1. Right, but soccer can only have gone national as a result of a planned expansion programme. What was the RFU and the NU doing while soccer was doing this? Was the split especially ill-timed in terms of gaining footholds in new territory for all codes?
2. The NU heading to Wales seemed to happen just before WW1. Already a bit late perhaps? Or just badly done? Socio-economic factors would suggest the area was ripe for NU expansion.
3. Some say soccer is just the easier game to play & follow and that's why it won in the end, regardless of any initiatives undertaken by governing bodies.
4, Other than Tony Collins and Trevor Delaney, where would I start reading on this?
1. No, the round ball game played to various rules e.g. London, Nottingham and sheffield rules. The rules being codified into one game brought several strong regions together, and thus a national game was produced. This enabled clubs to travel farther afield for better fixtures and more money, money, money and money. I don't think there was planned expansion of the "sport" just a nationwide ambition to get on the national professional game of soccer bandwagon.
2. Yes Wales and the north of England were soul mates but travelling costs were ruinous of the project and TBH I think those that stayed in the NU game were largely parochial people (as they often are today - CRUSADERS OUT!!! LONDON OUT!!!)and were not happy with long range expansion.
3. I have always said that Mark. Rugby was OK on the playing fields of the public schools but in the industrial cities it was a hard game to play. Even today soccer rules because it's fundamentally easier to play. Many lads who are in two minds I have worked with in junior clubs are in doubt regarding the physical element of Rugby.
4. Jeez where do I start Mark?? There was an explosion of RL books in the 1980's and beyond the club histories came histories like those on the split from Collins and Delaney, but also look at histories of soccer and RU, there's a great history of RL in wales from London League Publications etc etc (ANY HELP FOR MARK HERE ANYONE) the problem is most books are a bit "narrow" they are about soccer or about RL or about RU so it is hard to be able to recommend any books that deal with the historical relationship between the three codes.
I know how that happened in Leeds because I went to the library and read it all up from newspapers at the time, but a nationwide study is something I have not seen and to be frank would be an incredible book that maybe is yet to be written.