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Will Rugby League ever be popular in Wales/


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#41 Northern Sol

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 09:05 AM

3,600 average crowds in their first Superleague season. They supported it but not in enough numbers to pay the bills of a professional club.

 

Sames as at Bradford, Wakefield, Oldham, Workington, Halifax, the latter three NOT getting 3,600 despite having "roots" going back over 100 years each.

 

Today fans in Castleford, East Hull, Widnes, Salford, Huddersfield etc don't support their clubs in enough numbers to pay the bills.

 

You can find the exact equivalent lack of enthusiasm up here in the heartlands.

This is not a thread about the heartlands. Stop hijacking it. We're talking about Welsh rugby.



#42 Pen-Y-Bont Crusader

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 09:10 AM

That 3600 average was in a season where the club won 3 games in SL. The team was mostly Qlnd Cup players, not exactly fully professional.

#43 Viking Ste

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:08 AM

Watched the Jonathan Davies documentary on the BBC Iplayer last night, showed some footage of his switch from Llanelli to Widnes. I was a bit young at the time to remember but it showed footage of the 6 o'clock headlines wit the news of the switch, Welsh Fans welcoming him to Naughton Park etc. This was the period 1990-95 when we should of took the bull by the horns and took the game to he masses in Wales. We have little chance of that kind of opportunity coming along again!!!

#44 Cardiff Cymru

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 09:55 PM

It's a struggle to instantly develop a large amount of quality players in South Wales right now as we saw on the park today at the Scorpions today. We have been shafted by the RFL a bit this season though in regards to junior development. Having prepared for an under 18s competition, we were put into a 20s and our players are just not old and mature enough to compete. Such a thing could set development back. I hope it doesn't.

 

However the up sides are tremendous if we can stick at it. As already mentioned, we have primary schools playing mini tournaments before and at half-time of every home game, we've an under 13s local tournament, Champion Schools of course, plus the Scorpions under 16s side have so far beaten Salford, Widnes and London Broncos this season.

 

The future is looking bright, it's just long term.


Edited by Cardiff Cymru, 23 June 2013 - 09:55 PM.

About time I updated this.

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#45 keighley

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 11:34 PM

Well it played out quite badly in Bradford, it played out badly in Wakefield and Halifax, Oldham, Workington etc.
 
The point I'm making is about "growing the game" a point people make in which they say investment in a "ready made" SL club is not the way - evidence being Paris Crusaders, London, Gateshead etc. They say "bottom up" is the way.
 
But there is no evidence at all for this, those who choose to point to North Wales Crusaders forget the the money invested in Crusaders and the Superleague season awoke a big interest in fans and Crusaders - largely a Lancashire team. Was it 10,000 at the first game? It's 900 now. But hands up that is a contrived point, as contrived as using 900 as evidence they are well supported. Sheffield used to get 900 when they were top of CC1, promotion and several years has not seen their crowds spiral even though they continue to win.
 
You state that top down/bottom up is not mutually exclusive. it certainly used to be when Doncaster started out growing the game bottom up over 60 years ago, today as you say clubs recognise the need to be community clubs and strive to grow some "roots". In fact Superleague licenses require top down/bottom up.
 
And for me if you look at the Celtic Crusaders on this point you have to compare how the growth rate of budding professional young/welsh players, and how the growth rate of paying fans in the days when the investment was going in, compares against how South Wales Scorpions are growing their professional welsh player base and their crowds.
 
There is no comparison. 6,000 attended a Celtic Crusaders.v.Saints Superleague match and at the time I was told by a Swansea junior ARL poster how things were buzzing, now I look at Scorpions 393 average crowd and am told of the dificulties finding players and getting games on in the amateur/junior game.
 
I'm all for as many amateur/semi pro clubs as possible in as many places as possible, but I'm not one for giving them the responsibility to take the game forward, for that sets them up to fail. Heavy investment saw a big interest in RL in Wales, Paris, Gateshead and London when the money went in, when it didn't the interest waned, only the same as places in the heartlands.
 
So yes to the OP question Welsh people are as interested in RL as anyone including heartland fans.
 
It just takes a few million a year throwing at a Superleague club for a few generations to harness the interest into deep enough roots.

If someone wants to throw a few million quid at starting a top down RL club then more power to them although they will create problems in deciding which current SL clubs to ditch to make way for them.

However, as of now, bottom up club Hemel have been around for over 30 years. Skolars, another bottom up club have been around for at least 15 years. Sheffield, another bottom up club climbed to the top of the mountain top, as in SL, Challenge Cup winners. Like Bradford, Wakefield etc got into trouble, but the grassroots and love of their club that survived, resurrected them and now they are still here, dominating their league.

Now we also have Oxford, Gloucester, Crusaders, SWales and soon Coventry in existence and competing as bottom up clubs. Gateshead mark 2 are also still around amazingly but having lasted a lot longer than the one season wonder top down mark 1 version. Paris were another top down success story.

Now, let me concede that a SL club averaging 10,000 and making a profit in any of these or other areas would be great, there is absolutely no sign of this happening. Catalans and the soon to be anointed Toulouse are not from virgin RL areas so are outside the scope of this argument.

So, as Northern Sol postulates, why would we stop still and do nothing waiting for the multi million pound investor. Beggars can't be choosers

We now have 8 RL clubs, including 2 in Wales, playing, recruiting players, attracting fans to the outer reaches of the RL kingdom. The numbers might not be great and some may ultimately fail but this is 1000% more Rl expansion and development than has come from the assembled multitudes of venture capitalists waiting in the wings to start up SL clubs. The ones we have managed to find, namely at Crusaders, Paris and Gateshead crashed and burned and the remaining good Samaritan at London looks to have has enough.

So, hang in there Wales, you have two clubs, two survivors. Let's see where the future takes you.

#46 Pen-Y-Bont Crusader

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 03:52 AM

If someone wants to throw a few million quid at starting a top down RL club then more power to them although they will create problems in deciding which current SL clubs to ditch to make way for them.However, as of now, bottom up club Hemel have been around for over 30 years. Skolars, another bottom up club have been around for at least 15 years. Sheffield, another bottom up club climbed to the top of the mountain top, as in SL, Challenge Cup winners. Like Bradford, Wakefield etc got into trouble, but the grassroots and love of their club that survived, resurrected them and now they are still here, dominating their league.Now we also have Oxford, Gloucester, Crusaders, SWales and soon Coventry in existence and competing as bottom up clubs. Gateshead mark 2 are also still around amazingly but having lasted a lot longer than the one season wonder top down mark 1 version. Paris were another top down success story.Now, let me concede that a SL club averaging 10,000 and making a profit in any of these or other areas would be great, there is absolutely no sign of this happening. Catalans and the soon to be anointed Toulouse are not from virgin RL areas so are outside the scope of this argument.So, as Northern Sol postulates, why would we stop still and do nothing waiting for the multi million pound investor. Beggars can't be choosersWe now have 8 RL clubs, including 2 in Wales, playing, recruiting players, attracting fans to the outer reaches of the RL kingdom. The numbers might not be great and some may ultimately fail but this is 1000% more Rl expansion and development than has come from the assembled multitudes of venture capitalists waiting in the wings to start up SL clubs. The ones we have managed to find, namely at Crusaders, Paris and Gateshead crashed and burned and the remaining good Samaritan at London looks to have has enough.So, hang in there Wales, you have two clubs, two survivors. Let's see where the future takes you.


Just been reminded that 'Winners never quit and quitters never win'. See ms apt right now reading Keighleys post.

#47 owls

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 11:21 AM

Congratulations to North Wales Crusaders on winning the league, a small positive step in establishing the game in Wales.


Edited by owls, 02 September 2013 - 10:48 PM.


#48 South Wakefield Sharks

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 12:35 PM

Congratulations to North Wales Crusaders on winning the league, a small posotive step in establishing the game in Wales.


RL seemed to be quite popular in Wrexham yesterday from what I saw. 1500 people watching a RL match in the third tier.

#49 Lobbygobbler

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 01:33 PM

Two good SL clubs in Wales (north and south) would draw 10k+ crowds each easy IMO. Crusaders got decent gates at Bridgend despite being a poor team.

I would love this to happen in 5-10 years. Maybe we'll see Cru make it back to SL soon at least

#50 JohnM

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 01:51 PM

more to the point, will rugby league ever be popular in England?



#51 Celtic Rooster

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 02:33 PM

Very good John. There has been some ###### talked throughout this thread, especially the bit about Wigan "helping" Scorpions. Talk to any Scorpions supporters, players. ex players and staff who are not paid by Wigan and they will tell you that they wish Wigan would leave them alone! PS I live in Salford but have supported Crusaders since Celtic Crusaders first ever league game and have watched most amateur sides in South Wales as well. As for where the game should be played in South Wales - Cardiff people wont go to Swansea and Swansea people won't go to Cardiff. I have watched about a dozen games on Neath and definitely would not play it there. I would place my team in Pontypridd, just at the bottom of the Rhondda valley where the people are sport mad.



#52 redjonn

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 03:41 PM

The question could have been asked of football in the late 90's, i.e. will football ever be popular in Wales?

 

The two biggest clubs have been around for over 100 years and hence plenty of time to build support.

 

In the late 90's Swansea averaged around 3,500 fans, even below 3000 for one year. Throughout the 90's they hardly got past 5000 often.

 

In late 90's Cardiff averaged around 3,600 plus dropped to below 3000 at a point in 91, with below 4000 in 6 of the 90's years.  

 

Now that they have had a period of success and achieved Premier League status they both average around 22,000. (Cardiff capacity is 26,000 and Swansea close to 22,000).   Now they have the premier league monies coming in they look to invest to increase stadium capacity and other to maximise the opportunity afforded them.

 

For me I would always compare SL with the Football League Championship and League one, etc, which is where Swansea and Cardiff where before recent promotions.

 

So we have to be realistic in what level of attendance can be achieved.    The key is identifying what the potential is and measuring against that.   I would not expect given the demographics and competition that 10,000 will be easily achieved.  To get mid 3000's would be pretty good given the above attendances pattern for the the two football clubs whilst in football league.

 

It also shows that success is the major ingredient to gain the momentum - I guess the whole chicken and egg question....


Edited by redjonn, 02 September 2013 - 06:53 PM.


#53 crusadin_photoman

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 04:17 PM

Very good John. There has been some ###### talked throughout this thread, especially the bit about Wigan "helping" Scorpions. Talk to any Scorpions supporters, players. ex players and staff who are not paid by Wigan and they will tell you that they wish Wigan would leave them alone! PS I live in Salford but have supported Crusaders since Celtic Crusaders first ever league game and have watched most amateur sides in South Wales as well. As for where the game should be played in South Wales - Cardiff people wont go to Swansea and Swansea people won't go to Cardiff. I have watched about a dozen games on Neath and definitely would not play it there. I would place my team in Pontypridd, just at the bottom of the Rhondda valley where the people are sport mad.

In my opinion the Wigan link could work but there's been no consistency in who's coming down.

We were discussing options if it were to move from Neath on the team bus on the way home from Wrexham, Pontypridd was a popular choice.

Six of yesterday's side were barely 18-19 years old, that added to the talent in the Under 16 side means we could have a bright future but only if we can ensure these youngsters retain Rugby League as their sport of choice.



#54 gogledd

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 04:28 PM

Some good points on this thread.  When Crusaders RL folded due to the financial ineptitude of the two owners and the club had to withdraw its SL application it was the fans who gathered together to "Save the Cru".  In discussions with the RFL in forming North Wales Crusaders, the fans were adamant that we wanted a club that we could run within our budget. 

 

For the last two seasons we have been able to achieve that, and set out realistic targets in #mission2013; targets for attendance levels and what was achievable on the playing field. As has already been stated we have a wheelchair RL side formed this year and have started a North Wales Crusaders U15s which will develop to U15s and U16 next year.

 

I don't think we quite met our attendance target but I don't think we were that far off. All the players had  sponsors this year - a major success. And our on field achievements speak for themselves - Northern Rail Bowl champions, 100% winning home record and Championship 1 Champions.  Bottom up growth for me every time.



#55 Pen-Y-Bont Crusader

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 05:19 PM

In my opinion the Wigan link could work but there's been no consistency in who's coming down.
We were discussing options if it were to move from Neath on the team bus on the way home from Wrexham, Pontypridd was a popular choice.
Six of yesterday's side were barely 18-19 years old, that added to the talent in the Under 16 side means we could have a bright future but only if we can ensure these youngsters retain Rugby League as their sport of choice.


The Wigan link will work, just maybe not in simply dropping in players for the odd game for the Scorpions.

Keeping the U16 talent in RL is of paramount importance for the future of the game and to develop 'popularity' in RL.

#56 Celtic Rooster

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 08:01 PM

It will work for Wigan. When players are told that they are playing and then get told they are not, after a phone call from Wigan, they tend to get a bit miffed and maybe even leave!



#57 808tone

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 08:18 PM

Wales were to Rugby League as to what New Zealand was and in my eye's as in reality Wales (as well as New Zealand) should of came over to Rugby League in the first place.

Find it a sad justification that the taff's and Kiwi lot still went with the RFU as now the RFU premiership etc is strong yet the Welsh and Kiwi club game is struggling and the English RfU don't give a ######.

 

BTW the Wales Rugby League team of 1995 were the better team then the Union counterpart's.


Edited by 808tone, 02 September 2013 - 08:19 PM.


#58 Methven Hornet

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 08:27 PM

Some good points on this thread.  When Crusaders RL folded due to the financial ineptitude of the two owners and the club had to withdraw its SL application it was the fans who gathered together to "Save the Cru".  In discussions with the RFL in forming North Wales Crusaders, the fans were adamant that we wanted a club that we could run within our budget. 

 

For the last two seasons we have been able to achieve that, and set out realistic targets in #mission2013; targets for attendance levels and what was achievable on the playing field. As has already been stated we have a wheelchair RL side formed this year and have started a North Wales Crusaders U15s which will develop to U15s and U16 next year.

 

I don't think we quite met our attendance target but I don't think we were that far off. All the players had  sponsors this year - a major success. And our on field achievements speak for themselves - Northern Rail Bowl champions, 100% winning home record and Championship 1 Champions.  Bottom up growth for me every time.

 

I'm really glad that NW Crusaders are now starting to get a bit of success and doing some excellent things in terms of community development. My one fear has been "are they spending more than they can afford?" If you have set realistic budgets that the club can sustain then that does provide some reassurance. We've seen too often in RL, in the heartlands as well as development areas, buying success then a couple of years down the line admitting they're skint. Glad to know that shouldn't happen in Wrexham.


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#59 Pen-Y-Bont Crusader

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 08:42 PM

It will work for Wigan. When players are told that they are playing and then get told they are not, after a phone call from Wigan, they tend to get a bit miffed and maybe even leave!


I didnt mean it would work in that way CR.

I would say that Wigan's link with Scorpions, whilst allowing DR players to get some game time is not even close to what they really are in it for. Players naturally would get miffed if left out but look at yesterday's game and all the lads from South Wales that played.

The real way it is 'working' is the input of Wigan and their coaching methods and resources here. for Wigan they get the pick of South Wales talent eg Bradley Mais.

#60 gogledd

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 08:59 PM

I'm really glad that NW Crusaders are now starting to get a bit of success and doing some excellent things in terms of community development. My one fear has been "are they spending more than they can afford?" If you have set realistic budgets that the club can sustain then that does provide some reassurance. We've seen too often in RL, in the heartlands as well as development areas, buying success then a couple of years down the line admitting they're skint. Glad to know that shouldn't happen in Wrexham.

It wasn't us who came up with the title "Big Spending Crusaders"...and our finances were robustly defended by our CEO in League Express.  We had the same money from the RFL as Hornets and Oldham this season and possibly a little more income from gate takings -  maybe we spent it well.






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