Keighley, on 29 January 2013 - 04:56 PM, said: Wigan are a small town hemmed by a very big rival,
You must have a strange grasp of geography. St Helens is 10 miles away with virtually no overlap of fan base location. Wigan draw support from not just the Wigan area (which isn't exactly a small town when compared with say Featherstone) but from Bolton to the east, Preston to the north and the Southport area to the West. St Helens likewise draw on support from the Merseyside area to the west of the town. Each club could therefore draw on a population of 1m plus without crossing each others territory.
I am very grateful to you for pointing this out as a third party to the debate.
St. Helens, Wigan and Warrington draw their large fanbases from regional areas which as you say provide them with access to well over a million potential customers each. They are clubs who have been highly successful for generations and even Wire have never been a second division club.
These are highly established big clubs with a relatively big pulling power (for RL) that draw fans from large populations.
We can also see clubs like Bradford and Leeds who are only a 20 minute drive away from each other but both are highly established big clubs who have larger populations that go beyond their city boundaries to draw on as have Hull.
Yes that's six clubs (or seven if HKR can make it) and you can't have a six club league. So the RFL have looked to Wales, Gateshead/Newcastle, London, Catalans and are looking to Toulouse to desperately try to find places where an RL club can get an adequate audience.
But of course fans of smaller clubs and traditionalists don't like this and pour scorn on the idea of clubs outside the M62. I find this quite distasteful, always have.
But the failure of the policy of expansion which recognized the M62 isn't strong enough to find a big enough audience and enough professional quality players to provide the competetive 14 club league that is ideal for delivering the SKY contract merely takes us back to the problem that there aren't enough resources to feed the number of clubs we want.
There is an idea money will make up for the lack of fans and players to go round.
Nowhere do we see money being more consistently used year on year to develop our "Town" clubs than in Huddersfield as Ken Davey continues to rack up season after season of investment.
The Fartown crowds over the last six years in which Huddersfield have shown they can compete have been 7,100, 7,800, 7,600, 7,200, 7,100, and 7,700. They are crowds that lose the club hundreds of thousands of pounds a year but Mr. Davey makes it up every year. The town provides six top professionals to SL. This is the birthplace of Rugby league and one of Britains biggest towns, yet the reality is they cannot sustain a Superleague club.
But I'm still expected to agree that places like Doncaster, Sheffield, Barrow, Halifax, York, Featherstone, Castleford, Leigh, Keighley, Salford, Widnes etc who either don't produce professional RL players or who don't have the populations to support an adequate fanbase or don't have EITHER can somehow become self sustaining Superleague clubs.
Well they can't.
Edited by The Parksider, 29 January 2013 - 07:21 PM.