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has anyone changed their mind?


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17 replies to this topic

#1 town4me

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 02:06 PM

After the world cup games with the big crowds, big screens, tv cameras, atmosphere and higher quality RL on show has anyone changed their opinion of the"M" word?? Yes the merger subject! Surprisingly a poll on the haven forum shows more now in favour than against! After the WC games I'm torn as I would never want to see the end of WTRLFC but I could handle more of that on a regular basis in west cumbria. Has anyone else thought about it?????

#2 GeordieTownie

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 02:21 PM

Financially it's the best option by a country mile.

#3 Keith T

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 03:56 PM

Super League don't want small town clubs they are looking more to big city clubs or areas of the country combining, like north and south Wales, so the likes of Town or Haven going it alone in to SL is definitely out of the question. If P & R does come back and one or other of our clubs actually made it to SL it would once again sound the death-knell for that club.

If there is to be SL in west Cumbria ever again then it could only be a combined club either by merger or as an additional club. I hear people say that the RFL puts money in to other areas but doesn't put it in to forming a Cumbrian SL team but the difference is that those other areas have actually gone some way to forming their clubs not sat back expecting the RFL to do all the work. If a SL club is to be formed in west Cumbria if has got to come from the people here in the area.

The small poll on the Haven forum only gives an indication of what current fans feel and doesn't take in to consideration the views of thousands of ex-fans of both clubs who have walked away from the game through being in the lower leagues and many because of all the bitterness that has grown over the years between both sets of fans.

In days gone by that was never the case. I used to go to both grounds as a young man and support both teams and at the World Cup matches each game I sat beside the same Haven fan who told me he used to come now and again to watch Town play. I know that our players and coaches go and watch Haven if Town aren't playing and several other people as well. So, why are others just so bitter about the other.

It is this sort of petty parochial bitterness that is making our 2 clubs the laughing stock of the rugby league world, we even have comedians on the telly laughing at us - Jameaters!!!! We have players, coaches, visiting fans, reporters, you name it, all saying the same thing that there should be a Cumbrian SL team but yet we have some who would rather fight each other and call them names. Pathetic.

It is that sort of attitude that will see to it that it never happens. We have at Lillyhall a brand new Lakes College where the newly formed RFL Academy are already based. There is land standing empty all around the college and it is adjacent to a major road to the motorway. It is equidistant from Seaton as it is from Hillcrest at Whitehaven. All around the area is buildings connected with training or learning and in anyone's words an ideal location for a new community stadium.

Finance as always is key to any proposals but weren't BEC going to put £4 million in to the failed stadium at Haven? The Rec can never belong to Haven as it is charity land and until someone buys out that land that will be the case, so any work done on the Rec will be, in the long run, for the benefit of the Social Welfare Club (Miners). Town have an old stadium that has had a face-lift but underneath it is still an old decaying stadium. We are in a slightly better situation than Haven because we own a long lease on the land but each year the stadium gets older and more decay.

People talk about the history of the clubs but history is for history books. The history they are talking is not anything tangible it is in memories and record books, in Town's case all the trophies that we have won during our existance.
I would love to see it happen but where are the men to make it happen. Where would Town and Haven have been if it hadn't been for the likes of Mitchell and Pickthall who had the vision to see how good it would be for the area?

Edited by Keith T, 27 November 2013 - 05:36 PM.

I remember when .............................

"It is impossible not to feel a twinge of sympathy for Workington Town, the fall guys this season for the Super League's determination to retain it's European dimension, in the shape of Paris. While the French have had every assistance to survive, the importance of having a flagship in a heartland area like West Cumbria has been conveniently forgotten." - Dave Hadfield - Independent 25th August 1996.


#4 town4me

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 04:16 PM

Some very good points there keith particularly about stay away fans. I would like to atleast see a working party set up to look into the idea and see what it comes up with. It could be made up of officials from both clubs, financial advisers/buisness planners to see what would be needed and what kind of finance etc too, and maybe guage a feeling as to what the general feeling of west cumbria is towards the idea especially after the success of cumbria hosting the 2013 RLWC.

Edited by town4me, 27 November 2013 - 04:16 PM.


#5 GeordieTownie

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 05:08 PM

There in lies the problem regarding a working party. Town appealed for fresh blood and new directors but how many came forward?

#6 Keith T

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 05:28 PM

In 1996 there was an attempt for a 3 way merger between Town, Haven and Carlisle. The project was funded by the West Cumbria Development Fund and it was proposed then that the 3 clubs merge and have a new stadium built at Lillyhall. The project was overseen by Drivers Jonas a multi-million pound company and they met with 2 directors from each of the 3 clubs to discuss the project. (Drivers Jonas were later absorbed by Deloittes).

The results of that were never published to my knowledge but Alan Tucker, one of the Carlisle directors who attended, wrote in his book "Border City Blues" that whilst him and the other Carlisle director were open minded they felt that it wouldn't happen because neither Town or Haven's fans, or even their boards would give up their autonomy to a yet-to-be-formed Super League entity in a yet-to-be-built stadium in no-man's land between Workington and Whitehaven, and so it proved to be.

Those talks were a year after the 1995 Super League formation talks of merging the clubs which caused a lot of discontent and no doubt feelings were still high from those talks.

Edited by Keith T, 27 November 2013 - 05:38 PM.

I remember when .............................

"It is impossible not to feel a twinge of sympathy for Workington Town, the fall guys this season for the Super League's determination to retain it's European dimension, in the shape of Paris. While the French have had every assistance to survive, the importance of having a flagship in a heartland area like West Cumbria has been conveniently forgotten." - Dave Hadfield - Independent 25th August 1996.


#7 town blue

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 07:48 PM

The WL match atmosphere was created at a compact DP, will this be the same on a converted field at Lillyhall. Lillyhall is a bad idea, if the merger goes ahead its got to be either in haven or worky where the transport links are the strongest. No doubt the semi-professional game in W Cumbria is dying, hence something needs to happen. Personally I don't want a merger but I am of the older generation whose judgement is biased. .

#8 The Voodooguru

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 08:03 PM

I'm in complete agreement with you Keith. The past is the past, I've two young kids and I'd love them to grow up watching a West Cumbrian SL side. As passionate as I am about Town, if it is for the future of the game I am prepared to back a new team at the expense of the team I've followed for 30 years. All the Haven fans I know at work barring one are of the same opinion as me. I think there will be a handful of fans from both teams that would refuse to follow a new team but the team would replace them with new fans more than tenfold what they would lose.
It would be a bold step for any fan to turn their back on their club, but surely we have to have the vision of the future to inspire our kids for generations to come.
The likes of Amor, Donaldson, etc could be playing for a Cumbrian SL club.
The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong, but thats the way to bet!

#9 Keith T

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 08:15 PM

The WL match atmosphere was created at a compact DP, will this be the same on a converted field at Lillyhall. Lillyhall is a bad idea, if the merger goes ahead its got to be either in haven or worky where the transport links are the strongest. No doubt the semi-professional game in W Cumbria is dying, hence something needs to happen. Personally I don't want a merger but I am of the older generation whose judgement is biased. .


I don't recall anyone saying that because you are of the older generation your judgement is biased. I am of the older generation myself so does that apply to me? Everyone has opinions and some will agree others won't that doesn't say that one or the other is correct.

Your point about transport to Lillyhall is one that can be overcome with a bit of planning. In Brisbane, Australia, for instance on match days everyone who pre-purchases a ticket for the match can jump on a bus free to get to the match. How do all the kids get to Lakes College and Gen11 and the new Construction Skills campus? I would suggest there is more public transport to that area now than there ever was and there is plenty land for a good sized car park.

I remember when .............................

"It is impossible not to feel a twinge of sympathy for Workington Town, the fall guys this season for the Super League's determination to retain it's European dimension, in the shape of Paris. While the French have had every assistance to survive, the importance of having a flagship in a heartland area like West Cumbria has been conveniently forgotten." - Dave Hadfield - Independent 25th August 1996.


#10 town4me

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 08:31 PM

I'm in complete agreement with you Keith. The past is the past, I've two young kids and I'd love them to grow up watching a West Cumbrian SL side. As passionate as I am about Town, if it is for the future of the game I am prepared to back a new team at the expense of the team I've followed for 30 years. All the Haven fans I know at work barring one are of the same opinion as me. I think there will be a handful of fans from both teams that would refuse to follow a new team but the team would replace them with new fans more than tenfold what they would lose.
It would be a bold step for any fan to turn their back on their club, but surely we have to have the vision of the future to inspire our kids for generations to come.
The likes of Amor, Donaldson, etc could be playing for a Cumbrian SL club.

that's a good point in that the few who would refuse to follow a new club would probably be out numbered by new fans.

#11 Alineden

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 08:44 PM

A merger is the only way forward and not just to get super league in the area but to ensure the survival of the sport in this area. Just to become a successful and title challenging championship side we would have to pool all the available resources in the area.

The old question of where to play. Well my theory is this. Keep the two grounds going for a period of say five to ten years. Minimise investment in either ground. Maintain a standard thats basically just acceptable. Play home games at each ground alternately. Make it as easy as possible to get to games in the other town from your own town. Bus fans to one stadium to the other along pickup routes. Making it an easy as possible part of match day. During this period a massive push must be planned to strengthen the playing staff. On the field success must be priority as a bandwagon must be created for fans and potential sponsors/investors to jump on.

After the initial period of time travelling between stadiums the whole idea of Workington fans going to watch their team play in Whitehaven and Whitehaven fans going to watch their team play in Workington might not leave such a bad taste in the mouth. RL league fans in the area will have spent a few years supporting the same team. The bitterness and stubbornness should begin to neutralise and then choices can be made about a permanent home for the club. Some supporters will be lost as not everyone will be happy with the outcome but hopefully the number of new supporters following a forward thinking successful new club will far out number those lost.

#12 DavidM

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 08:59 PM

I want to watch more rugby like the WC games ... The quality , the crowd , the whole thing was a buzz . A Cumbrian team is the only way to get anywhere close ,that's just fact in the modern environment . You can still have your heritage teams as feeder streams , just like in Oz . It seems logical that this is the way to go if we're gonna see high end sport here . The players are there, the amateur scene is there ... Now we just need the money and the combined will . Look at London and Wakefield , it would be great if a Cumbria team was there to push for one of their spots . It would be a no brainer . I agree that it's to easy to beat the RFL and say they need to back us up here rather than the expansionist areas ... It must begin and grow from here , then they will see there's something to support . Here's hoping we see it one day .

#13 town4me

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 10:02 PM

Surely the RFL should see us a good expansion to SL and see us as a heartland with a very good amatuer set up that could feed a club with young talent. Looking at the haven forum there are only a couple holding the caveman attitude of they are happy to watch RL in an aging ground with poor crowds and no chance of ever progressing. I wonder what the crowds would be if two SL club's played a game In cumbria. I'd be ther like a shot

#14 GeordieTownie

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 10:43 PM

So would most and you'd also get people from the lakes & penrith, the north east and since the World Cup probably Scotland

#15 Keith T

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 10:09 PM

Nearly 17 years ago and the argument is still the same!!!!

 

 

An article from a News and Star Supplement for the Good Friday match 1997.

 

Whitehaven’s view of amalgamation by Martin Morgan.

 

Now we know it might be feasible, but is it wanted?  No issue polarises rugby league opinion in West Cumbria more than that of a new Super League club.

 

Some Whitehaven fans can hardly bring themselves to utter the name of their neighbouring club seven miles down the road, while others want to join together to create a new club to take on the Lancashire and Yorkshire giants in the Super League.

 

In the national press, West Cumbrian rugby is portrayed as a sleeping giant of the game.  But to many success-starved fans it appears to have gone in to long term hibernation and forgotten to awaken.

 

Come together or fall apart – that is increasingly the feeling of Haven fans.  But a vociferous and significant minority remain opposed to Haven’s involvement.

 

The Whitehaven club is keeping an open mind on the Super League issue and is awaiting more information on the proposals before deciding whether to get involved.

 

“We would be happy to look at plans for the possible formation of a Super League club”, said Bill Madine, Haven secretary.

 

Even if the new club is launched, he believes the Recreation Ground is likely to remain in use for Alliance, Academy and training duties.

 

Plans for a single Super League club passed the first hurdle of a feasibility study in January.

 

At a private meeting at Westlakes Science Park, near Whitehaven, Haven, Workington Town and Carlisle Raiders officials were told that there was a realistic chance of creating a top club for Cumbria.

 

London based consultants spent five months on the initial study, but issues such as a base for the club, securing a Super League slot and pulling together a financial package to make it viable, were not addressed.

 

In rugby terms the issue has kicked off, but there are still 80 minutes of gruelling play ahead.

 

Skipper David Seeds is a long term advocate of a united Cumbria and reckons Haven are unlikely to ever hit the heights on their own.

 

“Whitehaven are always going to be in the same situation” he said, “They are good enough to stay in the first division, maybe halfway up the table”.

 

He would like to take the best players from Haven, Town and the Raiders and use the two West Cumbria clubs as feeders to the Super League outfit.

 

“If Cumbria wants a Super League team it is the only way forward” he added, “I would love to play in a Cumbria team”.

 

“As for the supporters, we would always get Whitehaven/Workington rivalry at first, but gradually, if we were winning, people would come and watch”.   “If we can compete with Wigan and Saints we will get people in”.


I remember when .............................

"It is impossible not to feel a twinge of sympathy for Workington Town, the fall guys this season for the Super League's determination to retain it's European dimension, in the shape of Paris. While the French have had every assistance to survive, the importance of having a flagship in a heartland area like West Cumbria has been conveniently forgotten." - Dave Hadfield - Independent 25th August 1996.


#16 Keith T

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 10:11 PM

And the other viewpoint

 

 

Workington Town’s view of amalgamation by John Walsh.

 

Ken Wilson wears his heart on his sleeve where Workington Town is concerned.

 

The Town chairman would love nothing more than to see his beloved club flourish at Derwent Park, breaking back in to Super League.

 

But beneath the blue and white exterior, Wilson has been a businessman long enough to know you have to be a realist, and has accepted that the only sure way forward for the sport in West Cumbria is on a united front. 

 

The on-going feasibility study into a Cumbria side playing at Lillyhall, has his support and the backing of local rivals Whitehaven and Carlisle.

 

They are still looking forward to the second, decisive phase of the study.

 

“If Workington Town could get the support needed at Derwent Park and we were capable on the field, ready to challenge for Super League, then that would be marvellous”, said Ken.

 

“But like our neighbours at Whitehaven and Carlisle, we can’t get the support we need to finance the kind of challenging club that Cumbria deserves.  I think the real way forward has to be through one team for the county, based at Lillyhall”.

 

“We are all in the same boat – not getting enough people through the turnstiles and fighting each other for the best of local talent, which all too often goes out of the county to clubs in Lancashire and Yorkshire”. 

 

Wilson and his friend, Steve Williams have made extensive personal contributions to Town’s survival over the past 12 months, without which the club would have folded.

 

But he has admitted that the pair don’t have a bottomless financial pit to prop up the Derwent Park club.

 

“We have to start pulling 3,000 plus for our home games or we will be in serious trouble and to be quite honest, we just couldn’t go on”, he has warned.

 

Town’s losing start to the season – there were just over 2,000 for the opening game with Keighley – has added to the problems, giving more credence to the calls for a united Cumbrian club.

 

Director Barry Earl believes that, as a first step, the three clubs should have introduced a Cumbrian Academy side.

 

“That would have tested the water to see how we could all get along and run an Under 19 side.   Pooling the best youngsters in the county, and playing them in a higher flight of the Academy structure would have been a useful exercise for the players and also from the club’s point of view”, he said.

 

“From there, who knows – a combined Alliance team for Cumbria?   I think it would be very interesting and give everyone a chance to assess the merits of a combined and concerted efforts to run a team together”.

 

Final Word came from chairman Ken Wilson, who said, “If the decision is made to go ahead with a joint Cumbria side at Lillyhall it must be up and running for 1998.   If it is laid aside again I don’t think it will happen”. 


Edited by Keith T, 29 November 2013 - 10:13 PM.

I remember when .............................

"It is impossible not to feel a twinge of sympathy for Workington Town, the fall guys this season for the Super League's determination to retain it's European dimension, in the shape of Paris. While the French have had every assistance to survive, the importance of having a flagship in a heartland area like West Cumbria has been conveniently forgotten." - Dave Hadfield - Independent 25th August 1996.


#17 town4me

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 10:20 PM

Good blasts from the past KT. as I say lets just get a working group set up to see if its possible and what it would take or a non starter and put it to bed.

#18 GeordieTownie

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 09:26 AM

It's quite clear that a hell of a lot of fans want it so it's a no brainier for me