The Parksider

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  1. a. The conditions for the growth of the game in Australia have always been far more favourable to growth than the conditions here. They are a big sport, here we are a small sport swamped by union and soccer. Here we do not attract big investors. b. The investment levels in Australia were massive, Maranta and his associates backed Brisbane Broncos big style and they even picked up London Broncos. He let Branson have London, but Branson gave them up as not being worth the investment levels needed. c. Melbourne storm were backed by Aussie SL supremo Ribot and media giant News Corp. The investment levels were huge. The RFL or SL have no money to invest in a new signature club let alone match Storm’s investment, and SKY won’t invest in any particular English side either. I asked you where the £Millions would come from to grow RL in other parts of England and you have never answered that simple question, because you know there isn’t any investment money. That is exactly "why not", and to Mr. Picture yes of course we have naturally fallen behind Australia for the above reasons. Yes of course Union may inflate their number - but even half those figures dwarf league. Yes I have been listening to Mr. Perez's assertion $Billions will be available if Superleague just sit back and allow him to dismantle the game here, Let's see if the Superleague Chairmen believe it.
  2. Thank you for your post. I am afraid that you need to grasp that Union has according to it's Wikipedia entry a Canadian platform of 324 clubs and 102,000 players including 76,000 juniors whilst League died out twice in Canada. Who burned? For the avoidance of doubt I've always been a fervent expansionist, but please understand I want to see the game actually grown everywhere in the World. Grass roots growth is springing up in so many places, and this is fantastic. But as is always the case as a thread takes many turns you and others miss the crux of this debate. 1. Mr. Keen feels there is mileage in taking a big chunk of the money that supports English RL and then putting it into a new expansion drive aimed at creating more professional clubs across England. I think cutting Superleague money to repeat many failed expansion attempts will be the reverse of growth. Superleague is already hand to mouth and to deprive it of £Millions for yet more attempts to revive Wales or London or whoever, would I believe lead to debt and contraction. Mr. K isn't daft but with respect his hidden agenda is he basically wants to see Hull & HKR merge and and his expansive and expensive restructure would you believe is majored on his personal whim. 2. If Rugby league is the game for Canada then please lets get that grass roots growth going, let's see good people in the 8,000 crowds stepping forward and starting teams in the Ontario JARL. Let's see Toronto re-engage the north american players they sacked. I believe that allowing N.A. clubs to buy up squads of English players, and take English Superleague places again will not be "growth". Replacing Widnes, HKR, Wakefield, Huddersfield & Castleford for Toronto, Montreal, New York, Boston etc. will see a collapse in the English game as the fans won't want it. Bottom line is I'm not against growth, I just believe Mr. K's and Mr. Perez suggestions are not growth but self interest and will cause major collapse - do you get my point good sir??
  3. Union are always going to go head to head with League in North America especially if there are those alleged $billion dollar TV deals to be had. The evidence is clear they have had a first go at professionalising and will have a second go. Across the world the two codes compete and there will be no free ride for Canada RL. RU want the contracts you think RL will get. You need to grasp this. What is made up are such as the fantasies that "RL is brilliant and RU is abysmal" how can we debate anything sensibly when this is the core "Fact" the Op wants us to work on. Once again as above we need to face reality for a sensible debate. Once again the removal of the maul in RU where the defenders now stand back whilst the ball is re-cycled a la Rugby League has take union miles forward as a spectacle through this copy cat move. Then we have the oft repeated cliche that "It's all about the game day marketing" Once again this was introduced to English RL in the 1990's by the Keighley club, and carried on by the Bradford club to alleged great success. In both cases the real pull was successful teams, and marketing managers better than any of us soon decided to rein back on putting time and money into side shows. If you don't agree then fair enough but if the "match day experience" will pull in thousands of "Hipsters" to the Wolfpack then all the Canadian RU clubs will do is get their own beer tents. The worst falsehood in this debate is the idea that Rugby Union is dogged by a lack of interest from the "Working class". As Double D says one of the most intense Rugby areas in Europe - Wales - is massively working class and based on a demographic you can find along the M62. The bottom line is this is business and Union will not stand aside whilst Toronto Wolfpack and New York sell their "brilliant" version of Rugby to North America, to hoards of wealthy young "Hipsters" on the "game day experience" leading to an explosion of RL across the Northern Hemisphere. It's not as if we have the players to be able to achieve this even if it wasn't a fantasy "made up" by overenthusiastic fans on a forum.
  4. Although you agree with me, the money is not there, Mr. K still had to syphon off the "optimistic" part of your post to use it to call me a "pessimist" as though that somehow wins the day. The two Rugby games were once one, and once they split then the rules did indeed change and evolve. League did look to make the rules "spectator friendly" and at one point the contrast in the games was stark. But just like you say of American Football, there was no mass transfer of Rugby affections from union to League even when the free gangway came in. You also miss Union rule changes, changes which upset their traditional brigade. The abandonment of the Maul and the consequent quick re-cycling of the ball has headed off any argument that Union is stuck in the past, and having said that the "familiarity" element that sees fans and investors stick with American Football will certainly see North Americans who play Union in their tens of thousands stick with Union. North American Pro RU has not failed per se. It's failed at the first attempt and whether either codes "American dream" is just that, when you match the two codes attempts to go pro Union looks to be the much much bigger game and looks to have the upper hand save Mr. Argyles £Billions. The Ontario Arrows RU club are now on his and Perez's backs, just as the new NYRU club is set to overshadow Mr. Wilby's big apple dream. The problem with your "natural selection" argument is Union have the clubs and the players, and loyalty and familiarity will get them to an all North American league long before Toronto could even get to a Transatlantic League. This is not "Pessimism" it's reality, leaving Superleague needing to keep out of North American Rugby. We need to stop dreaming and continue to invest what money we have into maintaining Superleague for those who love our game.
  5. So you cannot tell me where the money will come from to develop the game outside the north?? You cannot support your argument yourself and have to try to recruit a group of "modernists" to back up your empty post. Then for your hat trick you try to redefine "realism" as "pessimism" to put me in my place as some sort of old traditional backward thinking fan. We are all Rugby League fans, sure, some of us feel the game is dying slowly, others feel the messiah has arrived this last year and will now take us onto being a major transatlantic sport. But all I ask you for isn't a rallying call, it's just an answer to the questions:- 1. What is your strategy to expand the game exactly? 2. Where will the development money come from? 3. What will be be the likely return on that money? As It stands the government has heavily cut spending on sport, the RFL have had to make many redundancies, but on the plus side the SKY contracts provides £17,800,000 of development money to help Superleague clubs keep the game alive in their respective areas. As it was Sports England provided £Hundreds of thousands to promote rugby league outside the north but without the infrastructure of junior clubs with coaches and facilities to retain the kids they all (as one poster brilliantly put it) "went back to their Rugby Union clubs". In answer to Mr. Oxj, every £ "sectioned off" to develop the game ouside the M62 is a £ lost to maintaining it's strength inside the M62. This is the bottom line. Do we close academies in the north to pay to re-open them outside the north. Along the M62 we have the structures, the facilities, and the coaches and volunteers. A £1 spent along the M62 has a massively bigger return than a £1 spent outside it and these are facts not dreams.
  6. This is a terrible post I’m afraid Mr. K. The reality is Australasia and the pacific islands are people who over the years have taken to Rugby in a very big way. The league game there has held it’s own and from the commercial success of the NRL, growth has been possible – but having said that it has still been limited growth. Conversely over here Rugby League’s growth was halted by union apartheid years ago, and not only does Union swamp league here, Soccer trumps both versions of the game big style. The conditions for growth are not in any way comparable, and the money available to fund it is highly limited indeed. So much so Superleague ended up badly in debt and SKY had to pay more to keep SL clubs alive who in turn keep the game alive here using SKY money to fund their development foundations. You ignore the great efforts made when Richard Lewis threw himself into expansion utilising government Sports funding. Lewis ensured London were in there, he admitted Wales, and he encouraged Scotland and Ireland. He allowed Catalans into SL and your completely wrong about them, they now run a successful Academy which they didn’t do some years ago. When you laud the NRL for pouring in “money and resources” into expansion and criticise the European game for not following on, you fail completely to tell us where this money will come from and who will provide all these resources??. Strip down your post and it reveals nothing at all of any substance as regards to how we would actually obtain growth. One academy in Hull makes it a stronger and better staffed academy. London were persevered with for years and failed, Toronto are just a rich man’s fancy and will be blown away by North American RU professionalising. In the circumstances we do well to survive, to class this as failure against the Aussies simply because they were dealt a much better hand is a very poor analysis. So can you or anyone else tell me what the plan is and where the money/resources will come from.
  7. France World Cup - Post Mortem

    They would be bang on right on the criteria of 2006 when it was indeed the aim to revitalise International RL through the inclusion of a French professional side in Superleague. At that time we often discussed how Rugby League's failure against Union was the International game. Les Catalans was a move to make the France national side competitive. Les Catalans did commit to 75% French players, and the RFL moved quickly to a return to GB.v.France test rugby at Headingley in June 2007. Just as quickly Catalans who came bottom of SL first year realised you cannot compete in Superleague using the French national side, so they adopted the same policy as all other SL sides and recruited the best players they could. They started to compete, went to Wembley in 2007 and came third in SL in 2008. At the time this did lead to calls for them to go as they were not doing their "job" for some, but for others they underpinned an expansion of the game into Europe and kept the french game alive. Anyone who still bases their alleged failure on the French test team's results, has missed the change in the policy towards the French clubs articulated by SL chairmen when they met Toulouse over their application to join SL. The chairmen did not ask TO to produce International test players, they asked them to develop Superleague level players. That became the new criteria for Les Cats as the game recognised that the European game was struggling to develop quality players. There is a player pool in France, it does produce some good French superleague level players for Les Catalans (and other clubs) through their junior/academy system, and so Les Catalans, a well funded and supported club do the job that is currently asked of them and there is no longer any case to remove them, ESPECIALLY when you have such as Salford abandoning player development.
  8. Both clubs were threatened with the boot from SL about 2011 under licensing but nothing happened - can the RFL/SL really afford to remove SL completely from the WMDC area?. I think that Belle Vue is being classed as being worse than Wheldon Road, which IIRC is owned by Cas, where a heck of a lot of money has been spent patching it up as per a Steve Gill article a year or two back. Does Mr. Carter wish to spend heavily on an old stadium that isn't his, when a new one is in reach? As per Scubby do Wakey feel the threat of them losing their SL place may swing something with someone, and therefore the patching up is minimal? I very much doubt it.... I don't go with the "they only have themselves to blame" rubbish. Whether you get a benevolent owner, and/or a sympathetic council is pure lottery. For Cas having the Fulton family and getting a top coach who's a home town lad and who has worked miracles and put a lot of bums on seats to pay for the crumbling stadium's repairs, is also the luck of the draw. That's life and life just ain't fair at times. Is it fair the RFL & Mr. Wood are personally looking after another crumbling stadium in Bradford? Maybe they see Bradford Council as a tad more amenable towards the Bulls and a new stadium than WMDC are towards Trinity. Lucky old Bulls. Trinity are on their own on this, and Carter is making a herculean effort, but if he fails the RFL and SL may well take solace from a future in which they have a first reserve ready to step in and bring SL back to Bradford, whilst a reduction in SL clubs in the WMDC to one, may not be seen as that great a disaster, in fact quite maybe the reverse, as in 1996 only one club was scheduled to serve the area!. There is however no way on this planet the RFL want to see Superleague removed from the WMDC area completely. It's a strong RL area and this would be a disaster of epic proportions.
  9. France World Cup - Post Mortem

    Why should they be doing better when the rich French Rugby Union dominates so heavily? Plus there's a choice of many other less physically demanding and more popular sports for kids to play. Catalans using more French players will only deplete the squad they have been running with this last couple of years and see Catalans down at the bottom of the Superleague with Widnes and Salford. Licensing is no excuse to fail to compete in Superleague on the idea Catalans should be on a different page to the rest underpinning a French national side. How will Catalans keep the very top French players who will go to better English clubs to win medals, if they are being expected to shoulder the burden of playing in a French International side in a domestic competition?? Yes we know the junior set up "needs to improve" but it has improved through the Catalans and Toulouse clubs academies etc. You can't just simply throw a statement out like that without saying how this can be done. perhaps you have ideas as to how to get more French youngsters to play RL and how to find all the French volunteers needed to accommodate that? I'll bet you anything that like the English game, the French do all they can in difficult circumstances against much bigger sports, and they don't need us sitting on the sidelines saying they "should be doing better"?
  10. Craig Hall back from Canada

    Your trying to say that promotion and relegation is the only "competition" that attracts fans and stimulates players to compete. Every game played is a competition and every place up the league ladder is a competition. The six years of licensing eventually ended with a drop in crowds that co-incided with top players starting to leave for Australia, but the RFL decided that "promotion & relegation" would boost interest and crowds. The first relegation battle did no such thing, crowds peeled away massively at Bull, Broncos and Trinity. Warnings had been given over the system (which was a copy of a Swiss soccer system that failed) and were ignored. What attracts the fans and boosts the TV ratings is the top teams and the top fixtures - not the stuff in the middle. Interest wanes when your club isn't winning matches and is heading for relegation. Increases in championship crowds for clubs going for promotion are minimal and have no real value to SL, and no value to SKY beyond filler. Six chairmen never voted for this system and three only voted for it as it had advance TV payments attached, another club abstained. Your analysis has been tested this last three years and the decision is it has failed, and wasted £Millions of the SKY contract used to pay Championship clubs to try to make it work, hence SL chairmen want to change back, thus increasing their own income in a vote that could well be unanimous, and has the added bonus for them of blocking a hostile North American takeover.
  11. Craig Hall back from Canada

    How do you make out it's a lifeline? N.America wants automatic promotion which suits any rich club and Perez has stated that's how they intend to get in SL. Licences were for 3 years last time. If Perez does not get a licence Toronto are out for 3 years. Licensing may release no players if they decide the same 12 get licenses. If not any players released will have the option of 3,500 mile round trips or another job on the M62 including I'd guess at some point Bradford Bulls. And once again the realities are always ignored as the reason for the intended changes was for Superleague to take back the SKY monies given to Championship clubs in annual grants and prize money that the current system is based on. That then raises the question of the Championship salary cap. The semi-pro Championship salary cap used to be £300K, once the new system went in, the top Championship clubs could get £500K prize money from this current system and the cap was raised to £1,000,000 so they could build their team and challenge for Superleague through promotion. Then when Leigh spent all they could but didn't get anywhere near promotion their chairman agreed with the RFL he could spend more - £1,300,000 and as far as I know the RFL indicated if a club was rich enough and their chairman was prepared to gift not loan the money, they could spend the full Superleague salary cap. Licensing is about far more than where to put the pins in the maps, it includes as Lenegan has stated a revamp of the finances so more SKY money goes into Superleague and less into the Championship. Any sensible analysis of this won't simply assume Toronto Wolfpack will be able to spend the same as Superleague clubs when they are in the championship, nor can it assume the other Championship clubs will put up with Toronto being allowed to do this thus killing any competition. I'm afraid the bottom line is certainly that Toronto do not know how much they will be able to spend on their future squads until they are clear on the new structure and the Championship salary cap, otherwise they may be signing contracts they can't pay if these contracts are for more than a year. If the "silence" speaks volumes, or if Hall and Taylors concerns are any indication, it may be saying that Superleague bosses are scuppering Toronto's charge by making them hang on until the last minute whilst SL clubs can go on recruiting long term. We can talk "great management" "great investment" and "great venue" all day long but the key here is the players. Currently the uncertainty protects the SL clubs and frustrates Toronto - they can "have the money for it", but that naively assumes they can spend it. Superleague has always rightly been about blocking rich men unsettling the balance of competition.....
  12. Craig Hall back from Canada

    Perez does believe recruitment is manageable, it doesn’t need any extra players. The plan is for each heavily backed North American club to buy up the best players available outside Superleague, who recently rejected any more than 12 clubs in SL due to quality player shortage. Perez projects “5-6 North American clubs” getting in Superleague over the coming years leading up to their world cup through promotion in which the relegated English clubs will be replaced by the Americans and lose their SKY funding and release their players for transfer. Craig Hall is an SL quality player who went to Canada who is part of the plan, that he’s rumoured to be unhappy with the travelling is the first crack in the Perez plan of playing out a Superleague over 3,500 miles. When the first Toronto posts landed on this board this was the major issue that worried posters on here, and it won't go away, unless the tectonic plates move quickly and bring the continents together. As Brian McDermott said of London’s collapse, he found it hard to recruit players because of the 200 mile gap. The puzzlement at Toronto’s recruitment freeze is more head in the sand stuff. Superleague did not make any welcome noises over the prospect of Toronto getting promoted this coming season, the only comment was “no away fans” and we await the strong possibility Superleague returns to licensing. So forget the "economy" and "brexit” stuff, it’s the problem of Toronto not currently being able to guarantee SL quality players that Toronto will get into Superleague even if they smash their way through the championship with their coal train, whom you say wants to re-schedule. Toronto recruitment looks like it is frozen until SL announces it's intentions going forwards.
  13. Enjoyed the post. I'm looking at Toronto and they suffer from the same problem that London have suffered from which you acknowledge. There are no "roots" adequate enough to produce the players to enable the club to succeed on the pitch. However on the "serious cash and deep pockets" you had that with Richard Branson which everyone forgets. Where did that go?? It has to be understood that in Rugby League terms Richard Branson and David Argyle are no more wealthy than Ken Davey or Neil Hudgell. The salary cap doesn't just even out the teams, it evens out the owners. On the much peddled myth about Toronto having the ingredients of “Getting a top management team in, financial backing and a suitable venue”. The ingredient they miss is pro-quality Rugby League players and my goodness, fair play to London for some of the gems they have produced even on Mr. Hughes shoestring budget with a little help from the RFL. Criticicm of Hughes is quite astonishing. Has he not put enough £Millions in for his critics? For the truth look back to Brian McDermott who spoke of the shortage of players, due to London being so far away from the heartlands. McDermott wrote an article to explain how London could not get the access to players the M62 clubs could get. Sure, London had started to develop a few of their own – but the main player pool was 200 miles up the road with London an expensive and lonely place. McDermott made the case that players he’d been chasing in competition with other clubs were not attracted to a move to London and the London club regularly missed out. Mac had to revert to loans (Ben Jones Bishop being a memorable one) results suffered, and a losing team can’t go on losing before the fans peel away. Just heard Craig Hall has found playing a long way away isn't as exciting as he expected and wants to go back to Leigh Throwing mountains of money at RL can work, but here is the bottom line. Rich owners do not want to invest their multi-£Millions to build the "roots" you talk about. They want to buy success, and the salary cap is the problem leaving the M62 clubs as the ones who (develop and) mop up the best players leaving the London's and Toronto's with too great a handicap.
  14. Well Belgrade plan to gradually build their playing base until they can become strong enough to enter League One where they will hopefully be powerful enough to give Hemel Hempstead, London Skolars and south Wales a game. This my friend is hardly the land of the "successful pro teams". I'd guess a visit from Belgrade will put 50% on the Hemel crowd which could then smash the 200 barrier. This will then justify a turning away from the likes of Bradford Bulls who are no longer the future and are clearly yesterdays men. Just had a look at "Yesterdays men" and they link back to 1863. That's about 80 million minutes (corrections welcome) of which only 5 of them were successful according to you. I'd like to see Belgrade come over here and play perhaps Bulls Academy (these are tomorrows men by the way), all "those of us" who you have decided to speak for can perhaps come along and actually support BOTH clubs and cheer them on accordingly. I don't see any need for it to be one or the other. After all you are the one who has regularly given "us" the solution to accommodating overseas pro expansion through "Conferences". However I'm still waiting for details on how it will be funded adequately, where the extra players will come from and how planned mismatches will be of any help. In your own time though........ In 1980 your own Wigan were relegated from the Top Division to Division Two, I remember that well. Maybe we should have just left them there as their own "5 minutes of success" had ground to a halt, after all the brave new world of expansion was upon us at the time and we had the future to look forward to with the newly formed Fulham ready to take over Wigan's position as one of the games top clubs. How we missed a trick there......
  15. Might not?? he just isn't? Who will Toronto Juniors play? will they take a plane to play New York Juniors? When will the first professional quality kids roll off the production line if this ever happens? 10-15 years is the concensus on here. How many years before self sufficiency? 20 years?? Will enough kids turn to RL anyway when they already have RU?? You all know the plan Perez has told us of. Toronto use big money NOW to buy in an SL team and win promotion, they displace an English team and New York can buy the players released and so on until there are "5-6 Superleague clubs in North America" That's the plan as openly stated What you don't get Oxj is it isn't "one step at a time" like Belgrade who have started from the grass roots quite successfully. Yes good sir Superleague are indeed craving rich owners, but they need these rich owners to be investing in the right things where their money will work for their fellow clubs, not destroy them. The simplest example is Bradford Bulls. If Argyle had taken them over and rebuilt Odsal with his money and returned Bulls to Superleague other clubs would have benefited massively. An example that worked was Neil Hudgell putting money into Hull.K.R. The two big derbies of Leeds/Bulls and Hull/Rovers have been good for 20K crowds including the many “away” fans Toronto won’t bring. Bulls and HKR take big away followings. This is the "away" fans point Lenegan rejects Toronto on. If Argyle had taken over Harlequins RL and pumped money into London junior ARL, this would have been a dream come true for most on here. If Argyle had re-started Crusaders in South Wales where a great junior ARL sprung up with the last modest investment who on here could argue? I'd have Argyle in Superleague tomorrow if he was not plotting to ruin it on a pipedream. It does not follow investment in your business is automatically a good thing. It can often be a “Hostile takeover”, look it up. As it stands Argyle’s money is being used to start the launch of a series of North American pro clubs (not junior clubs) who want to take Superleague places off English clubs and buy up their players. This can and will be quite destructive and I quote Bob8 from the NRL thread “They (Toronto) could still ruin everything. That is clear.”