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Eagles for SL


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#461 Marauder

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 08:17 AM

1. 1999 Shaun. Cans of worms are fine by me.

2. I bet Hunslet take more to Batley & Dewsbury than Worky, but lets not get into that it's simply about time and distance. We went to the Leeds.v.worky RL cup tie the other year on a Friday night I think. Sat behind a Workington family and they'd been all that way, when us Yorkies can't bring ourselves to cross the M62.

The point wasn't an away fans competition (although one season I did Worky, Haven and Barrow on a friday night - the latter designed to steal an advantage I wager) it was just that if the Championship move to 14 clubs from 10 the additional clubs will stretch the attendance range and there's a danger top clubs trying to get to the 2,500 "minimum standard" for SL entry may find themselves knocked back.

We averaged 1480 in 1999 playing 14 clubs, it's all hypothetical and not absolute proof, but if the four clubs who brought Us the least attendances (quite a coincidence it included Dons, Barrow, Rochdale and whitehaven who are coming up from CC1 this time) were excluded we'd have averaged 1628.

The likes of Featherstone can't afford to have their current 2283 average attendance diluted by games against

Barrow - 1755 in 2011
Whitehaven - 1551 in 2010

You add four attendances at say 1650 to an average of 2283 and you drag that average down to 2088.

When your Superleague place depends on achieving 2500 that's a potentially big blow.......

Delivered by the good old RFL.

Point taken about how some clubs can dilute your average attendances and to me it shows that having to achieve 2,500 average is a red herring simply because with promotion IMO crowds would improve possibly two fold.
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#462 The Parksider

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 08:29 AM

Why would Sheffield or Featherstone want to play in Stupid League - I don't get it??!!


I don't really know if they do want to get in nor do I know if Leigh or Halifax want to.

I am sure that all these clubs (as did keighley) will talk about SL ambitions.

Talk is cheap, Superleague is darn expensive

It creates a positive vibe and gets the fans interested and keeps them on board.

Barrow were supposedly ambitious for Superleague talked it up applied even......

The application was laughed out and the chairman was chucked out.

#463 West Country Eagle

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 08:36 AM

No I dont know. Halifax did actually win a game though they had no points at the end of the season. I do know that Fax made the decision to put a team out who cost next to nothing to pay off the debts the former regime headed by Nigel Wood had piled up. The impression that Halifax played the 2003 season on such a low cap due to not be able to spend more is wrong. Halifax headed by the late Stephen Pearson attempted to pay off people and redfuce the debt. Halifax could have spent more money on players in 2003, but the old debts would have killed them - which it eventually did in around 2006 when they asked for the buckets. Them debts were actually mainly from the SL days with Nigel Wood as CEO that had built up to such a degree and got worse due to interest etc as they owed the banks a lot and could sadly never got rid of it. Maybe Halifax should have gone in to administration in 2003.Halifax struggled even in the championship with them debts. I can see certain SL clubs struggling now with them debts trying to live the dream of SL but at the same time trying to pay debts but eventually it becomes too much. Turnover was never the real problem for Halifax because even if they had got more money in than what was going out the old debts were so high that Wood and the board had built up the interest was way more than probably any SL club was making then or since then. Now Halifax are clear of that debt they have been able to build from 2007 onwards. They are now in a position to make a small profit and run U18s and U23s as well as the first team. They are also in a position that they can do this which many SL teams cant. Would going fulltime change this? Possibly but they do have a board with people who do have money like Tony Abbott, Mike Steele, Mike RIley etc who have given Fax money as and when. Abbotts firm sponsor Fax and is allegedly better than some SL deals..


That's the point - there are a handful of Championship clubs - Fev, Fax, Sheffield - who are doing things right and putting the structures in place, particularly when it comes to academies, scholarship etc - despite the massive disparity in income between SL and the Championship. Instead of being belittled by Parky and others, they should be praised. Surely what we all want is more stronger clubs across the whole pro/semi pro game. By committing to developing players on relatively small/tight budgets, their achievements are almost more impressive than those of lower level SL clubs.

The RFL should be encouraging this, but for years they put hurdles in the way of Championship clubs who were keen on running their own academies. Fev and Sheffield more or less had to go into battle with the "performance department" (Barry John Mather et al) over their desire to be included in the structure. That they won should be a relief to anyone who has the long term interests of British RL at heart. We need more homegrown players coming through the elite academy system, not less.

Sorry, slight diversion but it's a topic close to my heart.
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#464 The Parksider

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 08:37 AM

Point taken about how some clubs can dilute your average attendances and to me it shows that having to achieve 2,500 average is a red herring simply because with promotion IMO crowds would improve possibly two fold.


2002 HKR 1788 crowds......Hudgell starts to invest 2005 2502 crowds.........2006 promotion 3300 crowds..........

Sorry Marauder cant quite make the stats fit to be able to agree with your post, I'm 276 off being able to fit your "two fold" figure.

But that's the point Featherstone may miss out on SL because their Championship fixture list attracted an average of 276 fans short of a dreamed up irrelevant figure.

#465 West Country Eagle

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 08:44 AM

I don't really know if they do want to get in nor do I know if Leigh or Halifax want to.

I am sure that all these clubs (as did keighley) will talk about SL ambitions.


Sheffield's Chairman, Ian Swire, stated at the point the club was reformed in 1999 that their long term ambition was to get back into Super League. He has reiterated this on many occasions since, so you can bet that they're serious. However, the board and those running the club know that there are serious issues that need addressing before their application would be taken seriously.

Remember that from time to time the RFL/Super League gets interested Championship clubs to fill in dummy SL application forms, which ask for all sorts of incredibly detailed information on all sorts of subjects - finances, marketing and publicity plans, details of projected media/PR work, youth structure, staffing levels, sponsorship and commercial stuff etc etc. The RFL will then look at these dummy forms and tell clubs in which areas they need to improve by the time they make an actual application. There's a strong possibility that the Eagles have filled in one of these in the past and will know in which areas they need to improve to stand a chance of getting a licence. It's then down to the club to improve in those areas. If they do, they will be in the mix when the next decision is taken. If they don't, they won't.

I would say that the likelihood is that they won't come close, but you'd argue that Sheffield's location outside of West Yorkshire or the borough of WIgan works in their favour, assuming they can tick all the other boxes - and that's still a massive IF at this moment in time.
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#466 sheddings69

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 08:46 AM

I don't really know if they do want to get in nor do I know if Leigh or Halifax want to.

I am sure that all these clubs (as did keighley) will talk about SL ambitions.

Talk is cheap, Superleague is darn expensive

It creates a positive vibe and gets the fans interested and keeps them on board.

Barrow were supposedly ambitious for Superleague talked it up applied even......

The application was laughed out and the chairman was chucked out.


It would be interesting if all CH clubs openly declared that they had no intention of participating in the licensing process. Effectively this would be a breakaway without losing any central funding....I'd love to see how many licensing cycles they could last through the embarrasment!!

Edited by sheddings69, 19 October 2012 - 08:59 AM.


#467 The Parksider

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 08:48 AM

Instead of being belittled by Parky and others, they should be praised.


I think you should take back that comment about me "belittling Sheffield". You are falling into the usual trap of shooting the messenger and being insulting to boot. As you may have NOT noticed this morning before you typed that I praised Sheffield to high heaven for what they have done since they came back from administration

Am I not allowed to note Sheffield's "little" crowds, am I not allowed to note the "little" number of sheffield kids playing in SL, and am I not allowed to note the "little" money sheffield have. All facts.

Should I do what some of the sheffield fans did which was predict Sheffield succeeding on half the money other SL clubs spend? Or predicting after year 2 in Sheffield SL quality players will come through? Or even predicting that Sheffield is so big a city someone with millions will come forward for them even though the record is poor in the heartlands.

You confuse looking at the facts and reflecting them by the relative measurement of small, medium and large as me insulting Sheffield Eagles and I would have though better of you. BTW my neck is wound in :D

#468 The Parksider

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 09:08 AM

Surely what we all want is more stronger clubs across the whole pro/semi pro game. By committing to developing players on relatively small/tight budgets, their achievements are almost more impressive than those of lower level SL clubs.


What I want is personal and irrelevant and should not be wrongly extrapolated from my points of debate on the game regarding SL applications by clubs who I can't see getting in for good reasons. You open up a big subject there that really would be a fantastic thread in it's own right.

What "we all want" cannot be an across the board single opinion. Not when you get fans coming on here and saying stuff like "I only care about my club".

But there are two separate issues here. I'm sure the likes of you and me and a hundred others on here who readily spring to mind want is to see rugby league being developed everywhere in schools, from that junior clubs playing, and from that senior clubs overseeing it all until those senior clubs succeed enough to go semi pro etc. That's one issue.

The second issue is that all the above is far less likely to happen if RL was a semi pro game, never got on TV, and it fed all it's best players to Union until kids just started going straight to Union.

To keep the games stature, profile and attractiveness up we have a Super League contract to deliver and that is a contract for an elite league that has to come first before anything follows on from that. It needs as much money it can get, it needs as many top players it can get, it needs as many bums on seats as it can get and it will take them - even if that means it knocks Championship clubs back.

I am deeply impressed by any semi professional/amateur club that develops players locally and would want to see every club where adults play running junior sections whether Sheffield, Hemel or Coventry. It doesn't matter if these clubs run several thousand kids through their system and none of them make it - it still makes them RL fans for life and expands the RL culture.

I want exactly what you want, but It has nothing to do with Sheffields entry to Superleague.

#469 The Parksider

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 09:20 AM

1. Sheffield's Chairman, Ian Swire, stated at the point the club was reformed in 1999 that their long term ambition was to get back into Super League. He has reiterated this on many occasions since, so you can bet that they're serious.

2. I would say that the likelihood is that they won't come close


1. I'm not betting any of them are serious. If they are serious why did Johnsons application not even get looked at? Why did Halifax's application not even provide adequate information for KPMG to make any recommendation, why doesn't Nahaboo slam £500K on the table now and show his intent. Where were the Keighley sponsors in 1995 who were supposed to be serious?
Were Leigh serious applying so soon after their 2005 debacle after which the cupboard was often bare. Are sheffield serious when Whaling is appealing to the RFL for marketing help?

Mr. O'Connor was the only one who was serious, as per Padge it remains to be seen if he is prepared to remain "serious" which is also in doubt. Mr' Hudgell isn't that serious any more nor is Mr. Wilkinson.

For serious ring Ken Davey...........

2. So we have been in agreement all along then :wacko:

#470 Marauder

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 09:38 AM

2002 HKR 1788 crowds......Hudgell starts to invest 2005 2502 crowds.........2006 promotion 3300 crowds..........

Sorry Marauder cant quite make the stats fit to be able to agree with your post, I'm 276 off being able to fit your "two fold" figure.

But that's the point Featherstone may miss out on SL because their Championship fixture list attracted an average of 276 fans short of a dreamed up irrelevant figure.

I was thinking more in line with playing in Super League rather than a promotion winning season, Hull KR average crowd last season was 7,786 (not sure how reliable the source is)
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#471 The Parksider

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 10:20 AM

I was thinking more in line with playing in Super League rather than a promotion winning season, Hull KR average crowd last season was 7,786 (not sure how reliable the source is)


Oh I'm sorry! Yes it is of course about what crowds you get in Superleague not what you get in the Championship.

When HKR were promoted with millionaire Neil Hudgell at the helm they were on 3,300 average crowds... up to 7,800 now

When Salford were promoted with millionaire Wilko at the helm they were on 3,768 average crowds.......up to 5492 now

When Cas were promoted with half millionaire (the kind of sum he's reputed to put in now and again) Jack Fulton they were on 5,573.....up to 6663 now

When Widnes were promoted with millionaire O'Connor at the helm they were on 3,744 crowds.... up to 5942 now.

So on average these clubs came up with 4096 crowds

In Superleague their crowds rose to an average of 6474

That's a 58% rise playing in Superleague.

If a club did get in Superleague because they had 2,500 gates then statistically they could probably expect gates of 3.950.

The big difference between the four clubs above is that they all went into Superleague on gates far bigger than 2500

They all went into Superleague with millionaires at the helm.

Now tell me anyone which current Championship club can do that???

I'm not belittling anyone here, just pointing out that the myth often spouted that the "top championship clubs are not far off the bottom SL clubs", and that if they got in SL they would show these mugs how it's done is just that. A myth. Talk is cheap.

#472 West Country Eagle

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 11:59 AM

1. I'm not betting any of them are serious. If they are serious why did Johnsons application not even get looked at? Why did Halifax's application not even provide adequate information for KPMG to make any recommendation, why doesn't Nahaboo slam £500K on the table now and show his intent. Where were the Keighley sponsors in 1995 who were supposed to be serious?
Were Leigh serious applying so soon after their 2005 debacle after which the cupboard was often bare. Are sheffield serious when Whaling is appealing to the RFL for marketing help?


First of all, I can't speak for Sheffield Eagles or indeed any of the other clubs in the Championship you mention. If others have made huge mistakes in their applications then you'd have to take them up on that.

The way I read John Whaling's comments, which I'd personally have preferred him not to air, is as a whinge about the RFL based on their experiences of countless arguments with the game's governing body since reformation, about all sorts of things. His nose was put out of joint, I think, by the lack of effort the RFL put into publicising their achievement in winning the Grand Final. Last year they put out a press release congratukating Fev and he was irritated, I think, that they didn't do the same this year with the Eagles. He used this as a platform for a general moan. If I was their PR person I'd have advised against this. In fact, I'd have told them to be more proactive on that score themselves, and bypass the RFL together. It's not the governing body's job to spend their time praising individual clubs - though the Eagles on-field success is a good story so you'd think they'd want to big it up.

Also, what's to say that there isn't somebody involved at the Eagles with considerable wealth? They may have chosen to do things differently and try and build a business over a long period of time. Just because there's no one person bankrolling the club doesn't mean that all the directors are skint. The Eagles business plan has always been built on keeping a tight ship and only spending what they can afford. Given the trouble that many clubs with backers get into when said millionnaire leaves, I'd argue they're doing the sensible thing.

If this means that realistically it will make it tougher for them to be accepted to SL, so be it. At least they stand more chance of avoiding administration etc than many clubs.
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#473 keighley

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 01:18 PM

I don't really know if they do want to get in nor do I know if Leigh or Halifax want to.

I am sure that all these clubs (as did keighley) will talk about SL ambitions.

Talk is cheap, Superleague is darn expensive

It creates a positive vibe and gets the fans interested and keeps them on board.

Barrow were supposedly ambitious for Superleague talked it up applied even......

The application was laughed out and the chairman was chucked out.


I am sure the talk of how well the SL implants are playing and the absence of even any thought never mind talk of SL, will really get the fans interested and keep them on board.

#474 keighley

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 01:59 PM

1. I'm not betting any of them are serious. If they are serious why did Johnsons application not even get looked at? Why did Halifax's application not even provide adequate information for KPMG to make any recommendation, why doesn't Nahaboo slam £500K on the table now and show his intent. Where were the Keighley sponsors in 1995 who were supposed to be serious?
Were Leigh serious applying so soon after their 2005 debacle after which the cupboard was often bare. Are sheffield serious when Whaling is appealing to the RFL for marketing help?

Mr. O'Connor was the only one who was serious, as per Padge it remains to be seen if he is prepared to remain "serious" which is also in doubt. Mr' Hudgell isn't that serious any more nor is Mr. Wilkinson.

For serious ring Ken Davey...........

2. So we have been in agreement all along then :wacko:


In 1998, there was no SL licence application process. It hadn't been cooked up yet. If it had, I am sure Keighley would have put the name of their sponsors once in SL on the said application. If they didn't exist then that would have been too bad for Keighley. You don't know whether they existed or not. The Keighley board said they did, so either you or they are wrong.

#475 Lounge Room Lizard

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 06:07 PM

That's the point - there are a handful of Championship clubs - Fev, Fax, Sheffield - who are doing things right and putting the structures in place, particularly when it comes to academies, scholarship etc - despite the massive disparity in income between SL and the Championship. Instead of being belittled by Parky and others, they should be praised. Surely what we all want is more stronger clubs across the whole pro/semi pro game. By committing to developing players on relatively small/tight budgets, their achievements are almost more impressive than those of lower level SL clubs.

The RFL should be encouraging this, but for years they put hurdles in the way of Championship clubs who were keen on running their own academies. Fev and Sheffield more or less had to go into battle with the "performance department" (Barry John Mather et al) over their desire to be included in the structure. That they won should be a relief to anyone who has the long term interests of British RL at heart. We need more homegrown players coming through the elite academy system, not less.

Sorry, slight diversion but it's a topic close to my heart.


Barry John Mather- Clueless idiot who should be not in that job. I know for a fact a couple of years ago, he told Halifax they couldnt run a scholarship anymore and any players on such a scheme had to be released. My mate who was involved with the scholarship alongside Martin Gonzalez was gutted as he had spent alot of time and effort helping get things going, plus his son Jake was one of the victims who was immediately picked up by Bradford alongside a couple of others. He never even gave a solid reason why Fax could not run a scholarship scheme. He just said they couldnt with no discussion. I have heard Mather has made life difficult for Sheffield and Featherstone in the past as well trying to run youth teams. As you said Mather and his lot did nothing to help championship teams run academys and was part of the reason Fax dropped their academy teams in 2010. Probably explains why there is little interest in the championship to run academy/reserve grades as there is no support or help from the RFL in this area at all. And again as you say its only through bloodymindedness that Halifax, Sheffield and Featherstone run academys today

#476 Padge

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 07:00 PM

Also, what's to say that there isn't somebody involved at the Eagles with considerable wealth? They may have chosen to do things differently and try and build a business over a long period of time. Just because there's no one person bankrolling the club doesn't mean that all the directors are skint. The Eagles business plan has always been built on keeping a tight ship and only spending what they can afford. Given the trouble that many clubs with backers get into when said millionnaire leaves, I'd argue they're doing the sensible thing.

If this means that realistically it will make it tougher for them to be accepted to SL, so be it. At least they stand more chance of avoiding administration etc than many clubs.

If they have chosen to do it that way, and like Widnes do have a rich backer reluctant to splash and dash, then they are going about it the right way for me. Slowly slowly catchey monkey as the saying goes. Fev have taken the approach of slowly picking off all the bits and pieces you need before throwing their hat in the ring, though I think they may have gone early with their destination Super League campaign.

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#477 The Parksider

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 06:34 AM

In 1998, there was no SL licence application process. It hadn't been cooked up yet. If it had, I am sure Keighley would have put the name of their sponsors once in SL on the said application. If they didn't exist then that would have been too bad for Keighley. You don't know whether they existed or not. The Keighley board said they did, so either you or they are wrong.


Are we really down to this?

An argument that no matter how far we can measure attendances, or playing strength, or the level of recent investment to date at a club or the level of losses showing on their balance sheets, or the level of their turnovers none of this matters in us assessing whether a club could compete and prosper in Superleague.......

Because I don't know if a rich man, and a series of rich sponsors are just waiting in the wings to show themselves once the club is given a license?

Are we really going to see some small club be awarded a superleague licence, and then they set up a launch party, invite the press and some very rich people nobody including the RFL has ever heard of before, who have not even been rumoured to exist, line up and say how they are all delighted this small club is now in Superleague and they will be joining forthwith.

Are you serious or have you being watching that TV programme "secret millionaire".

Look at how it really works. In comes your O'Connor or your Davey, or your Hudgell and they invest money into the club and it takes off from that, the impetus grows, the fans get on board and the RFL/Superleague take note. If they don't O'Connor slaps £500K on the table and they eventually take note.

Look at how it works with applications from Barrow, Leigh, Fax, they talk the talk but if they can't show they can walk the walk then out they go.

I find it absurd the idea that the RFL/SLE will swallow "promises"

Now go back to the days of the Keighley bid for Superleague. You were close enough to the club - name the rich sponsors. Who were they going to be??

#478 The Parksider

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 06:50 AM

First of all, I can't speak for Sheffield Eagles or indeed any of the other clubs in the Championship you mention. If others have made huge mistakes in their applications then you'd have to take them up on that.


I won't be taking it up with them as I'm satisfied that they talked about what they were and weren't going to do and once their applications were looked at they didn't have the money to do it.

We have RL journalists who can investigate the phenomenon of clubs talking about being a £4M+ turnover business when they don't even turn over £1M. They choose not do do so. Perhaps they don't want to embarrass anyone, too uncomfortable.

As for "huge mistakes" I'd be surprised wouldn't you? More likely they just didn't substantiate their business plans, Halifax for instance talked about having several people with money and no single rich backer, but their "inadequate business plan" did not have "sufficient information". Out they went.

It's of no great concern and only a hobby interest to me, but anyone who is applying for Superleague could actually be asked to substantiate where the money will come from before they apply. You never know, if the club wheel out their secret millionaire, or half dozen half millionaires nice and early it just may raise the impetus, get the fans going, and get the local business community on board, and make the RFL take notice in the same way Hudgell and O'Connor led their Championship clubs out of the wilderness.

Had the proposed money men at Halifax stood up and opened their wallets perhaps Halifax would be there now?

Edited by The Parksider, 20 October 2012 - 06:54 AM.


#479 a.n Other

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 07:39 AM

As for "huge mistakes" I'd be surprised wouldn't you? More likely they just didn't substantiate their business plans, Halifax for instance talked about having several people with money and no single rich backer, but their "inadequate business plan" did not have "sufficient information". Out they went.


The same people who commented on the Halifax business plan, gave Bradford a C licence, so i wouldnt say their comments had any creditbility. Infact i would guess the comments would have been less harsh, if the Halifax chairman hadnt spoken out on the day the licences were awarded.

#480 Padge

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 08:10 AM

The same people who commented on the Halifax business plan, gave Bradford a C licence, so i wouldnt say their comments had any creditbility. Infact i would guess the comments would have been less harsh, if the Halifax chairman hadnt spoken out on the day the licences were awarded.

You mean the ones who warned that Bradford face a tough financial future and that was without knowing the bank was going to withdraw their overdraft facility. :rolleyes:

Lets not get off topic into another Bradford discussion.

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