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Inside Out BBC Yorkshire

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Inside Out BBC Yorkshire Monday 7.30pm

Ahead of the start of the rugby league season, George Riley gives our clubs a financial health check.

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George is good, should be worth a listen

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This is all over the online editions today - great timing by RL journalists as usual.

Interesting that they say SL is £68m in debt - over 11 clubs, but take 2 out of this and this is reduced to £3m per club on average - or £33m. That means 2 clubs are £35m in debt between them.

I wonder if this £68m includes all the money spent on new grounds/ground improvements that have taken place over the last couple of years. I imagine saints are showing a debt for the build cost of their stadium, even though this is sustainable and planned for?

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Would be interesting to see what a similar survey would throw up for rugby union,cricket and ofcourse football.

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Would be interesting to see what a similar survey would throw up for rugby union,cricket and ofcourse football.

Apparently Saracens were £24m in debt before they moved to their new stadium (costing another £10m???)

Given the AP clubs also make an average loss of around £2m a year each I would think as a club sport they are massively more in debt that SL.

And footy's from 2 years ago - can't imagine it's got better

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/competitions/premier-league/9255617/Revealed-the-financial-health-of-the-Premier-League-laid-bare.html

Bolton are nearly in twice as much debt and lose more per year than the whole of SL combined

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Quote from the press release from Gary Hetherington:

"We need to rid ourselves of poor management practices. All clubs have a real responsibility, a real role to play. The majority of clubs are working hard. It's some of the others that have let the sport down, quite frankly."

Totally agree with Mr H here. The RFL need to up their game and seem to be doing so, but the sport is really held back by the incompetence of the people who run our top clubs. Their incompetence obviously has a direct impact on their own club, but also leads them to be short-sighted when it comes to wider decisions, as they are so focused on their own short-term survival and that holds the whole game back.

The SL licensing gives us a pretty good indication of how the clubs were classed in 2011 on their business plans.

Best clubs - Hull, Leeds, Wire, Wigan - fair enough. Only question here over Hull, who seem to have made some pretty poor decisions on the rugby side of things in the last few year, but maybe this year they might step up from an also runner to a real challenger?

Grade B - Bradford, Catalans, Giants, Hull KR, Saints - Catalans, Saints & Giants have all seen big improvements in recent years as a club, and all three are at the top end on the field too.

Bradford - obviously previously a shambles. Too early to judge new club owners, but judging by the constant moans coming out of Bradford, suspect the new owners too lack what it takes to run a successful SL club.

Hull KR - Neil Hudgell seems to be constantly moaning without offering any solutions, which is typical action from a club owner trying to shift the blame. For bad decisions look no further than Willie Mason - what were they thinking?

Bottom clubs - Cas, Broncos, Salford, Wakey, Widnes

Too early to know whether the new owners at Wakey & (hopefully) Salford are up to the job, but early signs are good and they certainly can't do worse than their predecessors.

Cas could be a cracking club, but are a shambles . Remind me very much of the Ted Richardson Wakey - all talk and no substance.

London - unique set of problems, but they seem to constantly be made worse by poor decisions. Moving in with Quins RU, appointing Rob Powell!! Jury out on Gus Mackay, we'll see how they manage their move to a new stadium and whether it is a long-temr fix, or another sticky plaster solution.

Widnes - there is hope for improvement here, but need to be competitive on the field. Suspect that poor rugby decisions could hold them back. Think they should have gone for a top quality, experienced coach when they moved to Super League, not someone like Denis Betts, but hopefully year two and Kevin Brown & Gaz Hock will prove me wrong.

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Should be interesting.

"Our findings indicate that there is a cumulative net debt of £68.5m among the Super League clubs. In my opinion, this is due to seeing the salary cap as a target rather than the limit which is intended. The mentality seems to be that if you want to perform well on the field of play you have to spend up to the cap. Of course, there are clubs in the league structure who make a profit and it is their business model that others should seek to utilise. Hull Kingston Rovers chairman Neil Hudgell feels that his own club's financial position has worsened in the last 12 months. "I think probably on the whole it's a little bit worse than it was last year. Every year we make a loss and every year as directors we've funded that shortfall. I think it'd be very hard for us to argue otherwise than we live beyond our means."

I expect to be rather underwhelmed here with most of the 10 minutes or so report being "shock horror game in trouble" kind of stuff.

It won't be an expose given we've discussed this enough on here and such as Derwent has already done the analysis.

The last bit is telling in which HKR are challenged on the debt and Mr. Hudgell admits it and calmly says "Myself and Mr. Crossland make the shortfall up" Hasn't this been how it's always worked??

I'm all for re-organising the game into something that "lives within it's means" after a fashion but I'm not one for turning down the millions rich man may want to lavish on us and not want (or be able to) demand back.

If we are £68.5M in debt but rich men have been prepared to foot that £68.5M with no strings then there we go......

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Quote from the press release from Gary Hetherington:

"We need to rid ourselves of poor management practices. All clubs have a real responsibility, a real role to play. The majority of clubs are working hard. It's some of the others that have let the sport down, quite frankly."

I love press releases, and how they tell you nothing.

what management practices Gary?

what role/responsibility?

who lets SL down and how?

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Cas could be a cracking club, but are a shambles .

What is it they have done wrong?

They are a small club who produce great players (well done Cas) bu lose their best juniors to richer clubs, they get 7,000 crowds (an excellent performance off a 40,000 population-well done Cas) which doesn't generate the money to spend cap or keep the best players, have planned a new ground to boost income streams and crowds (well done Cas), but can't go ahead because they cannot realise adequate value from the old ground.

What is the mysterious ideal business model they should follow?

For if it is to reduce spending on players to balance the books then where does the 7,000 crowds go when the club don't win any games?

Late in the season after a run of 5 x 40+ point beatings Catalans brought their usual 5 fans over to England for the Cas.v.Cats game attended by 5,000 Cas fans. That's a clue.

If they are replaced with Fev come 2015 then what debt to Mr. Nahaboo will they run up to help keep the £68.5M up?

There may be big clubs doing well in SL but the "model business plan" can't be "go and be a big club" can it??

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Would be interesting to see what a similar survey would throw up for rugby union,cricket and ofcourse football.

This is the BBC you're talking about - get real.

In an entirely different context would you expect them to do a similar expose on British opera for example - something that attracts much smaller (but nicer) audiences than RL?

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The last bit is telling in which HKR are challenged on the debt and Mr. Hudgell admits it and calmly says "Myself and Mr. Crossland make the shortfall up" Hasn't this been how it's always worked??

The difference is that at a club like HKR they are putting money in to plug the gaps simply to keep operating at their current level. At a club like Warrington, for example, they are pretty much self-sustaining at an operating cost level and Moran's money pays for additional value adding items like improved facilities and development.

One is putting money in to simply stand still, the other is putting money in to enhance the club.

There's a big difference between the two - the first is simply sinking money without any real return, while the second is proper investment which realises genuine tangible benefits both now and longer term.

Throwing money at it is one thing, getting value for that money is quite another altogether. The only way clubs will move forward is by becoming sustainable at an operating profit level thus allowing the 'sugar daddies' to make proper infrastructure investment instead of paying wages. But it's a nettle that clubs don't want to grasp.

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What is it they have done wrong?

They are a small club who produce great players (well done Cas) bu lose their best juniors to richer clubs, they get 7,000 crowds (an excellent performance off a 40,000 population-well done Cas) which doesn't generate the money to spend cap or keep the best players, have planned a new ground to boost income streams and crowds (well done Cas), but can't go ahead because they cannot realise adequate value from the old ground.

What is the mysterious ideal business model they should follow?

For if it is to reduce spending on players to balance the books then where does the 7,000 crowds go when the club don't win any games?

Late in the season after a run of 5 x 40+ point beatings Catalans brought their usual 5 fans over to England for the Cas.v.Cats game attended by 5,000 Cas fans. That's a clue.

If they are replaced with Fev come 2015 then what debt to Mr. Nahaboo will they run up to help keep the £68.5M up?

There may be big clubs doing well in SL but the "model business plan" can't be "go and be a big club" can it??

The ground saga has been about as realistic as Wakey's plans under Ted Richardson. They have the site, the planning permission, but can't fund it. What sort of a plan is that? At least Ted could blame an inability to find a site and get planning permission as the problem. Wakey's new owners won't have that excuse though.

A club like Cas need to be run spot on. They are always going to need to punch above their weight with Leeds & Wakey on their doorstep, so the decision to appoint Ian Millward as coach is an example of a poor decision that a club like Cas can't afford to make. The bigger clubs can afford an error like that every now and then, but clubs like Cas and the other bottom clubs, can't afford to make those sort of mistakes.

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How convienient that this comes out on the eve of the season, this stinks of negativity and other forces at work. It says nothing about the state of the game, which we all know isn't glowing, but uses our own people to defend a nothing story, then low and behold, it gets top billing on the box page, this stuff stinks.

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Just Binned George Riley from my twitter account, he no better than the rest of the knobs from the BBC.

Spot on, in my experience. He only ever listens to his own voice.

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It would be interesting to see how much debt is either Directors Loans or on assets eg Saints new ground, HKR new stands etc

I understand Salford have £5m of DL's on the books. I cannot understand why these are not capitalised, surely they are not expected to be repaid?

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The ground saga has been about as realistic as Wakey's plans under Ted Richardson. They have the site, the planning permission, but can't fund it. What sort of a plan is that?

The decision to appoint Ian Millward as coach is an example of a poor decision that a club like Cas can't afford to make.

It's no plan at all, but if they had said to the fans "We have no money so we are staying at Wheldon Road what would the Licensing committee have made of that? What would the fans have made of that?.

OK so they may stand accused of talking a good business move, and the truth may almost certainly be they do not have the investment for a new ground and the old ground is bringing them down.

But this isn't "Bad management" is it. If there is some magic Superleague business plan then send it down to my club Hunslet and we can get to Superleague using it.

Cas lack resources that's all.

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Bradford - obviously previously a shambles. Too early to judge new club owners, but judging by the constant moans coming out of Bradford, suspect the new owners too lack what it takes to run a successful SL club.

What "constant moans"?

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The ground saga has been about as realistic as Wakey's plans under Ted Richardson. They have the site, the planning permission, but can't fund it. What sort of a plan is that? At least Ted could blame an inability to find a site and get planning permission as the problem. Wakey's new owners won't have that excuse though.

A club like Cas need to be run spot on. They are always going to need to punch above their weight with Leeds & Wakey on their doorstep, so the decision to appoint Ian Millward as coach is an example of a poor decision that a club like Cas can't afford to make. The bigger clubs can afford an error like that every now and then, but clubs like Cas and the other bottom clubs, can't afford to make those sort of mistakes.

I understand Basil was appointed to stop the rot, make the hard calls and work on a very low budget. Hence the bargain basement players like Nash, Ellis who came in. Will be interesting to see how his team go this season, again a low budget but his players.

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The difference is that at a club like HKR they are putting money in to plug the gaps simply to keep operating at their current level. At a club like Warrington, for example, they are pretty much self-sustaining at an operating cost level and Moran's money pays for additional value adding items like improved facilities and development.

One is putting money in to simply stand still, the other is putting money in to enhance the club.

There's a big difference between the two - the first is simply sinking money without any real return, while the second is proper investment which realises genuine tangible benefits both now and longer term.

Throwing money at it is one thing, getting value for that money is quite another altogether. The only way clubs will move forward is by becoming sustainable at an operating profit level thus allowing the 'sugar daddies' to make proper infrastructure investment instead of paying wages. But it's a nettle that clubs don't want to grasp.

I am thankful you have added your knowledge and experience to the thread.

Neil Hudgell on the one hand stands accused of trying to form a Superleague club where there was already one that had the interest of many fans and had the pick of the best players in Hull.

But to be fair he has recognised the solution and work is going ahead at Craven Park to improve facilities and income streams.

That's come at a time when his own investment has run out, and his playing roster has been raided as a result. It remains to be seen if the investments beyond the team he has made can up attendances from 8,000 to 10,000 and improve the take per head.

Mr. S. W. Shark suggests "Neil Hudgell seems to be constantly moaning without offering any solutions, which is typical action from a club owner trying to shift the blame".

Again I think this is unfair as HKR are the ninth best supported club in SL and investment is going in.

Back to your excellent quote "simply sinking money without any real return (against) proper investment which realises genuine tangible benefits".

This is of course spot on, but the question is how can the clubs make operating profits so they can buy grounds, facilities and invest in ways of creating extra income streams?

For some they are already there but for a number of clubs they are heavily in debt standing still, the adjustment to their business plan would have to be radical and the obvious solution is cut player spending, but imagine half a dozen SL clubs cutting to £800K playing budgets to "make a profit" for a couple of years. Where would their income level go if they were being hammered every week by the top eight??

Will the specators still come if the team is heavily cut?

For a business plan to work it surely has to be feasible in the first place and the club surely has to take into account the business opposition it is competing with.

In our game the problem is we don't have enough clubs feasible for Superleague, and no "sensible business plan" based on spend less than you take will change that unless Superleague fundamentally changes radically.

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What "constant moans"?

Not getting the full Sky TV allocation - they went bust, they need to be punished, take it like a man.

Bradford v Saints clashing with Bradford City - no of course you can't shift your match to clash with the WCC where we want the whole focus on rugby league to be.

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I understand Basil was appointed to stop the rot, make the hard calls and work on a very low budget. Hence the bargain basement players like Nash, Ellis who came in. Will be interesting to see how his team go this season, again a low budget but his players.

Hope he can do it. The John Kear example is what they need, where he got very average players to play to the best of their ability at Wakey. If you've got sound decisions off the field and a Kear type example on it, then you can move forward as a club. It was Kear's ability that kept Wakey going against a background of incompetence by the previous owners.

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