The other side is what professional RL has done to boost the game. We have 40,000 plus new fans thanks to Superleague.we have tens of millions of pounds worth of TV contracts thanks to Superleague. We have a large player development system thanks to Superleague, we have millionaires prepared to invest in the game thanks to Superleague.
Where are the 40,000 new fans come from? Thats very much based on opinion and figures that are not 100% correct. The player development is not down to Sl but down to the many volunteers who coach kids at various age groups and who help keep amateur and junior rugby league going. SL only gets involved later when the clubs think they see something. Even then the proper time and money is often lacking. Many players at a young age get fed up with how things are not just at club level but at National camps. Look at Gareth Widdop as a fine example of somebody who had enough of Rugby League and how things was done in the UK. Thankfully he went back playing League when he went to Australia. Millionaires pump money in to various sports at the top end. Even before Sl there was millionaires who put money in. SL is not now resulting in Millionaires putting money in.
But it's an utter nonsense to paint Superleague as any sort of failure and people should forget their petty jealousies and try to engage in the realities now. Superleague has done a heck of a lot for the game, and it has probably saved it. Superleague delivers loads of money, loads of fans and loads of home grown pro players
First of all Sl has helped the game in some areas and damaged it in others. Rugby League is more than just the NRL or SL. Its more than the Professional setup. Rugby League covers many areas. SL at the outset saved many pro clubs and probably the pro game. But SL has never saved the game as a whole as the amateur game and student game would have kept going anyway with ot without SL or the Pro game. It may not have done as well but it would never have died. SL brings in money but it also has put many clubs in seriously difficulty with certain clubs like Crusaders, Oldham Bears, Paris SG, Gateshead Thunder Mk 1 disappearing. SL has helped many young fans follow the game but many would have been fans anyway by virtue of playing at amateur level or family members/friends taking them to games. SL has not brought tens of thousands of people into the game who would never have watched it before as you seem to make out. The loads of home grown players is rubbish. We still see a average overseas player taking the place of a young Brit/Frenchman. I know a number of British academy players who have been treated poorly by SL clubs and become disillusioned with the game. Some have gone out to Australia or France but a number have gone playing Union rather than go back to playing League. As I said this is what happened to gareth Widdop when he was in the UK and his case is not alone. And SL clubs have ravaged certain amateur clubs for their players and repayed them with token reward. You look at how many players for example who play SL or academy level in the past 2 years from clubs like Siddal and King Cross. Whilst SL has been beneficial to certain areas of the game it has also damaged parts of it as well due to selfishness.
I have to dismiss your attack on the RFL which is same old same old.
Why dismiss it? The RFL is responsible for the running and development of the game at many levels. Yet it has for instance wasted much time and money at adventures which was doomed to failure from Paris SG to Crusaders. Nigel Wood and the RFL were involved and knew how serious the problems were at Crusaders well before entering SL but chose to ignore the warning signs and instead wasted time and money and left others deeply out of pocket. The RFL even ignored the problems with visas- ask Tony Duggan or others. The RFL also in conjunction with certain Sl clubs stopped Featherstone, Halifax and Sheffield amongst other championship clubs developing scholarships and strong academy teams. Barrie Joh Mather saw to it that all players on Halifax Scholarships were released from them with immediate effect-i guess he did the same at Fev and Sheffield. These 3 clubs have thankfully today shown that championship clubs can run and afford to run such academy teams at various levels. The RFL has managed to drive massive fractions and rifts between various levels in the game-and not just SL and Championship. Forcing clubs to play in Summer for example. We now have a situation where many clubs go weeks without a game in summer and often teams then cant get a team together. We have the winter Pennine League in a mess with some clubs using pro players like Slaithwaite (Richie Hawkyard- Swinton Lions) and signing many summer league players. Then when these players leave to go to their summer or Pro club the club then struggle to raise a team or have a much weakened team. The RFL have just sacked a load of development officers after getting much less money from Sport England. Instead of wasting on the pro game trying to prop up extremely bad clubs that money should have been invested in the development of the game at grass roots level. To Support the top of the game you need to support and develop properly the grassroots and amateur sections of the game. Maybe you and others dont like me bashing the RFL but I do so for good reason and not just for a moan. I also point out why as well.
The future of the game IS GOOD look at what Superleague has done for us, look at the growth of the game across the country, look at the wonderful Amateur clubs we have in their own facilities.
The future is not good at all at many levels. Try looking at the state of the amateur game. Yes clubs facilities have improved thank god but the actual administration is very poor. Clubs are forced into doing things what others want not what they want. The Northampton Rebels was the RFLs new expansion club in the championship- yet nobody even bothered to talk with the local amateur club about it and how both sides could benefit.
The game has a number of clubs including a number of SL clubs basically clinging on before they end up bust. Castleford, London, Hull KR, Bradford, Salford etc are currently very weak clubs. Investment may help short term but long term they need far more. Sl is a weak standard comp which has seen clubs scrapping the most important thing for the development of future players for not just England but Wales, Scotland and Ireland as well. Academy level needs proper investment both in time and money. The fact SL clubs cant do this shows the future at International and Sl level is not that good or strong. The Growth across the county is very much a myth. The RFL actually lost a large amount of money from Sport England due to disaapointing participation figures and have sacked loads of key development officers in the UK. Maybe for you and others these things dont matter. But for me they do and why I dont see such a positive future. The way SL clubs are taking over Championship clubs or forcing things on them bit by bit each year also I dont feel is a positive thing for the game as a whole.
For me I think the RFL and others need to spend far more time and money developing grass roots and developing the game at junior level. The Pro clubs should be made to pay far more for taking players in to their academy and also when they make the grade. SL does not develop players. Its just a finishing school. The problem for me with the way most people think in the game is short term. Whether it be clubs with overseas players or the RFL with expansion etc. The game needs a rock solid foundation and it needs a pyramid system that benefits everybody not just SL. The game needs to have a strong International Federation underpinned by strong well run Domestic federations that develop strongly at all levels and not just at the top end. The ARLC is the same as the RFL. It ignores the grassroots level too much and concentrates its attentions at the pro game. I do feel Soccer and Union have been made much stronger because they have for many years developed a strong amateur/grass roots level which in turn supports the top level. Rugby League has a weak grassroots level system and in the UK has had BARLA and the RFL fighting etc. If we want our game to progress in future then far more attention needs to be payed at other levels outside of SL and the pro game.