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Rugby League in the UK has become insular and self absorbed

Leadership of the sport

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#1 The Daddy_merged

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 08:10 PM

Just read an interview with Tony Smith and he summed up some of my feelings about the direction the sport is taking and my reservations about the leadership of the sport in the UK. 

 

Watching the interview with Nigel Wood on the BBC more or less confirmed what I was thinking, that he is not fit to take the sport in this country forward and take on the challenges which it faces in order to compete with other sports in this country and the NRL for vital sponsorship and playing resources. 

 

I started a seperate thread as this is not purely about promotion/relegation but the way Rugby League is being led in this country, I honestly believe the sport is going down the wrong path and not tackling the real issues in Rugby League governance, such as effective management, lack of corporate activity, development of the international scene etc, I don't think there is too much wrong with SL it just needs tweaking not a complete overhaul.

 

By overhauling the structure of the sport we will strip back all of the good work that was taken on during the Richard Lewis era, such as developing more english players, and creating stronger governance of the sport in the other home nations.  

 

Now that the sport is being led by someone from within the sport who was chief exec at Halifax, it is now more clearer why it was more beneficial for someone not involved in RL such as Richard Lewis, he had a less emotive objective perspective of what was needed to develop RL over here.

 

It was always great to see Richard Lewis being interviewed, he was precise, clear and most importantly confident about where the sport needed to go, there was no flip flopping, leaving it to the clubs or making decisions based on what might deemed to be popular opinion. He was confident and the sport looked confident as a result. 

 

The current administration smacks of a return to 'RL people' governing the sport with a lack of objectivity, clarity, but worse of all it's pandering to the sports own insularity. I have no understanding of its strategy and worse of all the clubs are being afforded too much power and too much of a say in the way the sport should be run.

 

Let's compare this to the new NRL commission, the clubs have effectively handed over control of the overall running of the sport to the new body, they act as advisors and communicate with the body from a business led perspective. But ultimately the new commission is leading the sport at all levels and  putting in place procedures and processes based on research by proven experts like Jim Doyle and Todd Greenberg to name but two, decisions aren't being left to SL or Championship chairman or they are providing leadership on well thought out principles. They are looking outwards to promote the sport at all levels and re-energise international football, I believe the sport over here is looking inwards and retreating within itself and not consolidating the gains made during the Lewis era. 

 

An example of this is a mooted return of the British Lions. My first issue with this and the biggest flaw is that it's not really a British team, if it was brought back tomorrow there would be no scots, irish and no welsh (although there are some great players coming through) ready to play for this team so on one level bringing back the Lions appears progressive but it's just england in a different guise. We are kidding ourselves, The average sports viewing joe public man on the street knows this and won't be kidded it has no resemblance to its union counterpart and I wonder what the sport has to gain by reintroducing this. Attendances at Lions fixtures before it was put to bed indicates its true popularity , it was never a roaring success and returning is a part of the retreating that I've indicated, we need to focus more on improving Wales, Ireland and Scotland.

 

The return of p and r is also a part of this retreatment, returning to concepts which only worked in hindsight and not at the time of it existing. But I have gone over that in another thread.

 

See below for the link to the Tony Smith article, its an interesting read

 

http://www.warringto...e_s_leadership/

 

 



#2 Lobbygobbler

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 08:19 PM

You failed to mention that life outside SL was dying. Fans are have become disinterested outside SL (and in some cases within). No point on having 14 clubs (many of whom are small clubs) living off the fat of the land whilst the other clubs die off.

The Aussie system cannot work here because we dont have 15 huge cities playing RL with "friendly" feeder networks. We have (or had) a thriving tribal rivalry played between many towns.

Much of what you yearn for could also be achieved with P&R.

Richard Lewis did many great things in RL but the removal of P&R near the end of his tenure was an enormous mistake and unnecessary.

#3 Just Browny

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 08:26 PM

The bit I liked was this:

“I am also going to say that we have been producing some really good young players, so much so that the Australians are coming here to take them. We are starting to produce some half backs, outside backs, types of players that we have not produced for years, and yet we change the system again. We take away that production system, take away the responsibility for clubs to produce those players and we go to a system that is ‘popular’ by all accounts.'

And, this being rugby league, it's an argument that is almost entirely overlooked since it accentuates the positive side of the NRL 'raid' on UK rugby league. We always used to say that the NRL wasn't weakened by SL signing up many of its stars because there were more on the conveyor belt, and this is how we should be thinking now. Eventually players will come back, especially if we continue to churn out decent youngsters - as we have been.

I can confirm 30+ less sales for Scotland vs Italy at Workington, after this afternoons test purchase for the Tonga match, £7.50 is extremely reasonable, however a £2.50 'delivery' fee for a walk in purchase is beyond taking the mickey, good luck with that, it's cheaper on the telly.


#4 l'angelo mysterioso

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 08:49 PM

You failed to mention that life outside SL was dying. Fans are have become disinterested outside SL (and in some cases within). No point on having 14 clubs (many of whom are small clubs) living off the fat of the land whilst the other clubs die off.

The Aussie system cannot work here because we dont have 15 huge cities playing RL with "friendly" feeder networks. We have (or had) a thriving tribal rivalry played between many towns.

Much of what you yearn for could also be achieved with P&R.

Richard Lewis did many great things in RL but the removal of P&R near the end of his tenure was an enormous mistake and unnecessary.

But twenty odd years of it didn't work did it
Show me how it worked
Show me how your own club flourished and grew
Why when p and r existed was it altered so much during the twenty odd years of its existence
How did your club benefit from p and r in the super league era?
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#5 The Daddy_merged

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 08:53 PM

Lets try and keep the p and r debate on the other thread, this topic is about the sports leadership and the direction its taking.

#6 bird

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 11:16 PM

You are right Daddy and so is Smith

#7 The Daddy_merged

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 11:26 PM

http://www.warringto...s.org/tv/?v=512

#8 Wellsy4HullFC

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 06:41 AM


Lets try and keep the p and r debate on the other thread, this topic is about the sports leadership and the direction its taking.


How can you have a debate about the sports leadership without bringing up the P&R point (which is effectively why you're questioning its leadership)?
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#9 kioli

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 07:32 AM

Very good post.



#10 Johnoco

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 10:07 AM

They say everything is cyclical and IMO RL is heading back towards the 'local game for local people' mentality.

I will not be involved in that.

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#11 Scuuba

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 10:18 AM

I find it especially interesting that Smith raised these comments totally unprompted. It wasn't like the journo's set the bait and he took it?

In fact, it was the other way around. Smith was urging the media to debate and publicly question the leadership within the game.

 

It seems that for Wood you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

If you take on all responsibility then the clubs complain that aren't informed, if you let the clubs vote on important issues then you're not a strong enough leader.

 

Either way, there appears to be a groundswell coming from the clubs with the likley outcome to be an overhaul the RFL management.



#12 l'angelo mysterioso

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 11:12 AM

They say everything is cyclical and IMO RL is heading back towards the 'local game for local people' mentality.

I will not be involved in that.

ee but it'll be reight grittily northern like knur an spell, or that race where ther carry a sacko coil tert' next village

 

I'm kind of hoping it does happen. can you imagine the reaction of the 'It doesn't suit me and that makes it an injustice' tendency  if it doesn't? 


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#13 RLRatings

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 12:22 PM

Well said. RL has been scared for a long time (forever?) of having a positive outlook, and is constantly defining itself in terms of other sport(s) rather than fearlessly setting its own agenda and moving on. Richard Lewis broke this to an extent, and there's still a lot of work to be done. However, going back to a discredited system, just when we're seeing the benefits of its removal come to fruition would be particularly idiotic.

B*llocks to what everyone else is doing, and b*llocks to going back. We've made a lot of progress - now do something to build on those foundations and sort out the other issues rather than going back to where we started, or somewhere worse.
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#14 Ackroman

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 12:40 PM

The worrying thing for RL fans like me is what assets we have as a sport. During the SL era and as part of the licencing period, clubs have ditched their assets to try and raise cash to try and compete. Outside of SL this has been devastating for clubs like Swinton and Oldham. The fact that clubs with little assets other than an SL licence may also fail doesn't mean the game is insular, it means that club has missed it's chance just like Oldham or Swinton.

The game must realise it's assets and must address the funding of paper tigers in SL because the sugar daddy's are making big noises they won't do that any more.

What else would you do?

#15 l'angelo mysterioso

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 03:13 PM

The worrying thing for RL fans like me is what assets we have as a sport. During the SL era and as part of the licencing period, clubs have ditched their assets to try and raise cash to try and compete. Outside of SL this has been devastating for clubs like Swinton and Oldham. The fact that clubs with little assets other than an SL licence may also fail doesn't mean the game is insular, it means that club has missed it's chance just like Oldham or Swinton.

The game must realise it's assets and must address the funding of paper tigers in SL because the sugar daddy's are making big noises they won't do that any more.

What else would you do?

 

 

The worrying thing for RL fans like me is what assets we have as a sport. During the SL era and as part of the licencing period, clubs have ditched their assets to try and raise cash to try and compete. Outside of SL this has been devastating for clubs like Swinton and Oldham. The fact that clubs with little assets other than an SL licence may also fail doesn't mean the game is insular, it means that club has missed it's chance just like Oldham or Swinton.

The game must realise it's assets and must address the funding of paper tigers in SL because the sugar daddy's are making big noises they won't do that any more.

What else would you do?

I'm not sure to what  extent that is true:

the only clubs I can think of that within the time frame you outline  have done that haven't done it for that reason. I might be missing somthing here since you are normally right on the money.

 

Also this has happened historically during the so called good old days: Hunslet sold Parkside, Featherstone sold PO Road(something that people conveniently forget), Swinton sold Station Road and so on. 


Edited by l'angelo mysterioso, 13 May 2013 - 03:14 PM.

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#16 Larry the Leit

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 03:19 PM

Also this has happened historically during the so called good old days: Hunslet sold Parkside, Featherstone sold PO Road(something that people conveniently forget), Swinton sold Station Road and so on. 

 

Surely not?  So a couple of accidental fire damage incidents and having to buy back their own ground at the going rate, they really have had it tough.



#17 l'angelo mysterioso

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 03:25 PM

Surely not?  So a couple of accidental fire damage incidents and having to buy back their own ground at the going rate, they really have had it tough.

 

they, presumably you mean featherstone, bought the ground back very cheaply after having been charged a peppercorn rent. There was one fire incident which was covered by insurance.

 

the fire meant that the club had a modern but ill designed main stand and social facilities: nice boardroom but the clubhouse was inaccessible for wheelchair users unless the were physically manhandled up two flights of stairs-something I experienced doing on more than one occassion. Happily both issues have been rectified.


Edited by l'angelo mysterioso, 13 May 2013 - 03:30 PM.

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#18 Larry the Leit

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 03:36 PM

The fire worked out pretty well in the end then.



#19 thundergaz

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 03:37 PM

they, presumably you mean featherstone, bought the ground back very cheaply after having been charged a peppercorn rent. There was one fire incident which was covered by insurance.

the fire meant that the club had a modern but ill designed main stand and social facilities: nice boardroom but the clubhouse was inaccessible for wheelchair users unless the were physically manhandled up two flights of stairs-something I experienced doing on more than one occassion. Happily both issues have been rectified.


Why do you always look for and comment on our clubs failures instead of our clubs positives? Once a capper always a capper but in your case that doesn't mean a thing to you does it? (A true capper I think not). The BOD we have got now is probably the best BOD we have ever had and all you can do is knock our club.( that club you used to support may I add).

#20 Ackroman

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 03:41 PM

I'm not sure to what  extent that is true:
the only clubs I can think of that within the time frame you outline  have done that haven't done it for that reason. I might be missing somthing here since you are normally right on the money.
 
Also this has happened historically during the so called good old days: Hunslet sold Parkside, Featherstone sold PO Road(something that people conveniently forget), Swinton sold Station Road and so on.

Being a little more specific we've had clubs selling leases to raise funds, selling old stadiums and moving into new ones without primacy or access to revenue streams from bars and events(to wit I think Cas and Wakey have been prudent), moving home a number of times, branding and re-branding, trying to do up stadiums and going pop, setting up franchises in unproven areas-essentially no assets at all. SL hasn't done anything to stop this age old last ditch attempt to stay competitive.

So any plan to try and improve on our asset base and prevent this happening isn't insular. The game has to value the assets it has where they are sustainable. It may look unambitious to some but the RFL/SL do not have the money/bottle to back a Crusaders or a London for that matter. Historically the game tends to bail out at the first sign of real trouble. So what else can they do if they won't stick their neck out and take a risk?




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