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About mmp

  • Birthday 02/02/1981

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    Bury Broncos -
  1. On the Wirral, there were 33 open age rugby union sides this winter (that's roughly 600 players) but not a single RL side. The population of the Wirral Council area is 330,000 people. The nearest RL club as the crow flies is probably the Flintshire Falcons merit league side (but its a journey to get there!), Chester down the M53, and then the merit league sides based in Liverpool (one of whom has had training sessions in Birkenhead). Going back to the thread - if we are serious about growing the game, then having community sides in places like the Wirral (where we've 600 people to target) would be a start! Personal view is the sports obsession with having 'professional' clubs holds it back because too little effort goes into growing the pyramid base. And remember, using Wirral as an example, the game had a 'pro' team in Birkenhead in the past but nothing below and now look how well that turned out for RL over the long-term.
  2. If the 'pro' club signed up to meeting the criteria of the NCL around community activity etc. then maybe...but we shouldn't have stand alone pro clubs damaging the far more beneficial ethos of the NCL. But that highlights another difference with RU. Yes, 'pro' (i.e. paying) clubs can exist in any level of the pyramid but they tend to be large clubs with a full community section underneath. Look at National League 2 North: - the two clubs i know well in that structure are Sedgley Park (where i grew up and 400m from Bury Broncos RL) and Caldy (where i live now). Both pay their first team players (so 'pro') and in pyramid terms they're at the juncture of being in the top national divisions and the regional structures underneath (i.e. similar to where the NCL might meet League 1 in RL). The huge difference is that both have full junior sections, second and third teams at open age (maybe a fourth team too) and a considerable community infrastructure supporting their ability to pay their players... being able to pay players is a combination of their community structure strength (as there are always arguments within such clubs about the 'member fees' subsiding first team player payments), income from their bars and match day activity and then some wealthy benefactor. In RL we seem to forget about the need for the infrastructure underneath and jump to having a 'pro' club based on a single team model (with a [not vey rich] benefactor) operating outside the wider structures of the game. As I said before, 122yrs we've been doing that as a has not worked as a model for expanding the game yet many in RL seems to think we should be doing that same approach still today. We need a far greater emphasis on the bottom of the pyramid, get that tight, the top fixes itself...
  3. Said this before but it does seem a peculiar trait of RL fans that they want clubs to be 'professional' all the time or think that unless a club exists as a pro club, it doesn't have value to the sport (or expansion of the sport) as a whole. thread after thread talks about the sports 'need' for a pro club here, there and everywhere. what we actually need, and what RU has far greater depth in, is a structure that starts with participation clubs and that works bottom up. 122 years we've been trying it top down with an obsession for having 'pro' teams and it hasn't served the sport very well. The comments here on the NCL prove the point. Why would a club want to join a 'pro' league when the NCL is a better competition with far greater value to the sport as a whole (because of its criteria system and community requirement), and why would our sport as a whole ever want another pro club competing with the ones we already have in places like Rochdale, St Helens, Halifax, Hull, Wigan and Leigh? We're far better off with those places having strong amateur sides (in addition to the pro clubs already there) and having the strong community structures underneath...its the community end of our pyramid that we need to expand, not the pro level.
  4. The NCL is the highest level of the community game. to be in the NCL you have to meet various criteria including junior set ups. personal view, that criteria needs protecting as it encourages proper community development. allowing pro clubs to enter their 'reserves' wouldn't be in the interests of the community game, or the sport as a whole, in my view.
  5. Is Stu littler on books at Swinton this year? Started at Salford in late 90s
  6. "They" (god knows who "they" are) did not push them to summer. It was a line peddled by various people at the time and unfortunately and inaccurately reported in publications like the League Express. There was a winter league, then there became a summer option. About 1/3 of clubs indicated straight away that they wanted to switch and then more and more then chose to do the same. Clubs made choices. Within a couple of years there were fewer than 10 choosing to play in winter.
  7. Cracking amber and black kit that! For anyone who's been following the history thread, the amber and black kit above is a replica of the kit worn by Radcliffe who started playing Northern Union in 1896 and had one season as a pro-club. The kit was commissioned by Bury Broncos to celebrate 120years of rugby league in the Borough of Bury (though there have been some quite substantial gaps in that 120yr period!)
  8. Researching Radcliffe (the side mentioned before) and then Radcliffe Rangers and Prestwich Church Institute I regularly stumbled on references to Leigh Shamrocks sometimes playing in the Manchester and District League.
  9. I was invited to a function in the Presidents Suite of Twickenham earlier this year. It is am imposing picture.
  10. And I'd agree with all of that. I think there was also a unwillingness to recognise how society around the game was changing and to then respond. People had the blinkers on thinking that somehow, our sport was unaffected and didn't need to move with the times.
  11. Penned with passion because the false statements have been made time and time again but never justified. Its always 'I know different', or 'an official from a club (always unnamed) told me' etc. used to evidence for a conspiracy that saw 50 - 60 clubs start in winter, end up in summer. Really? 50 - 60 clubs, their officials, their members etc. were all duped? Like others on the thread - I was a club official who was at the various league meetings over the period. Not coerced, not 'bribed', not forced to do anything... My club had an extraordinary general meeting of all members, they were presented with the two options, committee members on both sides of the debate explained their view, the members debated it, they voted on it, and that was that. It was really that simple. It's disrespectful to all those involved to suggest anything else occurred.
  12. I agree we need answers. But there will no coming together if it cant be accepted by some that the switch occurred through clubs wanting it - and then others choosing to take it.
  13. An utter lie spread by those with a chip on their shoulder and to be blunt, a propaganda exercise in publications like the League Express that spread those lies without checking the facts. When the first vote took place the NWC around 1/3 of clubs voted to switch to summer. They did do so as independent clubs for what they thought was right for those clubs - not under duress. That vote made clear there was an appetite to play summer rugby in the North West The RFL proposed setting up a summer league for those who wanted it (at least 1/3 of the NW teams) - and the NWC league emailed that proposal to clubs so that any wanting to take the option (note - you could stay in winter if you wanted) could form the summer league. Also note - and to their credit - it was the NWC league who forwarded on the email to clubs giving them the option - not as was appalling reported in the LE at the time, a secret emailing of clubs by the RFL to undermine the NWC. That was false reporting and set the tone for the 'traditionalists' who simply made things up to try and justify a conspiracy theory around what was going on - they couldn't get their hard around why clubs were voluntarily making the switch in the interests of their clubs (and members) so came up with all sorts of sometimes bizarre statements. With the summer league then forming people then voted with their feet - about 1/3 went straight away completing a short winter season to allow the switch to summer. Then a big block moved in the spring leaving what, around 20 teams left to play winter. By the following winter that was down to fewer than 10. The idea that the RFL could 'systematically dismantle' in the way you make out is false - its just a perpetuation of the conspiracy theory. The RFL set up a competition in response to a clear appetite from many clubs to go to summer - clubs made their own decisions. I have huge respect for those who put the time and effort running the NWC but it was operating as if it was the 1980s and many clubs wanted it modernised but it wouldn't. It was no surprise to me that so many wanted to quit.
  14. I'm not ranting. And my point is nothing to do with the nature of the Academies. My point is - as your list showed - there are too many Academies for the base of the pyramid that exists in the sport. If there are only 500 players playing the game in the NW in what is the eligible age group (which is shocking in my view) then there cannot be any rationale for 5 academies covering the same geography.