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Why the Hull clubs must merge


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#21 Big Picture

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 05:42 AM

The vaunted RU competition you so waffle about has teams in Northampton, Sale, Barnet, Worcester, Gloucester, Reading. these are not much bigger than if they are indeed bigger than Wigan, St Helens, Warrington and are  smaller than Sheffield, Doncaster, York or Huddersfield. It's unions ability to attract investors from the successful business class spawned at the public schools and with a built in loyalty to that game that differentiates their success from ours,not the size of the towns/Cities who are mebers of the league.

 

There is some evidence in the number of well heeled investors slowly entering RL that we might be stemming the tide of finance away from RU.I hope so. 

 

Comparison with the NFL and the premier league is pointless. The USA has many more large cities than the UK and has no soccer competiton of any note. There is just not the same amount of cities absent of soccer competiton in this country to move to the mega franchise future you propose. We should stick with our strengths in the smaller communities where we dominate. Our biggest team is in Wigan or maybe Leeds and how big is Wigan. not big enough to support your super franchise future.Leeds is next and they are well outdrawn by a third rate soccer team. After that it's all downhill in terms of catchment size but if we keep our business model rooted on the smaller markets that we dominate we can succeed going forward. Mega franhises have been long the province of soccer and we cannot and should not try to emulate them. 

 

Your comparison to RU is flawed. Like SL, the RU Premiership has teams in a mix of places of various sizes but there the comparison ends. There's only one of those RU teams in a place with less than 100,000 people (Bath) compared to three in SL (Castleford, Wakefield and Widnes). You can see the geographic spread of their teams at http://en.wikipedia....p_(rugby_union), and as you can see they're not all down south but spread up and down England with four London teams. A comparable map for SL would show all but two of the teams along the M62.

 

Below the Premiership they have eight other divisions in four tiers: the Championship, National League 1, National League 2 North, National League 2 South, National League 3 North, National League 3 Midlands, National League 3 South East and National League 3 South West. They've put all that in place since they accepted a pro game less than 20 years ago. By comparison RL has stood still.

The comparison to the NFL, Premier League and others is far from pointless. With pretty much every new contract, they keep getting more money for their TV rights than before, whereas the current SL deal pays barely more than the original one seventeen years ago. The RU rights have likewise gone up ― BT Vision is paying them £125 million for three years, compared to Sky's deal with SL paying £90 million over five years. That means they're getting more than twice as much per year for their rights as SL is ― £41.66 million compared to £18 million. Where SL struggles to find a sponsor willing to pay much money, they have £20 million over four years from Aviva.

Your point about not having many big teams is exactly what I was getting at. Failing to create those super teams in 1996 has cost British RL millions of pounds in lost income over the years. A so-called "Super League" of small teams isn't worth nearly as much to sky and BT as the genuine Super League of big teams they were supposed to create would have been. Keeping to the smaller markets is a recipe for falling further and further behind soccer and RU in both profile and commercial income.


Edited by Big Picture, 04 December 2013 - 05:47 AM.


#22 The Parksider

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 06:37 AM

 Paying players top wages is not what makes great clubs.

 

Its what you can afford behind the scenes after you have paid the players wages.

 

Also paying the cap doesn't mean you have the best available, it could mean you are paying over the odds for mediocre players.

 

Indeed.

 

For me the models have to be Leeds and Wigan both marked out by quality junior set ups  formed one after the other in the early 2,000's. The Hull academies have already been mooted for merger, and to try to emulate the most successful SL clubs has to be considered. As you say it's their choice.

 

I have over the years also got a flavour of the best imports wanting to go to Leeds and Wigan (Saints and Wire) before they'd ever consider Hull. Now full salary cap or not Willy Manu prefers Saints, Scott Taylor to Wigan, Tom Briscoe to Leeds, Hull a nursery for other clubs.

 

The city can go on spending what £3.6M on players to produce mediocre performances, never challenge for trophies, and be a production line for the big four. They can open a third club if they all want to do that and have six derbies a year, after all derbies are now often suggested as the way to rescue London RL.  

 

Last season Hudgell was pondering why he was bothering with Rovers, whilst the Hull team didn't bother at all at Fartown.

 

Apparently it's the fans who don't want change, who prefer tradition to success, until their club drops out of SL of course (unthinkable - well they were never original members were they?) and they mostly stay at home or consider popping down to watch Hull City who not so long ago were from a game RL apparently was stronger than in Hull.


Edited by The Parksider, 04 December 2013 - 07:15 AM.


#23 The Parksider

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 06:53 AM

Next time you're in the area, ask for directions to Calder. Tell us what it's like afterwards, I don't know anyone who has ever been there. 

 

I've been there. It's a river and canal system that links Castleford to Wakefield. These are the principle towns in the Wakefield MDC which

 

1. Boasts a population of 326,000 people with a high density of RL fans and no serious soccer competition

2. Can already put up to 20,000 bums on seats at their three pro RL clubs in good times

3. Produce quality players at the level giants Leeds and Wigan produce players

4. Could have the backing of WMDC for a super stadium to house all these resources but

 

5. Choose to maintain three small clubs who the council won't back for a quality stadia

6. Run club finances that create unmanageable debts

7. Lose most of the best players to bigger clubs

8. Manage to halve the potential paying audience by never getting near winning anything and at times being in a lower division.

 

However this is apparently what "The fans" want. C'est la vie.



#24 Wellsy4HullFC

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 07:49 AM

Paying players top wages is not what makes great clubs.

Its what you can afford behind the scenes after you have paid the players wages.

Also paying the cap doesn't mean you have the best available, it could mean you are paying over the odds for mediocre players.


As for merger, that's up to the clubs involved.

I know.

But what could a merged club offer that Hull FC on their own can't at the moment? What have Hull KR got that we'd want?

I literally don't see the point.
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#25 Ponterover

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 08:34 AM

I'm intrigued to know why Paul Newlove leaving Featherstone had such a profound effect on you.

 

You must have been the only person in the world that thought he'd stay at one club, the bloke was far too good to stay with Featherstone, just like his dad.

 

Not sure what the journey was like from there to this insane ramble, but I imagine it wasn't pleasant.



#26 Brigg Rover

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 10:16 AM

I thought it was a good article. I've seen nothing more than anecdote to suggest that "whole swathes" of the current fan base would walk away. I think a few people would, but the majority wouldn't, and the increased competitiveness of the new team would probably bring in new fans and turn the occasionals into regulars.

Well you can count me as one, I would never watch a game of RL again in any form.



#27 steef

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 10:32 AM

Mergers would not work in the uk. Most fans just would not accept the new club, people invest years of time, effort and money into their club. Change the ground, kit and name and it will never be their club again. Its why you end up with.pheonix clubs like sheffield and gateshead.
"surely they've got to try somthing different now, maybe the little chip over the top?2


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#28 Northern Sol

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 10:46 AM

I've been there. It's a river and canal system that links Castleford to Wakefield. These are the principle towns in the Wakefield MDC which

 

No, it isn't. It connects the Halifax / Huddersfield area with the heavy woollen district with Wakefield. It most people's minds, it is associated with far more with the Halfax area than the Wakey-Cas-Fev triangle. Only in RL do people call that area "Calder".



#29 The Parksider

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 11:00 AM

Mergers would not work in the uk. Most fans just would not accept the new club, people invest years of time, effort and money into their club.

 

No they don't.

 

Most people will watch the top clubs competing in SL. 11,500 average last season

 

If they can't compete in SL thousands stay at home. 5,000 less fans at bottom half of the table SL clubs

 

If they drop out of SL even more stay at home. 950 fans a game at Championship clubs

 

If they drop to the Championship One then only a few hundred remain.

 

The vast majority of fans respond to success and break their necks to get on that bandwagon, that's clear from the attendance figures. There are tens of thousands of fans who want to see top class elite RL but don't bother because they aren't offered it, they are offered ramshackle tradition instead - check how they all came out for the world cup.

 

It's an astounding argument to make that somehow the fans won't wear it??


Edited by The Parksider, 04 December 2013 - 11:01 AM.


#30 jacksy

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 11:20 AM

I would never watch a merged Hull side.


Rugby Union the only game in the world were the spectators handle the ball more than the players.


#31 Northern Sol

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 11:21 AM

It's not "astounding" it is based on observation of past "mergers". One side always loses out and they just go and recreate a phoenix club which promptly joins the RL.I think the number of additional fans gained by Hull or Huddersfield following their "mergers" is close to zero.



#32 Cake Tiger

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 12:23 PM

Only in RL do people call that area "Calder".

 

It's a river, there's an area called Calderdale in the towns in the foothills of the Pennines but there never has been an area that is commonly referred to as Calder. 

 

When used in a RL context, it is usually by trolls who know very little about the area in question. 



#33 Just Browny

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 12:35 PM

I thought it was a good article, well argued. I wouldn't criticise anyone for putting together such a thoughtful and passionate piece and putting it on display for us all to pick the bones out of.

 

I agree with DSK's conclusion in terms of the model we need to create a thriving top-end of the game, but am ultimately afraid that the process we'd need to go through in order to get there (i.e. mergers) would damage the sport immeasurably. I suppose that's how you'd characterise the half-hearted way in which the SL project has been rolled out, with too much club influence and perhaps insufficient leadership. This analysis probably looks kindly on Uncle Mo, but his smugness in assuring that his club was above any tampering or reform is part of what got many people's goat back in the day.

 

I thought the point about Newlove was slightly strange, he is just one example among thousands in all sports that were occurring long before he pulled on a pair of boots.


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.


#34 yipyee

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 01:16 PM

I thought it was a good article, well argued. I wouldn't criticise anyone for putting together such a thoughtful and passionate piece and putting it on display for us all to pick the bones out of.

 

I agree with DSK's conclusion in terms of the model we need to create a thriving top-end of the game, but am ultimately afraid that the process we'd need to go through in order to get there (i.e. mergers) would damage the sport immeasurably. I suppose that's how you'd characterise the half-hearted way in which the SL project has been rolled out, with too much club influence and perhaps insufficient leadership. This analysis probably looks kindly on Uncle Mo, but his smugness in assuring that his club was above any tampering or reform is part of what got many people's goat back in the day.

 

I thought the point about Newlove was slightly strange, he is just one example among thousands in all sports that were occurring long before he pulled on a pair of boots.

 

Quite possibly personalising the piece by adding his own memories about newlove than quoting history text and hearsay from historical examples, I am guessing he is leaning towards that he may have stayed at a 'super' calder club? and that in effect Fev were like a feeder club to the bigger ones?



#35 keighley

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 01:45 PM

Your comparison to RU is flawed. Like SL, the RU Premiership has teams in a mix of places of various sizes but there the comparison ends. There's only one of those RU teams in a place with less than 100,000 people (Bath) compared to three in SL (Castleford, Wakefield and Widnes). You can see the geographic spread of their teams at http://en.wikipedia....p_(rugby_union), and as you can see they're not all down south but spread up and down England with four London teams. A comparable map for SL would show all but two of the teams along the M62.

 

Below the Premiership they have eight other divisions in four tiers: the Championship, National League 1, National League 2 North, National League 2 South, National League 3 North, National League 3 Midlands, National League 3 South East and National League 3 South West. They've put all that in place since they accepted a pro game less than 20 years ago. By comparison RL has stood still.

The comparison to the NFL, Premier League and others is far from pointless. With pretty much every new contract, they keep getting more money for their TV rights than before, whereas the current SL deal pays barely more than the original one seventeen years ago. The RU rights have likewise gone up ― BT Vision is paying them £125 million for three years, compared to Sky's deal with SL paying £90 million over five years. That means they're getting more than twice as much per year for their rights as SL is ― £41.66 million compared to £18 million. Where SL struggles to find a sponsor willing to pay much money, they have £20 million over four years from Aviva.

Your point about not having many big teams is exactly what I was getting at. Failing to create those super teams in 1996 has cost British RL millions of pounds in lost income over the years. A so-called "Super League" of small teams isn't worth nearly as much to sky and BT as the genuine Super League of big teams they were supposed to create would have been. Keeping to the smaller markets is a recipe for falling further and further behind soccer and RU in both profile and commercial income.

 

Your comparison to RU is flawed. Like SL, the RU Premiership has teams in a mix of places of various sizes but there the comparison ends. There's only one of those RU teams in a place with less than 100,000 people (Bath) compared to three in SL (Castleford, Wakefield and Widnes). You can see the geographic spread of their teams at http://en.wikipedia....p_(rugby_union), and as you can see they're not all down south but spread up and down England with four London teams. A comparable map for SL would show all but two of the teams along the M62.

 

Below the Premiership they have eight other divisions in four tiers: the Championship, National League 1, National League 2 North, National League 2 South, National League 3 North, National League 3 Midlands, National League 3 South East and National League 3 South West. They've put all that in place since they accepted a pro game less than 20 years ago. By comparison RL has stood still.

The comparison to the NFL, Premier League and others is far from pointless. With pretty much every new contract, they keep getting more money for their TV rights than before, whereas the current SL deal pays barely more than the original one seventeen years ago. The RU rights have likewise gone up ― BT Vision is paying them £125 million for three years, compared to Sky's deal with SL paying £90 million over five years. That means they're getting more than twice as much per year for their rights as SL is ― £41.66 million compared to £18 million. Where SL struggles to find a sponsor willing to pay much money, they have £20 million over four years from Aviva.

Your point about not having many big teams is exactly what I was getting at. Failing to create those super teams in 1996 has cost British RL millions of pounds in lost income over the years. A so-called "Super League" of small teams isn't worth nearly as much to sky and BT as the genuine Super League of big teams they were supposed to create would have been. Keeping to the smaller markets is a recipe for falling further and further behind soccer and RU in both profile and commercial income.

 

The geographic spread of top flight RU is exactly the same as RL but in reverse. All their teams except Sale and Newcastle are south of Nottingham. All of the SL teams except Broncos and Catalans are North of Nottingham. A close analysis of those top RU teams would I suspect reveal that most are losing hundreds of thousands per year and, like SL teams are propped up by fat cat investors.

 

The composition of their game in the lower divisions is not relevant to this discussion but I would point out that they have been spread nationwide for a 100 plus years. RL is in it's infancy outside the heartlands.

 

The size of the TV contracts RU gets is a mystery given the dour spectacle on view and the usually lower viewing figures. I once again suspect a networking link to top industry and public school loyalties.

 

Merging Widnes and Warrington, Hull/Hull KR, the Wakefield teams and indeed Leeds/Bradford or St.Helens/Wigan would not have produced mega teams, merely reduced the numbers of top teams we have already. indeed Hull KR were in such dire straights at the time of SLs formation they would have offered nothing to the mix. the amalgamations we did have, Huddersfield/Sheffield and Gateshead/Hull seriously reduced RL's footprint and diversity and added not one positive.

 

I still would like to hear from you where are all these megapoli that are available to RL to challenge soccer and develop NFL style mega franchises. I say that we should know our game and strengthen what we have. A bird in the hand is better than one with no bush to perch in.



#36 GIANTSTRIDES

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 03:47 PM

I would never watch a merged Hull side.

 

So if the two money men at Hull decide to merge , and taking into account you are on the edge of the country'

Who will you watch?


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#37 GIANTSTRIDES

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 04:36 PM

No they don't.

 

Most people will watch the top clubs competing in SL. 11,500 average last season

 

If they can't compete in SL thousands stay at home. 5,000 less fans at bottom half of the table SL clubs

 

If they drop out of SL even more stay at home. 950 fans a game at Championship clubs

 

If they drop to the Championship One then only a few hundred remain.

 

The vast majority of fans respond to success and break their necks to get on that bandwagon, that's clear from the attendance figures. There are tens of thousands of fans who want to see top class elite RL but don't bother because they aren't offered it, they are offered ramshackle tradition instead - check how they all came out for the world cup.

 

It's an astounding argument to make that somehow the fans won't wear it??

 

All the examples are there to be seen clear enough, I think it's just some people don't want to see them. They have dreams of their own team somehow being transformed by an injection of money from somewhere, and past glories returning with ever growing crowds to support them. It's a wonderful dream , but that's what it is.

 

 I know that my views are not very popular but i just call it how i see it, For any Rugby league club to amount to anything ( in the modern sense of the word ) They have to be in SL, That in itself is no guarantee of success, but it is rule one,

 The rfl makes money from World cups and other sources, there is as far as i know no other money of any significant amount coming in other that what is brought in through SL. The revenue they bring in is not enough to successfully run a SL club, consequently the clubs who don't have a financial backer with big money perpetually struggle one way or another.

 To me this situation is never going to improve, in fact the running costs of a SL club are going to go up ( like everything else ) So it stands to reason that if things get harder for SL with the crowds they pull ( some not very big ) they are going to get near impossible for some lower clubs.

 The trouble is people don't want to see this, they want to cling on to the dream, and when the end comes as it has for some clubs, it will be the fault of the rich and greedy chairmen who wanted it all.

 The funny part of this is that these rich and greedy chairmen who in some cases have put Millions of their own cash into the game, are castigated by people who have bought a season ticket for 2 or 3 years and think they have bought Rugby league.

 

 I am in my Late 70s now so i have seen a lot of League , best players from both sides of the world, If League vanished tomorrow i could live on my memories alone. But i want to see it not only survive but prosper ( even though most of my days are behind me ). To do this it needs to get into the 21st century. I'm not sure the game can ever be spread to other areas, Although i would love to see it. but we should get away from this idea that the money that is not wasted on London or Catalan or wherever can be used to save the game in the heartlands.

 

AT least two thirds of Heartland clubs will never again amount to anything resmbling there former glories, There is simply not enough of anything in League to stop that happening, not Money, not sponsers, not supporters. Many clubs in the fullness of time will have either merged ( if they have any sence ) become feeder clubs for SL clubs, Or gone down the pan.

 

The only way i see of avoiding the slow death that is overtaking the lower clubs in the heartlands is if a masive amount of cash such as the Aussies get ,was to come into the game, I don't see that happening, I strongly believe these so called rich greedy rebels are the games best chance.

 

Now i think I'll get my tin lid on.


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#38 Northern Sol

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 05:23 PM

I am in my Late 70s now so i have seen a lot of League , best players from both sides of the world, If League vanished tomorrow i could live on my memories alone. But i want to see it not only survive but prosper ( even though most of my days are behind me ). To do this it needs to get into the 21st century. I'm not sure the game can ever be spread to other areas, Although i would love to see it. but we should get away from this idea that the money that is not wasted on London or Catalan or wherever can be used to save the game in the heartlands.

 

AT least two thirds of Heartland clubs will never again amount to anything resmbling there former glories, There is simply not enough of anything in League to stop that happening, not Money, not sponsers, not supporters. Many clubs in the fullness of time will have either merged ( if they have any sence ) become feeder clubs for SL clubs, Or gone down the pan.

 

You were advocating that London get 3 shares of Sky money thus depriving all the other clubs (including Catalans) of an increased share (1/12 rather than 1/14). Disagreeing with that is hardly "using money to save the heartlands at the expense of London". London would get their share like any other club. 



#39 DeadShotKeen

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 05:33 PM

Quite possibly personalising the piece by adding his own memories about newlove than quoting history text and hearsay from historical examples, I am guessing he is leaning towards that he may have stayed at a 'super' calder club? and that in effect Fev were like a feeder club to the bigger ones?


Yes, basically I have strong memories of that event and of my grandad (a Hull KR fan like myself so with no vested interest) grumbling about it, questioning Newlove's integrity and generally bemoaning the influx of money that was ruining the game in his eyes etc. My own instinct as someone of a younger generation was that it was largely inevitable, what Newlove was doing was perfectly understandable and that the sport would be better served working with the money rather than fighting against it (although it took several years - and exposure to the US sports - before this instinct would transform lightbulb style in my mind into a practical way to restructure ourselves).

I take issue with the casual, off-hand suggestions of a few on here that "this had always happened". It really hadn't. Only a few years before, the sport was able to recruit one of rugby union's elite players (Jonathan Davies) in his prime and he didn't sign for a big city side, he signed for Widnes. This wasn't seen as anything unusual ("He's going where!!??" was uttered by precisely no-one and nor would it have been had he signed for Swinton or Bramley) yet it couldn't possibly happen now, or even in 1993. He could now and then only sign for 1 of 4 or 5 large clubs with considerable catchment resource (add Salford to the list of usual suspects).

The point - and you basically either get it or you don't - is that in recruiting Newlove, Bradford had not done anything radical or grafted ingeniously behind the scenes; all they had done - in a nutshell - was "be Bradford Northern" and all that this meant to a promising young player with the world at his feet. And by contrast, Featherstone had done nothing wrong other than simply "being Featherstone Rovers". So yes, of course I suggest that he would have stayed at a merged Calder super club in the same way that Taylor would stay at a merged Hull club and so on and so on into infinity.

This "nursery" element of our game has really only been in force for about 20 years and we are only now starting to see its destructive impact in terms of the plummeting commercial viability of those clubs that are on the wrong end of it. There is no possible way to reverse this process. Soccer probably has it coming worse but we have it coming NOW and are ideally suited to address it simply by following the recent lead of the Aussies.

#40 Lounge Room Lizard

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 05:34 PM

I think you need to look at everything including mergers, relegation Licences etc and what it intends to do and look at the Pros and Cons. There is rarely a right or wrong thoughts/Posts. Each has their pros and cons. I personally dont think that a merger would actually do much. A couple of areas to look at

 

MONEY

It might bring more money in and more fans. But their is no guarentee that would actually happen. In fact you could end up pushing many fans away like what happened with mergers in Australia for example. Push enough people away and the merger would still be a club losing money and struggling to compete in SL. And if you have a money man whats to stop him walking away with the Club owing loads of money and then diasppearing? Or what happens if you end up with a money man like Hull City/Hull Tigers who has changed the name of the club and told the fans to go and die? And a club can have money and pretend to be doing well- Like Wigan and Leeds did before SL. but if its not managed properly then its pointless. For example for all of Wigans success in the late 80s and early 90s it very nearly killed them. And Leeds were big spenders but what did they win in the 80s and early 90s? And they ended up with debts. A money man is not the answer to a club being ran well or winning trophies. It may help but its not the main thing for a club to be doing well on and off the field.

 

Bigger Crowds

Again you may gain some new fans but you also risk pushing thousands away. The mergers of St. George and Illawarra and Wests and Balmain did see the clubs get higher crowds. But when you look at what both the merge clubs used to get and what the Merged club now gets you will find that the Merged clubs crowds are smaller even now than what the combined 2 clubs used to average. And the merger between North Sydney and Manly was simply a mess and the scars are very much there even now especially in the North Sydny/Central Coast area. To simply merge clubs does not automatically mean bigger crowds and certainly not what the combined total from the 2 clubs used to get. Often the Clubs have a proud tradition and fans that are extremely proud and one eyed about their club. To simply expect fans to accept a merger of their club with likely one of their greatest rivals is being blinkered and unrealistic.

 

As said a merger may or may not work. It may look like a good idea but all things need to be considered before even announcing suchathing as it can cause many problems even mentioning it and can force people to be forced away from a club including money men. Tony Gartland was one example when he mentioned that Fax could Merge with Bradford before SL came about. Rightly or wrongly he was met by a wall of anger and sadly received even hate mail and threats. A merger is an emotional topic and one not to be taken lightly 






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