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The Parksider

Member Since 06 Oct 2004
Offline Last Active Today, 03:41 PM

#2985307 York - The Games Sleeping Giant?

Posted by The Parksider on Today, 06:57 AM

Well the idea nobody in York watches Leeds has been destroyed by anecdotal accounts of Yorkies following the Rhinos and I certainly have picked up on York and Tadcaster addresses and admissions of coming from there from Leeds fans.


Last nights game at Headingley featured York Acorn JARLFC as the "guard of honour" for the entry of the players to the pitch. That was a bit of an eye opener to an extent, but I never really believed the myth that fans of Rugby League somehow all sit at home not bothering with the game but waiting for their local club to one day get in Superleague.


Equally Leeds interest in the junior game beyond the Leeds City boundary was there for all to see, there was a Catterick junior team there too and of course Leeds have spread their connections to the armed forces. Not 100% sure that's the link, but all this indicates that true, effective Superleague clubs work towards being "regional" clubs, spreading their net far and wide.


So if those RL fans in York who want top class RL are travelling to Leeds, and if the kids who want to play it are being courted by Leeds then dreams of the "Minstermen" once again becoming the giant they never ever were just ain't gonna happen. That may sound sad, but not for me when you see big crowds and tremendous matches being underpinned by an interest in the pro game that crosses town boundaries. 

#2983967 Expansion

Posted by The Parksider on 28 August 2014 - 02:05 PM

That's a funny one then - so the clubs at the bottom before relegation were also guilty of not moving forward? So licensing obviously didn't allow that happen. How could we have made it happen then? For example, London were never going to be replaced under licensing because of the obvious geographical advantage. 


No, wrong again. London stayed in because they underpinned the growth of amateur RL in London and a very handy new player pool, whole articles were written on it.....

#2983180 Expansion

Posted by The Parksider on 27 August 2014 - 06:13 AM

1 - my point here is that there are more things needed than a rich backer. Moran never had any desire to build Warrington a stadium on his own, he could have done that had he wanted. What happened in Warrington's case was a combination of many things lining up nicely, ie. the supermarket investment, a supportive council prepared to put their money where their mouth is, plus a decent setup at Warrington driving through these partnerships to deliver this.


2 - I would say Celtic Crusaders were not right for Super League 100%. Ultimately what did they have apart from a rich backer? Rich backer walks away and they have nothing. It was  massive shame, and I still wouldn't give up on South Wales, although I'm not convinced Bridgend is the place to target.


3 - You seem to miss my point here, my OTT language was in reference to your claim that you cannot strengthen your club through good management. I still find that claim ludicrous, and am interested to know your rationale behind that. 


4 - Technically it doesn't have to be 'taken off' existing clubs. This is where I talk about ringfencing of funds for expansion purposes - anybody who doesn't think that is possible, look at the latest TV deal, which was structured in a way to stop SL clubs simply hoovering it all up. The financial realities may be that we need to wait until the next TV deal until we make a serious attempt at top-level expansion - if it is, then so be it, but again, TV deals can be cleverly worked so that the successful bidder need to invest in an 'expansion' pot. This ring fences that income, but it needs a clear vision and strong leadership to push this through.

Let's not forget that as part of this deal, Sky are funding coaching and player development or something similar.


1. Rich backers may or may not get additional council support, it's pot luck whether our big clubs get a rich backer. or whether their local council help them out big style. Bradford did not get a rich backer and Bradford Council reneged on developing Odsal. Wire got a rich backer and were handed a stadium on a plate. These are the fundamental reasons one is at the top of the league and the other relegated.


One is not at the top due to "good management" and the other at the bottom due to "bad management".


Their wildly differing situations are 90% down to luck. Tell me that if Bulls had landed Ken Davey and Bradford council developed Odsal they would still be going down because their management is poor?


2. That's up to you, but the game needed expansion and it needed that to be International expansion too. How you can discount the diamond studded prize of professionalising clubs in Wales and France I don't know. We have all agreed on here that our game suffers so very badly from a lack of International competition 


You ask what did they have? They created a momentum that took the club through the leagues all the way to Superleague. They were not parachuted in they built and they grew. The crowds steadily rose and they opened Superleague with 6,000, junior RL took off and that rose in numbers - didn't Wire benefit from Welsh lads?, quality Welsh lads started playing for them, aren't three of those at Wigan now? They put a Welsh international side on the pitch and that was all in the space of a few short years.


You ask "what did they have" they had everything the game wanted, but it all hinged on the investment. So what?? many northern clubs also grew due to investment and once it was pulled they collapsed. Wakefield collapsed after Richardson, what do they now have?? What do Oldham have??


To indicate you would not have accepted Celtic Crusaders then to say we should not give up on Wales is maybe as you say "Ludicrous". Celtic Crusaders brought far more to International RL and Superleague than HKR, Wakefield, Leigh, Workington, Oldham, Halifax, etc ever did. If the game received real investment from SKY to expand it nationally and internationally Wales would be first back on the agenda. You need to explain your point here, it's not a very good one.


3. You say I said "you cannot strengthen your club through good management" That is not what I said exactly and you have put it in a false context then proceeded to call the point "Ludicrous". My comment derives from the awful habit people have on here of looking at the league table and automatically assuming those at the top are "well managed", and those at the bottom are therefore "poorly managed". It's crass.


Some clubs are at the top because of the minor issue of several million pounds worth of backing on a plate from rich owners and councils, some are at the bottom due to not getting either of these two massive boosts. Hopefully you will now understand my point that these real and factual events are provable, that a club was "mismanaged" is not.


Take Wakefield. Richardson pulled out, they didn't get the ground and they collapsed. For all the lazy commentators know Wakefield may well have been superbly managed in the circumstances to hang on in SL. Take Hull, they got Adam Pearson and had a super ground and look at where they are - perhaps they are "badly mismanaged" far worse than Wakefield or Celtic Crusaders.


Whether a RL club management is good or not has to be assessed in terms of the hand they are dealt. I am saying there are circumstances where bad sports club managers can do what looks like a good job because their club has everything going for them, conversely good sports club managers may be dealt a bad hand, like London. Inadequate investment, no ground of their own, players from the main pool won't move south. That's circumstance not bad management.  


4. The SL clubs have largely hoovered it all up. Before the details of the £200M were released many on here were hoping CC or SL2 as they were calling it would all get a £Million each. When it was announced the bulk of the money was going to SL clubs and parachute payments for SL clubs, many posters posted to say how disappointed they were. There are funds to things outside the SL clubs but only a low portion and as far as I am concerned sops to those missing out. 


You state that the next deal can have money "ring fenced" by cleverly working the deal. I cannot see how any of the SL club chairmen will not see through that? Please explain what you mean??


You state to achieve this " it needs a clear vision and strong leadership to push this through. " That seems to me to be a slogan. Again you can have the best "Leadership" in the world but if those that are being led have the vote and do not want to give their money up to expansion club then that is that.


That is exactly what happened when Richard Lewis planned expansion. He rescued London and brought in Wales & France. The SL clubs wanted London out, and none of them would give way to an expansion club, or give them a penny more than they got.


He got London back despite opposition, he bought in France and ring fenced them, he set south Wales going and they grew and raced up the league to SL and he got two extra places in SL for them and set up licensing to stop them being relegated.


I call that amazingly good management, with clear vision and strong leadership don't you?? In the circumstances he was in he did brilliantly. No doubt many people on here will class Lewis as a "bad manager" because he didn't win a battle in which the odds were stacked against him.


You talk about the "next contract" as being the opportunity if we have "strong leadership". The last one was the opportunity and we had a strong leader and the clubs wrecked it. This one at £200M was the opportunity and again the clubs wrecked it. When it comes to expansion whether Hemel, Sheffield or Toulouse it's always going to be "next time" and the decades sadly roll by.......

#2983178 Expansion

Posted by The Parksider on 27 August 2014 - 05:21 AM

Kirk Dixon, Liam Finn, and Mark Sneyd are not the reason why London struggled last year.


Well I've pointed out to you the main problem London had and pointed out to you several in the know commentators on the game said this, that London had great juniors not ready for SL and could not get the established players that their lower SL rivals all had access to along the M62 to consider going down to London to play for the Broncos. 


Wakefield for instance don't produce their own players, they take them from the other SL clubs, and have far greater access to them and in turn the players are happy to sign at Wakefield as there is far less uprooting from their home, friends and family.


If you won't accept that and want to call it mis-management then we will leave it there.

#2982815 What can we do to increase attendances?

Posted by The Parksider on 26 August 2014 - 10:04 AM

Contrary to the democratic nature of a league like Super League, that entrenched caste system in soccer actually helps attendances, because it doesn't give those peasants and serfs any scope for toppling the kings and queens.  In Super League, with a salary cap (and thereby no caste system), there are only so many years where you can fool your fans before they agitate for bigger and better things, and cease attending if you don't begin to show more ambition.   


I like that post especially the ending.


We see crowds plummet and rise on ambition and the lack of it.


I don't think fans are daft, I think many fans are looking back on 18 years of super league and saying "we'll never win owt ever" and walking away. 


I certainly think in those circumstances offering the likes of wakey, London, Bradford and Leigh fans the chance to "win promotion" instead of Superleague or the Challenge cup is a silly sop they see right through.


I support the "democracy" of the salary cap designed to enable all SL clubs to compete for the prizes the fans want to see being competed for. For me the problem is the cap has not yet worked properly and after all these years there are fans who are realising this. What is the point in paying top dollar to see your local SL club make up the numbers? 

#2981241 Expansion

Posted by The Parksider on 22 August 2014 - 06:02 AM

What they rejected was the mergers, which imho were extremely badly thought out as per my previous posts.

Lindsay had plenty of good ideas and plenty that failed, I see no reason at all to suggest mergers would have succeeded.


Sticking to mergers then I do not see that not merging has been a success either.


Keeping Cas, Wakey and Fev seperate has been a massive failure as has keeping Fartown, Bulls and Halifax seperate.


Hull and HKR have become weak since the pair of them started operating seperately in SL.


These three areas should be delivering a massive competitive club each to challenge the monopoly of Leeds, Saints, Wigan and Wire.


The only actual SL merger tried was Les Catalans hailed as a massive success.


Take "Calder" we have three clubs their on loss making crowds who can't keep their best players, sure Cas are at Wembley tomorrow, but in a couple of weeks Wire will help dismantle their team.


The local council refused to help on a ground because if they did it for one they would have to do it for all three. When we need "10,000 crowds" this was a massive blow.


Tell me if Wire had swallowed Widnes you would not benefit from another couple of thousand fans and a few more professional players from the halton District?


I see every reason for four of the mergers to certainly have worked, as for the rest, as I have said Lyndsay did not IMHO envisage many of the mergers working, what he envisaged/hoped for the future was not IMHO a successful "south Yorkshire" or "Cumbria", but the eventual inclusion of a Welsh powerhouse, A Rome, A Barcelona etc. Please don't ignore this point.


As for launching Superleague calling for one big club in Manchester to fly the SL flag big time, if you can't see how that has finally worked, then think again and let me know. As I say all the merging was to try to get all the fans and as many clubs into SL - an all inclusive policy for which Lyndsay should have some credit from you - then open the league up to rich men.


Not enough rich men came forward quickly enough, that big sports investors rejected the opportunities was indeed a failure, but you may consider IMHO they didn't want to invest in a small parochial game which is what this game did it's best to stay as and has reverted to post Richard Lewis whom I would think walked away shaking his head.. 


What was "extremely badly thought out" was the plans and policies of the clubs themselves, who were collapsing this time last year. 

#2980173 Expansion

Posted by The Parksider on 19 August 2014 - 08:19 PM

I don't think it was too radical.


Every area pencilled in for version 1 has been represented (replace Toulouse with Perpignan) and many have failed. 


The original proposal was badly thought out - the secondary proposal was better - the best 10 clubs, a couple of expansion clubs - the missing piece was a strategy around how to support the expansion clubs and further grow into new areas - funnily enough a piece that is still missing 20 years on.


It was too radical, in terms of the definition of the word i.e. extreme change. The proposal to merge Cas, Wakey and Fev was certainly too radical for the fans and too radical for the club owners. The former demonstrated and wrote books against it, the latter took fright and succumbed to fan power. 


The proposals were based on the principle that the game needed to get all the resources it had - fans, players, sponsors and board level benefactors into one league of just 14 clubs that would all go on the TV and support the SKY contract.


This principle was not in any way "badly thought out" at all. It was instead badly reacted to as fans wanted the big fat SKY contract but wanted also to keep their little clubs, P & R, and not merge or get into the spirit of Superleague and support what has been the saviour of the game. You see it today on here with fans still moaning their tiny clubs must be given a chance in SL. You do not know that the "secondary proposal was better" because you do not know how the original proposal would have gone.


Despite this poor reaction from fans "many" clubs did not fail. Leeds, Wigan, Wire, Bradford, Hull, Les Catalans, and Saints have succeeded. Several more clubs remain work in progress.


As for your point that  "the missing piece was a strategy around how to support the expansion clubs and further grow into new areas" There was no intention of having a "strategy". It was simply a case of presenting the European sporting world with the opportunity to embrace Superleague and invest in it. Lyndsay set up London and Paris and it was up to sporting investors to take it on. Richard Branson took on London.


Lyndsay invited Barcelona, Newcastle, Wales and Rome to get involved in Superleague. Barcelona had a dabble and attracted 18,000 fans, Australians opened a Newcastle club but were not supported by fellow SL clubs, Leighton Samuels tried Wales and the parochial fans hated it and Samuels and Rome decided to take on Rugby Union. 


I'm afraid Maurice Lyndsay led the revolution extremely well for a modern Rugby League game, and set us up for a major step into the modern world of global televised sport. That the sport itself couldn't bring itself to modernise and that the big players generally then shied away was not his fault.

#2980147 What can we do to increase attendances?

Posted by The Parksider on 19 August 2014 - 07:38 PM

Facilities are certainly a factor. The 'plus' that Odsal has, is that like Headingley it has a range of facilities in there. So while some parts undoubtedly do need work, some parts do suffice for those whom it makes a difference. This will mitigate the issue.somewhat


Enjoying your well thought out posts and I believe you have one of the most solid arguments as to how to increase crowds. The big clubs Hull, Warrington and Saints got big increases in crowds when they had the new stadiums and I am at a loss to think that if Cas could stay competitive and get a new ground they would not also see a rise in the crowds of significant proportion. I agree on the facilities point for Headingley and Odsal as "traditional" as those grounds are the fans like them. HKR whacked the crowds up opening their new facilities. Les Catalans also invested in stadium improvement. Wigan have the stadium too 


But quality comfortable grounds won't do the trick if your a serial loser like Salford. So if you want to have high profitable crowds then every week play five (if that's not enough look to include Toulouse who have ground developments and ANO) highly competitive games in decent accessible stadia with good facilities every week and market the heck out of that to maximise the crowds we can achieve.


The best averages in SL for the ten clubs I mention above total an overall average of around 11,000 and take care therefore to not get hung up on the thread title "what can we do to increase crowds".


When Superleague started the clubs were averaging 5,500 in the old first tier of the game. 11,000 is double that and therefore don't start believing we have a problem with "poor crowds" because we do not - we may have problems with some stadia still being poor and some clubs failing to be competitive, but Superleague has attracted a big army of armchair fans and a massive SKY contract and yet has still in addition to that almost doubled the fans attending the stadia.


The OP is misleading, it's not about "increasing" crowds, we have done that big style, it's about "maximising" them. 

#2979302 Expansion

Posted by The Parksider on 18 August 2014 - 06:59 AM

For a sport as big as american football in the USA, the number of teams in the top flight is actually very small.  They certainly do not have times there who are barely viable in the hope that something will turn up.  


Twenty-two is more than fourteen, true, but consider the population of the USA and the size of the sports I very much doubt British rugby league is a 22th of the size of american football.  


To repeat, the only team allowed into the NFL have to show a very strong business case, that they are self-sufficient.  The nearest comparison in the UK would be to an A-grade licence, which would leave us with a few clubs rather than numerous clubs as you pretend.


This is indeed what happened when clubs were measured against a desired standard.


Licensing "failed" not because it was a worse approach than P & R but because the standard was rightly set at a high level and only about half a dozen clubs could match it.


Talk of "York or Oxford for SL" and any other like club you care to mention is indeed silly, and I know the mods desire all P & R & structuring talk to be confined to one thread, but it's too massive a subject hence we have had scores of threads attracting hundreds of posts each.


We may get somewhere if we can just filter out the silly idea that watering down professional RL is good, and look at how we progress in that area. If you look at why we have gone to a 12 club SL and from that an 8 club SL for the remainder of next summer then it is about 14 clubs being "too many" as Neil Hudgell has said for two years now.


Back to the OP and to enable national expansion to be stimulated, we have persevered with an elite competition, We may recall those who champion small clubs getting highly excited at the idea (via their version of what they thought was going to happen) next year we were in for a big share out of the new TV contract to ALL clubs so we could go back to pre-1996.


Once that didn't happen most people got the message. We need a quality small elite to inspire people who prefer RL to Union and other sports, we need to have the Leeds, Hulls, Bradford's, Castleford's, Catalans, Toulouse's, Saints, Wigans, Wire's etc punching each other at the highest level possible, we need policies to make these clubs bigger and more competitive and maybe the American game can show us how.  


The one thing American Football game can give to us is the idea that it's relatively very small number of elite clubs can heavily stimulate the game in the USA to keep it healthy and attractive around the country.


But that's another thread (so it's not me hijacking it), this was about the growth of small semi pro clubs and it's time we stopped hijacking that by making out they are all somehow going to grow into SL clubs. 


Does anyone with any common sense or business logic believe splitting the SKY money 37 ways would do that or more importantly whether SKY or BT would allow the game to water down.


Don't answer that - perhaps consider how the game can expand nationally at semi pro level more in line with the op.

#2979281 York - The Games Sleeping Giant?

Posted by The Parksider on 18 August 2014 - 01:59 AM

How about a system where if a Davy came along, he could build the infastructure and apply for a licence in Super League?


Good idea Bob - let's scrap P & R and put in a system where the clubs who have the best combination of infrastructure in facilities, players and fans, plus the private financial support get the SL places.


Whether the epitomy of that private financial support would be a "Davey" I doubt it, crowds haven't materialised and the academy is poor, he didn't build the ground either and therefore his legacy in terms of "building infrastructure" isn't that good, if he left Fartown tomorrow what would be left once neighbouring clubs pinch the best players??


Nothing much I suggest.


Small clubs becoming big clubs is the usual fantasy of those desperate that the game doesn't modernise, but devoid of any ability to demonstrate in a basic business plan how that can happen the blanket "but If a rich man comes along" rider is now always added to cover the empty logic of the proposals.   


After 18 years of rich men having the ability to lavish several £Million a year on any clubs they wish to move in on a la soccer it hasn't really actually happened.


On the subject of what York once achieved, or anyone else for that matter, there is the reality that none of them ever achieved anything pre-1996 as a fully professional club in a world of TV contracts, and mobility of fans and players. It simply doesn't count that a bunch of local Swinton lads for instance led by a relatively small local businessman with a few quid to spare once won all four cups with good crowds so they can "do it again".

#2970157 The all-new never-ending League Restructure debate (Many merged threads)

Posted by The Parksider on 03 August 2014 - 07:43 AM

If we focus only on the top we will die.


Cut the people like you rubbish. All you invite is the same back.


The "top" drives the ambition from the bottom whether Oxford want to be in the league structure with Wigan, or wether London kids want to play league. or wether Koucash wants to buy an available club. SL attracts £200,000,000 into the game.


People talk about the roots of the game but RL is not a plant. Leeds inspire and organise Junior RL - junior RL did not spawn Leeds. Moran came in right at the top in Warrington he sat in the chairmans seat and from the top your club and Rugby league in your area strengthened.


The clubs at the bottom feed off Superleague, local fans who can't get to SL/can't afford it watch them, the small clubs get their players off the big clubs picking up those who don't make it.


In your haste to simply disagree with me every time you've failed to think this through.

#2969970 The all-new never-ending League Restructure debate (Many merged threads)

Posted by The Parksider on 02 August 2014 - 06:02 PM

RL is kids playing in Castleford on a Sunday morning.

RL is 80k at Wembley in August.

RL is Queensland v NSW on the other side of the world.

RL was the Commonwealth tournament won by a PNG team in Cumbernauld.

RL is Aberdeen v Edinburgh in the Scotland GF.

RL is the RLWC Or the 4N.

RL is the groups of people catching up playing touch each week.


All inspired by professional rugby league like the NRL & Superleague, if RL had not professionalised you would not have most of that.


Or is inspiration from and admiration for the game fuelled by something else? If so tell me what?


Tell me if any of the above would have happened to the same extent or at all if the game had not professionalised?


The trouble with our game is the deep resentment of the very lifeblood of the game simply because "my club isn't in it". It fuels a load of nonsense.

#2969681 Catalans Rumour

Posted by The Parksider on 01 August 2014 - 11:20 PM

Oxford season ticket holder here. I live in Hampshire and previously have had a season ticket at both Broncos and Skolars.

Oxford have openly stated they have no interest in Superleague. They don't think it is financially viable. At the moment the struggle is to be stable at the current level. (We aren't the only KC1 team in that boat.)

Oxford is not a rugby area. London Welsh all but gave away tickets to the home play off leg and still pulled in a disappointing crowd.

The aim at Oxford is to develop good players and hopefully pass the best on to bigger clubs. JJ Baird trained with Wakefield, Sean Morris trialled with Broncos. The number of northern based lads in the squad is down a lot on last season. The likes of Jack Briggs, an RU convert who was sent to learn the game at Oxford Cavaliers, have emerged as proven KC1 players.

The key bit is that the likes of Oxford bring new players into the sport, as have Skolars who have seen several juniors turn pro at Broncos. That is how the sport can win.

Realistically, if Oxford have a future, it is as a development club. That doesn't bother me. I went to one game last season and fell in love with the place. Nice place, nice ground and 17 blokes who tried. As opposed to 5 or 6 who just tried my patience at recent seasons down Broncos. I have watched Broncos this season, both home and away, but enjoy watching Oxford more. Southern RL desperately needs a decent London club and academy system to draw juniors in though.

What Oxford are not is a future SL club, I'm not sure that's a bad thing.


What a wonderful breath of realism you bring to the debate, albeit a derailed thread about Catalans. 

#2968304 The all-new never-ending League Restructure debate (Many merged threads)

Posted by The Parksider on 30 July 2014 - 09:04 PM

To be fair this also coincided with Hull going from Challenge Cup winners and Grand Finalists to also rans. The club is really struggling for momentum at the moment. Maybe 2015?


When relegation stopped Hull got 13,226 little change to the last season of P & R at 13,432, the following year the crowds went up to 14,014.


It's time to stop pinning crowd drops on licensing. It's sooooooooo contrived.

#2967935 The all-new never-ending League Restructure debate (Many merged threads)

Posted by The Parksider on 30 July 2014 - 09:13 AM

What a lot of us dislike about licencing is the obsession with building strong businesses.We all know it is required but we lost the emphasis on enjoyment. There's just no fun in comparing balance sheets. 


"A lot of us"?


I'm afraid the big corporate clubs who put on the big fixtures and have "strong businesses" attract the 10,000 regular crowds and the 20,000 plus big game crowds.


The dwindling band who choose to carry on watching their local club and are happy to settle for a promotion season to CC from CC1 or the resultant relegation battle to avoid the drop back number in the hundreds and that number keeps going down.


So there clearly aren't a "lot of you".


Superleague can go from strength to strength as a business and increase the crowds as the massive majority of fans lap it up.


Anyone who enjoys "non SL rugby" have a wonderful array of little clubs to do that in and probably always will. If that's what you like enjoy it but why moan about Superleague if your happy with CC?