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League Express


Martyn Sadler

Member Since 23 Aug 2004
Offline Last Active Today, 06:19 PM

#2960054 Cabinet Reshuffle (renamed thread)

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 16 July 2014 - 04:27 PM

Another Telegraph article suggesting they've lost the plot.


Mr Gove has been a great Education Secretary


If someone had posted that on this forum then I'd be accusing them of trolling.  And I doubt I'd be convinced by any excuses of "honest opinion".

The trouble with being the Education Secretary is that you can only really be judged some years after you have left office.


And very often the role of Education Secretary seems to be held by a politician hoping for bigger things who wants to cause as few ripples as possible with the teaching unions.


The only two Education Secretaries in the last 17 years who don't conform to that stereotype are David Blunkett (1997 to 2001) and Gove.


Both of them identified the fact that the education system is letting down working class kids, and both were vilified for their troubles by the National Union of Teachers.


Both of them thoroughly prepared their brief while they were in opposition. Blunkett once famously had to hide in a broom cupboard, even before he took office, to escape enraged NUT members.


The truth is that the Education Secretary is dealing with vested interests that see any changes as a threat to their members' terms and conditions, which is where their priorities lie. The only change they will accept is more money being thrown at them, which is what happened when Gordon Brown came to power. And Brown threw money at everything, creating a financial black hole.


But as long as most middle class parents can afford to buy houses in areas that give them access to schools with a decent intake, they will go along with this, without caring too much about schools in poor neighbourhoods.


That sense of smug satisfaction and a desire not to rock the boat seems apparent on this thread, but in my opinion it just isn't good enough.


Because of my role in our company I receive hundreds of emails from young kids at school in some of the less affluent Rugby League towns telling me they want to write about the game for a living, and asking for work experience. And it's heartbreaking to have to turn them down because they have never been taught even the basics of good English.


I don't know why this is, and why teachers can't instil some decent writing skills into these kids.


I feel strongly about this because I came from a school myself that had kids from a very poor background. I was the only boy in my school year who passed the old eleven-plus, so I can see what low expectations lead to.


Blunkett and Gove, in their own ways, both wanted to do something about this problem, and both tried.


In the meantime we are falling farther and farther behind our rivals when the educational attainments of our kids are measured against them.


And I can't see any other politician on the horizon who is prepared to do anything about it.


Anything for an easy life.

#2958872 Culture, image and Rugby League

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 14 July 2014 - 12:01 PM

The last 10 years of Internet/social media has seen football's growth only explode further. Football being a skill based game, as opposed to collision based, commands most interest in folk. A player flashes a piece of skill it quickly gets millions of views on YouTube...Ronaldinho, Messi, Zidane, Ronaldo...etc etc. Football is top dog because skill is king. A rare moment of skill in Rugby Union came from a dummy pass from O'Driscoll which got over a million views.

This thread is about the culture and image of Rugby League, and it is interesting to compare those elements to association football.


The image you present here of soccer being a game of great skill is widely accepted by most people and is therefore part of that sport's image.


And yet it's a perfect example of the image being divorced from the reality.


Football's great success comes about because the skill quotients of the teams don't necessarily determine the outcome of the game. And that's why a third-world country can take up soccer and within a few years can be challenging the best teams in the world, which simply couldn't happen in Rugby League or in the other major football codes.


Soccer is so successful because it is the least skilful of the football codes, but it manages to give the impression to many people that it is the most skilful.


In the World Cup that has just ended I watched Argentina's first game, after being told that Lionel Messi was the best player in the world, only to find him giving the ball to the opposition virtually every time he had the ball (at least in the first half), and being very easily dispossessed of the ball. If a supposed star Rugby League player had performed like that he would have been crucified by the media and by the fans.


But Messi scored a goal in the second half of that game, so that made him the best player in the world again.


Don't get the impression that I'm having a go at soccer, by the way.


It has succeeded brilliantly, and we have to admire it for that.


I'm sure there are a lot of lessons that Rugby League could learn from it.

#2957491 Culture, image and Rugby League

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 11 July 2014 - 11:50 AM

In my opinion, there is a perception of Rugby League that needs to be addressed before we wring our hands and bemoan the "negative" press the game seems to carry around. It is a class perception that unfortunately, the game has encouraged as part of it's imagery, where the good honest hard working souls who play and watch the game are the "back-bone" of the nation...the salt of the earth. This, from my dealings with RL folk is true...they are (mainly) very honest, true and hardworking folk who rarely look down on anyone, are always welcoming and more than most sports, love a good "debate" about the game. They also support their game with a passion that is admirable and "repel boarders" on a regular basis when an attack is perceived.


Alas, this perceived image is not one that your average member of the public want to aspire to.......nobody wants to be blue collar, they want to make a few bob and climb the social ladder.......and father up the social ladder is where "other sports" sit.


There is nothing wrong with being a "working class" sport.......it's just a case that working class is no longer "good enough" for the majority of the population. 


Rugby League used to be Ronnie Corbett and it was fine with that. The Fans were fine with it to and it knew it's place. Now it is Ronnie Barker and John Cleese doesn't like that one bit, so when League makes a mistake, Cleese makes sure that everyone knows it. 


An interesting theory that probably deserves some research to test whether you have it right.


I do get the feeling among some middle-class people that they are aspirational, and they don't see Rugby League as an aspirational sport.


One of the great successes of soccer in the last 20 years or so is that they made attending matches an acceptable thing for middle class people to do, whereas before then their constituency was largely working class males.


The financial benefits that have come from that change are obvious.

#2957462 Scottish Independence Referendum

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 11 July 2014 - 10:46 AM

George Galloway speaks strongly for maintaining the United Kingdom.

#2954592 Culture, image and Rugby League

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 04 July 2014 - 03:06 PM

We don't want cheerleaders. (© Chuckles and his merry gang)

I was watching an interview with Murray Walker on TV last night (the interviewer was Rob Bonet).


Walker explained that he loves motor sport, and when he commentated on it or wrote about it, he wanted other people to love it too, and to appreciate all the good things about it.


I can empathise with that view when it comes to Rugby League, and for that reason I feel angry when people let the sport down and write accordingly in League Express.


But I would never allow the sport as a whole to be trashed in my name, whether in League Express or in any other medium.

#2954394 Culture, image and Rugby League

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 04 July 2014 - 09:31 AM

Except we are not.  In Australia. rugby league is judged more harshly than other sports because of its high profile.  Therefore, it has higher standards to maintain.  Over here it isn't really judged at all because it has no profile to speak of.  We could do with maintaining higher standards in order to get noticed.

The sport with the highest profile in Australia is AFL.


Last week a leading AFL player was charged with three counts of rape.


The Melbourne newspapers probably gave more prominence to Todd Carney's antics, including Steve's article, than to the AFL player who is facing serious rape charges.


The AFL has agreed that the player concerned can carry on playing until his case comes to court.


Can you imagine the NRL doing that?


Do you really believe that Rugby League is judged more harshly than other sports because of its profile?


You accused me of being naive a little earlier in this thread.


If you really believe what you have written, then your naiveté is off the scale.

#2954379 Culture, image and Rugby League

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 04 July 2014 - 09:13 AM

I think you are right. A century plus of having the opinions of people outside the game define the sport and people involved in it has its consequences. Even in classless Australia speaking about RL in a derogatory manner seems a badge of social standing. And I don't go with this its easy to point the finger at other sports idea and this is the world we live in. It is even easier to point the finger at RL and the world we live in has the NRL in it who should be able to do something other than look after its sponsors. Is there some retort in the Oz press to Mascords ramblings. If there isn't what is the NRL press office doing. 

Do you really believe that Australia is a classless society?


In my experience it is riddled with class-based snobbery, and that applies to sports journalism as much as to any other sector of Australian life.

#2954376 Culture, image and Rugby League

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 04 July 2014 - 09:09 AM

Like it or not, Mascord is accurately reflecting how RL is perceived in many parts of Australian society. It's right to push back against that perception BUT to deny that it exists is foolhardy. 

Nobody is denying that it exists.


But my criticism of Steve is that he gives a one-sided, derogatory view of Rugby League and his article is then published by outlets that have a clear anti-Rugby League agenda.


If players have to take responsibility for their actions, which I fully accept, then journalists have to take responsibility for the impact of what they write and where it is published.

#2954373 Culture, image and Rugby League

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 04 July 2014 - 09:05 AM

Well, here is a response by Mascord to those questioning his article on The Roar (feel free to sign up and join discussions cos it can get very biased against RL):

"Rugby league had a competitive advantage over its main rival for 100 years it paid and it’s main rival did not. But its main rival spread to over 100 countries and after the same period league was played in six. Why? Because the game failed to by embraced by wider society? Why, because of their stereotypes attached to history. Bad player behaviour enshrines these stereotypes. That is the slime I refer to. Rolling over and over in it, looking after only number one."


Suddenly he has forgotten a lot of history he has himself written about. The guy has just plunged deeper into the mire of his own sudden hate of the game. Sorry but he is trotting out some lies & untruths while conveniently forgetting some poignant historical facts. Sure, RL has missed the boat on many things thru ineptness but it also had many barriers to contend with.

I must admit that I'm surprised to read Steve's view of why Rugby League hasn't expanded worldwide as much as its main rival.


There is a significant power imbalance between the two codes that explains much in relation to the image issues that Rugby League currently suffers from.

#2947623 So will Jeopardy - Bradford v Wakefield - see a bumper crowd next week?

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 21 June 2014 - 01:05 PM

Hi Martyn,

The decline in Super League crowds last season (2013) was by over 10%.

The decline in Super League crowds this season (2014) thus far is by 3%.

Given your obvious concern over the 3% decline in Super League crowds this season, why weren't you quite so concerned about the >10% decline in Super League crowds during 2013?

You're right to point out that there was a decline in 2013, and that was of course a matter of concern, although a significant proportion of that decline came from two clubs, St Helens and Bradford.


In Saints' case that was presumably because in 2012 they had played in a new stadium, with the short-term boost that gave them. 2013 was a period of adjustment back to the status quo ante.


The Bulls had an even bigger drop, which was hardly surprising, given the dreadful publicity that attached to them throughout the year.


The really interesting one was Huddersfield, who dropped by an average of 1,341 in 2013, despite winning the League Leaders' Shield. That was at least partly because they rarely had a fixed day for their home matches. They favour Sunday afternoons, but they played home games on a variety of days, and the club officials themselves say that's why some of their supporters drifted away from them.

#2947608 So will Jeopardy - Bradford v Wakefield - see a bumper crowd next week?

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 21 June 2014 - 12:06 PM


Jeopardy doesn't improve things though.
This 'jeopardy' game had a worst relative decline than other 'non jeopardy' games.
Anyway, who gives a f*** ? That a few extra hundred people may or may not be attracted to the stadium for a couple of games because of this so called 'jeopardy'  is not going to change anything. We are only talking of a few extra thousand quid for the whole game. That's as marginal as it gets.
In the meantime, in this brave new world of P&R we are going to:
- Lose the only non M62 english club in SL
- Make it impossible for an extra french club to join the SL, thus making impossible for an enough competitive french team to emerge.
- Make it harder - if not impossible - for a non M62 english club to join the SL
- Make half of the SL clubs jeopardizing their long term future for short term succes (which it what P&R does the best), creating a de facto two tiers SL.
These points do matter, and are all much, much more important that the few hundred extra spectators that may - or may not - be attracted to the stadium in Braford or Wakefield.


You have hit the nail firmly on the head.


That is rather unfortunate, given that we have already gone down this road, but sadly the points you make are true.


The general decline in crowds this season is a matter of great concern for everyone in the game.

#2943362 RL players - just ball under 1 arm...

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 12 June 2014 - 10:37 AM

No, you have it right.  If it's a simple uncompleted tackle, regardless of the number of tacklers, then the ball's fair game. If it turns into a maul (ball carrier plus one other player from each side) then the ball's fair game.  If the tackle completes, as long as the tackler completely releases for a split second and is on his feet then the ball's fair game.  I remember in the army training for union spending a decent amount of time overall just practising wrestling the ball away and defending it.

One of the most difficult laws of Rugby League is the stripping rule, whereby one-on-one it's legal, and two-or-more-on-one it isn't. So how do we judge when a ball has been stripped, as opposed to being lost by the player in possession?


I struggle to understand why we don't follow union on this point, and allow ball stripping without conditions.

#2933366 The European Parliamentary Elections thread

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 22 May 2014 - 03:26 PM

The difference is that all EU members voted in by democratic means.

It's been said many times, but it bears repeating, even though it's a little tiresome.


We voted for an economic free trade area, not to be part of a wider political state.

#2930778 Richard Scudamore

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 17 May 2014 - 12:16 PM

It's a popular misconception that e-mail is in anyway private and/or secure.
The general rule of thumb is never say anything in an email that you wouldn't be happy saying in public.

Very good advice, and if Scudamore wasn't sharp enough to know it he shouldn't be in charge of the Premier League.

#2930690 UKIPpery

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 17 May 2014 - 08:37 AM

When even Guido thinks this was a car crash interview from Farage ...  


Make yer own mind up, eh?

Quite amusing, and Farage doesn't know how to handle that sort of questioning.


But it was actually James O'Brien stating his case for replacing Jeremy Paxman.


I have no doubt that we'll see him on the BBC soon.