having followed Town for 63 years I would take a new club tomorrow if it meant that we had a presence in the top layer of British RL. Sadly, the currenmt boards of each club will only listen to the perrenial losing diehards who still see their clubs as "big fish". Sleeping giants waiting to be awakened seems to be the dream of many but in reality they are small town clubs that the rugby league world is passing by and leaving behind.

As Derwent says it will only work with a large influx of finance and a ground midway between the two towns. If that could be achieved then all well and good and we could leave the 300 or so "over my dead body"s behind. The sad truth at present is that with nothing else to watch RL wise, other than good amateur games, many RL fans are walking away from the game altogether. Neither club can go on indefinitely, the way things are, and one or both will eventually fold and the hardnosed diehards will look on that as some sort of victory because they managed to stave off a new club in west Cumbria.

I remember when .............................

"It is impossible not to feel a twinge of sympathy for Workington Town, the fall guys this season for the Super League's determination to retain it's European dimension, in the shape of Paris. While the French have had every assistance to survive, the importance of having a flagship in a heartland area like West Cumbria has been conveniently forgotten." - Dave Hadfield - Independent 25th August 1996.


#24 dkw

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 04:52 PM

I think most RL fans in Cumbria would accept any changes if it meant Town and Whitehaven surviving but with a SL club also in the region as most are now realistic in their views and know neither team will ever get much further than the position they are currently in. My guess is there are a hell of a lot more people in the area who dont go to see either team but watch SL on sky than the combined attendances they are getting. They are the ones that would hopefully follow a SL team, and its a fairly big catchment area.

#25 Cumbrian Fanatic

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 05:41 PM

QUOTE (nadera78 @ Jul 9 2010, 01:22 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It's no good blaming the RFL on this one. If they went in and laid out a plan for the development of the game in West Cumbria, culminating with a club playing in SL, there would be uproar amongst the diehards (from Town, Haven and across the M62). They'd be complaining about forced mergers and whatever else, and instead of asking the opinions of 160,000 people living in the area everyone would be paying attention to a couple of hundred refuseniks with loud voices.

If anything is going to change then it has to come from the locals, it really does. Only then could the RFL even consider getting involved.

In fairness to Yanto he wasn't blaming the RFL, he acknowledged the head in the sand attitude of some but suggested the RFL could help the situation. Of course the refuseniks need to waNT THAT HELP
100% League 0% Union

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#26 The Parksider

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 09:41 PM

QUOTE (Derwent @ Jul 9 2010, 08:41 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
1. The problem up here really is the start up costs. You'd need a new stadium, new squad, new infrastructure. Nobody would get a return on such an investment for quite some time, if ever. The money just isn't there to for someone to take the risk.

2. As for the merged team at a lower level - what would actually be the point in that ?


1. Davey, Lenigan, Hughes, Moss, O'connor, Caddick, Moran, Hudgell, wilkinson etc do not take risks, they waste money on a favourite toy. Cumbria will be in SL when they can find someone to waste money on it.

2. I cannot get mi head round that mate. Workington have never been so low for so long, how can that be fun?
Haven look to be going the same way. A lower division merger would be so revolutionary, so positive.

It's not SL or nothing is it? there is life outside SL and I have been to NL matches and NL finals and it's a fact. There's still life and joy.

If Cumbria is such a hotbed of the game why not a cumbria RL annually clearing up on the NL trophies?????

you never know that may in time be a stepping stone to SL........


#27 yanto

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 12:14 AM

QUOTE (The Parksider @ Jul 9 2010, 11:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If Cumbria is such a hotbed of the game why not a cumbria RL annually clearing up on the NL trophies?????

The amateur scene (where most SL clubs get their talent from excluding the over the hill Aussie imports) is as strong as any in England (see a previous thread about how the young age groups are supplying championship winning sides) but as stated, the demise of both Town and Haven does not attract these youngsters into the local pro game.All they dream about is a SL contract and at the moment quite a few 18 & 19 year old's are at SL clubs.
When I was 17 all I wanted to do was pull on a Town shirt ..now they want a Wigan or Bradford shirt.
CARLA teams can mix it with the best its a crying shame that all the talent developed by these small village clubs are moving out of the county.


#28 yanto

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 12:15 AM

QUOTE (Keith T @ Jul 9 2010, 06:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Having followed Town for 63 years


Wow are you that old (young) Keith rolleyes.gif

#29 yanto

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 12:19 AM

QUOTE (Derwent @ Jul 9 2010, 09:19 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Do you know that there are 5 RFL funded development officers in the area ? However, there isn't one of them that's employed to do schools/junior development !

There's one each for coaching development, refereees, Over 35's and Tag RL and a general one who does a bit of everything.

But not one specific junior development officer.

With the resources being put into Over 35's and Tag it seems to me that the name of the game these days is simply to record increased participation in "RL" at whatever level in order to justify the Sport England funding. It does nothing for the future development of the game though.


You forgot the new "Teachers team" ...seems to me that the RFL are developing "Social league" before the main game.

#30 nec

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 08:35 AM

Avoided this until now as this debate tends to be dominated by people that know nothing about Cumbria telling the world at large that A CUMBRIA TEAM MUST BE PUT IN SL (usually at the expense of Welsh/London/French participation).

Just wanted to offer a few words about what the RFL are doing over here, Ant Atherton and the new schools development officer Louise Graham getting involved with rugby league at all levels in the east of the county since the Centurions stepped down from RLCN. This should help to secure the future for RL in Carlisle and to put things back on a firmer footing than they have been for many years. We have been stuck between two stools for a long time; too strong for the NE or Northern Premier leagues, but with too little strength in depth to guarantee being competitive home and away in the RLCN. Too reliant on 30 something products of previous schools development as the younger players tend to work Saturday mornings and can therefore only play home games in the RLCN. Hopefully a step down and a potential future move to summer by CARLA might see a local side of teenagers and lads in their early 20's being helped around by a couple of the older players (many of whom have taken or are taking their coaching badges). No predictions of future greatness and no promises, but better foundations should produce a more secure club in the long-term.

Getting people at all levels playing the game should be a priority for the RFL, artificially propping up ailing businesses that keep spending beyond their means should only be done in extremis. The situation in the west is one best characterised by the phrase 'in an ideal world we would have one successful club rather than 2 ailing clubs'. The rivalry grew in an era when people stayed in their home town, didn't travel too much and were fiercely parochial. A successful future West Cumbrian club would have to attract support and investment from people (like Dick Raaz) with their roots outside the area. Unfortunately, many rugby league clubs are deeply unwelcoming institutions where strangers are viewed with suspicion, background in other sports can be considered a personality flaw and accents are studied to judge whether you are 'one of us'.

Of course this state of affairs does not hold sway at every club, and everyone doubtless thinks their local club a home of camaraderie and amusing banter, but RL wears its working class heritage on its sleeve like no other sport (except possibly darts), which can dissuade potential players and investors from ever getting involved. Our communities are changing, the successful clubs will attract support from all sections of local society whilst the unsuccessful ones will attract a dwindling band of aging indigenous locals.

I have said for many years that a merged West Cumbrian side would in all likelihood mean Seaton & Wath Brow gained a few hundred fans each as the die-hards refused to back a side including 'Jam-eaters'; the question would be if enough new fans or lapsed fans could be attracted to watch better rugby in better surroundings to compensate. The finances of the West Cumbrian clubs seem to rise and fall with the local economy and both clubs have had plans dashed by councils/football clubs/nuclear industry on many occasions. One thing I don't think can be blamed for the problems on the 'Energy Coast' is franchising; indeed history shows that the historical financial instability stems from the days of automatic promotion and relegation.

I wish both clubs all the best, but think that the future is a West Cumbria club in a SL2 or enhanced Championship including Halifax, Widnes, Fev, Sheffield, Barrow, Oldham, Leigh, Toulouse, South Wales and York/Doncaster (names chosen on basis of clubs currently outside SL, could easily be Wakey/Cas/Salford instead of Fax/Widnes). The remainder of clubs with no real aspirations to compete at the highest level could then stop bankrupting themselves to pay players half decent salaries and take part in an open competition where they could build support, sponsorship and club strength (own facilities, revenue streams, youth development etc;). There is no reason why they could not move back up, but an audit on revenue streams and business plans should be compulsory and avoiding reliance on sugar daddies encouraged.
Rugby League is a sport that desperately needs to expand its geographical supporter base and its player base. This imperative means that all other requirements are secondary until this is done.

All power in the game should be with governing bodies, especially international governing bodies.

Without these actions we will remain a minor sport internationally and nationally.

#31 dkw

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 10:45 AM

QUOTE (nec @ Jul 10 2010, 09:35 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have said for many years that a merged West Cumbrian side would in all likelihood mean Seaton & Wath Brow gained a few hundred fans each as the die-hards refused to back a side including 'Jam-eaters'; the question would be if enough new fans or lapsed fans could be attracted to watch better rugby in better surroundings to compensate.

Up until about 3 or 4 years ago I would have agreed with you, but I think most fans around here are now realistic enough to know neither of our teams are ever gonna get into SL and the only way we will ever see top flight RL is with an entirely new Cumbrian club. Theres a hell of a lot of people in the area who are RL fans but dont follow either team, I see all kinds of SL clubs strips in both towns and outlying villages. There also used to be quite a few visitors from just over the border when Town were in the big league and I would expect some of them to return if the big teams were on view.

#32 mick wilson

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 06:38 PM

Very good post Nec.

You said "Of course this state of affairs does not hold sway at every club, and everyone doubtless thinks their local club a home of camaraderie and amusing banter, but RL wears its working class heritage on its sleeve like no other sport (except possibly darts), which can dissuade potential players and investors from ever getting involved. Our communities are changing, the successful clubs will attract support from all sections of local society whilst the unsuccessful ones will attract a dwindling band of aging indigenous locals".

This is a true reflection of the ever changing society we live in today.

DKW says "Theres a hell of a lot of people in the area who are RL fans but dont follow either team, I see all kinds of SL clubs strips in both towns and outlying villages"

So here is a serious but hypotvillageshetical question slightly off topic though it may be.

If both W Cumbrian clubs continued to remain in the doldrums for some time & Barrow in the south actually got into SL and stayed there do you westies think that sports fans up there would wear Barrow tops around town and travel down in their hundreds to support their nearest SL club and the several West Cumbrian based Barrow players who would in all probabillity be playing for the SL Barrow club, a fellow Cumbrian club ?




#33 shaun mc

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 08:57 PM

QUOTE (mick wilson @ Jul 10 2010, 07:38 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Very good post Nec.

You said "Of course this state of affairs does not hold sway at every club, and everyone doubtless thinks their local club a home of camaraderie and amusing banter, but RL wears its working class heritage on its sleeve like no other sport (except possibly darts), which can dissuade potential players and investors from ever getting involved. Our communities are changing, the successful clubs will attract support from all sections of local society whilst the unsuccessful ones will attract a dwindling band of aging indigenous locals".

This is a true reflection of the ever changing society we live in today.

DKW says "Theres a hell of a lot of people in the area who are RL fans but dont follow either team, I see all kinds of SL clubs strips in both towns and outlying villages"

So here is a serious but hypotvillageshetical question slightly off topic though it may be.

If both W Cumbrian clubs continued to remain in the doldrums for some time & Barrow in the south actually got into SL and stayed there do you westies think that sports fans up there would wear Barrow tops around town and travel down in their hundreds to support their nearest SL club and the several West Cumbrian based Barrow players who would in all probabillity be playing for the SL Barrow club, a fellow Cumbrian club ?


As a West Cumbrian living in the south of the county I wouldnt follow Barrow in SL avidly. Thats how it is. Its only 20 mins more for me to go to Wigan and I've been a few times but they both aren't my hometown area to be following home and away.

People don't realise that it takes longer to get from West Cumbria to Barrow than it takes to get form Leeds ot Wigan for example.

I feel the time has passed for a SL clubs a few years ago. The development area around Lilyhall has been built upon and the situation at both Town and Haven is on a downward slope. As Yanto says the kids who 4 -5 years ago may have considered Town or Haven are just totally by-passing them in favour of SL clubs. In addition the SL clubs have probably expanded their scouting network in the West Cumbria area. I know of families with 11 year old kids who are going down to Yorkshire clubs for training sessions on a regular basis.

People look at the current attendances at Town and Haven and say look they can't support a SL team - they are now armchair fans or now go to SL games at Wigan for example. However a team was parachuted into north wales with zero fans and a few that watched on tv. I've nothing against Crusaders - but ideally I'd prefer a team in South Wales though. How much market research was done into the number of fans needed to support a SL club there? It was sh*t or bust and the RFL had to take a gamble. It largely seems to have worked.
West Cumbria is so far advanced than Crusaders are. Allerdale/Copeland must have a greater population than the Wrexham area. It has some really good clubs developing youngsters. Yes it has it die hards who wouldn't go to the oppositions ground if they merged, but so do Saints and Wigan, (thats the parochial nature of the sport) but at Town and Haven they have a stronger voice.

There are many ways to develop a SL side in West Cumbria but who will grasp that opportunity before it disappears completely.


#34 bowes

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 10:48 PM

QUOTE (nec @ Jul 10 2010, 09:35 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I wish both clubs all the best, but think that the future is a West Cumbria club in a SL2 or enhanced Championship including Halifax, Widnes, Fev, Sheffield, Barrow, Oldham, Leigh, Toulouse, South Wales and York/Doncaster (names chosen on basis of clubs currently outside SL, could easily be Wakey/Cas/Salford instead of Fax/Widnes). The remainder of clubs with no real aspirations to compete at the highest level could then stop bankrupting themselves to pay players half decent salaries and take part in an open competition where they could build support, sponsorship and club strength (own facilities, revenue streams, youth development etc;). There is no reason why they could not move back up, but an audit on revenue streams and business plans should be compulsory and avoiding reliance on sugar daddies encouraged.

Agree with the exception of the mention of Doncaster who certainly can't support a team at that level. Better Batley or Dewsbury (or a combined club of the two if mergers take off), OldhamRochdale would be a possible joint side, but as it stands Rochdale would have a better bid due to Oldham's small ground capacity

#35 dkw

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 07:50 AM

QUOTE (mick wilson @ Jul 10 2010, 07:38 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
V
DKW says "Theres a hell of a lot of people in the area who are RL fans but dont follow either team, I see all kinds of SL clubs strips in both towns and outlying villages"

So here is a serious but hypotvillageshetical question slightly off topic though it may be.

If both W Cumbrian clubs continued to remain in the doldrums for some time & Barrow in the south actually got into SL and stayed there do you westies think that sports fans up there would wear Barrow tops around town and travel down in their hundreds to support their nearest SL club and the several West Cumbrian based Barrow players who would in all probabillity be playing for the SL Barrow club, a fellow Cumbrian club ?

Sod that, the road to Barra is horrible cool.gif . Maybe Barra should bring some games to West Cumbria, look after us poor buggers up here. To be honest I probably would travel to a few games, but as Shaun says its just about as easy to get to Wigan, Saints, Warrington etc as it is getting to Barra.

#36 mick wilson

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 04:40 PM

QUOTE (dkw @ Jul 11 2010, 02:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sod that, the road to Barra is horrible cool.gif . Maybe Barra should bring some games to West Cumbria, look after us poor buggers up here. To be honest I probably would travel to a few games, but as Shaun says its just about as easy to get to Wigan, Saints, Warrington etc as it is getting to Barra.


Thanks for the replies lads, Yes the road down A595 is very bad (I travelled it evey day foe a few yrs myself)and I was asking as there would be more West Cumbrian lads playing down at Barrow rather than Wigan, Leeds or Saints for example id of thought it just might draw a few down to the more juicer games & (( if )) they ever build that bridge over the Duddon that would make a big difference in the travel time.

Go well Westies hope you solve yer problems.

#37 dkw

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 05:14 PM

QUOTE (mick wilson @ Jul 11 2010, 05:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks for the replies lads, Yes the road down A595 is very bad (I travelled it evey day foe a few yrs myself)and I was asking as there would be more West Cumbrian lads playing down at Barrow rather than Wigan, Leeds or Saints for example id of thought it just might draw a few down to the more juicer games & (( if )) they ever build that bridge over the Duddon that would make a big difference in the travel time.

Go well Westies hope you solve yer problems.

Your lot have helped us solve our problems already, sent us some pretty good players to Derwent Park this season. Especially Brett Carter, he has been magnificent for us this season.

Edited by dkw, 11 July 2010 - 05:15 PM.


#38 dkw

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 05:14 PM

Double post, stupid laptop.

Edited by dkw, 11 July 2010 - 05:15 PM.


#39 Keith T

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 05:47 PM

QUOTE (yanto @ Jul 10 2010, 01:15 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Wow are you that old (young) Keith rolleyes.gif


Shhh don't tell anyone Ian and whats more I can remember you playing in your prime. wink.gif wink.gif

When are you going to find us a couple of good lads to send over?

I remember when .............................

"It is impossible not to feel a twinge of sympathy for Workington Town, the fall guys this season for the Super League's determination to retain it's European dimension, in the shape of Paris. While the French have had every assistance to survive, the importance of having a flagship in a heartland area like West Cumbria has been conveniently forgotten." - Dave Hadfield - Independent 25th August 1996.


#40 Keith T

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 06:07 PM

QUOTE (nec @ Jul 10 2010, 09:35 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have said for many years that a merged West Cumbrian side would in all likelihood mean Seaton & Wath Brow gained a few hundred fans each as the die-hards refused to back a side including 'Jam-eaters'; the question would be if enough new fans or lapsed fans could be attracted to watch better rugby in better surroundings to compensate. The finances of the West Cumbrian clubs seem to rise and fall with the local economy and both clubs have had plans dashed by councils/football clubs/nuclear industry on many occasions. One thing I don't think can be blamed for the problems on the 'Energy Coast' is franchising; indeed history shows that the historical financial instability stems from the days of automatic promotion and relegation.

I wish both clubs all the best, but think that the future is a West Cumbria club in a SL2 or enhanced Championship including Halifax, Widnes, Fev, Sheffield, Barrow, Oldham, Leigh, Toulouse, South Wales and York/Doncaster (names chosen on basis of clubs currently outside SL, could easily be Wakey/Cas/Salford instead of Fax/Widnes). The remainder of clubs with no real aspirations to compete at the highest level could then stop bankrupting themselves to pay players half decent salaries and take part in an open competition where they could build support, sponsorship and club strength (own facilities, revenue streams, youth development etc;). There is no reason why they could not move back up, but an audit on revenue streams and business plans should be compulsory and avoiding reliance on sugar daddies encouraged.


nec (David) nice to hear from you again. Look back to SL1 when Town were in there they had an average crowd of over 3,000 in what was a very poor season on the pitch. In 2004 and 2005 (or was it 05 and 06) Haven took several thousand fans to two grand finals. Where do you suppose all these people went to as Town are averaging around 500 and Haven around 900 or so nowadays?

These people are still around in west Cumbria and if you talk to them they will tell you that they would go back if there was a new club playing in SL. The problem lies with a very small minority of fans who seem to have the ears of both boards of directors and rubbish everything to do with the other club, up or down the road, whichever one it is they don't support.

The doing away with P & R has had an effect on the game below SL level but as I stated in a recent letter to RL Express, people in the main area of rugby league (that infamous M62 corridor if you will) can walk away from a Championship club and go and take their pick of any number of SL games to go and watch. Up here in west Cumbria there is no such luxury and so they just walk away from the game entirely. There are not many that travel to watch our nearest SL club (Wigan) every home match.

Why do they walk away from our clubs? Because they can see that unless there is a combined effort from the whole of the area then SL is way out of our reach as neither club could survive alone in that competition. So, it's not the franchising aspect of it, which is basically Maurice Lindsay's, Framing the Future document, it is the P & R that is the stumbling block. Yes, clubs will work to make their grounds better but not if the SL is a closed shop which it pretty well is becoming, if it isn't already. In say 6 years time, two further licence periods, do you not think that SL will have settled in to the number and identity of the clubs that they want with it being nigh on impossible for anyone else to break in without P & R through the system?

I remember when .............................

"It is impossible not to feel a twinge of sympathy for Workington Town, the fall guys this season for the Super League's determination to retain it's European dimension, in the shape of Paris. While the French have had every assistance to survive, the importance of having a flagship in a heartland area like West Cumbria has been conveniently forgotten." - Dave Hadfield - Independent 25th August 1996.





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