Posted 22 October 2012 - 07:10 PM
Dewsbury finished top of the league two seasons in a row around the turn of the century, we won the Grand Final, the Trans-Pennine Cup and we've earned promotion from Championship 1 twice. We even won every game one year! So to say that we're a club that's happy just to plod along is unfair.
Our track record in recent years clearly suggests otherwise, though our efforts in 1999 and 2000 were not rewarded with a spot in Super League, and since then our prospects of achieving promotion to the top level have faded by the year, due mainly to factors outside of our control.
Featherstone, meanwhile, have benefited from the financial backing and enterprise of Mark Campbell, to the extent that they are in a position to apply for a place in the Super League, so to hold Featherstone up as an example for Dewsbury to follow is also unfair, as the two clubs' circumstances are totally different.
Super League might sound great to you guys, and good luck with that, but the vast majority of Rams fans would settle for seeing a team on the field challenging for trophies at this level, attracting crowds in excess of 3,000 and, dare I say it, replicating Batley's success in recent years.
Maybe it isn't for you guys, but that's a pretty high bar for us.
The club is not currently in a position, due to a lack of finances and resources, to run Academy teams at every level, as much as we'd love to have them, so other avenues have to be explored in order to add further depth to our squad.
The Bradford partnership allows Dewsbury access to players attached to the Bradford club on a formal basis, not too dissimilar to the dual-registration system that's been in operation for three seasons.
Players on dual-registration deals at Dewsbury from Bradford may be called back by their parent club at short notice, but that's been the case for the last three years, and there was no talk of clubs "selling their soul" when the dual-reg system was introduced - in fact, it was welcomed as a positive development.
Our head coach Glenn Morrison and his assistant Richard Slater will decide at all times who plays for Dewsbury in 2013. It's very simple in that respect.
Glenn has assembled a squad of 22 players who are signed to Dewsbury Rams and more will follow in the weeks ahead. They won't be Bradford's players, they'll be ours and they'll play for us, unless somebody wants to approach us with a view to signing them, as has been the case for the more than 100 years of our existence.
We have lost players to Super League clubs for years before and that will continue. Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield and Cas have signed our town's best young players for years before and that will continue too.
The advantage Bradford gain from the arrangement is a potential new avenue for their players to gain experience, but, as mentioned, they'll only play if Glenn wants them to play.
You'll probably find in the months ahead that Super League clubs partner with more than one club from the Championships, to give each of their players at a loose end an extra opportunity. If Francis Cummins could choose which of his players played for us and when then there'd be no need for the extra clubs.
I'm not trying to paint a bleak picture, as I'm very optimistic about my club, but that's the reality of the situation and the deal with Bradford has been struck in acknowledgement of that reality.
We can end the deal when we want, we could even pull out now if we wanted and nobody could stop us from doing it.
Since the club announced the partnership, we've had a number of supporters challenging the deal and accusing us of everything from becoming "a feeder club" to "selling our soul", and we've even had the odd Fev fan threatening to boycott our matches for some reason, which will only punish a fellow Championship club trying to make ends meet.
Point-for-point debates on the issue have ensued and there have been some really interesting discussions, but I've found that they all reach the same conclusion and that is the 'doubter' closing his contribution to a thread with "I don't care how you spin it..." or "you can dress it up how you like...", as they've run out of counter-points.
Of course, the conspiracy theory is a lot more exciting, but telling supporters of other clubs that to "do what we do" and "tell SL clubs where to go" is utterly pointless - unless, of course, you want to stump up the cash to help us fund a full youth structure.