Exactly. They were "trade" as far as those who ran the RFU were concerned such people were no better than the miners and weavers who were playing the game.
But it's true that the L&Y clubs as far as playing strength and success on the field was concerned were the best in the country. IMO the RFU had seen what had happened to soccer and were determined it wouldn't happen to "their" game. Those who founded the NFU presumably took the pragmatic view that what was sauce for the goose (soccer) was sauce for the gander (Rugby)
If you look at the early winners of the FA Cup, you find Old Etonians, Royal Engineers, Wanderers, Oxford University. After the advent of professionalism you find West Brom and Blackburn Rovers winning the cup. The RFU knew that the L&Y clubs were dominating Rugby, they saw broken time as the thin end of the wedge (which TBF it proved to be) and they guessed that if full professionalism was allowed than Rugby would go the way of soccer. They determined to put a stop to this. But I'm sure they didn't expect the outcome they got.
I suggest you do more reading, there are many reports about the arguments with the Lancs and Yorks Unions over fixtures, leagues and cup competitions being an issue for years before the split, the senior clubs weren't having this argument with the RFU, the RFU frowned upon such competitions but didn't ban them and left it to the counties to decide.
The Lancashire Union was formed in 1881, prior to this Manchester Rugby Club was solely in charge of County fixtures, before long Manchester and Liverpool dominated the Lancashire Union and effectively controlled the county.
West Lancasire clubs, mindful of soccer's success, decided to form their own union in November 1984, they had 24 clubs who competed for the West Lancashire Cup in the 85/86 season by the next season they were up to 50 clubs. In 1889 they decided to form a league to replace the knock out cup. This league consisted of 8 teams and lasted for two years despite attracting crowds as high as 15,000.
In Yorkshire 12 clubs decided in 1892 that they wanted to form a league system over which they would have control. The Yorkshire union vetoed the idea.
In the 92/93 season as an effort to appease the clubs The Yorkshire Rugby Football Union Senior Competition was given the go ahead.
Back in Lancashire the idea of a league was revisited in 1892 and the Lancashire Club Championship was born.
The idea of a league competition in Yorkshire hit the buffers at the end of the 1894/95 season when clubs from the lower division demanded automatic promotion to the Seniors competition. Hull and Wakefield had finished bottom of the Seniors and Morley and Castleford were champions and runners up in the Seconds competition. In Lancashire they had used a play-off system to decide if a club would be promoted.
Morley and Castleford demanded that they should be promoted at the expense of Hull and Wakefield, however the Senior Clubs voted to keep Hull and Wakefield in.
The Yorkshire Union vetoed the Senior clubs decision and this is what forced the Yorkshire clubs to resign from the Yorkshire Union and thus without realising it from the RFU a similar argument happened in Lancashire when the clubs demanded more control over their own fixtures. When all this was going on broken time wasn't a big issue (illegal payments and inducements may have been but broken time wasn't).
The senior clubs had been discussing for some time having a Lancashire Northen Union League and Yorkshire Northern Union League based on a Seniors competition and having the winners of each competition play-off to be Northern Union champions, such proposals had been put to the RFU but rejected.
The RFU almost certainly would like to be rid of some of the troublesome Northern Clubs especially the ones indulging in underhand professionalism. The actions of the senior clubs in isolating themselves and resigning from the county unions over the issue of Leagues gave the RFU what they wanted on a plate, it was the RFU that pushed this as a broken time and professionalism argument not the clubs as this would get support from many quarters where as the objection of the county unions to leagues would probably get less support.
Broken time is a red herring and was used as a stick to beat the Northern Clubs with by the RFU through the Southern media.
Edited by Padge, 12 June 2013 - 09:35 PM.