Personally i get the feeling Lewis couldnt give a toss about his reputation at all. If he did then he wouldnt take the risks that he has taken. Being outspoken about Quins' necessity to exist (or a london franchise), Franchising being needed and putting it into practice, getting Catalans in, Getting the welsh in. All of these were a massive massive risk, all of which could have made him look very very silly. The safest thing to do if he was that worried about his reputation was to do ###### all, pull the rug from under London and settle the game in the M62 corridor. He has taken massive risks that could make him look stupid
With respect can I suggest you are getting dragged in to Northern Sols assertion that Lewis is taking risks with the pro game.
Crusaders risked Leighton Samuels money, and now risks the investment money of the people at Wrexham.
Harlequins risked Lenegan and Hughes money and now it risks Hughes money.
Reality check is that Richard Lewis has taken no risks at all with these clubs, he's taken the "risks" with other peoples money!! A very very smart bit of business/leadership.
The key here is your own realisation that without putting expansion clubs in he'd effectively be settling the game in the M62 coridoor.
Now that is a big risk.
It's been suggested "Ad nauseum" that cash strapped Halifax and Leigh are "ready" now they have shiny grounds, to fill the places of Quins and Crusaders. Given we know how cash strapped clubs go in Superleague on low attendances (Wakefield? castleford?) and given we know these clubs performances in SL in the past then what a masive risk it would be to reject what "outside the M62" investment has been available in Wales, London and Catalans in favour of skint M62 clubs.
Clearly at losses of around a £Million a year Quins, Crusaders and Catalans have probably attracted investment to the tune of well over £10Million.
How much investment are Wakefield, Castleford, Leigh, Halifax, Featherstone attracting from businessmen???
Nowt much, so what sort of an M62 league would we have? Half a dozen successful clubs and eight skint makeweights.
A league that smacked of insularity, peering up it's own bum. A League that said to the rest of britain "we're a nothern sport for northern folk". A league that offered only 100 players a decent living beyond which they need to seek employment in the union. And a fixture list where for the top clubs playing each other all the time, there's be eight dead rubbers against the easybeats.
Lewis has taken the game forwards. he mustn't take the game backwards, because once you get in a spiral of decline it's very hard to stop it. It may be nice in some people's minds that a major business with rivals to compete with can just "stand still" but it can't.
That's the massive risk Lewis has chosen not to take.