Can I ask how you come to the conclusion that Wales and London don't want Rugby League? Have you asked anyone in those places, maybe done some research? Or are you simply basing it on last nights attendance?
The Crusaders club has only been going for 5 seasons, during which time they have had to change location. Last nights game was played, for whatever reason, in Neath some 130 miles away from their home. The attendance was always going to be low. Lets judge them on next season when, I assume, they'll play all their games at Wrexham.
Harlequins are a victim of short-term management and under funding, not lack of interest. The London club moving grounds all over the capital, coupled with the adaption of a Rugby Union linked identity have not helped either. And of course, they are running bottom of the table.
The development of the game at junior level in both London and Wales has been astounding. Wales can now match England at junior level, and success will attract more youngsters into the game. The potential for development in London is endless, as shown in the young lads coming through the ranks at the Quins. How many local lads play for Wakefield?
You mention heartland clubs, but surely by your own criteria Salford are a joke. They've had over 120 years to build interest in RL, and yet they struggle on crowds of 4,000 or so. Wakefield themselves have only recently started to build attendance. In 2006 they were getting gates as low as 3,000. Was that because there was a lack of interest in RL in the city?
I suspect, as with so many people on here who are quick to point the finger at expansion teams, this is all boils down to self-interest. Let's throw out the interlopers so we can keep RL a 'northern' sport so it can remain like it's always been. So long as my club can get into SL, I'm alright. Never mind the consequences for the long term future of the sport. Small clubs who have had over a century of support, money and most importantly time, to build a strong business but who, for the most part, have failed.
And then there's this notion of the 'heartland county's'. That'll be West Yorkshire, Hull, West Cumbria and parts of South Lancashire. The rest of Lancashire couldn't care less about the sport.
But people choose to overlook all that, and decide to pick on the newcomers. The easy targets. If people had spent more time over the years questioning the failings of the 'heartland' clubs, the sport might just of progressed a bit further at professional level than it has.
Have YOU asked anyone in London or S/Wales if they want R/L, that is apart from a few enthusiasts that obviously do?
I would also keep mum on attendances, last nights or otherwise.
Neath was until the unexpected move to Wrexham a hell of a lot closer to their ' home?' and where the support was initially intended to be from, rather than Wrexham I would have imagined, wouldn't you?
I would love to see Harlequins succeed, but to claim that all the outer elements are the root cause of their totally inadequate attendences is stretching incredulity a mite. That they have been successful at development of juniors is unarguable, but they are seemingly going to be a long term prospect before a S/L quality is attainable and quite honestly, can the R/L afford to give that much leeway whilst waiting for the standard to be attained?
The question appertaining to heartland clubs and their respective attendences is not entirely comparable. Wakefield whom you name were once the BEST supported club in R/L as for a period in the seventies were Salford, so both have proven that with success comes support, Wrexham and Harlequins have as yet to attain both and which incidentally neither one or the other can guarantee.
I agree that many of the long standing clubs have never really flourished at least not in the long term and probably never will do so. However without that tradition of R/L being continuous the sport will fail so a denigration of its traditional areas does as much damage as that of expansionist ones also.
It may surprise you but I do want to see the game expand into new areas also but not at the expense of losing what is a heritage that ought to be held onto.
I would suggest that until ( if ever) R/L gets fair coverage in the media and the TV channels such as SKY can care to give it a mention along with Football R/U and Cricket ( ignored today completely in a 4 page advert for their sports coverage) then no matter what the sport and its participants achieve as a spectacle were going nowhere fast, that is the key and it is not being found, 125 years later or not!