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When are the fans going to take responsibility?


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#81 shrek

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 10:38 PM

Very funny, its clear RL is not as popular as football but I'm talking about fans that are there but don't attend big games. The point is that most football fans are not loaded either but still manage to make it to their big games, usually in larger numbers than usual. It's about the percentage who bother, not the actual amount.

Contrary to some other posters it does intrigue me how football does seems to bring out a level of commitment and loyalty we can't replicate.

I'm told Middlesbrough for example, with an average home gate of just over 15k this season, took 600 to Swansea last week for a mid week League Cup game. The vast majority traveled down from Boro to opposition that isn't all that glamorous on a pig of a journey, mid-week in a competition not taken overly serious.

I'd imagine the demographics of Middlesbrough are not dissimilar to most of our "heartland" towns, yet I can't imagine an instance we'd get 600 traveling a 650 mile round journey mid-week.

#82 Johnoco

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 10:50 PM

There was even around 2-3k Arsenal fans at the Bradford City game last week in a game they would probably win in an unglamourous comp.
I don't expect similar numbers from an RL club but we simply cannot call on such levels of dedication.

#83 HappyDave

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 12:40 AM

There was even around 2-3k Arsenal fans at the Bradford City game last week in a game they would probably win in an unglamourous comp.
I don't expect similar numbers from an RL club but we simply cannot call on such levels of dedication.


Sad but true. Awesome product on the field. Ruined by whinging 'heartlanders' and clueless administrators off the field.

Edited by HappyDave, 18 December 2012 - 12:43 AM.

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#84 Wellsy4HullFC

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 07:15 AM

Sad but true. Awesome product on the field. Ruined by whinging 'heartlanders' and clueless administrators off the field.

It's up to the people running the game to give the customers something they want. Unfortunately neither those running the game nor the fans know what it is they want!
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#85 Johnoco

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 07:30 AM

It's up to the people running the game to give the customers something they want. Unfortunately neither those running the game nor the fans know what it is they want!

Isn't it Rugby League we want? Which they provide? Or is that too straightforward?

#86 JohnM

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 07:47 AM

The problems in the game are not down to me making short term decisions which damage the game in other areas. The problem of clubs having money problems is down to poor management. The problems of many infighting factions in the game are not down to the fans. The problems between SL and Championship and the amateur game are not down to the fans or the responsibility of any fans to solve.


If our game had no problems, there are fans who would invent them just so they could have a moan. The RFL and SL can't do right for anyone,it seems. If our game was more popular, some would complain that it had lost its character or we had sold out.If expansion is sucessful, that would be decried too. In fact i think there are those who really want our game to struggle along as an obscure amateur parochial marginalised game...then they could say...There..I told you the RFL was useless.

#87 The Parksider

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 08:39 AM

Isn't it Rugby League we want? Which they provide? Or is that too straightforward?


Well of course it is RL that they want but they want winning RL. We see SL crowds bulging at 20,000 and terraces empty with a 2,000 smattering. We see 2,500 for a semi pro game at one end of CC1 and 500 at the other.

Soccer is far less predictable Bradford City.v.Arsenal cue a long long list........

How many years have salford being losing in SL now?

How many SL titles have Leeds won??

How many more years will feathersone top CC

When will Hunslet ever get there?

Of course the administrators know what is needed it's a case of how to get there. All spend the same cap?? That hasn't worked and that's the problem. The RFL said years ago that what they wanted was "even competition" like the NRL, Gary hetherington said this the other week.

It's how you get there.

There is a bigger public for RL out there and at times when their interest is stimulated some really suprising crowds can pop up on a one off basis. All too often the game goes into default position ad the only way you can run a pools betting system is to allocate massive handicaps to clubs on the coupon.

Predictable = boring.....

#88 Dave T

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 09:29 AM

The marketing and organisation for international RL is terrible, that's why crowds are low.

The RFL began to build momentum for international RL in 2004 with the push to use the COMS and ER (after a few years of 25k stadia). They then replaced the COMS with Loftus Road, and retreated to using 25k grounds again, and announcing fixtures towards the end of the season.

They aren't creating an event. Some times they do. Most times it's just another fixture. The push for the WC is brilliant to see, but this needs to be EVERY YEAR. The international tournament organisation this year could have been done by a child.

It is up to the RFL to create events and stick to them. The RL public may be a tough nut to crack, but that means you need to try harder, not softer.

I agree with much of this. Whilst I do have an issue with the lack of energy and enthusiasm for international RL by many fans, the RFL do have a mixed track record with their organisation and promotion of the international game.

Before people state that things used to be so much better - it didn't, even the World Cup in 1995 was announced quite late, with the worst opening ceremony ever seen cobbled together consisting of around 10 dancers fannying around in the middle of a huge Wembley Stadium. The opener between England and Australia attracted around 14k fewer fans than the GB v Aus a year earlier at the same stadium.

The ground selection for internationals in recent years has been extremely frustrating, IMHO in every series there should be a 'gamble' if you like, where a showpiece stadium is used. TBH after a year or two grounds like the CoM, Wembley, Cardiff etc would stop being gambles and hopefully the crowds would have grown enough for these to be regular grounds. Internationals should absolutely be an event, and staging games at the likes of Leigh, Salford and Hull KR sends out the wrong message. I'm aware these grounds didn't sell out, but the RFL should absolutely take a large share of the responsibility here for the reall quite shoddy organisation, meaning they pretty much had to give tickets away for the event. People were attending these games for as little as £6 each, and we still weren't attracting crowds of 5 figures.

IMHO the RFL have had the strategy slightly out on the marketing of Internationals (they absolutely do market, despite many claiming they do none). The bulk of their efforts are on the easier, cheaper, repeat market. They utilise free channels like their own websites, club websites a lot as these will in effect get free sales, but the reality is that the RL public haven't bought into Test RL as much as you'd want them to, meaning you need to be targeting new customers. It would appear that the World Cup organisers have faced up to this, although it should be noted that the vast majority of games are in the heartlands.

Stadium selection, promotion and event organisation are all linked, and far too often at least one of these things are out. Why on earth would new fans come along to a game at Hull KR or Leigh for example?
The WC next year has a great opportunity to attract new fans, but these will be at the likes of Wembley, Cardiff, Limerick, Old Trafford etc. in the main.

#89 Wellsy4HullFC

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 12:47 PM

Isn't it Rugby League we want? Which they provide? Or is that too straightforward?

How many people that go to professional RL matches go just to watch RL?

You may do, and the majority of the time I do, but I'd say a huge majority of any sport's spectators don't go to just watch the sport itself (if at all!).

How many people do you really think cared about the long jump or cycling? Many just wanted to be their and part of a huge occasion. Many just want to support a winning team (Man Utd). Or just want to be associated with a big brand. Many ignore the sport itself and are there for other reasons. If they pay their money and behave, what's the problem? We need to cater to these a lot more, like other sports do.

Simply announcing that England are playing France and Wales isn't going to cater for anyone but the diehards. Apparently there aren't enough!
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#90 Wellsy4HullFC

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 12:50 PM

I agree with much of this. Whilst I do have an issue with the lack of energy and enthusiasm for international RL by many fans, the RFL do have a mixed track record with their organisation and promotion of the international game.

Before people state that things used to be so much better - it didn't, even the World Cup in 1995 was announced quite late, with the worst opening ceremony ever seen cobbled together consisting of around 10 dancers fannying around in the middle of a huge Wembley Stadium. The opener between England and Australia attracted around 14k fewer fans than the GB v Aus a year earlier at the same stadium.

The ground selection for internationals in recent years has been extremely frustrating, IMHO in every series there should be a 'gamble' if you like, where a showpiece stadium is used. TBH after a year or two grounds like the CoM, Wembley, Cardiff etc would stop being gambles and hopefully the crowds would have grown enough for these to be regular grounds. Internationals should absolutely be an event, and staging games at the likes of Leigh, Salford and Hull KR sends out the wrong message. I'm aware these grounds didn't sell out, but the RFL should absolutely take a large share of the responsibility here for the reall quite shoddy organisation, meaning they pretty much had to give tickets away for the event. People were attending these games for as little as £6 each, and we still weren't attracting crowds of 5 figures.

IMHO the RFL have had the strategy slightly out on the marketing of Internationals (they absolutely do market, despite many claiming they do none). The bulk of their efforts are on the easier, cheaper, repeat market. They utilise free channels like their own websites, club websites a lot as these will in effect get free sales, but the reality is that the RL public haven't bought into Test RL as much as you'd want them to, meaning you need to be targeting new customers. It would appear that the World Cup organisers have faced up to this, although it should be noted that the vast majority of games are in the heartlands.

Stadium selection, promotion and event organisation are all linked, and far too often at least one of these things are out. Why on earth would new fans come along to a game at Hull KR or Leigh for example?
The WC next year has a great opportunity to attract new fans, but these will be at the likes of Wembley, Cardiff, Limerick, Old Trafford etc. in the main.

My word, someone finally understands!

A really hope the WC is a huge success next year so the RFL can realise that this is how to organise an event and do so for the foreseeable international matches!
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#91 intheshed

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 12:56 PM

Interesting read and the suggestion that RL fans tend to be apathetic to our games 'events' when compared with other sports is one that instinctively i would have agreed with. However taking some of the recently quoted football examples I'm not sure it actually stands up.

Take international attendances, we recently got 7-10k for the England games against France, doesn't look great but as a % of total supporters it doesnt compare badly to football. I calculate, based on an aggregated average crowd for pro clubs, we have approx 150k people attending RL in the UK so a crowd of 8k for eng v fra works out at just over 5% of regulars turning up. Using the same means of estimation football has approx 1.4m regulars. Recently England have played Ukraine & San Marino at home attracting crowds of approx 69k & 85k respectively, 5% & 6%. No great difference. To match a 20k crowd, which top level RL internationals in the uk get, football would need to get 180k plus.

Re Arsenal taking 2-3k to Bradford direct comparisons are difficult given distance and type of competition. But as close as I can come up with is Wigan playing @ Fev in the last 16 of last years cup or Leeds @ Leigh in the 1/4 final, both on a friday night. Taking Arsenal's fanbase as 60k and they took 3-5% factor in their official waiting list of 40k, who pay an annual fee to be on it, and that becomes 2-3%. Wigan reportedly sold approx 1200 tickets for the game at fev, even a generous approximation of 20k active Wigan fans would suggest a greater proportion of them showed up than did Arsenal's fans @ Bradford. Not sure how many Rhinos travelled to Leigh but in a crowd of over 5k its difficult to believe it was less than 1k and again a greater % than Arsenals 2-3k represents.

Middlesborough at Swansea, again direct comparisons are impossible but I guess the nearest would be Leigh, Fax or Fev playing away in midweek. To match the 600 as a proportion they would need aoprox 80-100 fans. Not an outlandish figure.

Equally you could look at Grand Finals & Challenge cup finals and ask can any other sport put on an event where close to or excess of 50% of all regular fans attend?

So despite my initial inclination to agree I'm not sure the charge if relative apathy stands.

Edited by intheshed, 18 December 2012 - 01:05 PM.


#92 Southstander13

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 02:18 PM

"What do we want"
"RUGBY LEAGUE"
"When do we want it?"
"MOSTLY FRIDAYS OR THE OCCASIONAL SUNDAY, BUT MONDAYS ARE REALLY DIFFICULT!"

#93 Johnoco

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:15 PM

I'm sorry but I still can't agree. The RFL may have made mistakes over the years but they seem to have tried everything and none of it seems to get RL punters out in force. Big stadiums, medium stadiums, small stadiums...none sell out. Games planned well in advance with cheap ticket offers to last minute affairs...none did particularly well.

And I can't agree about the percentage of fans attending being reasonable either, its terrible.

Re: Wellsy, I actually agree with lots of what you say but it doesn't seem to make any odds, the fans just don't turn out for big RL games that are non season ticket. It isn't just internationals either. Remember that CC semi final between Wigan and Warrington that was decided to be played at Widnes? (2004?) People were up in arms about it not being big enough,,,blah blah blah....did it sell out? No. England v Australia 4N 2009 at Wigan? Not sold out!!!!

As for predictability, no Bradford City fan I know of seriously expected to beat Arsenal. They were just glad to be involved in such a game and went along because their team were involved. There's a lot of skint people in Bradford, so most of them could have used that as a valid reason too. Instead it was the biggest gate at VP since 1949 or something. They provided zilch game entertainment for this on a freezing cold night, yet it didn't deter people. Why? Because they wanted to be there, they weren't asking for justification, the thought of NOT going was insane.

Let's imagine the RFU announce England RU are playing a game at Elland Rd in 4 weeks time (never mind why). Do you imagine the RU fans would complain about lack of notice or promotion? Once they knew about it, they'd be falling over themselves to get tickets. Note, I said RU fans, not general sports fans, who may make up a percentage of the crowd. The mentality in RL, is very different and most RL fans would be saying 'oh, why didn't they announce this months ago..etc etc'

And until most RL fans want to go to the games simply because the thought of not going is crazy, we'll never get past the half full, poor atmosphere we generally get to our big games. And I aren't saying every RL fan has to go to every game or get 'I love RL' tattooed but we should be doing better at big games.

#94 sweaty craiq

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:46 PM

The best supported Soccer Club is Armchair Utd, they never watch a live game but have the replica's and always quote a club when asked who they support. They have the car flags etc for World cups etc and often throw the most beer in pubs when a big game is on.

The dormant fan bases of many are motivated by being part of the dream of promotion or fear of relegation, the spectacle of playing against the best or even being the best on any given day. They crave the highs and lows that competition brings, they are motivated by the rewards or punishments of it. The tears of relegation and the joys of promotion is what sport in the UK is all about. Its that emotion that gets them through turnstyles and makes the product marketable

The RFL simply know better, they allow our structures to be a pub joke.

#95 Mumby Magic

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:53 PM

Million dollar statement by the OP.

Surely it is the game as a whole (Fans, Teams, RFL) that has to take responsibility.

We've not been able to keep the feel good momentum going from previous years and we find ourselves bickering and dragging the game down including players and fans.

What happened to the great idea of bringing through young coaches via David Waite?

Why was Lewis allowed to leave without a replacement set up.

We try to come across and want to be recognised as a professional sport in all aspects when we make the most amateur of decisions regularly.

Although we should never have found ourselves on this position, we now find ourselves in an almighty trough of which we all have to take responsibility to get ourselves out of.

Lilly, Jacob and Isaac, what my life is about. Although our route through life is not how it should be, I am a blessed man.


#96 Johnoco

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 04:18 PM

The best supported Soccer Club is Armchair Utd, they never watch a live game but have the replica's and always quote a club when asked who they support. They have the car flags etc for World cups etc and often throw the most beer in pubs when a big game is on.

The dormant fan bases of many are motivated by being part of the dream of promotion or fear of relegation, the spectacle of playing against the best or even being the best on any given day. They crave the highs and lows that competition brings, they are motivated by the rewards or punishments of it. The tears of relegation and the joys of promotion is what sport in the UK is all about. Its that emotion that gets them through turnstyles and makes the product marketable

The RFL simply know better, they allow our structures to be a pub joke.

OK then, why didn't fans back Internationals/Big games when there was p&r etc etc? What was the excuse then?

#97 Trojan

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 04:49 PM

Yes. Chicken and egg though, isn't it? People don't go to internationals because it's all a bit low-key, whereas if you get a good crowd there......

I don't go to internationals any more. I used to be a regular attender. The third live game of RL I ever saw was GB v NZ at Odsal in October 1961. Roy Evans of Wigan scored a try at the end opposite Rooley Ave. I'd been a regular every since. I saw us beat Oz at Odsal in 1978 and I saw Oz destroy us at Headingley a week later and plenty of others including Wales's gallant attempt to beat Oz at Huddersfield in 2000. But not any more. I feel the game at the top level has little to do with me any more so I don't go. The last game I went to was the 4n final at Elland Road in 2009. Same goes for Challenge Cup finals and Grand Finals. So if you want someone to take responsibilty for the state of the crowds it's me! I'll gladly take the blame.
BTW The Beatles had disbanded by the time Hanley and Schofield were playing That didn't stop Rugby Post (no less) from lauding them as the greatest Rugby players in the country, and lamenting the fact that Union's stupid amateur laws prevented them from playing for England. That was in December 1985, and I bought a copy at Liverpool Street Station London to pass the time on a train journey from there to Ipswich.

Edited by Trojan, 18 December 2012 - 04:50 PM.

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#98 sweaty craiq

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 05:00 PM

I dont have figures to refer back to but the pinnacle was the Ashes tests and I attended some huge crowds at Wembley, Old Trafford and Elland Rd from late 80's to the SL war.
What I also experienced at the Tests was support from all over the country by Armchair RL fans motivated to watch the BIG game, same as CC final. Junior, professional and amateur clubs seemed more interested in raising coaches etc at the time. We seemed 'we' now we seem 'I'
It is impossible to compare the domestic game then, ie part time, as with now, ie FT SL. The world evolves and sport evolves with it, the winners are the ones who embrace a changing marketplace and grow from it - our primary competitors have been far better than we have, that has impacted on RL and a negative perception has been allowed to grow as a result

#99 Dave T

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 05:06 PM

I'm sorry but I still can't agree. The RFL may have made mistakes over the years but they seem to have tried everything and none of it seems to get RL punters out in force. Big stadiums, medium stadiums, small stadiums...none sell out. Games planned well in advance with cheap ticket offers to last minute affairs...none did particularly well.

And I can't agree about the percentage of fans attending being reasonable either, its terrible.

Re: Wellsy, I actually agree with lots of what you say but it doesn't seem to make any odds, the fans just don't turn out for big RL games that are non season ticket. It isn't just internationals either. Remember that CC semi final between Wigan and Warrington that was decided to be played at Widnes? (2004?) People were up in arms about it not being big enough,,,blah blah blah....did it sell out? No. England v Australia 4N 2009 at Wigan? Not sold out!!!!

As for predictability, no Bradford City fan I know of seriously expected to beat Arsenal. They were just glad to be involved in such a game and went along because their team were involved. There's a lot of skint people in Bradford, so most of them could have used that as a valid reason too. Instead it was the biggest gate at VP since 1949 or something. They provided zilch game entertainment for this on a freezing cold night, yet it didn't deter people. Why? Because they wanted to be there, they weren't asking for justification, the thought of NOT going was insane.

Let's imagine the RFU announce England RU are playing a game at Elland Rd in 4 weeks time (never mind why). Do you imagine the RU fans would complain about lack of notice or promotion? Once they knew about it, they'd be falling over themselves to get tickets. Note, I said RU fans, not general sports fans, who may make up a percentage of the crowd. The mentality in RL, is very different and most RL fans would be saying 'oh, why didn't they announce this months ago..etc etc'

And until most RL fans want to go to the games simply because the thought of not going is crazy, we'll never get past the half full, poor atmosphere we generally get to our big games. And I aren't saying every RL fan has to go to every game or get 'I love RL' tattooed but we should be doing better at big games.

The biggest attendances we have seen for internationals in recent years have been at Wembley, Eastlands, Elland Road etc. yet the majority of games have been played in smaller 'regular' grounds. The problem is that I assume (maybe wrongly) that it is more profitable for the RFL to stage a game at the DW Stadium attracting 22k with minimal paid-for marketing and lower costs than it is for a game at Wembley which has 18k more fans, many subsidised and a hell of a lot of paid for marketing required.
The smaller grounds did a job in terms of helping the RFL turn a profit, but in reality they have probably reduced the overall numbers of fans that attend. I could understand the smaller grounds when we had the Tri-Nations, as this game us 4 home tests, now we only have one guaranteed home game against the Aussies and Kiwis they should now be looking to stage these at decent sized grounds.
BTW - I agree with you, we should be getting more fans in, RL fans do have to share the responsibility for not increasing the success of the international game, but then the RFL haven't always made it attractive.

#100 Dave T

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 05:09 PM

I dont have figures to refer back to but the pinnacle was the Ashes tests and I attended some huge crowds at Wembley, Old Trafford and Elland Rd from late 80's to the SL war.
What I also experienced at the Tests was support from all over the country by Armchair RL fans motivated to watch the BIG game, same as CC final. Junior, professional and amateur clubs seemed more interested in raising coaches etc at the time. We seemed 'we' now we seem 'I'
It is impossible to compare the domestic game then, ie part time, as with now, ie FT SL. The world evolves and sport evolves with it, the winners are the ones who embrace a changing marketplace and grow from it - our primary competitors have been far better than we have, that has impacted on RL and a negative perception has been allowed to grow as a result

We also used to get away fans to these games - I remember watching an old 80's test on Youtube recently, and there looked to be a large Aussie contingent, I suspect many based in London - but I do wonder whether Hull, Wigan and Huddersfield is as attractive for these fans.




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