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League Express


Martyn Sadler

Member Since 23 Aug 2004
Offline Last Active Today, 01:24 PM

#3018928 "Rugby league's international failure is spectacular"

Posted by Martyn Sadler on Yesterday, 07:41 AM

We are on a slow but inexorable downward spiral.

That's what many people seem to think, and yet if you examine the facts they don't support that argument.


In 1971 the First Test between Great Britain and New Zealand was played at Salford and drew a crowd of only 3,764.


Just over 40 years later we played the Kiwis in a World Cup semi-final at Wembley and drew 67,545 spectators.


In Brisbane last Saturday the biggest game in the international rugby union calendar - the Bledisloe Cup - was played between Australia and New Zealand. It drew just over 45,000 people.


This Saturday Australia will play New Zealand, and England will play Samoa at the same venue. This week the NRL revealed that 44,000 tickets had been pre-sold, so the event will probably draw a bigger crowd than the Bledisloe Cup, despite so many people death-riding international Rugby League.


So the "downward spiral" seems to be heading in an upwards direction, particularly when you take last year's World Cup into account.


Of course it could be better, and no one would dispute that we want to see international Rugby League having a wider base and greater support.


Unfortunately the Guardian, like many other British newspapers, is happy to publish stories about international Rugby League being supposedly on its last legs.


But the evidence doesn't stack up.

#3018609 Harry Roberts

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 23 October 2014 - 01:28 PM

The police federation should shut up.  The man was found guilty and has served his sentence. 


Police officers are human beings, and they deserve to be safe and not murdered, just like the rest of us.  The murder of a police officer for me carries the same amount of disgust as for any other person.


I've yet to hear the police federation say anything significant about Hillsborough, The West Midlands Serious Crime Squad, Institutional racism, the ignoring of organised sexual abuse of children in South Yorkshire etc etc but maybe I've missed that.  The vast majority of police officers are good people earning an honest living.


The police are there to help catch crooks so that justice can be done, and it doesn't help for the Police Federation to comment on the legal system.  

If a prison sentence means anything, it has to mean that, when completed, the prisoner qualifies for release, no matter what his crime was.


The parole board has presumably considered Roberts' case and has decided he is no longer a threat to the rest of us. That's their job, and we should respect their opinion.


Like you, I don't think the Police Federation is doing itself any favours in this instance, horrific though the crime was.

#2998878 Scottish Independence Referendum

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 19 September 2014 - 01:51 PM

The English Parliament should be outside of London - perhaps Birmingham. There is already far too much power, money and influence centred around London, it needs to be spread out. 300 MPs, plus support staff, etc would be a huge boon to the economy in the midlands. Costs would be negligible given that Westminster needs urgent refurbishment estimated at £1billion. London would also benefit from reduction in pressure on housing, transport, and services.

London could continue to have the, much smaller, UK parliament. The Lords would then be abolished.

I would say Birmingham or Manchester.


Given that the BBC has partly decentralised to the northwest it wouldn't be a bad choice.


But I do think there will be a growing call for a genuine English Parliament, and the idea of just expecting Scottish MPs not to vote on English issues will be seen as a copout.

#2998761 Scottish Independence Referendum

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 19 September 2014 - 10:59 AM

Interesting to hear some political reactions today to the Scottish vote, and in particular what will now happen to England.


David Cameron has said that Scottish MPs will not be able to vote on English matters, and he is setting up a Cabinet sub-committee chaired by William Haigh to sort it out. He wants to introduce legislation by January.


That seems to me to be absolutely crazy. He should have learned from the Scottish experience that any further changes need to be planned and thought through after a wide consultation process.


On the Radio 4 Today programme Nigel Farage suggested that we should have a constitutional convention to determine the future structure of government within the four nations of the United Kingdom, with everybody having the right to make representations. He is writing to Scottish MPs to ask them not to vote at Westminster on English matters.


On the same programme Labour's Douglas Alexander criticised the idea that Scottish MPs should be so restricted.


I agree with Farage that there should be a convention, but I also agree with Alexander that we shouldn't have separate categories of MP at Westminster.


I would prefer to see a separate English Parliament on the Scottish model with an English First Minister, and with a UK parliament with vastly reduced numbers dealing with UK issues.


My fear is that Haigh will recommend regional councils that no one will actually want, as the Geordies proved a few years ago.

#2998574 Scottish Independence Referendum

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 19 September 2014 - 06:20 AM

I'm very glad to see the result. The idea that Scots would be foreigners in England, and vice versa, was a very depressing thought. But i think the English will now demand that the West Lothian question is finally addressed.


Posted by Martyn Sadler on 18 September 2014 - 03:46 PM

The Queen's other grandson, Peter Phillips, presented the Challenge Cup in 2012.


When he was a student he used to play Rugby League for Exeter University.


He's also apparently a Brisbane Broncos fan.

#2998067 Scottish Independence Referendum

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 18 September 2014 - 03:00 PM

If I still lived in Warrington, I'd have voted No, although I'd have had to know the details obviously.


Plenty of people on here and elsewhere have stated quite clearly that they would take independence for their own country/city/area etc. so I don't think Scotland should feel guilty if decides to go independent.

I don't think anyone should feel guilty about voting for independence. But if Scotland does break away from the United Kingdom, I dare say the rest of us won't feel too guilty when you have to cope with the ramifications of your decision in a whole variety of ways. For example, if you lose your wallet while on holiday, I trust you won't be asking the British Embassy to help you out.


The thing it, though, that if Alex Salmond has his way, you will only enjoy a short period of independence before you join the EU, if the other EU countries will agree to have you.


No country that is a member of the EU is independent in any meaningful sense of the word, and of course that includes the UK.


And it's fairly debatable whether the word 'independent' has any real meaning for countries like Switzerland that sit outside the EU.


And I'm sure that neither you nor we will feel too guilty when the financial facts of life come home to roost.


But the real thing you will lose is not so much your wallet, but an open chequebook.



Last November the Treasury published figures that showed the gap between public spending in Scotland and England had widened to 20 per cent in Scotland’s favour. The average Scot now receives £1,623 more in state spending than their English neighbours - £10,152 was spent per head on public services in Scotland in the 2012/13 financial year, compared to £8,529 in England.
Meanwhile the national debt of £1.4 trillion (and rising) means that each of us in the UK effectively has a personal debt of £22,853 hanging around each of our necks.
Scotland’s share, with a population of 5.29 million, amounts to virtually £111 billion. Will any new Scottish government renege on that figure?
Last year Scotland ran an estimated deficit of £17 billion, spending £65.2 billion on revenue of £47.6 billion.
Guess who filled in the gap, while he was supposedly trying to cut the deficit for the UK as a whole!
The Yes campaign was based on the premise that the UK government was effectively not fit for purpose for Scotland.
I would suggest that the truth is that is precisely the reverse of that, and that England has far more justification for that view.

#2994541 Scottish Independence Referendum

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 13 September 2014 - 09:38 AM

If Scotland leaves the United Kingdom, it will also leave the European Union, at least for a lengthy period, as I understand the implications of independence.


It will have to make a separate application for membership of the EU, and that application could be opposed by at least some of the other EU states.


Does that mean that free movement of labour, capital and so on will not be allowed between Scotland and the other EU states, at least until it attains membership?


If so, does it mean building border posts between Scotland and England?


It may sound ridiculous, but is it a logical outcome of what could happen with a 'Yes' vote?


Would any Scots actually want this?

#2993914 Ian Paisley dies

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 12 September 2014 - 12:08 PM

Ian Paisley has died at the age of 88.


And Martin McGuinness has paid him a generous tribute, describing him as a friend.


Who could possibly have expected that 20 years ago?


It does prove that things can sometimes change for the better.

#2992899 Is Zak Hardaker set for another lengthy ban? (Merged threads)

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 11 September 2014 - 09:48 AM



I'd encourage anybody dismissing homophobic language being nothing to read section 2 to get the RFL's stance on this, including examples of words used and their context. Was an interesting read.

I think you made a very useful contribution to the debate by highlighting that document.


I'm surprised that no one else seems to have picked up on it.


The document, as I read it, seems to link the use of homophobic language to bullying.


To quote from it: 



"It is not exclusively gay people who experience homophobic name-calling or harassment. Homophobic bullying can affect any individual at any point in their involvement with a rugby club; from under 10’s to open age, to club staff, volunteers and management. Those at greatest risk of homophobic bullying in the club environment are:

People who are thought to be lesbian, gay or bisexual

People who are openly lesbian, gay or bisexual

Boys / men not as ‘tough’ as expected in a sport like rugby league

Girls / women for behaving / acting ‘like boys / men’  Girls / women who do play sports, especially a contact

sport like rugby league

People who have gay parents / carers or gay children and other family members

Vulnerable individuals who are routinely the subject of bullying and name calling"


Within that list I think we can see the groups of people who need protecting from this sort of language and this sort of bullying.


Hardaker's comment was aimed at Mark Flanagan. I suspect that most of us would accept that Flanagan probably doesn't fall into any of the above categories.


And it wasn't as though Hardaker's comment wasn't provoked. Flanagan clearly did something that angered him, and he responded to it.


Then there is the question of whether the word Hardaker is supposed to have used is an exclusively homophobic expression.


In my experience that word is very often used to describe someone as being soft, often in a fairly light hearted way. Hardaker grew up in what used to be the Yorkshire coalfield, I believe, and that interpretation of the word would certainly have been current in many of those communities.


Maybe that usage will now become circumscribed, but I think it would be wrong to convict Hardaker in this particular context.


#2992879 Is Zak Hardaker set for another lengthy ban? (Merged threads)

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 11 September 2014 - 09:27 AM

Threats and insults between players will always happen, as it's a physical game. But that does not mean it's all okay. When I started supporting RL in the 1970s, racially abusing black players was seen as okay. Think the majority would say that it's not okay.

Any abuse of referees should not be tolerated. Unfortunately the RFL and referees allow a level of abuse/ arguing with referees which would not have been accepted in the 70s. How many players are sent off or sin binned for dissent? To a point, the referees and the RFL have allowed this situation to develop. When Hardaker was making his comment first time round, Carl Abblett can be heard saying something to the ref along the lines of "That's f####### b########" . But the ref just stood there and took it. And before any outraged Rhinos fans respond, I am sure players from all clubs do the same.

The bigger point is how many parents/kids see something like this and think, yes that's a game I want my son to play rather than RU, cricket or not bother at all. Do they see the potentially great sport or think it's a game played by tattooed, homophobic thugs?

The racial abuse of black players has never been okay in Rugby League, in the 1970s or at any other time.


Racist chanting has never characterised Rugby League crowds. That is not to say that it never happened, but it's certainly never been "okay".


That is one reason why we have had a history of black players achieving great things in our sport long before they did in some other sports I can think of.

#2991327 Forget Gaza, Forget ISIS, forget Scottish Independence

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 09 September 2014 - 09:07 AM

Well John, some people are understandably annoyed about the existence of a system that in 2014 bestows power, wealth and privilege based on birth.  Taste, well that's a matter of taste.  


Personally, I thought my thread title was far superior to the one Frank chose, and I will be lobbying the grey haired old goat to edit the title to the one I had.


We're going to be bombarded about somebody having a baby.  Something that hundreds and thousands of women do without it being news.  I'm mildly annoyed about this because it'll be unavoidable so if I want to have a moan with others, then what's the harm?  It does give some rest from the referendum, but as Frank points out; there are bigger things going on that Kate's bedsheets needing a wash.

I assume then that you will renounce your inheritance as and when the sad day arrives.


For William and his family the power, wealth and privilege they enjoy must be totally drowned out by the sense of having a pre-determined future. It strikes me that they have more responsibility than power.


But really, the issue is not whether the royals have power, wealth and privilege, but whether a constitutional monarchy gives the rest of us more liberty than the alternatives.


In my opinion it does.


I don't want to see an ideologically driven head of state, whether that would be Thatcher, Blair, Farage, Salmond or someone like them.


And, like John, I find the comments from some posters on here entirely predictable and rather petty.


But then everyone is entitled to an opinion.


After all, this forum operates a bit like a Constitutional Monarchy.


John has lots of responsibility, but not much power.

#2988780 Obituary Corner

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 05 September 2014 - 08:37 AM

Joan Rivers on being Jewish.


‘I’m Jewish. I don’t work out. If God had wanted us to bend over, he would have put diamonds on the floor.’

#2987541 Scottish Independence Referendum

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 03 September 2014 - 10:27 AM

I think the British media are all pushing the stay-in-the-Union line. They are obviously being prodded by a worried Government, so I hope the Sots vote to quit ... then see what temptations will be offered for them to remain in the UK.

Is the government worried?


You could have fooled me.


Cameron has allowed Alex Salmond to run rings round him. That's assuming, of course, that he wants to keep the UK intact.


If the Scots do split from the Union it will be another field day for lawyers.


I dread to think how much money they will make from a carve-up of the UK.

#2987229 Albert Goldthorpe Medal / Rookie Award 2015 (merged threads)

Posted by Martyn Sadler on 02 September 2014 - 04:35 PM

I know I have this moan every year but once more that table looks ridiculous, and underlines the reasons this award still fails to capture the fans' imagination despite the best intentions of LPL. Leon Pryce for example is 4th (ahead of Clark!). As usual the table is massively skewed in favour of the half-backs of the average or weaker teams, given that they stand out more in their side's performances and are easier to identify for a journalist who is necessitated to dish his 6 points out, regardless of the quality on show.


This type of award works in the NRL, because the quality is high in nearly every game and the competition intense, and therefore for any player to earn the Dally M points he has to do something special. In the UK, Leon Pryce (for example) can earn 3 points for turning up against London and Bradford, and then be ineffective in games v Leeds and Wigan but still end up at the top of the chart. Until this fundamental flaw is fixed (hopefully by an improvement in the quality of super league competition across the board rather than necessarily changing the rules!) then I think fans will continue to look to the Man Of Steel award to see who is the best and most consistent performer over the course of the season.


Ant has already given a very good reply to your post, but it's worth adding something too.
To start with, Leon Pryce isn't ahead of Daryl Clark. In fact they are level.
More importantly, you denigrate Leon quite unfairly.
As it happens, the Catalans played London three times in 2014, but Leon didn't pick up any points in any of those games.
For your information, and for everyone else who shares your cynical yet misinformed attitude, his points tally of 22 is made up as follows.
Round  Points Opponent
   3           1  Leeds
   5           1  St Helens
   7           1  Wigan
   8           1  Widnes
 10           3  Hull KR
 11           3  Salford
 14           2  Bradford
 15           3  Widnes
 16           2  St Helens
 17           3  Hull FC
 19           2  Bradford
The Albert Goldthorpe Medal is transparent and reflects performances throughout the season, not just in the latter part of it.
Halfbacks tend to get a lot of votes for the fairly simple reason that they tend to be the best players, and they tend to get the ball more than the other players on the field.
And although your judgement is that Leon doesn't deserve to be ranked with the best, Hull FC obviously disagree with you, given the contract they have agreed with Leon for next season.
And if you believe that the Man of Steel award is a better guide to who is the best player in the game, I think you'll find that the recent winners have largely been players who have already won the Albert Goldthorpe Medal - three out of the last four, in fact.
So I'm afraid I think your observations are not very helpful, and tend to reflect a mindset among some Rugby League supporters that is keener to find fault with anything connected with the game than to recognise its quality.