Jump to content

Rugby League World
League Express
Garry Schofield Testimonial Brochure (Signed)


Member Since 06 Dec 2005
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 06:16 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Rumourville: London Broncos to move again

Yesterday, 06:14 PM

That said, attendances in Brentford were rubbish anyway.


There is a point her about stability Bob. The Club was actually on an slight upward trend at Brentford if you look at the averages


2002 - 3,760

2003 - 3,546

2004 - 3,458

2005 - 4,038


Brentford FC bled the club dry and that's why the HarlequinsRL option was taken but trhis was actually the most stable and promising period for the club attendance wise since the first couple of years.If only they could have found a home and stayed there


If only - The London Broncos epitaph


The question is WHY did they get relegated? You say poor decisions on and off the pitch. I think a clue may be found in Brian McDermott's record. Did he make lots of poor coaching decisions between 2006 and 2010 and then start making 'good decisions 'from 2011 when he moved to Leeds? I don't think so. The cost of financially supporting a top level SL club in London is outside the range of anyone who is interested at the moment and the RFL are not interested in funding the Broncos either. Look at the position now of all other Super League clubs who were not based in Lancashire or Yorkshire (other than Catalans of course) as well. The lack of lasting success for any expansion team at the top level is very telling.


I was never a great fan of Mac, but his situation was John Monies in reverse. At London, Mac had to coach during the "London Poundland era" When our benefactor believed in getting loan signings to bolster the club whilst awaiting the promised pipeline of talented youths to come through. Forgetting that as the team spiralled into decline that promising youths blend better into a side with a winning culture rather than one that is used to being trouted week in week out.Some, but not all, London prodigies have flourished elsewhere (Sarginson, Dixon) which underscores the point.


Going to Leeds, Mac inherited the best supported club, financially stable, great youth system and players who know how to win tight games with a winning culture. One of the three plum jobs in the game along with the Wigan and Saints posts.


There is an argument to say with Mac and Monie that they were good coaches of good players but ordinary coaches with ordinary players. Your really want a coach who makes ordinary players play above themselves. I think Andrew Henderson could be that man at the level the club is playing at but he most probably be overwhelmed by a Tsunami of off field issues in the coming months.


I would agree prospects down here are bleak but in my analysis of the situation its less about the money involved as the fact that other sports have moved in on the non-soccer alternative audience and the game has missed the boat down here even if a rich benefactor turns up. And I would point out that the Good Doctor at Salford (of whom I remain a fan) is proof that no matter how much cash you throw around it is no gurantor of success.

In Topic: Rumourville: London Broncos to move again

30 July 2015 - 07:59 PM

JohnM and Red Rooster,

If David Hughes moves on thereby allowing someone else to come in and make the 'right decisions' for the club what makes you think that these new owners will be able, and will be willing, to put in the investment that will be needed to make the club a success?

History suggests the opposite is likely to be the case.


One of the big problems at the moment lies in the fact that despite London being debt free, thanks to David Hughes decisions. It has become a very unattractive Business proposition.


The club lost it's superleague status thus losing not just SKY money but also the commericial and marketing opportunities that come with Super League status.


The club has no security of tenure (Without knowing the details of the Ealing deal) and is a tenant at the landlords whim. In addition to which the Hughes era has seen the club management fall out with two landlords


The club has no matchday revenue save for the sale of programmes and replica shirts.


The clubs youth set up has not recovered from the departure of Phil Jones in addition to which the playing assets of the club refllect an ordinary Championship side. The big earners being players at the end of their careers with little re-sale value. If the club was producing more players through the youth system that Super League clubs wanted to buy then transfer receipts come in handy at championship level and you could be confident that departing players would be replaced by new prospects.


The clubs training facilities may now have to be relocated from scratch from Bushey to West London.


The customer base keeps on dwindling losing about a third with each move and what remain are disenchanted with the club.management.


And after atomisting the club in September 2013, thus creating the mayhem outlined above, David Hughes claims to have "saved" the club - From himself presumably....If he is looking for an exit strategy then he has snookered himself.


No proper owner gets involved with a sporting club looking to make money but you do not do it to lose significant amounts of money either. Most do it to massage their ego but remember they are stewards of an institution within their community and while players, coaches, owners and even fans go the club remains and they are the temporary guardian of that heritage.


The sad thing is that off the field the club now has the right coaching and backroom staff - unfortunately about six year too late..


So to answer your question directly, any new owner would not have to be particularily cashed up to run a championship club what needs to be addressed are the problems outlined above and unlike the one man committee that has run the club you need to employ the right individuals on and off the field to fix the problems I have outlined and allow them to do the job.


You can spend as much money as you like but unless you spend it wisely all your doing is decreasing your wealth. You can lavish as much money as you like on a team but it is no gurantor of success (and there are a few examples of this in league). What you have to do is get the infrastructure of the club right first. then things can progress from there.


The main criteria when employing staff should be a love of Rugby League and a desire to create links with the amateur game, the community, local business and above all else to re-engage what's left of the fanbase.


It's a tough ask in the current circumstances.

In Topic: Rumourville: London Broncos to move again

27 July 2015 - 07:21 PM

I agree with everything you posted.  What I have said on this thread is how a London club should look for a niche, the mainstream has gone.


Bob I am glad someone agrees with me. But on your main point on "the matchday experience"  I do remember Keith Hogg stating at a fans forum that London spent more on pre-match entertainment than any other Super League club during the early 2000's. We then moved to the Paul Blanchard era oif having acts from Britains Got Talent as pre-match entertainment . It all wasted a lot of money and got the club nowhere. Truly it's on the field that count's.


The club had at the Stoop a Long Bar and a post match regular covers band and I hear at the Hive AK's bar serves a mean Capucchino....So this has always been catered for.


As a veteran of T20 Cricket and Union events at Twickers, I would also make the point that these events whilst attracting big crowds and a lot of spectators with a casual interest in the sport also attract the most ire from dedicated followers of both sports owing to the drunkeness and associated antics of those only with a passing interest in what is going on out in the middle and these is a growning debate as to whether this is more counterproductive in driving away the family audience.


League has never had this kind of social cachet, certainly not down here and I would agree has become a niche sport even if there are plenty who refuse to accept it.


More like an article than a post RR take care of those who want "long posts" banning on here!!


I enjoyed it though as I always do your stuff.


But I'm hard pressed to join the camp of opinion that somehow but for some smart business thinking Rugby League would now be a growing sport in the capitol.


......1996 onward was indeed an opportunity to grow Rugby in the London Marketplace, but it's a tough ask when your a fledgling up against a seriously big competitor. Big established Rugby clubs with strong infrastructures and a ready supply of old boys investors from a higher league than Hughes was the opposition. That London is a Rugby City for me helped Broncos to some semblance of credibility at times.


Had London had no established Rugby Union to easily mop up the professional rugby opportunity the city offered the sport of Rugby per se in 1996, it would have been a soccer city, like Sheffield who have also failed to grow.


I think it fair to say that growing a professional London Broncos from nowhere against a Wasps, Sarries or Quins was an impossible task, but what growth Broncos had, like the junior game and academy was to a certain extent on the back of Union.


Had there been no union to talk of in London in 1996 it would have been the souths equivalent of Sheffield where the population have no interest in Rugby League. Oddly London are lauded as useless, whilst Sheffield are hailed as pioneers.


Parky in deference to those who want long posts banned I have edited your post in order to respond.


In 1996 Rugby Union like League was a novice professional sport. London Broncos who drew 10,014 against Wigan and averaged 5,418. I was there, I saw it. The following year, Peter Deakin the newly appointed Saracens Marketing Manager took Nigel Wray Saracens chairman down to the Stoop to see the Broncos. Nigel then lamented how the Broncos drew bigger crowds than any of the newly professional Union Clubs


In a BBC Interview that most of you would notr have seen Nigel Wray confessed the initial professional Union marketing strategy was stick two posts in the ground at either end, buy "name" players and wonder why no one turned up to watch. It was not until the penny dropped that to build a successful sports club you had to have two successful teams one on the field and one off it marketing the sport and building links with the community - your prospective audience that Union started to build to the position of relative strength it has today - and it remains a work in progress I might add.


So while Union learned how to become a successful professional sport, League (and not just in London) continued to pursue the Field of Dreams approach. "We are TGG, we are better than Yawnion..Once they see us they will be hooked" and unfortunately the if you build it they will come approach has failed As has "organic growth" as anybody viewing the Championship one table will note.


League has missed the boat spectacularily and allowed other sports to successfuly lay claim as the non-soccer alternative sport. It was up for grabs in the 1990's / 2000's but not now. League could come again. American Football being an example of a transplanted sport that has risen again in the South but that sport suffered a lost decade from 1997-2007 . League could suffer lost decades before there is another opportunity


On the ground issue, there have been opportunities to work in partnership notably with Harlequins and even with London Skolars allegedly and to keep a a percentage of matchday revenue but these have been spurned. Will Ealing be anything other than a ground rental - We shall see.


As for David Hughes we will have to agree to disagree. One reason why I have always supported P&R (one of the few  London fans to do so) is that chairman and clubs should never be insulated against bad busiess decisions. As in real life, if you make bad choices you pay the price and the current plight of the club is down to David's decisions. League tables do not lie. He has invested a lot of money in the club but so have I and others who have paid to watch his club.


Truly without David Hughes there would be no London Broncos but also with David Hughes there could soon be no London Broncos..


It was a decision taken by Broncos to play on a sunday.


In response to playing part-time sides who would find it difficult to travel down on a Saturday.


The Hive is an ars@e to get too in if you do not live locally, TBH. It takes me - a train, walk, overground and tube combo from east London. As Skolars were not playing yesterday I would have gone along if the trip was easier. (Trailblazers would be train, tube, tube, train - the plus side is it is a qucik walk from the station).


The problems quite simply are - last year's dreadful season put a fair few people off and the constant ground switches....no club can survive that.


Your analysis is spot on - Please refrain from making sensible comments on this thread and forum...

In Topic: Rumourville: London Broncos to move again

21 July 2015 - 07:41 PM

I got to the home game against Leigh about 90 minutes before the start and while waiting at Wembley Park Station I recognised David Hughes sitting in a Jubilee line carriage all on his own on the surburban line to nowhere. A journey confirmed when he got off at Canons Park in Harrow.


One thing I do not think anybody should claim about David is that heart is not in the right place. He has spent enough of his personal fortune on his hobby and its has caused him both to postpone his retirement and rumoured family problems.


That said for a Trader in Oli Futures he sure has bought from quite a few snake oil salemen, the results of which have been done to death on his forum. However we cannot change the past and the future is not at The Hive.


Simply put the club has to begin to have a revenue stream from commercial activities. This has never been the deal at The Hive and sooner or later commercial reality whould have intruded on the club's unhappy stay in Harrow. The club would always have needed to make this move and the current arrangement made in the scramble to re-establish A Super League Club in name only for the 2014 season and was never going to be a permanent arrangement.


As I posted earlier the club's real death sentence was served in September 2013


so to all intents and purposes we will never see a London superleague team again (bar the upcoming Wigan experiment)?


As things stand you are probably right. No London team has been met with incredulity down under but although Steve Mascord has claimed that the RFL offered the London Broncos to the NRL. I would surmise this was, in reality, more along the lines of "if you support it so much why do you not pick up the tab". A communally owned club is no more on the NRL agenda than it is on the RFL one.


As for the Wigan game, I am indeed a sceptic but I refer you to Brian Noble's article in this month's Fourty-Twenty (my Italics)


Wigan are planning to bring a super 8s game to the capital and it would be good to think that they have connected with and talked to the Broncos about the strategy behind it - how good it would be to make it a double-header with double payback?. It become a much needed event then.


I'd also hope that the RFL would be in concert about what they hope the sport in the capital could gain from such a showcaee venture.



Now I interpret Nobby's comments as referring to the fact that neither Wigan nor the RFL have discussed this with the Capital Club. I could be wrong but that how I read it.


I would argue that London are not a winning team in the lower division, they are a mediocre team and this is reflected in the crowds which are not much worse than last years.


London Broncos Average 2013 (Stoop) - 2,200

London Broncos Average 2014 (Hive)   - 1,294

Only two London Broncos crowds have barely got into four figures in 2015 with the average around 700


Never let facts intrude into your posting..


I guess what your highlighting is a need to adapt the overall experience to the target market. Assuming of course the analysis identifies its the right market to target,


The problem is that too many in RL think because the game is so good then that's enough.  As distinct from looking at the overall customer experience. Its this experience matched to the identified target market requirements that determine what chance their is of bringing in new demographics or fans. 


How many times does one hear, "its the greatest game" from all and sundry in the game, yet the sport finds it difficult to attract new fans prepared to pay through the turnstile.  It obviously isn't sufficient to be the "greatest game"  to that majority.  Whether we are or not is open to debate but besides the point.


It always reminds me of those dead industry's that failed to adapt to changing market demands and competitive environment.


 A thoughful post and you would have to query if London have any idea what the market is or should be.


Certainly when the thread went up for Southern Rugby League fans to explain why they follow Rugby League there were far too many posts along the lines of:


"Me mam served Pimblett Pies at the Eddington end at Saints when I were our kid and since moving down here I see myself as a missionary in a sea of heathens"


It probably explains the number of pristine Non-Bronco shirts on display at almost Every Broncos forum - that';s when we had them of course.....


You see if wigan draw a crowd of 7,000 comporised of 6,500 Northerns or Northern exiles to a game in London. How does that advance the game in the south?


It does not - you need to tap into a southern based non-traditional audience including BME families (an untapped market). Other sports are beginning to crack this market. Rugby League has not scratched the surface.nor seems to want to.


The period 1991-2003 is beginning to be regarded by Sports Historians as the periodr in which the major sports in the UK finally professionalised themselves, Soccers - Premiership fuelled by SKY, Cricket - two division P&R, Central Contracts and T20, Rugby Union professionalism and the development of credible European and International Competitions.. All these sports evolved and are still evolving.


Rugby League accepted professionalism but then de-evolved and retreated back into the safe world of the 1980's where miiddle aged administrators and fans feel at home. A shrinking sport tugging the forelock to a vanishing Industrial past.,


True in all sports there is this constant battle between aged administrators and fans who want to hark back to a sepia tinted past and those who boldly face the future but League is the sport in which the backwoodsmen so spectatularily triumphed


The 90's and early 2000's were an opportunity to stake a claim for new markets before other sports occupied this territory. Those conditions no longer exist now - as pointed out a couple of years ago in a RLE article by the Skolars chairman Hector McNeil. Sorry but for most people down here is now a case of  "Rugby League had it's chance - Time to move on"


And unless there is some sizemic sporting catastrophy along the line of the Super League war in Australia befalling one of the major sports I'm afraid that's the way it will be..

In Topic: Rumourville: London Broncos to move again

19 July 2015 - 06:48 PM

THe above comment seems to presume London are in a fit state to be in the Super League. The club has not been viable at Super League since September 2013 and the departure from the Stoop..


The Hive Deal - Is for Barnet to keep all revenues, London only have the sale of replica shirts - subject to a BOGOF deal with the 2014 version in the last few home games - as revenue. AK has decided enough is enough and London do not pull in enough fans as a championship club to make this viable for Barnet FC. Especially since the renamed version of the parachute payment will not be an option next year.There will be a 2016 at full time based upon David Hughes funding but after that.....


So the quest is on for a sustainable and economic future. Ealing RFC are looking to expand but will do well to stay in the RFU championship so it really is a chance for both clubs "to grow together" as someone said two years ago.... The devil of course being in the detail about matchday revenue (i.e gate receipts and bar takings). A good deal brings the club closer to being able to "wash its face" as IFL would have put it. To paraphrase Stevo (at Lords today) "if you can't pay your bills  you can't play"


It also recognises the clubs base is in West London, particularily with the youth in Feltham. Although since Phil Jones departure on Mr Hughes dismantling of the club in September 2013. Youth Development in the south has been nothing to write home about and as Dan Sarginson has said without the promise of playing at a higher level most talented "rugby" prospects will opt for the XV code if given the choice. 


There are two problems , Frstly the wage bill needs to be cut so you can expect some high profile departures from London Broncos. and as we have seen since 2009 as the team declines so does the remaining fanbase. Though this season has put to bed the idiocy that a winning team in a lower division leads to increased attendances.


The other problem is of course that "The London Nomads" lose at least 33% of their audience each time they move so from a core of 700 you might have 550 at Ealing. That of course assumes that the club does not try to market itself to the local coimmunity and bulid links with Ealing RFC. The track record of course is not promising.


If of course you are cashed up or have pals who are also well funded and have a love of League and think you could do better you could offer to buy the club. I think I can state with some certainty that David Hughes will sell you a debt free club for the nominal price of £ 1 if you contact the London Broncos


For me, the HIve with FOUR train changes was a chore. Ealing even more so. So rather than throwing a messageboard strop about how I am done with the club. I will simply state that my infrequent visits willl become even less frequent than before. As with much of the declining audience outside the M62 both at the turnstiles on on SKY. It's not a rejection of the game itself but a comment on the fact that watching Rugby League played at a respectable level is further away from me and whilst like Parky said most fans have another team who they favour in the Super League its not your club at the end of the day and without buy in locally interest wanes.