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tim2

Bad times in West Cumbria

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1. The problem up here really is the start up costs. You'd need a new stadium, new squad, new infrastructure. Nobody would get a return on such an investment for quite some time, if ever. The money just isn't there to for someone to take the risk.

2. As for the merged team at a lower level - what would actually be the point in that ?

1. Davey, Lenigan, Hughes, Moss, O'connor, Caddick, Moran, Hudgell, wilkinson etc do not take risks, they waste money on a favourite toy. Cumbria will be in SL when they can find someone to waste money on it.

2. I cannot get mi head round that mate. Workington have never been so low for so long, how can that be fun?

Haven look to be going the same way. A lower division merger would be so revolutionary, so positive.

It's not SL or nothing is it? there is life outside SL and I have been to NL matches and NL finals and it's a fact. There's still life and joy.

If Cumbria is such a hotbed of the game why not a cumbria RL annually clearing up on the NL trophies?????

you never know that may in time be a stepping stone to SL........

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If Cumbria is such a hotbed of the game why not a cumbria RL annually clearing up on the NL trophies?????

The amateur scene (where most SL clubs get their talent from excluding the over the hill Aussie imports) is as strong as any in England (see a previous thread about how the young age groups are supplying championship winning sides) but as stated, the demise of both Town and Haven does not attract these youngsters into the local pro game.All they dream about is a SL contract and at the moment quite a few 18 & 19 year old's are at SL clubs.

When I was 17 all I wanted to do was pull on a Town shirt ..now they want a Wigan or Bradford shirt.

CARLA teams can mix it with the best its a crying shame that all the talent developed by these small village clubs are moving out of the county.

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Having followed Town for 63 years

Wow are you that old (young) Keith :rolleyes:

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Do you know that there are 5 RFL funded development officers in the area ? However, there isn't one of them that's employed to do schools/junior development !

There's one each for coaching development, refereees, Over 35's and Tag RL and a general one who does a bit of everything.

But not one specific junior development officer.

With the resources being put into Over 35's and Tag it seems to me that the name of the game these days is simply to record increased participation in "RL" at whatever level in order to justify the Sport England funding. It does nothing for the future development of the game though.

You forgot the new "Teachers team" ...seems to me that the RFL are developing "Social league" before the main game.

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Avoided this until now as this debate tends to be dominated by people that know nothing about Cumbria telling the world at large that A CUMBRIA TEAM MUST BE PUT IN SL (usually at the expense of Welsh/London/French participation).

Just wanted to offer a few words about what the RFL are doing over here, Ant Atherton and the new schools development officer Louise Graham getting involved with rugby league at all levels in the east of the county since the Centurions stepped down from RLCN. This should help to secure the future for RL in Carlisle and to put things back on a firmer footing than they have been for many years. We have been stuck between two stools for a long time; too strong for the NE or Northern Premier leagues, but with too little strength in depth to guarantee being competitive home and away in the RLCN. Too reliant on 30 something products of previous schools development as the younger players tend to work Saturday mornings and can therefore only play home games in the RLCN. Hopefully a step down and a potential future move to summer by CARLA might see a local side of teenagers and lads in their early 20's being helped around by a couple of the older players (many of whom have taken or are taking their coaching badges). No predictions of future greatness and no promises, but better foundations should produce a more secure club in the long-term.

Getting people at all levels playing the game should be a priority for the RFL, artificially propping up ailing businesses that keep spending beyond their means should only be done in extremis. The situation in the west is one best characterised by the phrase 'in an ideal world we would have one successful club rather than 2 ailing clubs'. The rivalry grew in an era when people stayed in their home town, didn't travel too much and were fiercely parochial. A successful future West Cumbrian club would have to attract support and investment from people (like Dick Raaz) with their roots outside the area. Unfortunately, many rugby league clubs are deeply unwelcoming institutions where strangers are viewed with suspicion, background in other sports can be considered a personality flaw and accents are studied to judge whether you are 'one of us'.

Of course this state of affairs does not hold sway at every club, and everyone doubtless thinks their local club a home of camaraderie and amusing banter, but RL wears its working class heritage on its sleeve like no other sport (except possibly darts), which can dissuade potential players and investors from ever getting involved. Our communities are changing, the successful clubs will attract support from all sections of local society whilst the unsuccessful ones will attract a dwindling band of aging indigenous locals.

I have said for many years that a merged West Cumbrian side would in all likelihood mean Seaton & Wath Brow gained a few hundred fans each as the die-hards refused to back a side including 'Jam-eaters'; the question would be if enough new fans or lapsed fans could be attracted to watch better rugby in better surroundings to compensate. The finances of the West Cumbrian clubs seem to rise and fall with the local economy and both clubs have had plans dashed by councils/football clubs/nuclear industry on many occasions. One thing I don't think can be blamed for the problems on the 'Energy Coast' is franchising; indeed history shows that the historical financial instability stems from the days of automatic promotion and relegation.

I wish both clubs all the best, but think that the future is a West Cumbria club in a SL2 or enhanced Championship including Halifax, Widnes, Fev, Sheffield, Barrow, Oldham, Leigh, Toulouse, South Wales and York/Doncaster (names chosen on basis of clubs currently outside SL, could easily be Wakey/Cas/Salford instead of Fax/Widnes). The remainder of clubs with no real aspirations to compete at the highest level could then stop bankrupting themselves to pay players half decent salaries and take part in an open competition where they could build support, sponsorship and club strength (own facilities, revenue streams, youth development etc;). There is no reason why they could not move back up, but an audit on revenue streams and business plans should be compulsory and avoiding reliance on sugar daddies encouraged.

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I have said for many years that a merged West Cumbrian side would in all likelihood mean Seaton & Wath Brow gained a few hundred fans each as the die-hards refused to back a side including 'Jam-eaters'; the question would be if enough new fans or lapsed fans could be attracted to watch better rugby in better surroundings to compensate.

Up until about 3 or 4 years ago I would have agreed with you, but I think most fans around here are now realistic enough to know neither of our teams are ever gonna get into SL and the only way we will ever see top flight RL is with an entirely new Cumbrian club. Theres a hell of a lot of people in the area who are RL fans but dont follow either team, I see all kinds of SL clubs strips in both towns and outlying villages. There also used to be quite a few visitors from just over the border when Town were in the big league and I would expect some of them to return if the big teams were on view.

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Very good post Nec.

You said "Of course this state of affairs does not hold sway at every club, and everyone doubtless thinks their local club a home of camaraderie and amusing banter, but RL wears its working class heritage on its sleeve like no other sport (except possibly darts), which can dissuade potential players and investors from ever getting involved. Our communities are changing, the successful clubs will attract support from all sections of local society whilst the unsuccessful ones will attract a dwindling band of aging indigenous locals".

This is a true reflection of the ever changing society we live in today.

DKW says "Theres a hell of a lot of people in the area who are RL fans but dont follow either team, I see all kinds of SL clubs strips in both towns and outlying villages"

So here is a serious but hypotvillageshetical question slightly off topic though it may be.

If both W Cumbrian clubs continued to remain in the doldrums for some time & Barrow in the south actually got into SL and stayed there do you westies think that sports fans up there would wear Barrow tops around town and travel down in their hundreds to support their nearest SL club and the several West Cumbrian based Barrow players who would in all probabillity be playing for the SL Barrow club, a fellow Cumbrian club ?

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Very good post Nec.

You said "Of course this state of affairs does not hold sway at every club, and everyone doubtless thinks their local club a home of camaraderie and amusing banter, but RL wears its working class heritage on its sleeve like no other sport (except possibly darts), which can dissuade potential players and investors from ever getting involved. Our communities are changing, the successful clubs will attract support from all sections of local society whilst the unsuccessful ones will attract a dwindling band of aging indigenous locals".

This is a true reflection of the ever changing society we live in today.

DKW says "Theres a hell of a lot of people in the area who are RL fans but dont follow either team, I see all kinds of SL clubs strips in both towns and outlying villages"

So here is a serious but hypotvillageshetical question slightly off topic though it may be.

If both W Cumbrian clubs continued to remain in the doldrums for some time & Barrow in the south actually got into SL and stayed there do you westies think that sports fans up there would wear Barrow tops around town and travel down in their hundreds to support their nearest SL club and the several West Cumbrian based Barrow players who would in all probabillity be playing for the SL Barrow club, a fellow Cumbrian club ?

As a West Cumbrian living in the south of the county I wouldnt follow Barrow in SL avidly. Thats how it is. Its only 20 mins more for me to go to Wigan and I've been a few times but they both aren't my hometown area to be following home and away.

People don't realise that it takes longer to get from West Cumbria to Barrow than it takes to get form Leeds ot Wigan for example.

I feel the time has passed for a SL clubs a few years ago. The development area around Lilyhall has been built upon and the situation at both Town and Haven is on a downward slope. As Yanto says the kids who 4 -5 years ago may have considered Town or Haven are just totally by-passing them in favour of SL clubs. In addition the SL clubs have probably expanded their scouting network in the West Cumbria area. I know of families with 11 year old kids who are going down to Yorkshire clubs for training sessions on a regular basis.

People look at the current attendances at Town and Haven and say look they can't support a SL team - they are now armchair fans or now go to SL games at Wigan for example. However a team was parachuted into north wales with zero fans and a few that watched on tv. I've nothing against Crusaders - but ideally I'd prefer a team in South Wales though. How much market research was done into the number of fans needed to support a SL club there? It was sh*t or bust and the RFL had to take a gamble. It largely seems to have worked.

West Cumbria is so far advanced than Crusaders are. Allerdale/Copeland must have a greater population than the Wrexham area. It has some really good clubs developing youngsters. Yes it has it die hards who wouldn't go to the oppositions ground if they merged, but so do Saints and Wigan, (thats the parochial nature of the sport) but at Town and Haven they have a stronger voice.

There are many ways to develop a SL side in West Cumbria but who will grasp that opportunity before it disappears completely.

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I wish both clubs all the best, but think that the future is a West Cumbria club in a SL2 or enhanced Championship including Halifax, Widnes, Fev, Sheffield, Barrow, Oldham, Leigh, Toulouse, South Wales and York/Doncaster (names chosen on basis of clubs currently outside SL, could easily be Wakey/Cas/Salford instead of Fax/Widnes). The remainder of clubs with no real aspirations to compete at the highest level could then stop bankrupting themselves to pay players half decent salaries and take part in an open competition where they could build support, sponsorship and club strength (own facilities, revenue streams, youth development etc;). There is no reason why they could not move back up, but an audit on revenue streams and business plans should be compulsory and avoiding reliance on sugar daddies encouraged.

Agree with the exception of the mention of Doncaster who certainly can't support a team at that level. Better Batley or Dewsbury (or a combined club of the two if mergers take off), OldhamRochdale would be a possible joint side, but as it stands Rochdale would have a better bid due to Oldham's small ground capacity

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V

DKW says "Theres a hell of a lot of people in the area who are RL fans but dont follow either team, I see all kinds of SL clubs strips in both towns and outlying villages"

So here is a serious but hypotvillageshetical question slightly off topic though it may be.

If both W Cumbrian clubs continued to remain in the doldrums for some time & Barrow in the south actually got into SL and stayed there do you westies think that sports fans up there would wear Barrow tops around town and travel down in their hundreds to support their nearest SL club and the several West Cumbrian based Barrow players who would in all probabillity be playing for the SL Barrow club, a fellow Cumbrian club ?

Sod that, the road to Barra is horrible B) . Maybe Barra should bring some games to West Cumbria, look after us poor buggers up here. To be honest I probably would travel to a few games, but as Shaun says its just about as easy to get to Wigan, Saints, Warrington etc as it is getting to Barra.

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Sod that, the road to Barra is horrible B) . Maybe Barra should bring some games to West Cumbria, look after us poor buggers up here. To be honest I probably would travel to a few games, but as Shaun says its just about as easy to get to Wigan, Saints, Warrington etc as it is getting to Barra.

Thanks for the replies lads, Yes the road down A595 is very bad (I travelled it evey day foe a few yrs myself)and I was asking as there would be more West Cumbrian lads playing down at Barrow rather than Wigan, Leeds or Saints for example id of thought it just might draw a few down to the more juicer games & (( if )) they ever build that bridge over the Duddon that would make a big difference in the travel time.

Go well Westies hope you solve yer problems.

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Thanks for the replies lads, Yes the road down A595 is very bad (I travelled it evey day foe a few yrs myself)and I was asking as there would be more West Cumbrian lads playing down at Barrow rather than Wigan, Leeds or Saints for example id of thought it just might draw a few down to the more juicer games & (( if )) they ever build that bridge over the Duddon that would make a big difference in the travel time.

Go well Westies hope you solve yer problems.

Your lot have helped us solve our problems already, sent us some pretty good players to Derwent Park this season. Especially Brett Carter, he has been magnificent for us this season.

Edited by dkw

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Double post, stupid laptop.

Edited by dkw

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Wow are you that old (young) Keith :rolleyes:

Shhh don't tell anyone Ian and whats more I can remember you playing in your prime. ;);)

When are you going to find us a couple of good lads to send over?

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I have said for many years that a merged West Cumbrian side would in all likelihood mean Seaton & Wath Brow gained a few hundred fans each as the die-hards refused to back a side including 'Jam-eaters'; the question would be if enough new fans or lapsed fans could be attracted to watch better rugby in better surroundings to compensate. The finances of the West Cumbrian clubs seem to rise and fall with the local economy and both clubs have had plans dashed by councils/football clubs/nuclear industry on many occasions. One thing I don't think can be blamed for the problems on the 'Energy Coast' is franchising; indeed history shows that the historical financial instability stems from the days of automatic promotion and relegation.

I wish both clubs all the best, but think that the future is a West Cumbria club in a SL2 or enhanced Championship including Halifax, Widnes, Fev, Sheffield, Barrow, Oldham, Leigh, Toulouse, South Wales and York/Doncaster (names chosen on basis of clubs currently outside SL, could easily be Wakey/Cas/Salford instead of Fax/Widnes). The remainder of clubs with no real aspirations to compete at the highest level could then stop bankrupting themselves to pay players half decent salaries and take part in an open competition where they could build support, sponsorship and club strength (own facilities, revenue streams, youth development etc;). There is no reason why they could not move back up, but an audit on revenue streams and business plans should be compulsory and avoiding reliance on sugar daddies encouraged.

nec (David) nice to hear from you again. Look back to SL1 when Town were in there they had an average crowd of over 3,000 in what was a very poor season on the pitch. In 2004 and 2005 (or was it 05 and 06) Haven took several thousand fans to two grand finals. Where do you suppose all these people went to as Town are averaging around 500 and Haven around 900 or so nowadays?

These people are still around in west Cumbria and if you talk to them they will tell you that they would go back if there was a new club playing in SL. The problem lies with a very small minority of fans who seem to have the ears of both boards of directors and rubbish everything to do with the other club, up or down the road, whichever one it is they don't support.

The doing away with P & R has had an effect on the game below SL level but as I stated in a recent letter to RL Express, people in the main area of rugby league (that infamous M62 corridor if you will) can walk away from a Championship club and go and take their pick of any number of SL games to go and watch. Up here in west Cumbria there is no such luxury and so they just walk away from the game entirely. There are not many that travel to watch our nearest SL club (Wigan) every home match.

Why do they walk away from our clubs? Because they can see that unless there is a combined effort from the whole of the area then SL is way out of our reach as neither club could survive alone in that competition. So, it's not the franchising aspect of it, which is basically Maurice Lindsay's, Framing the Future document, it is the P & R that is the stumbling block. Yes, clubs will work to make their grounds better but not if the SL is a closed shop which it pretty well is becoming, if it isn't already. In say 6 years time, two further licence periods, do you not think that SL will have settled in to the number and identity of the clubs that they want with it being nigh on impossible for anyone else to break in without P & R through the system?

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The amateur scene (where most SL clubs get their talent from excluding the over the hill Aussie imports) is as strong as any in England (see a previous thread about how the young age groups are supplying championship winning sides) but as stated, the demise of both Town and Haven does not attract these youngsters into the local pro game.All they dream about is a SL contract and at the moment quite a few 18 & 19 year old's are at SL clubs.

When I was 17 all I wanted to do was pull on a Town shirt ..now they want a Wigan or Bradford shirt.

CARLA teams can mix it with the best its a crying shame that all the talent developed by these small village clubs are moving out of the county.

I reply to you with the utmost respect re: your playing experience and ability.

Can I ask you about the Cumbria elite youngsters??

Like all team sports there are great "young kids" but only a few make it.

If Cumbria produced great kids, the majority will still come back from SL clubs. If they come back to a skint and depressed Town and Haven will they be interested for a few quid boot money??

If they come back to a Cumbria RL side that is vibrant will that give them a second stab at SL if they do well, or give them the very next best to SL?? I think it would, why not you??

At our local soccer club they love the pro-sides taking the best kids because 99% come back as better players.

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I reply to you with the utmost respect re: your playing experience and ability.

Can I ask you about the Cumbria elite youngsters??

Like all team sports there are great "young kids" but only a few make it.

If Cumbria produced great kids, the majority will still come back from SL clubs. If they come back to a skint and depressed Town and Haven will they be interested for a few quid boot money??

If they come back to a Cumbria RL side that is vibrant will that give them a second stab at SL if they do well, or give them the very next best to SL?? I think it would, why not you??

At our local soccer club they love the pro-sides taking the best kids because 99% come back as better players.

The West Cumbria under 18`s coached by Craig "Butch" Barker won Gillette National Youth League Grand Final this season with some outstanding prospects in the team. How may will make it is unknown, how may will stay in cumbria if they are good enough is even less certain. Keith, didnt Yanto send that dutch lad over last season only but we couldnt get a permit for him? I heard he was a real un.

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Agree with the exception of the mention of Doncaster who certainly can't support a team at that level. Better Batley or Dewsbury (or a combined club of the two if mergers take off), OldhamRochdale would be a possible joint side, but as it stands Rochdale would have a better bid due to Oldham's small ground capacity

I'm guessing that you don't follow any of these clubs.

I continue to be amazed how many fans can come up with solutions for other clubs but would recoil in horror if anything similar were suggested for their own. Cas/Wakey seems obvious for example, or what about Leeds/Bradford and surely Warrington/Widnes makes a load of sense.

Existing fans would leave a merged club in droves and new fans would only be attracted if the new club became successful - something of a long haul. Mergers may become necessities but would, in reality, simply be the closure of one club. History has many examples to study from Sydney clubs (many Warringah fans out there?) to Hull and Huddersfield; none of them provide object lessons in the success of such schemes.

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I'm guessing that you don't follow any of these clubs.

I continue to be amazed how many fans can come up with solutions for other clubs but would recoil in horror if anything similar were suggested for their own. Cas/Wakey seems obvious for example, or what about Leeds/Bradford and surely Warrington/Widnes makes a load of sense.

Existing fans would leave a merged club in droves and new fans would only be attracted if the new club became successful - something of a long haul. Mergers may become necessities but would, in reality, simply be the closure of one club. History has many examples to study from Sydney clubs (many Warringah fans out there?) to Hull and Huddersfield; none of them provide object lessons in the success of such schemes.

As things stand yes, was more saying if there's that much desperation to stay in the Championship would be likely. As it stands Batley and Dewsbury have more more claim to be in the Championship on their own right than either of the West Cumbrian clubs and certainly far more than Doncaster. I only meant they'd be logical if mergers ever take off, not now

Edited by bowes

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I'm guessing that you don't follow any of these clubs.

I continue to be amazed how many fans can come up with solutions for other clubs but would recoil in horror if anything similar were suggested for their own. Cas/Wakey seems obvious for example, or what about Leeds/Bradford and surely Warrington/Widnes makes a load of sense.

Existing fans would leave a merged club in droves and new fans would only be attracted if the new club became successful - something of a long haul.

It's a good point Johnny, up to a point, but in Yorks/Lancs there's often no need for mergers when the "successful" clubs can draw the fans and the best players from the nearby unsuccessful clubs. In Cumbria it may be the fans will have nowhere to go but stay at home and the best players will be off to Yorkshire and Lancashire. Whilst rivalries may cause fans to reject each other in a merger, any cumbria merger only become a county side and there's no record of the fans in cumbria recoiling in horror at supporting the county side is there??

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Just been reading back through all of this.

The thread is "Bad times in West Cumbria".

This seems to have been once again turned into a merger thread.

re name the thread "Bad times in West Cumbria at pro level" as the amateurs and juniors are doing very very well ;)

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In last weeks League Weekly there was anarticle claiming that the Chairmen of both clubs had held preliminary talks regarding a SL team for Cumbria for 2015. Town's chairman went to great lengths to publicly state that this was "rubbish" and in my opinion once again "kow towing" to the diehards, all 100 of them at Town. How I would have loved to have read that it was true and that both clubs realised it was the only way forward if we are ever to see SL in the west of Cumbria again.

Every passing year it is getting harder and harder for these clubs to make ends meet as individual clubs and both are fighting each other for the same sources of sponsorship and other sources of income, for what? Town mid-table in Championship 1 with crowds around 400 - 500 and Haven looking likely to be relegated from the Championship with crowds of around 800 - 900. Woweeeee, we'll have a couple of local derby matches next season. That'll show which team is top dog in the area or our two team league table.

My message to both chairmen would be to get together and talk seriously about it and let those who cry "over my dead body" walk away, just as thousands have done for the opposite reason over the past 10 - 15 years.

Edited by Keith T

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In last weeks League Weekly there was anarticle claiming that the Chairmen of both clubs had held preliminary talks regarding a SL team for Cumbria for 2015. Town's chairman went to great lengths to publicly state that this was "rubbish" and in my opinion once again "kow towing" to the diehards, all 100 of them at Town. How I would have loved to have read that it was true and that both clubs realised it was the only way forward if we are ever to see SL in the west of Cumbria again.

Every passing year it is getting harder and harder for these clubs to make ends meet as individual clubs and both are fighting each other for the same sources of sponsorship and other sources of income, for what? Town mid-table in Championship 1 with crowds around 400 - 500 and Haven looking likely to be relegated from the Championship with crowds of around 800 - 900. Woweeeee, we'll have a couple of local derby matches next season. That'll show which team is top dog in the area or our two team league table.

My message to both chairmen would be to get together and talk seriously about it and let those who cry "over my dead body" walk away, just as thousands have done for the opposite reason over the past 10 - 15 years.

I'm afraid hard times at pro-plevel and merger go hand in hand.

Big city professional RL on five figure crowds has not fully left the NL clubs behind and who knows which way our game will go. If SL heads for the stars Cumbria have no chance, but if there's any sort of a downward trend of the SL game, or retrenchment, the chance for a Cumbria side to make it could present itself.

I also wonder about club chairmen who can't afford tuppence, are really motivated towards SL themselves, because if there was a push towards SL these lads would have to up their input or move over surely??? Are clun chairmen at NL clubs turkeys who themselves won't vote for an SL christmas?

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Just been reading back through all of this.

The thread is "Bad times in West Cumbria".

This seems to have been once again turned into a merger thread.

re name the thread "Bad times in West Cumbria at pro level" as the amateurs and juniors are doing very very well ;)

The thread should be "Bad times in West Cumbria at pro and amateur level'.

Some amateur clubs aren't doing so well - Elbra failed to complete some games last year and narrowly avoided relegation. Its a very quick downward spiral for them - a top club until very recently

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The thread should be "Bad times in West Cumbria at pro and amateur level'.

Some amateur clubs aren't doing so well - Elbra failed to complete some games last year and narrowly avoided relegation. Its a very quick downward spiral for them - a top club until very recently

Elbra have now got Ryan MacDonald as their coach, so things will start looking up for them.

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