No Mr. K, you seem to be with the utmost respect wishful thinking again.
You could be right. we shall see, but nothing I can see points to this at all. The RFL/SLE still retain their policies of:-
1. An even competition
2. An elite competition
3. A financially sound competition
Unless they are complete idiots (no need to post again you usual suspects, we get the point) they will restructure the business. The clues are there Mr. Hudgells "12 club SL" Mr. Watkins "root and branch review", Mr. Glovers "reduce the salary cap".
How many signals do you want to see what they are considering.
12 clubs will have to include Hull, Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Fartown, London, Wigan, Saints and Warrington, plus Toulouse and Les Catalans. These clubs represent the people who run Superleague - Moran, Hethers, Lennegan, McManus and pearson will probably get on that board of directors. It represents clubs who have been rescued by RFL/SLE and allocated managers to run them - Wakefield and Bradford, it represents the RFL's "europe wide" policy of two clubs in France and London linking the two heartlands. There is only one oddity and that is Fartown. The record is sustained heavy investment for going on 10 years and as Steve May says that will continue even if Mr, Davey were to shall we say "depart".
If we are going to have a debate about who next for SL then IMHO it COULD end up being about where is that last spot going. If the RFL had their way it'd be Wales, if the French had their way it'd be one of their clubs, if the SLE clubs had their way it'd be nobody on their doorstep.
The SL clubs are a bunch of Nimby's.
Who did I leave out of that list?
CAS - crisis meeting
HKR - rich backer won't part with any more money
SALFORD - rich backer won't part with any more money
WIDNES - rich backer vowed not to bankroll the club but to get it to break even. Work in progess
Whose left in the queue
HALIFAX - three clubs in Bradhuddersfax, no chance
LEIGH - Two clubs in Wigan - what? Third time lucky after Springfield and Highfield
FEATHERSTONE - Three clubs in "Calder"? Is Ian Claytons barmy army really going to be allowed such a triumph?
SHEFFIELD - as Mr Wharing said they didn't even get a mention
If the 12 clubs thing comes off then there may be eight clubs fighting for one place. I'd give it to Fev they deserve their chance.
The fundamantal disagreements you and I have always comes down to inclusion versus exclusion. You feel that the league will go to 12 clubs and exclude the rest. Have you seen Halifax's stadium, Leigh's stadium, Featherstone,s amazing progress in recent years and ditto for Sheffield.
The permanent exclusion of these clubs from SL will spell their doom. The 12 teams left in SL will be too small a critical mass to sustain the game for long. When London fail if/when Mr Hughes has had enough and if Toulouse fail to live up to the hype, we could be down to 10 clubs and with no replacements in sight. If Bradford fail to recreate 15,000 attendances and the burden of finances and the stadium is too much for the new owner, then we would be down to nine. Maybe Sky would be happy with Saints V Wigan and Leeds v Huddersfield every two weeks as their premier attractions, but I doubt it.
There is strength in numbers but the present policies seem designed to cater to the minimum numbers necessary to operate a viable competition.
The fact that, as you allude to in your post, Mr Glover is calling for a review of the salary cap, suggests that the current levels of spending are not sustainable for many of the current SL clubs. If, as you infer, the day of the sugar daddy is over, then this situation will only get worse and even Hull, Wakefield and Huddersfield will be in trouble.
I think we have aimed for a highly paid fully professional league and it has proved a bridge to far and the financial realities are now coming home to roost.
The review of the game to which you refer might surprise you and come to that very conclusion.
The solution might be to cut our cloth to suit our circumstances and lower the salary cap or at least have the clubs not necessarily spending to the max unless they can sustain that level of investment.
This might pave the way for many of the deserving clubs on your excluded list to join the party and enable the top level of the league to expand. You know I am a firm believer in the Conference system as a way to incorporate more teams into the top tier of the game. If we spent less, we could split the Sky money more ways or even, heavens above, prise a bit more out of them.
The strength of the game is, and always has been, in towns and medium sized cities. The mega club scenario seemingly envisaged for RL is just not possible. Soccer has cornered the market in the big cities. The game needs to stick with it's historical strengths and nurture as many of it's strongholds as possible, not marginalise and kill them off.
The SL concept has reached a crossroads. We need to downsize the payrolls to stabilize it's very existence. At the same time we need to expand the reach of the top division both numerically in the traditional heartlands by not excluding deserving teams and geographically by expansion as and where possible.
This 10,000 average crowd thing is a fallacy. We have never been able to have numerous teams with that level of crowds ( except maybe in the post WW11 boom ) in the history of the game. The game needs to restructure and cut wages to the point whereby clubs can compete and thrive on average crowds of 5,000 and up.
The present power brokers will inevitably end up at the top but it has never been any different and occasionally the balance of power will alter and a new team will rise up to join the top table.
Oh, by the way, the review called for by Mr Watkins, included revisiting p and r. Oh, my god, the sky is falling, the sky is falling.
Anyway, in my view, if you persevere with a smaller, closed shop, SL with two or more teams in France, diminishing the British membership even more, it will end in disaster. The more clubs we can save by admitting them to the top table, then the better the long term prospects for the game will be. Contraction is a negative policy and will end in stagnation.