I think some contributors are living in a world that no longer exists, loyalty to a town or suburb in a society with as much population flux as the UK in 2010 is waning. Where I work, 10 miles outside Carlisle, there are 200-300 staff, less than half of which were born within 50 miles of the workplace. Many of the people who have moved into the area support the local football side and travelled to Wembley with them, they also retain support for their 'home town' club, but consider it impractical and take their kids to watch a reasonably competitive local side instead. These are the people that would be targeted by 'new' clubs.
We can spend the next 10 years worrying about what 'diehard' supporters of Dewsbury & Batley would do if the clubs merged, only to find that the diehards have moved away to improve employment prospects and newcomers have no interest in watching poorly supported clubs at a low level of competition.
The next generation of RL fans in West Cumbria, the ones that would be essential to make any top level club a success, are currently wearing Liverpool, Chelsea & Man U shirts. They may be 10 generations Marra, they may be the sons/daughters of people that moved into the area to work at Sellafield. They are less bothered by a rivalry that means less with every passing year as people move, marry folk from the next door town, go to school there, go shopping there and travel with people from that town to watch other sports.
We have to start planning for 2020 not pretending it is still 1980.
That's a very good post, and reflects the reality of the situation.
Here In Leeds people have stopped watching Hunslet and Bramley, most watch Leeds, many out of town travel a distance to watch Leeds, and some Leeds people choose to go to Cas or Bradford.
People travel, move and make choices because they can.
Years ago travel was slow and expensive...times change.
People are more enlightened - they see pro sport for what it is - as an entertainment not a tribal way of life.
I have always spoken to people about why they support particular clubs, I know a couple of people who supported sheffield Wednesday but now go to United.