The Parksider

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  1. There is no "chase for big city clubs" what planet are you on?. One rich investor left his City club in Salford where there is some amateur and junior Rugby League played at some serious clubs and where there are 5K RL supporters. He now appears to be awaiting his old club running out of money, so he can ship the team off to Liverpool where they will face an even bigger task to create some sort of RL culture that has been tried several times and failed badly each time. You may be for "expanding to big cities" is this because you have found a way to get thousands of people playing RL in them and investors wanting to pop several £Million a year in to facilitate all that? Expanding to big cities is neither inventing phoney baloney clubs or shifting a club from one city where most people don't want to know it, to a city where nobody has ever wanted to know RL. I can certainly see why the RFL may not "accept" this new phoney club, run by a man who shut down an academy. I like your opening point. Even the Premier League stick in the muds won't accept Celtic or Rangers, yet the Scotchy World Rugby League Premiership spans the globe from Perth to New York. If we look at the current funding by SKY, to the SL bosses disgust £16,398,000 at least goes to clubs outside Super League and they tried to stop that a year ago. Given the SL bosses will negotiate the next reduced deal all I can see is a number of clubs existence being financially wiped out and that "Somewhere to grow" where nobody has ever grown without a rich owner, will cease to exist. It's not as if the proposed (but heavily opposed) 2x10 clubs only wasn't a very very obvious and heavy sign that the very existence of such as Coventry, North Wales, Swinton and Rochdale is in doubt as well as Newcastle and Skolars unless their rich investors actually spend something significant. I'm not sure why you do not seem to get it League One is on it's last legs?? I'm not sure people get it that soon there will be no league for Manchester Rangers and maybe even Swinton to play in. Your quoted Wales RL puff piece does you no favours and does not in any way tackle the point I made. Look closely at the floods of professional quality Welsh SL players coming into Superleague first team squads (not pictures of welsh kids who are playing RL). There is Dudson and Flower from the old Celtic Crusaders from 10 years ago. Then there's Regan Grace. See if you can make that up to even a seven a side Welsh born Superleague quality team. We've had this for years and years where thankfully some kids and their families play and support RL outside of the M62 like in Wales. That does not in any way give us a Welsh Superleague player development system. That only exists from Hull to St.Helens as much as I would like it to be otherwise. Anyway it prompted me to look at a few proper welsh teams from the past, and remember the greats like David Watkins, Mike Nicholas, John Bevan, Colin Dixon, Maurice Richards and Jim Mills. In those days a top rugby player knew where the money was, they still do, but the money is now elsewhere.
  2. The Parksider

    Sky losing interest in Rugby League

    I'm certainly being sarcastic, In my long experience towards the end before we fell under Hetherington's control it had got to the point where many RL fans I met from south Leeds admitted to being regular Loiners, and fans I'd sit beside at Hunslet were from places well away from the district including me and my friends. But this process dates back many years, and anyway Hunslet is in Leeds. I believe Bernard prior was a typical Hunslet junior who went straight to Leeds over 50 years ago for a bit of "glamour" and of course Heron, Schoey and Robinson by passed the lowly Hunslet club . The Scotchy proposition is however that if we lost all our championship clubs then it would not matter. In the world of Scotchy which is a world league vision, if we are left with Leeds, Hull, Warrington, Saints and Wigan playing Perth, New York, Barcelona. Catalans, Belgrade, Toulouse and Casablanca then people who live and breath RL in Halifax, Dewsbury, Leigh, Oldham.......and also people who live and breath RL in Huddersfield, Castleford, Wakefield and Bradford, who would become Championship clubs will all go on supporting the game and putting their efforts into developing it in their "small towns and villages" for the satisfaction of seeing their sons sign for such as Copenhagen RLFC. Really?? I think this is completely absurd fantasy nonsense as are most of his ideas, and there is a direct correlation between a pro clubs success OR failure in terms of it's effect locally. In the 1970's Fax were awful and their local junior/amateur game went into a steep decline. They called for Bamford to help and they climbed the league ladder to eventually be champions and cup winners which resulted in the local game thriving again. A friend of mine started a club himself in the Calder Valley riding this crest of interest in the game. Halifax's second 16 year period of demise as a Superleague club correlated with the demise of the local junior game. It simply did not stay strong because the dad's and kids were all inspired by the success of the Leeds Rhinos and their ambitions to play for them!!!! I wonder where Junior RL in Cumbria would be had Workington's SL club in 1996 stayed the course this last 22 years and had they repeated their early 1950's success in the cup and league. I think it would be a lot more healthier than it is now and I think it's demise is because the dads and their kids there are not inspired to bother with the game by scotchy's idea of them dreaming of being signed on by Wigan or New York!!. Wigan being a club who have won things for decades and whose local junior ARL is highly productive, whilst just down the road at Widnes the junior game is decimated there following a quarter of a century winning nothing. But Scotchy's idea is somehow the junior game in places like Widnes is driven by a desire to play for Wigan or even Les Catalans!! I was also hard pressed during the Bradford Bulls mega-success in the decade 1996-2006 to spot Keighley bursting out in Junior clubs full of highly ambitious kids. If you want continued success for the game here leave it where it is don't decimate it. Outside here it sadly doesn't work. I have just been through all the expansion attempts 1896 to date and there are a grand total of 51 of them. None of them a success. Most of them launched in areas where Rugby Union (and other sports) are entrenched and heavily dominate, and that is our problem.......
  3. I despair at the state of some posts on here. France has one wealthy investor In Gausch, the French TV companies were not interested, and there's not even enough French SL players for one team. Les Cats ship in twice as many imports as anyone else and who are all chosen first as French talent is highly limited. As for £2M to fund an SL club and all it's staff, never mind players......Face a few facts man. Do you believe in fairies as well? As above no TV deal and only one big investor in France interested in RL. In North america nobody interested in investing just one Aussie so again no chance of a paying TV deal. World cup dead. End of. The only thing events have proved is Rugby Union has dominated for 100 years everywhere but along the M62 and Australia. There are hundreds of rich rugby investors and thousands of quality rugby players outside the M62 & Oz, but they all choose the game they have grown up with. They are always going to do that. Apart from in the minds of a few individuals..... I see your fantasy world where rich people who have very little knowledge of, and very little to do with RL are supposedly all sat there waiting for some miracle worker to rouse them to create big city clubs across the globe whilst TV moguls will happily pay £Millions to televise these mega clubs despite them all already having full access to a massively more popular version of Rugby. and that ain't all....... OOPS! Sorry Marauder No, because I was too busy outlining all these mega £Millionaires and Big TV companies are not waiting for a change of leadership at the RFL before their mass switch from union to League. ANYWAY..... With Salford low on players and London largely making do with the Championship lads as I set out before we probably have about 200 decent English professional RL players. France simply have not generated that many despite 12 years in Superleague, and less and less are coming from Wales and the RU areas of England. There's enough quality however for about 10 good SL squads as long as we can fill up with decent Aussies. None of the fantasy clubs above would produce any as you need a heck of a lot of kids and junior teams playing RL regularly just to find a few gems as you know (You were one), and outside the M62 such Rugby players are actually already there in their tens of thousands. Pity they are all playing Rugby Union.
  4. The Parksider

    Sky losing interest in Rugby League

    Not today thank you. They must get most of their players from here as there is a restrictive quota for overseas players and heavy visa restrictions and rightly so. We must keep the game alive here and must encourage it to be played here and must give most of the SL spots to English players. No grassroots no game, only phoney clubs full of antipodeans. You are so wrong. I don't want Kooks who shut Salford's academy down forming a phoney club and signing up 18 English players out of real clubs who need them thenselves into a silly circus. That's neither development nor expansion. Go think hard about "expansion" it is not signing up 25 players and shipping them off to play in Liverpool or New York. We have a record of close to Zero expansion at professional level. The youngest professional SL club dates back to 1935. Even in the Championships there aren't any clubs outside the M62 and south of France that has any sort of a grassroots game. The exception is London and my realistic hope is Argyle comes here to build a real quality winning London SL club. SL bosses would fall at his feet if he did which is why they tolerate the man. SKY would actually pay real money for that. Then more London lads may play as well. That is REAL expansion as you are astute enough to recognise. You've never "proved" anything, just dreamed it up and turned to insults when your dreams are exposed. Have you ever thought it out why Wigan churn out so many many great players, and why Widnes used to do that but certainly no longer do that?? I have. Wigan's winning ways inspired many kids to play and several Wigan lads have said that on Camera. At Widnes their long run at the top had inspired and developed a large local contingent of superb Widnes players many Internationals. Their demise on relegation in 1995 saw the demise of their local game and that long demise depressed the local game accordingly. Great players did come out of Oldham at Waterhead, St,Annes and Saddleworth but more were produced when Oldham were a top club, even the ones I quote were produced many years ago and few are found there now. When Warrington were your average SL team winning not much their team hardly had any locals, now they have won cups and got to many finals look at the number of local lads now coming through. At Bradford what followed their blazing early successes in Superleague was another upturn in junior development and quality local lads coming through like John Bateman. What followed Workington's exit from SL 22 years ago was the equal demise of their junior game in West Cumbria which has been decimated and YES clubs have certainly stopped existing and numbers have certainly fallen badly there. There is a direct correlation between the levels of junior players and the success of the local pro-clubs. You may want to point to how 400 old men watching Hunslet inspire so many quality players to come out of the Hunslet area. But I bet you would not dare use that argument on me. You'll probably turn to your fall back position of becoming insulting and playing to your "expansion" fans on here. SKY are interested in Rugby league because they can sell dishes to traditional English fans. SKY can make money from that. They won't make any money from your stupid "World league" you propose from Perth to New York and Barcelona to Copenhagen. Grow up a bit and think hard about "expansion" it is not relegating Castleford, Wakefield and Huddersfield to the Championship for the next 20 years whilst Perth, New York and Barcelona take their places. That is geographical substitution that would see the TV deal end, thousands of fans give up watching, and would leave kids south of Leeds looking to Soccer and Union if they fancied playing team sports then where would your Sheffield's New York's and Copenhagen' get their players??
  5. The Parksider

    Sky losing interest in Rugby League

    Well you had better go talk to Gary Hetherington who set it out when Superleague started that Soccer directly competes with Rugby league. He started Sheffield Eagles in a city where everyone plays and watches Soccer and 40 years on they have no system for developing professional players. Close by Doncaster started an RL club in 1951, but it remains virtually wholly a Soccer town 67 years later. Blackpool another soccer town started RL in 1954 taking most of their players from Wigan and they scraped along the bottom of the League never producing any players of their own and died 54 years later. When our kids round here in North West Leeds were introduced to team sports local junior soccer, RU and RL clubs all wanted them to join them. They nearly all joined junior soccer clubs Horsforth JFC or Leeds City JFC. Only one lad went to play Rugby League at a time Leeds were winning Superleague every year. Two actually went to play Junior RU. Finally London Broncos started nearly 40 years ago and are still stuffed full of M62 lads. You could not be more wrong, outside the M62 kids all go play Soccer and Union, which they later watch and support. This means starting RL clubs in these areas constantly fails due to there only being a minority interest...Same applies to the laughable New York where kids will always choose the established sports. Heartland clubs not in Superleague are still part of the infrastructure of the game and they are in areas where the local junior clubs produce some fabulous players. Your post is so typically ignorant that it forgets your hero Kevin Sinfield came from Oldham JARL as did Paul Sculthorpe. A host of Great Britain Internationals came from Featherstone where Featherstone Lions still churn quality players out, and for goodness sake Dewsbury has produced many GB Internationals inc. Mike Stephenson and erm...Sam Burgess. The great John Woods was a Leigh lad as was Tommy Martyn. How about all the fabulous players produced in Halifax at Elland and later Siddal?? If the game ignores the tradition and infrastructure we have for developing the players all across our heartland not just in SL towns and loads up with phoney clubs from miles away, that REAL player base will just diminish. I tend to side with Lenegan, Hetherington etc, who will tell you shipping M62 players to ( pick any location from Sheffield to New York) to create clubs is not expansion. The usual blind eye and deaf ear is continually used on here to ignore what "expansion" means. Professional RL expansion means more SL level players being produced and more TV money being paid to watch them. I don't care what anyone says to me about this they need to contact the Superleague bosses who told Toulouse that if they were to enter SL then they needed to bring NEW pro-players and TV money in to expand the income and staffing levels of the professional game. This applies to all so called "expansion clubs", and until they generate such assets the only "expansion" is in the distance we have to go to play them, which in itself becomes a massive problem where Snow and ice naturally abounds in February and March? This is the most desperate argument of the lot. Just because a player trains full time and is paid to play full time does not make that player a quality professional. When London Broncos lost 26 games and shipped in 1,237 points in 2014 the squad were full time. The direct consequence of that (plus Wakefield and Bradford's poor on field performances) led to SL cutting from 14 to 12 clubs and nearly to ten clubs which was again proposed last January. These "expansion" clubs whether Doncaster or New York bring nothing to the game just by shipping players down the A638 or across the North Atlantic. If the playing of the game can't get a foothold down the road from the M62 what chance does it have anywhere else. I first got excited over expansion in 1968 when Huyton were formed, and have followed it ever since hoping our game would grow and strengthen. I had a copy of the programme for their opening game at Alt Park, and followed every expansion story from then on and studied every expansion attempt in the games history, as I set out a few days ago ALL of these expansion attempts failed over the 122 years we have been going. "Expand or die" is a baseless meaningless slogan used to avoid uncomfortable debate. We haven't expanded at all yet we are still here, and what people forget is we are in much much better health now than we were at some times in the past especially around 1970.
  6. The Parksider

    Sky losing interest in Rugby League

    1. That is so NOT TRUE. If Liverpool take 25 players from the professional player pool of about 220 English lads it depletes other clubs. 2. That is so NOT TRUE. Storms success was hundreds of ££Millions of investment in a country they had access to a lot more quality players than we have here, and they were not up against Liverpool and Everton FC. For goodness sake man Sheffield is a strong soccer town with two famous clubs you tell me where Sheffield Eagles have got in the nigh on 40 years they have been in existence? This is not a term I recognise as applying to thousands of businesses and I know many businesses. For most businesses it's a matter of growing in the first place then the priority is holding onto growth and their place in the market against strong competition. No business analyst faced with a successful local business that can keep it's quality staff and trade at least break even to it's traditional market is going to chuck big money at expansion into other markets, John, you can do better than just dredging up any old slogan. If we expand Superleague by 2 places we need 50 quality RL players to do that If we expand Superleague by 4 places we need 100 quality RL players to to that. Once again these players do not grow on trees, and the player pool has declined somewhat if you remember the discussion back in 2014 whether we had enough players for 10 or 12 clubs. With deepest respect Gubrats your sloganising like John M. Repeating a slogan or a saying is not a business plan is it Guys????? I can say 12 birds in the hand are worth more that 20 in the bush" You probably agree with me and most SL chairmen we only have the players for 12 SL clubs. That already excludes Bradford and Widnes who I have seen win everything and who run academies with both clubs developing many internationals over the years. To give SL places to phoney clubs who have no player player development infrastructure let alone professional level players development, and lets face it never will whether it's Belgrade (they operate at a level below Millom) Barcelona, Copenhagen or New York is to remove more real SL clubs that actually are a credit to the game here, with long histories and an ability to develop players. And these clubs have fans who pay for the SKY dishes. John, Gubrats, We have hundreds of schools playing RL we have scores of Community clubs running junior ARL at all ages, these are stocked by scores of coaches and this infrastructure sits in places where the whole thing is based on interest in the senior professional clubs, and is inextricably linked to that. You cannot throw the senior clubs at Bradford Widnes, Wakefield, Huddersfield out of Superleague and depress interest in those towns and replace those clubs in SL with clubs hundreds if not thousands of miles away where they don't play RL and certainly will never have the junior infrastructures we do. Anyone can throw a bit of money about, find a few mercenaries and create a phoney baloney club but once again as Lenegan says they cannot be shunting our clubs out without developing players. They cannot shunt our clubs out without attracting paying TV deals. These are Mr. Lenegan's criteria for new SL clubs to be acceptable not mine Gentlemen. A 14 club SL with four expansion clubs may well leave several big M62 clubs out in the wilderness to wither away, I will name them - they would be Bradford and Widnes and could be Wakefield and Salford. Do we really think that we can start throwing as many of the bigger clubs as this out of SL for "expansion clubs" such as...... I will name them in the absence of you gents backing off the question. New York, Toulouse, Belgrade and Barcelona. The bottom line is....Is this replacement of 33% of our big clubs for clubs who have no proof of rich backers nor produce SL players nor attract TV deals really really really a good idea?? Mr. Lenegan thinks not so he's on my side......How about you?
  7. The Parksider

    Sky losing interest in Rugby League

    (1) We tried to expand to the north east in 1902 with south shields, we tried Liverpool in 1906, we tried 5 welsh clubs in 1908, we tried Coventry in 1910, we tried 3 London clubs and Newcastle in the 1930's and we tried two Cumbrian clubs in the 1940's. In the 1950's we thought closer to home would do it so we tried Blackpool and Doncaster. In the 1980's we tried Mansfield Sheffield, Kent and Essex........All failed then we tried again with Gateshead, Crusaders, Gloucester, etc etc etc. A catalogue of failure over more than a century??? Who would your expansion clubs be, and how would they actually grow and grow developing SL players and finding TV money which is the real definition of expansion as Lenegan said to TO, not the expansion of travel distances?? I cannot logically agree we must try something that has not worked at all over 122 years of repeatedly trying leaving us with a whole catalogue of attempts and consequent failures. How long do we want to bang our heads against the wall? Today Soccer here is a massive winner and Rugby Union is becoming a world game, and these are our rivals we cannot beat now, so we must stop dreaming up this "expansion" nonsense. We must maintain our one and only success which is the M62. Our traditional clubs were formed in Victorian times and on forming RL in 1896 we have kept a foothold for 122 years during which we have not "diminished". We are still a proud and attractive sport, and we aren't going anywhere yet as long as we hold our nerve. (2) SL has always had "Licensing" Paris were given one in 1996, so were Gateshead in 1999. Hunslet and Dewsbury were denied "licenses" 1999 & 2000 after winning the Championship whilst Huddersfield did not lose their's despite coming bottom 4 years on the trot 2000 on. You are right SL should dictate who is in SL, we cannot afford to leave that to chance. Academies are in Wigan, St.Helens, Warrington, Leeds, Widnes, Cas, Fartown, Bradford, Wakefield, Hull/HKR... Superleague picks itself along with a French club to keep the game alive there. No other clubs get near to these giants of Rugby League with very long histories of very long success stories. They "maintain the academies" which is exactly what you want. (3) All these clubs have Academies, and they all have access to the £17.8M SKY paid for them to be able to take the responsibility to "encourage participation" (your words). You, SKY and SL are on the same hymn sheet. However with respect these "expansion clubs" you want to accommodate in SL won't produce any SL players, or any TV income. These assets are only produced along the M62. I spent most of my lifetime dreaming of and supporting RL "Expansion" so I am no fervent traditionalist. In the end it has become apparent it can't work. I can however spot a cracking little niche business when I see one and so can you. That is what Rugby League is, and I am at least proud of that, and that we get admiration and respect from all over the country for it. We need to look after our business, and stop pretending it can ever expand and compete with soccer or Union (or grid iron). It is what it is and it continues to be so.....We should get real and get behind it as it stands......
  8. The Parksider

    Sky losing interest in Rugby League

    And there you have it, you have analysed what is hopelessly misunderstood on here........ I would ask everyone to re-define “EXPANSION” which is a much misused word on here. If I drag 25 SL professionals from Superleague over to Barcelona to become Barcelona Bulls eventually making Superleague and replacing the currently hapless Wakefield Trinity who sink to the Championship, and with no TV money close their academy, and put an end to the derby games they play, is that REALLY expansion or is it “SUBSTITUTION”. And does that move which means no Leeds/Trinity, no Cas/Trinity etc. Increase crowds here or depress them? Do the people of Wakefield look to watch Leeds United instead, are the people of Wakefield more likely to see their sons play RL at school and at Stanley Rangers who already struggle for players? If Stanley Rangers JARLFC fold, will Barcelona Bulls be running a JARL League?? Will Michael Carter bother investing anymore? Is it even “EXPANSION”? If 30 lads from here are galloping around Barcelona pretending to be Spanish whilst RL fades in Wakefield in terms of people playing, supporting either on the terraces or coaching organising and reffing and watching the game. Does the current traditional EnglishTV audience for SKY go up or down when the M62 clubs in England fade away and their players go put Belgrade and Copenhagen shirts on because believe you me they will never produce Superleague players there ever.Everyone’s at it thinking if you take 25 SL players from here and take them to Outer Mongolia that is “EXPANSION”. It just isn’t and you’re a fair minded guy and I’m sure you see the point here. What people think will expand the game will actually “CONTRACT” it. We may pillory Lenegan and other SL bosses but they know exactly what “Expansion” is. He and three fellow chairmen explained it to Toulouse face to face. Basically Lenegan told Zalduendo and a room full of excited TO backers, if you want to help Superleague expand then you do this by expanding the TV deal and expanding our professional playing base. Not by “substituting” an M62 SL club and taking their TV money and quality players off them and pushing everyone here another place down the leagues. I get called a certain name when I question "expansion" I suggest those people at least listen to you and consider whether their support for "geographical expansion" to the heavy cost of the game here, and its infrastructure is really contraction of the game here with fake clubs replacing whole RL communities. ..............................P.S. Thanks for the correction.
  9. The Parksider

    Sky losing interest in Rugby League

    Not baiting anyone just disagreeing with those who think we can market the game to success, on the assumption marketing always works. It's a view he still holds and a view I still disagree with. In terms of these things working both ways my reality posts over the last couple of years generally lead to me being "named" and then called all sorts (usually an idiot) with the poster urging others to put me on ignore (which is censorship). RP London thinks it is a badge of honour to ignore others views. How on earth is that debate?? LMS, Clubb, and Dixon are from over a decade ago when there was some southern growth. Since that fell away there's not been much although Sarginson came through and McMeekin is a talent. Of course Broncos promotion has promoted four southerners to be SL players for a year at least. The rest of the first team is typically northern and overseas players with a couple of welsh lads, and some young London lads in the higher number shirts. This is no criticism. This is just the way it is after nearly 40 years of professional RL in London. PS you deliberately made up the idea I said that "nowhere but the M62 produces players". A typical average English SL club 25 man first team squad is about 18 players from the M62 and six Antipodeans. then a Londoner, or a Cumbrian or a Frenchman makes it up to 25. The professional SL Celtic Crusaders club in Wales brought several Welsh SL quality players to the fore and inspired a great boost to Junior ARL in south wales. IIRC Gil Dudson, Ben Flower, Elliot Kear, Lloyd White and Rhys Williams were some of the main players. The collapse of the professional club that inspired all this growth led to the total collapse of the junior and professional game there and the removal of the club to close to the M62 where they survive on M62 players. South Wales last semi pro club was sadly an epic disaster last year wasn't it?. Professional RL came to Newcastle/Gatehead in 1999 when Gateshead came sixth in SL and attracted 4,000 crowds. After that the game collapsed but the club survived, but sadly has spent the last 18 years near the bottom of the bottom division apart from a brief spending spree around 2009. Of course Thunder produced Chris Thorman and nearly 50 years ago Paul Grimes came south from Newcastle to play pro-RL. The junior game there is smaller than the declining junior west cumbrian game and we are seeing fewer and fewer west cumbrians in Superleague. We nearly lost Donaldson and Lunt from the SL ranks recently. If the reality of the situation disappoints anyone it disappoints me just as much, but we have a new TV deal to pitch for, and the clubs best placed to pitch for that, to keep a largely traditional audience in place and paying their subscriptions, so the game can go on developing real professional players are Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Hull, HKR, Castleford, Warrington, Widnes, St.Helens, Wigan and Wakefield. That does not make me a fervent traditionalist in any way. It is realism and good business sense. If the M62 goes all "expansion" will then disappear anyway.
  10. The Parksider

    Sky losing interest in Rugby League

    Catalans picked up a sponsor so the money may pay Gausch back for some of the large amounts of money he's put in from his own pocket. It's very small beer. I don't go in for pitching business ideas to the boards of directors of SL clubs. What can I or anyone else on here tell them? Dave T may suggest "More marketing" but come on.......that isn't debate. The academy system in tandem with the development foundations works, and produce players along the M62 where many schools play league, and where league is more than a rival to Union. Outside the M62 union swallow virtually all quality rugby talent. Just a breeze through the first team squads shows this, vast majority of players from the M62. But not from Liverpool, Manchester or Sheffield. The weight of competition against us is immense and far wealthier than us and their games are just as established as ours going back way longer than 1896. This leaves us with strength only in Hull, west Yorkshire and Central Lancashire. Every year thousands of businesses die due to the weight of competition, and people would do well to remember that in those circumstances staying alive is one heck of a success, and we have managed 122 years so far. The idea of growing is a fantasy, to do that you must start to compete and win out against Union and soccer. You need £many thousands of millions, you need kids to want to play a very tough game and most do not. I've lived through many many years of supporting and studying Rugby League. It's strength is based entirely on a local tradition of being preferred to Union. From the birth of Fulham through to today we have seen just how this game cannot throw off the reality that soccer and Union's establishment as major world sports leaves us nowhere to go, Cue "defeatist" calls. No it's reality, and another reality is union have a deliberate plan of suppressing league wherever it may get a foothold like they did with Lebanon. The only place there's a paying TV contract clubs can share is England. The only place Superleague quality players are produced is the North of England. Therefore it's clear that if a club in Barcelona, Belgrade or Copenhagen find themselves a multi-$Million owner then they score one out of three and are of no use to the game here. All they would do is drag players out of the playing pool here, get a viable M62 club relegated and pile on immense travel costs and isolate fans. Even in heartland France Toulouse do not have a rich owner, do not develop SL quality French players apart from the odd one, and cannot get a paying TV deal. Rival sports of Union and Soccer are massive there so growth is "massively hard to achieve" and that is being kind. Rugby League lost to Rugby Union and soccer many years ago and it's strength is wholly traditional and regional. No amount of insults will ever change that my friend. The best plan is keep the darn thing alive, it's been the best plan for 40 years in which expansion has a very very long record of failure. How many times do we want to bang our heads against the wall?
  11. The Parksider

    Sky losing interest in Rugby League

    Well fair enough, but the SL clubs are looking at a greatly reduced TV deal in which SKY merely pay for SL. We all concluded no TV deal for SL = no game, some years ago. We all know that the salary cap hasn't moved and Superleague dropped from 14 clubs to 12. The only plan is cut your cloth accordingly and try to stay alive. Tens of thousands of other businesses will be doing this today. Why shouldn't we?? I can't recognise any expansion "continuing apace" we have rich owners in and rich owners out on a regular basis with less rich owners now than a few years back. The value of the TV deal is contracting, and the numbers of SL quality players we are developing is slowly contracting too. You must agree exhibition games in Barcelona, Belgrade and Copenhagen isn't "expansion" especially when two of them are just hot air. There is no expansion AC. It's something nice to dream about but it ain't real. I'd more than agree with you there. Because the TV deal is stagnant and set to drop then of course if Toulouse could win promotion then we could see if what they said was true that once in Superleague local investment would flood in enabling them to increase player development and maybe two French SL clubs would capture a paying TV deal of sorts. I'm with you on taking such a chance and helping and encouraging Toulouse's potential. The other (Major) prize could be a better France International side. However outside both the English and the French heartlands getting a paying TV deal where they don't play RL to any significant extent/level is just a pipe dream. Of course one out of three criteria , i.e. private investment, can certainly be achieved just with a rich owner, but if he is in Saudi Arabia it's not really that much good to us shunting out Wakefield to make way for a club that can't develop players there or get the big TV contract...... We all need to remember - before shunting "useless" English clubs out of SL - that it's the English Superleague clubs that develop the majority of the Superleague's professional players. You can't be shunting the so called "useless" Huddersfield's, Wakefield's and Castleford's of this world out of Superleague for Copenhagen Barcelona and Belgrade who won't develop players or attract a TV deal. Superleague isn't a game of Monopoly, it's a very real multi-£Million pound business dependent on quality player development these clubs undertake, and dependant on their fans who actually pay SKY a lot of real money to watch their clubs on SKY TV.
  12. The Parksider

    Sky losing interest in Rugby League

    This is an excellent intelligent post, great point, and proper debate, thanks for that. If we want to expand the professional base of Northern Hemisphere Rugby league then we need more professional quality players who can compete to Superleague level. To Toulouse’s credit when you scan their first team of 17 players half of the players are French, but the question then is if they enter Superleague will they go out and buy better players who are not French and end up like Les Cats, who put out a largely non-French team? To quote Lenegan “TO need to be backed by the evidence of French players capable of playing at SL level”……. Lenegan also set out the need for TO (and Les Cats) to get a paying TV deal from French TV to add to the SKY deal and this has not happened. There was also the need to attract private investment and TO responded with the idea that the local aerospace industries would be interested, along with the local Maire, but only if TO were in Superleague. No guarantees were therefore given and “they would say that” came to mind. So on this basis I would say Toulouse are struggling to meet the criteria of finding more people to (1) Invest in the game, (2) Play the game with local players to SL level, and (3) find people to pay to watch the game especially on TV. I do however agree that Salford score nought out of three but I cannot see how TO score much better. And this is where I feel Superleague looked to reduce to 10 clubs because that is about the actual number of clubs who (1) can produce SL players, who (2) do have private investors, and (3) who can pull a paying TV deal (except for Les Cats). Let us go back to 2011 when 15 clubs applied for Superleague. 14 were taken seriously by the RFL as SL standard. Since then the Bulls have collapsed, Widnes have stagnated and lost their rich owner, Harlequins collapsed and Salford are looking like (as you rightly point out) they are gone post Koukash, once the money dries up. These are the real facts of the matter and to me it is clear that professional Rugby League is in no way in expansion mode. It is contracting and I take no joy from this, but would take less joy pretending otherwise.
  13. The Parksider

    Sky losing interest in Rugby League

    The subject is expansion and not me. A dozen “you’s” gives the game away that in the absence of any real RL expansion “you” have to discredit the messenger because “you” cannot discredit the message. For true expansion it needs people to want to (1) invest in the game, (2)play the game, and (3) pay to watch the game. I can find that along the M62. Elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere I cannot find anywhere where those three criteria for a successful expansion area actually exist together. Our attempts to run professionally outside the M62 and abroad do not work because too few want to play the game, invest in the game or or provide a big TV contract to support the game beyond the M62. All this means is players from the M62 get dragged away to play in France, London or wherever for a rich individual, who cannot get any commercial interest going, to shore up the pretence these places are the future of Rugby League. All to the detriment of the one place we do succeed.. Take a reality check. The M62 IS rugby league north of the equator. I am more than happy for anyone to try to add to that, but I am angry at anyone who wants to take resources away from the M62, pretending that is expansion. Expansion is the nett increase in investors, players, sponsors and supporters. Your idea of expansion is re-arranging the deckchairs…..
  14. The Parksider

    Sky losing interest in Rugby League

    Well as you must know I disagree with the view professional clubs will be springing up all over the world, stocked by players who do not exist and financially backed by investors and TV companies who aren't interested. Reality is a dirty word on here. It's not just a logic, it's what has been said for some time and from amongst the media experts, commentators and journalists in the know. I thought it may warrant some serious debate but hey ho. The point is that all these extra games they televise cost them nothing. AFAIK, (anyone confirm) SKY will show free Rugby League "filler" all day long but they are not going to pay the clubs who provide it any money, As SKY already attract most RL fans in by buying the rights to Superleague, then this free filler is going to get an audience and SKY may get some more subscriptions. But if York fans sign up AFAIK York won't get a c.£2M cut of any SKY deal as SL clubs get . They get nothing. SKY pay SL clubs just over £2M a season which pays for the salary cap and player development. To stand relatively still 12 clubs could get a £2.5M a year deal which over 5 years would be £150M or a 25% reduction. The bottom line is if the deal is a lot worse than that you are talking about a 10 club English SL. Having enjoyed the first two games immensely what's not to like?
  15. The Parksider

    Sky losing interest in Rugby League

    Dave’s point was his usual off the top of his head stuff, Dave didn’t get it for literally years that the RFL and SL fell out massively over the current TV contract and it’s application to the game before it was even signed. This was set out in RL Express at the time and I offered to post my copy to him but he didn’t want to know, but several years later finally “got it” when Superleague recently destroyed the RFL in revenge. The subject isn’t just “a quote” it’s an expert analysis from Mr. David Murray who is an independent sports rights consultant. He says the massive SKY TV deal was levered up by BT taking an interest, which they won’t be doing this time. He says SKY also needed summer sports but have managed to add deals for Formulae One and Cricket so they need Superleague less now. A third pressure was from the new SKY investors at SKY he feels may want to make a hefty saving on the current price of £200M. Walking away is not an option Murray feels SKY will take, but there is the option to pay a lot less for the only real draw card of English Superleague. Whilst SKY are still happy to show plenty of RL with championship games back on the agenda they aren’t happy paying for it, which is indicative they will only pay for SL this time. So a return to a much lower contract is certainly on the cards and all the journalists I have read all agree. Do I go with “read nothing up Dave” or them? Superleague’s recent moves to try to stop lower league funding and cut SL to 10 clubs is to me a strong signal they are already tightening their belts in readiness. For me there’s only the investors and talent to run at 10 clubs, and as we see tonight and over the weekend the headline product is going to be traditional old M62 derbies. Murray maintains that that is the product the vast majority of fans most want to see and pay their subscription for, and clearly it’s true, and Elstone gets that so he’s giving SKY that. This tiny forum may on balance favour a world league but I’d guess they aren’t in the majority out there in the real world…….