Jump to content

Rugby League World Issue 400 - Out Now!

84 pages, 38 years of history from Open Rugby to the present day.
Click here for the digital edition to read online via smartphone, tablet and desktop devices including iPhone, iPad, Android & Kindle HD.
Click here to order a copy for delivery by post. Annual subscriptions also available worldwide.
Find out what's inside Issue 400
/ View a Gallery of all 400 covers / WH Smith Branches stocking Issue 400
Read Jamie Jones-Buchanan's Top 5 RLW Interviews including Marwan Koukash, Lee Briers, Gareth Thomas, Steve Ganson & Matt King OBE

League Express


The Parksider

Member Since 06 Oct 2004
Offline Last Active Today, 05:59 AM

#2962656 Bradford officially relegated

Posted by The Parksider on 21 July 2014 - 07:19 AM

We seem to have quite a few experts who know the outcome of fixtures in 14 months time.Sure the salary cap of superleague will make a difference but who knows if an injury hit squad,financial crisis etc at a team at the bottom of the 12 would automatically beat for example Leigh or a re-vamped Bradford side?


You gotta be joking that you think this P & R stuff could "work" as long as one of the SL clubs collapses financially off the pitch and the players collapse on it??


What nonsense. 


You have already seen what happens when SL clubs financially collapse and lose their best players. Nobody wants to go watch them, and therefore if P & R is all about crowds........


I won't work will it?


Lets say the Wakey Chairman pulls out as he threatened to do and Pearson returns to soccer after banging his head against the docks wall.


Would the collapse of these clubs lead to great crowds? Leigh.v. A bust Wakefield? A bust Hull.v.Bradford. Not a pretty sight?


Best to try to imagine what the crowds would have been this year had Bradford and London been asked to play Leigh and Fev to decide who goes down or comes/stays up?

#2962186 Bradford officially relegated

Posted by The Parksider on 20 July 2014 - 04:12 PM

No bouncing back.   Unless one of the 12 SL clubs goes into total meltdown


Fingers are crossed all along the M62 it's Catalans........

#2962130 Will the Broncos be swallowed up by the Championship?

Posted by The Parksider on 20 July 2014 - 03:23 PM

Yes, we were - see the interview with Sky's Vic Wakleing (sp?) in the history of SL published a while back (sorry, can't remember the title - perhaps someone out there can help, my copy's still buried in the rubble of my house move). In fact, we were the only definite condition, as Sky couldn't sell in France and they weren't that fussed about summer rugby, although we'd have had to have taken less cash for winter.


Well isn't that interesting.


There's only so far a sport can be pushed into anything, and only so far a broadcaster will go. The more you deliver the broadcaster the more the broadcaster can deliver the funds.


I'd guess with the push against mergers and the denial of London Broncos (or Crusaders come to that) the extra support they needed to succeed, the game has in turn had to take less SKY money.


Still, the games leaders have saved themselves the bother of modernising and taking the sport forward.

#2960940 Dr K rips into Mcmanus

Posted by The Parksider on 18 July 2014 - 07:49 AM

It is a great sport, and plenty of people do care about the guff around the edges, thats why they dont watch it, and plenty of people do care about the fact we are 2nd best in terms of player quality, thats why they dont watch it.


We have a problem generating new supporters, but anyone pointing out that or low fanbase and lack of new supporters might be down to the product, its image and its environment is just complaining.


Im a big fan of the game, i think the game itself is brilliant and i think we have a whole heap of potential in this country. I'm not negative about our game, im genuinely excited about it. But i want it to be the best it can be. I think we can be so much more than we are right now but we wont ever get there by simply pretending these problems arent problems. They are and we are good enough to overcome them but we do need to address them.


Just knowing that there is a league in Australia and it is better than ours is enough to make it more difficult to sell ours. Because knowing the Australian league is better means knowing ours is worse. And our effort becomes selling a product to people who think we are inferior.


As I said in a previous post to solve a problem you have to properly define it. Do you have any real evidence that Superleague's real problem is that it is second best to NRL, and that it is an image problem?.

For image problems check out soccer's overpaid cheats, or upper class twits rolling around in the mud in winter, before barbecues and berbours.


I can't see that problem. All the half interested floating fans I have known and often taken to a game over 40 years have no interest in what's happening in Australia. These lads like what they see, but in the main don't stick because it's not a game they have an affinity with, they played the all engulfing soccer at school

and the clubs I took them to they also have no affinity with but they all know Leeds United.


The real problem is to me clear. Soccer is shoved down their throats and even if they prefer Rugby at many schools they can't play league. History has pushed us into a region and in that region we get squeezed further. That's much more the problem not "Image" all my guests respected our game, one said he preferred Leeds Carnegie.


As for an inability to "sell it" we have just "sold it" to SKY again for a record £200,000,000, and we have sold it to a large TV audience too. I quoted you the main markets for the game Leeds, Wigan, Saints, Warrington, Hull, Bradford, South France and Calder. In 1996 64,000 fans on average watched Rugby league in these areas. Today up to 113,000 fans watch Rugby League in these areas.


We have tried expansion and as we don't have people with the same affinity to RL outside the north - a problem even evidenced with many of my northern friends as above - then any solution remains a mega £Million one and we do not have the money.


So with respect we are left with creating a talking shop on image, or defining the real problem which for me is that we can see what works and what brings in the fans. Big well resourced SL clubs. We need to grow more of them  and we are not doing that. The self interested Leeds, Wigans and Saints prefer to raid the Hulls and Calders for their players, they prefer to preside over rules that stifle growth and investment in Salford/manchester, they block growth in France, manipulate their puppet RFL leader, and they seize on any difficulty at their colleagues businesses by backing points deductions, taking their SKY money and raiding their playing rosters.


If you want the real problem it is the self destruction of the dream league of well spread out big SL clubs currently being reduced down into an 8 club rump. But guess what, the so called "great businessmen" at these clubs have now made themselves bigger fish in a smaller pond whilst using the small clubs thirst for P & R to engineer that. That's the problem.

#2959903 Dr K rips into Mcmanus

Posted by The Parksider on 16 July 2014 - 11:58 AM

I think you misunderstood my point. Maybe I didn't make it clear enough. You seemed not to take my first point into consideration. My point is, if your point about players being willing to go to more 'prestigious' clubs is correct even with marquee players, why wouldn't the best marquee players go to the more prestigious clubs, maybe on less money. They know that one player can help a team out, but is unlikely to change a season. So the marquee player is still likely to go somewhere he can win potentially on a bit less cash.


Maybe there should be a cap wherein if you are happy to show the RFL your books then you can spend some more?


I think you misunderstood my point albeit I didn't spell it out but just tried to get over the principle that blanket rules"fairly" applied scrupulously evenly across the board, actually are not "fair" at all.


As you say any blanket marquee player rule is going to change the status quo only one way when Billy Slater and SBW sign for Leeds and Wigan and not Wakefield and Widnes. The rich richer the poor poorer.


Now some say Superleague would be a much better competition, and would attain growth in the game itself and in the media market, if it was a more even contest. I agree with that.


Some say if we are to move towards an even playing field we do not want to dumb down clubs to the lowest common denominator and I'll agree with that.


Some say we would be better off allowing clubs freedom to just reach for the stars, after all salary caps and licensing are straight jackets some say don't work and don't replicate the success of say soccer. Whilst I do not agree fully with that I cannot see how McManus can have it both ways if he was honest.


If he wants an even competition then cut the clubs who are struggling, and who can't make up the distance say between Salford and Saints some slack. Let any club chairman from the lower clubs who has the private funds go out and buy us Slater and SBW. 


Your thinking along the lines of how every club has to play off an even playing field but they don't. Some of the fancy grounds that pull in thousands more fans exist because local councils were sympathetic to the clubs project, some ramshackle grounds that drag clubs like Wakefield and Castleford down have not been replaced because the council said get lost. That's no even playing field. The lucky rich get richer and the poor are poorer


Some clubs can't get their local quality kids to go through their academy and sign for them, instead it is alleged a van load of Wakey kids go to Wigan academy. That's not an even playing field either. The rich get more resources the poor end up providing them.


So Koukash says he'll go out and buy SBW and Slater. Sounds a good idea to me to help make the competition more even, and more exciting without taking anything from other clubs, but Uncle Eamon says no. OK if he doesn't want an even competition then scrap the cap and allow clubs to just go for it.


Again and again it all boils down to decisions being made by those that run SL being made for their own ends and not for the good of the game.


You said "Maybe there should be a cap wherein if you are happy to show the RFL your books then you can spend some more?" This indicates you are thinking outside the box, and my idea was allow anyone to put their own private money in as long as it is a gift and as long as what you do/buy does not take resources off others.


If Koukash paid £Millions to open up junior RL clubs around the M60, or Jack Fulton blew his fortune on the ground for Castleford at Glasshoughton, or  David Hughes had used the £13,000,000 to get London a permanent home then the other chairmen would not cry about it. But somehow the same thing - private money to bring in big stars Oooh no we can;t have that you may beat us.

#2959389 Is a new power rising in the Championship

Posted by The Parksider on 15 July 2014 - 11:30 AM

Rugby league expansion should be into towns like Doncaster, Sheffield. These are outposts; slightly outside the heartlands but rugby league is being played there, although it is struggling.


Well Gavin if your saying this because these clubs can put a team together from players M62 SL clubs don't want & journeymen like other championship clubs then fine, just the problem of attracting a crowd.


They may be one or two steps off Superleague but they are very very big steps indeed.


Aren't Donny a bit of a Hull "A" team at the moment with Cook and his connections? 

#2959011 Dr K rips into Mcmanus

Posted by The Parksider on 14 July 2014 - 03:50 PM

Is this a serious point?  Are you saying that chairmen should just bend over and accept anything MK suggests just because a.) he is rich and b.) Salford aren't a viable RL club?


Seems to me that we should be listening more to men who have made unviable clubs viable than those who charge into the sport with wildly misconceived ideas on what is practically achievable on and off the pitch.


MK bought into a salary capped sport.  He's now found it's quite tough to compete and requires a long term view to develop a competitive and financially stable club.  His response?  This isn't fair, I want to spend more.


Hold on there? Your not a saints fan are you fear the (red) vee? Lets get it right that McManus chose to sort out a big club that needed a new ground to cement itself as a big club. Well done him, he's done a good job. Koukash has chosen to sort out a club with little junior RL in it's area and declining fanbase that's been on a downer for some years. So Koukash has difficulties to overcome he believes he can overcome if he can spend some more money to bring a star to the team. If that puts crowds up at salford and at Saints when they clash then great for the Superleague.  If McManus doesn't want to do that fine but why does he fear Koukash doing it?


The charge is that he fears Salford becoming competitive. I can understand him blocking the salary cap abandonment, but one player? 

#2958394 The best investment the RFL/SL clubs could make is ?

Posted by The Parksider on 13 July 2014 - 03:18 PM

But it isn't the same is it? 



#2958226 Dr K rips into Mcmanus

Posted by The Parksider on 13 July 2014 - 06:45 AM

I will disagree on whether it is a poor post.  I disagree with it, but he identifies a problem and a solution and I does not give us any nonsense about short-term parochialism being for the good of the game. 


I disagree because I think the most exciting rugby league you will ever see will be when you are young and intrinsic quality is not actually that important, but that is just a judgement call.


It will be good to see Red's reply, always interesting and informative views.


But like P & R have we not been here before?


Didn't Peter Sterling play for Hull, Brett Kenny for Wigan, Mal Maninga for St. Helens, Wally Lewis for Wakefield, Andrew Ettinghausen for Leeds, David Watkins for Salford, Jamie Lyon for St.Helens, Les Boyd for Warrington. Kurt Sorenson for Widnes?


They came into the game as the biggest of stars and they did put numbers on the gates, but I don't remember them being the solution then, as wonderful as it was to have them thrilling the fans.


Someone was moaning about the awful declining crowds only the other week (not me for once) and it was pointed out Hull had 12,000 for Warrington, On Friday Leeds had 14,000 for HKR.


As you say "quality is not actually that important" So how did we pack out those two games is the question here? The analysis of that may give us a real solution, it may tell us there's no solution.


But stuff like "bring back P & R"  or "bring in the top overseas stars" is just revisiting old ground and the latter can be no solution at all if the clubs do not have the private backing to pay the money that would attract the named stars. Don't we think that even if we did announce our top 12 Chairmen were going to reach into their pockets to pay the worlds top 12 rugby stars hundreds of thousands a year, that the even richer chairmen in the NRL or RU would not counter the move? 


I think there are solutions to the problems SL has, but they are not old ideas that fit a soundbite.

#2957997 Dr K rips into Mcmanus

Posted by The Parksider on 12 July 2014 - 01:32 PM

And my question is, why should the players accept less money than Dr Koukash wants to pay them? Why should the owners be allowed to work together to deny money they would otherwise pay? and Why should the players accept that?


You sound like your accusing rich owners of wage fixing?


Leeds run to a sensible budget to break even and their top man does not want to spend big on players. Mr. McManus and Mr. Lenegan aren't going to put their personal money into their clubs and want to run them without having to cover a big deficit on wages, Wakefield and castleford have no rich owners, Hudge at HKR is fed up of his £500K a year subsidy, O'Connor won't spend thousands of his money on extra wages, Hughes is £13,000,000 down personally and has got nowhere, Davey spends like Hughes but probably doesn't want to spend any more, Not sure on Moran etc etc.  I'm sure most of those gentlemen would stand down if big rich owners willing to spend their own money came in, but they aren't


I think you would have a point if after turning over an average of what £5M a year? Superleague clubs were running big surpluses, but they are not.


At the start of last year they were running a £68M deficit and so arguably maybe the players should hand some of their wages back? 


I can see a point to opening up the salary cap but not if we end up with one mega rich owner buying every decent player and junior up, we already see fans being turned off by perennially struggling SL clubs lord help us that we don't end up with 11 of them out of 12.

#2957889 Dr K rips into Mcmanus

Posted by The Parksider on 12 July 2014 - 08:01 AM

McManus has said he wants to see all clubs spending the full cap, all clubs at least breaking even each year, all clubs investing heavily in their youth teams and having them be top rated by the RFL, He also wants to see the reintroduction of an U21's / U23's competition and greater exemptions from the cap for 'home grown' players.

When some of these things have been achieved then he says he will consider voting for the marquee player suggestion.


But what will he do to help his fellow SL clubs achieve this? Preside over a Superleague in which it is clear half the clubs in the league are stagnant and act as nurseries for the big clubs??


The rest of the speech will be about how everyone else need to aspire to his achievements "we have done it at Saints, other clubs must follow us" ?? He runs a club in a league that is now set up such that the big clubs will maintain their position pretty much forever more, more so now those at the bottom end of SL will get sent to play the second tier.


Far from affording Marquee players the Wakey's, Cas's and Widnes's and HKR's can barely afford who they have got now.

#2956870 Catalans sign Willie Tonga

Posted by The Parksider on 09 July 2014 - 02:42 PM

If RFL really wanted us to put youth through, there will be no relegations and only licenses. If we put our kids, we will get smashed because they don't have experience. 

It's not that we don't want to put youth through, it's just that we don't want to be relegated and that our kids are not Wigan kids standard, they are championship like players.


Given there's no licences then it seems clear (again) that the RFL couldn't give a monkeys.


I think the RFL are right behind all the overseas players in Les Catalans, as they need more of them to stock the failing Exiles team.


The idea Les Catalans are still around to stock the whole of the France International team is preposterous (apologies to Wakey fan of same name). They were the first French club to go in and the expectation was more could follow but that's been stopped now so how is it there's this over expectation of the club? Especially as we don't play France much anymore.


How about returning to England/France tests and Les cats can stock the French side and a chosen English club can stock the English side. Fair?? 


It takes time of course for a youth system to be set up, to attract the players in in the first place and to bring enough through for a gem or two to be found every other year or two. Wigan have 30 years under their belts of attracting kids to play the game, Les catalans have had only eight years.


Still that's not as little time as Hull.F.C. whose coach has suddenly had the thought that his club should develop their own local young players because he's found it hard in the transfer market. Oddly Catalans have been doing the job for years and get stick whilst Hull seem to have just started.


As for Marwan, well now he's lost his ruse to increase his spend on established players, he may actually start to look to develop the game in Salford? Weren't they one of the first clubs to go play in France at the birth of the game?  How about comparing Les Catalans for their home grown against Salford for theirs?  

#2956643 More good news coming from the Broncos

Posted by The Parksider on 09 July 2014 - 06:23 AM

Hughes has to go. Regardless of if the club slip further down the leagues, he is like a cancer at the club, eating away at it from the inside. All the while he thinks he's doing the right thing, but honestly.....what he's achieved whilst flushing 13 million down the tubes.........


I'm surprised you attack Hughes in this way. You can also say the same about John Wilkinson at Salford. I like your posts as they are realistic, and have facts in them rather than silly dreams, and so I am grateful for your estimate of £13,000,000 investment in London Broncos.


Salford suffered from crowds as poor as London's at times, so the bill to stay in superleague must have been high for Mr. Wilkinson. Even if he got away with annually putting half a £Million into the club for his long tenure it still remained the same result as London. £Millions and £Millions of pounds to end up being stripped of players, being shorn of support, and facing extinction.


The Bill to make Salford an SL success would appear to be even bigger this year. Dr. Koucash doesn't waste money by halves so I assume he's looking to add to Mr. Wilkinson's deficit and take it beyond Mr. Hughes record waste of money.


Lets not stop there for Salford also received more than a £Million a year from SKY as London did so we probably have two epic wastes of money. Shall we go for £30,000,000 of SKY and Mr. Hughes money down the pan? Can we project by the time Mr. Koucash has finished his joint investment following Mr. Wilkinson may surpass that??


I'm not sure if we're saying that had the £30,000,000 being spent better and wiser with "The right people" and "Good Marketing" and all these slogans, Broncos would be top four material still, as they were at the start of SL? If we are I'd say don't kid yourself. It is very possible that London's situation was simply that £30,000,000 or whatever was put into it, when it actually needed £20,000,000 for a ground and another £30,000,000 for operating costs to be viable.


The ultimate joke comes when people then start to look at tiny southern clubs taking the "organic mushroom growth" model, in which £Millions will appear in Paul Daniels "just like that" fashion through fans and local players getting on a CC1 bandwagon because they have discovered the greatest game.


SL has a good number of clubs who have pumped £Millions into their clubs just to stay alive in SL. Unsustainable buisness models exist at Wakefield, Castleford. HKR, Salford, Widnes etc. Often this is feted as the club "growing" when in fact these clubs are equally staying alive in SL on handouts with poor academies and stagnant crowds. Weren't featherstone doing it the right way only to suddenly give that up for the same model Broncos and Salford were working to?? 


London's sustainability was more difficult 200 miles away from the heartland without the assett of their own home. Whilst Londons problems are often gleefully laid bare as a waste of money and a failure due to being run by a fool, northern clubs equal struggles are seen as somehow noble causes.


I dread to think 1996-2014 just how much money has been wasted to get nowhere by how many clubs because they had no collective vision or real sustainable investment plan. I suspect everyone (beyond the dreamers) know that a sustainable business plan for SL needs more money at less clubs and making Superleague effectively eight clubs may just be that model.


The danger then is clubs outside the eight may face financial disaster if they don't have a Mr. Hughes, or even if they do.

#2955406 Carcassone in Super League

Posted by The Parksider on 06 July 2014 - 11:31 AM

One thing to know is that the big Union club (USAP) is relegated to 2nd division... there are a number of young union players coming to Catalans U19/U20 this year. If we can appeal more and if USAP stays in 2nd division it's a sign that we could build an even better economy (by stealing sponsors), if so, Catalans would have a 11-12 millions budget (i suppose).

What are we adding to the game? New players, Escaré, Pelissier, Larroyer and Fages would have been nowhere near SL if it was 10 years ago and a stable economy. The federation tried very hard to maintain rugby in London when there's so little supporters that the players are feeling alone (in the dark) instead there's Toulouse with a strong business club and good crowds and still they don't seem to want them in!


I was guilty of wishful thinking about eighteen months ago when the big four SL Chairmen visited Toulouse to apparently give moral support to Toulouse’s Superleague bid. That the outcome of the meeting was an agreement they could enter if they brought a fat TV contract with them maybe should have signalled the alarm bells.


All I can conclude is no they don’t want them in, and if that is the case do they want to bother with Les Catalans fighting a lone battle for the French side of what is an Anglo-French league.

When the GB/France tests bombed there was no will to untie one of the hands the French had tied behind their backs, instead they were dumped for the Exiles, just as the player pool for the Exiles were packing their bags for home as salaries in the NRL rose.


I think having read all the blatant anti-foreigner stuff on France in Superleague which essentially has been toned down to agreeing Toulouse or Carcassone or Avignon should indeed be in but only if they take a route full of insurmountable barriers to get there, I can only conclude that from the top of the game at RFL HQ, and from the boardrooms to the bottom of the game with fans replying to website debates, that too many people just don’t want France in.


Les Catalans entry was engineered by Lewis’s License/P & R juxtaposition trick of one licensed in two relegated out, which was anathema to those who valued the traditional game. Leigh and Widnes booted out for foreigners wasn’t a pleasant experience many clearly do not want again. Instead despite Widnes struggling for fans and home grown players they are feted as a club “building” and despite being a small club in Wigan with a small junior game raided by bigger clubs, and a low fanbase, Leigh are now being cited as a great bet for Superleague.


As for real prospects to bring added value to Super league like Toulouse – well the majority across our insular game seem to be saying no thanks in private despite making positive noises in public because they know it’s wrong. But the personal attraction for many of keeping the game a crumbling local one is too great, and the little matter of £200M to shore it up a few more years - enough readies to waste on doing that, leaves the French on a continuing promise few really want to deliver on.


We have to remember France’s entry to SL was not through any groundswell of positive opinion, but was forced through by Richard Lewis whose aims were to prevent the game staying as an unhealthy regional oddity. Since Lewis has gone, London and Wales have gone as serious entities, so only Les Catalans to get rid of now – but how to do it?

#2955220 Celebrate Wakefield!

Posted by The Parksider on 05 July 2014 - 08:26 PM

Good to see! I said it on the match thread but the stronger all clubs are in the league, the better we will be. Long may the development under Webster continue.


I'm happy WLYW2 is happy, but I disagree on your idea of a "stronger" club. Strength comes from financial income and that comes from gates, and last nights was awful. It comes from having a ground that can maximise revenue and Belle Vue doesn't do that, it comes from having a productive academy and Wakefield's isn't.


I'm not sure that Wakeys recent results is them becoming stronger or Leeds and Wigan being weaker versions of their former selves.