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The Daddy_merged

Super League as an Anglo-French competition is the best way forward

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Why does adding a few French teams which are pretty close to each other and won't perform strongly for a couple of years suddenly have big sponsors queuing up to shell out the dough?

Villeneuve to Toulouse - 133km

Toulouse to Perpignan - 207km

Perpignan to Avignon - 244km

Villeneuve to Avignon (4 potential clubs) - 441km

Widnes to Hull (12 clubs) - 193km

Hull to London - 311km

Widnes to London - 332km

Yeah, pretty close! Maybe you should look at a map before you keep saying the same incorrect rubbish? Those clubs are all a HUGE distance away from each other! You could include Carcassonne, Montpellier and Marseille in that lot and still not step on any other clubs' toes.

HUGE amount of potential there. And we're not talking about adding clubs like Crusaders (who had only 3 years of history before joining SL, before moving to Wrexham, who had zero).

Villeneuve Leopards (est. 1934)

Toulouse Olympique (est. 1937)

Catalan Dragons (est. 2000 as UTC through a merger of St Esteve (est. 1965) and XIII Catalan (est. 1935))

Avignon Bisons (est. 1914, joined RL in 1944).

These are long established clubs in huge areas. Not fly by night, stick pins on the map expansion dreams.

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If SL is seen as such a joke outside of the M62 then why would people in France start flocking to games above and beyond the current modest crowds in France.

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The problem could be that in those eras there were still ideas to be tried - full-time football, summer season, expansion, modern facilities, Wales, France. Despite some successes, the game is still faced with some fundamental problems - not the least being that the game is being forced back into its heartlands once again - and there aren't really any suggestions about how to get the game to where it needs to be. And we've lost probably the best strategic thinker the game has ever had with no real evidence that he's been replaced.

There still are plenty of ideas to be tried, and are currently being tried.

In all this time, very little has been done to GROW clubs outside of the M62 until recently. We've just done hit and hope expansion with the likes of PSG, Gateshead, Crusaders and the many guises of London in different areas. None established.

We put in Catalans, a (successful) merger of two very established clubs with plenty of preparation time, and what d'ya know!

We're now trying the "grow the clubs" route in the Championship. Lets see how that goes, but it'll take decades before it bares fruit so we'll need to be patient for a change! We've got North Wales, South Wales, Gloucester, North London, Gateshead, Oxford, Hemel and next year Coventry to grow. That's some expansion, and there's 8 times more chance that one of them becomes successfully established.

There's also Sheffield who are becoming a force.

France on the other hand have loads of established clubs, but nowhere to go. We've seen what can happen with Catalans. Use that model and go from there.

As a shop window for the game, as the elite competition that showcases the best in northern hemisphere rugby and brings in the revenue to sustain the professional game, Super League is past its best. Potential sponsors see this, newspaper and other sports media outlets can and I think it's fairly obvious that even some of the clubs are just going through the motions when it comes to maintaining standards. And the one thing that, above all, Super League was supposed to facilitate - expansion of the game at elite level - is now a busted flush.

With one exception: France. Along with the handful or so of northern English clubs that seem to be making a decent fist of Super League, Catalans seem to be the one big success of the Super League era. Those involved in the project to bring elite rugby to Perpignan - the people behind the bid, the associated clubs, the sponsors, backers and supporters, and the governing bodies - seemed to recognise what Super League was all about, and overcame the many obstacles that threatened their successful entry. If the model that has established the Dragons can be replicated elsewhere in the French heartlands, then something approaching the original idea of Super League can be resuscitated. As there is not a snowball's chance in hell of creating something like the Catalans in, say, any part of Great Britain in any of our lifetimes, then an elite league of the Anglo-French heartlands is probably the best way to boost the standing of Super League.

I'd go as far as to say it is the only way!

Can't argue that.

There are next to no long established semi pro clubs in this country outside of the north. No where else could sustain a club with a ready made loyal fan base to fall on to except France. It's the smart way to go. Not only would it boost the SL, it'd boost international RL. England vs France should be built to be a huge 3 test series, but never will be until France gets more clubs at FT level.

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Comes to a French tv deal and a plan to build to the big day

Two tens in 2015 with Toulouse plus another French club in SL2

Go to 12/10 in 2018 taking up the 2 French clubs with caveats and a 3 year tenure from relegation

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If SL is seen as such a joke outside of the M62 then why would people in France start flocking to games above and beyond the current modest crowds in France.

It is in this country outside the north. It's not really got any sort of reputation in France. SL is seen as the next step up. Just look at the Dragons.

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A lot of the opinion is based on people outside the north having been brought up entirely on union. The current generation of school kids (many of them) have now had a chance to play RL at school etc. Their view of league is far more open. I can only base this on conversation with boys at my school compared to their dads.

I am not suggesting that this group of kids will suddenly start watching their local semi pro club but they certainly do not see RL as a joke.

They soon find a respect for the sport when they see how tough it is to play and how much faster than union

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the french national team proves that there are no where near enough french teams to be viable in super league, the over whelming majority are from catalans so how the jesus christ are you going to get 4 teams. wake up man and smell the coffee, french rugby league is 30 years away from supporting more than 1 viable club without loading them with antipodeans.......

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for arguments sake say we get rid of castleford and bring in toulouse, that means instead of getting around 800 cas fans at away games then we will have 0 toulouse fans. surely if a club is going to miss out from the current 14 then featherstone or halifax should replace them or we will have even more clubs struggling due to the decrease in revenue from away fans.......

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the french national team proves that there are no where near enough french teams to be viable in super league, the over whelming majority are from catalans so how the jesus christ are you going to get 4 teams. wake up man and smell the coffee, french rugby league is 30 years away from supporting more than 1 viable club without loading them with antipodeans.......

My word!

The clubs have to be there before they produce players! The fact that the national team has mainly Catalan based player is due to the fact that they're the only full time club!

It's chicken and egg. You can wait 30 years if you want, it will be exactly the same situation. And I have no idea where you've plucked the 30 year figure from either.

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for arguments sake say we get rid of castleford and bring in toulouse, that means instead of getting around 800 cas fans at away games then we will have 0 toulouse fans. surely if a club is going to miss out from the current 14 then featherstone or halifax should replace them or we will have even more clubs struggling due to the decrease in revenue from away fans.......

Oh God, the away fans argument!

If they have a bigger home average of fans (not saying they will, but the potential is there to be similar to Catalans who average 8k), then the 800 away fans that Cas bring will be cancelled out by the over 800 extra home fans Toulouse bring in. That would bring the league average up.

The extra revenue will come from increased TV funds from French TV. That's the plan anyway.

Any club that relies on away fans has a poor business plan.

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There still are plenty of ideas to be tried, and are currently being tried.

In all this time, very little has been done to GROW clubs outside of the M62 until recently. We've just done hit and hope expansion with the likes of PSG, Gateshead, Crusaders and the many guises of London in different areas. None established.

We put in Catalans, a (successful) merger of two very established clubs with plenty of preparation time, and what d'ya know!

We're now trying the "grow the clubs" route in the Championship. Lets see how that goes, but it'll take decades before it bares fruit so we'll need to be patient for a change! We've got North Wales, South Wales, Gloucester, North London, Gateshead, Oxford, Hemel and next year Coventry to grow. That's some expansion, and there's 8 times more chance that one of them becomes successfully established.

There's also Sheffield who are becoming a force.

France on the other hand have loads of established clubs, but nowhere to go. We've seen what can happen with Catalans. Use that model and go from there.

Catalans have been the success story of Super League, no doubt about that. They used a model that could, hopefully, be replicated in France. In Britain? No, and, sadly, we're no further forward in finding a way of establishing, and maintaining Super League standard clubs (heartland or expansion).

The new semi-pro clubs are a very exciting development, and I hope the idea is to create sustainable clubs rather than entities that the game hopes will be Super League clubs one day. Don't forget that Hemel, Gloucestershire and Oxford are as far away from being SL clubs as Rochdale and Oldham!

Can't argue that.

There are next to no long established semi pro clubs in this country outside of the north. No where else could sustain a club with a ready made loyal fan base to fall on to except France. It's the smart way to go. Not only would it boost the SL, it'd boost international RL. England vs France should be built to be a huge 3 test series, but never will be until France gets more clubs at FT level.

Yes, and that is why I think France is the only likely source of successful Super League clubs in the near future (by successful, I mean able to challenge the best, and survive for more than two or three seasons). Perhaps, when we do have more semi-pro clubs in more expansion areas of Britain, we might be able to do the same.

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100000% AGREE WITH YOU

SL as a brand is as DEAD AS THE DODO outside of a few places along the M62 the only way forward is an anglo french comp,the question is though have the clubs the balls to go this route?

CM

In answer to your question no, it would be like turkeys voting for Xmas.

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Along with the handful or so of northern English clubs that seem to be making a decent fist of Super League, Catalans seem to be the one big success of the Super League era. Those involved in the project to bring elite rugby to Perpignan - the people behind the bid, the associated clubs, the sponsors, backers and supporters, and the governing bodies - seemed to recognise what Super League was all about, and overcame the many obstacles that threatened their successful entry. If the model that has established the Dragons can be replicated elsewhere in the French heartlands, then something approaching the original idea of Super League can be resuscitated. As there is not a snowball's chance in hell of creating something like the Catalans in, say, any part of Great Britain in any of our lifetimes, then an elite league of the Anglo-French heartlands is probably the best way to boost the standing of Super League.

Great post as always. It has to be about resources. Les Catalans attracted 9280 fans a game, have a ground that can provide a decent monetary take, and have the pick of the "local" players (although a nationwide one) and their junior system throws up teams that can match the best in England (although again as national sides) from which the best lads will gravitate to Les Catalans. They also have a wide base from which to attract sponsors, and most of all a culture of RL.

This is replicated in Toulouse so logically that has to be the next step. How that will go would be a marker as to wether to go to a third or fourth SL team.Les Catalans have established themselves over what? seven years, so it may need Toulouse in 2015 and then another couple of rounds of licensing to see how that goes and hopefully have two clubs creating more interest and resource.

Plonking three new clubs in at once is back to fantasy land thinking. We can see how struggling at the bottom of SL does nothing to inspire fans, sponsors or players and I fear Toulouse will find it really hard to put a team together to avoid this. Sadly the conditions for growth only really exist where a club can compete in Superleague and that means from mid table up. The record for clubs around middle to bottom is going bust or sinking to sub-2,000 crowds.

So to avoid this Toulouse will also need £millions which is the main thing they have promised this last what? 16 years. That the local aerospace industries and the civic people will all weigh in with money. Not sure that is available at any third or fourth French clubs. For Heavens sake one step at a time.

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for arguments sake say we get rid of castleford and bring in toulouse, that means instead of getting around 800 cas fans at away games then we will have 0 toulouse fans. surely if a club is going to miss out from the current 14 then featherstone or halifax should replace them or we will have even more clubs struggling due to the decrease in revenue from away fans.......

Les Catalans brought 9280 paying fans to Superleague last year and Catstleford 6709.

Every time these two clubs play at home Catalans provide the game with an income from 2,500 extra fans over Castleford.

I also suspect sponsorship, advertising and directors gifts income at Catalans is way above Castleford's income.

You have only looked at one aspect of the finances, and from that concluded Halifax would be a good bet for SL, yet Halifax have no money and if they got battered week in week out not only would 800 Halifax fans not travel, they'd be lucky to get 3,000 crowds.

They didn't get them in 2003.

Look at Salford and London who can't compete and where their crowds got to.

A little biased there Warrior??

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I would love to see a Welsh club in Sl2 but they don't seem ready, so 2018 for entry. Putting 2 French clubs into Sl2 is a smallish gamble that could provide great rewards for the game, delaying the gamble delays the potential huge wins

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I would love to see a Welsh club in Sl2 but they don't seem ready, so 2018 for entry.

what's this SL2 thing and can you describe me the process of either Welsh club "getting ready" for Superleague?

Is this the Sheffield way? Spend 30 years to get how close to having the fans, players and money??

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You'd be lucky to get two squads of 20 French players from the elite 1, every team apart from st esteve 13 Catalan have at least 4 foreign players, Avignon,pia and Carcasonne have around 7 foreign players each, something needs to be done as the elite 1 is dieing,

Avignon v lezignan yesterday was a game to get a play off place and 700 fans turned up!

Kids are coming through but as they reach elite 1 they stagnate,

Elite 1 teams play on average once a fortnight, sometimes they don't play for a month and then play two weekends then have two weeks off,so you never-seem to know when they're playing, Carcasonne played last night and I had no idea, and I live 20 mins from there and am co coach of one of there feeder teams!

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Villeneuve to Toulouse - 133km

Toulouse to Perpignan - 207km

Perpignan to Avignon - 244km

Villeneuve to Avignon (4 potential clubs) - 441km

Widnes to Hull (12 clubs) - 193km

Hull to London - 311km

Widnes to London - 332km

Yeah, pretty close! Maybe you should look at a map before you keep saying the same incorrect rubbish? Those clubs are all a HUGE distance away from each other! You could include Carcassonne, Montpellier and Marseille in that lot and still not step on any other clubs' toes.

HUGE amount of potential there. And we're not talking about adding clubs like Crusaders (who had only 3 years of history before joining SL, before moving to Wrexham, who had zero).

Villeneuve Leopards (est. 1934)

Toulouse Olympique (est. 1937)

Catalan Dragons (est. 2000 as UTC through a merger of St Esteve (est. 1965) and XIII Catalan (est. 1935))

Avignon Bisons (est. 1914, joined RL in 1944).

These are long established clubs in huge areas. Not fly by night, stick pins on the map expansion dreams.

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The way you quote that is a little disingenuous. They are all along one road, not some giant area. Also, what is the point in comparing to distances in England? It's 880 km from Villeneuve to paris. So in terms of thee size of the country it seems that the trip along the E80 between these clubs would seem less to your average French man than the trip along the m62 Does to the average englishman.

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The standard of rugby on the pitch this season has been outstanding and unpredictable.

Where can i view this outstanding standard of RL because it has not been on my screen or at any of the live matches i have attended?

Close , exciting (and drawn) matches and big swings do not equal fantastic standard from the evidence i have seen. I have just witnessed one of the lowest quality Hull derbies i can remember when both clubs have been top division outfits. The level of, or no existence of, skill and thinking in the game was painful at times. The numerous experienced RL people i have spoken to about he game have all been of a similar opinion so i know it just isn't me.

This has also been evident in plenty of other games, no , most,games i have seen this year so far. I was taken aback for example, when seeing Warrington live , how the level of their performance had dropped in comparison to the later stages of last season. The basic level of bone-headedness of some players and tactics is irritating. the fact that RL has evolved into a game where some players just run up and down the same 15 yard width of grass, performing a few very specific duties, for 80 minutes is much to blame.

I think it is also fair to draw an inference that a lot of clubs are deliberately not playing at "full whack" at the moment however this is surely detrimental to the standard of our game as a whole. The only way to raise standards is to ensure that players and teams need to play approaching their best each and every game. Thats a whole other debate of course, but as to this thread the introduction of further "weak" French teams would only dumb down the standard further and for this and plenty of other reasons is a big no at this moment in time.

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The way you quote that is a little disingenuous. They are all along one road, not some giant area.

Are you kidding me? That's like saying because Newcastle and London are along one road (A1) that it's not some giant area! It's not like you can walk down it! I think you need to get a sense of scale.

Also, what is the point in comparing to distances in England? It's 880 km from Villeneuve to paris. So in terms of thee size of the country it seems that the trip along the E80 between these clubs would seem less to your average French man than the trip along the m62 Does to the average englishman.

That is a ridiculous comparison! Just because the country is bigger doesn't mean people think distances aren't as big compared to smaller countries! I can't believe that's even been used as an argument!

That's like saying New York to Jacksonville along Interstate 95 isn't that big a distance to Americans because the country is huge, and doesn't cover that big an area because it's along one road (despite that road being over 1,500km)!

Pretty close? Give it a rest. It's a huge distance to anyone travelling whether it's one road in Andorra or on Jupiter.

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To use the American comparison, most Americans consider a two hour drive to be nothing, but I think that most English people would consider that a fairly long drive. It's all about perceptions. I suppose that I can't speak for the French, but comparing distances between French clubs and those between English clubs is not valid.

The way your listed the distances made it sound like a quadrilateral with each club at a corner. That would cover considerably more area than a line with the clubs on it, which this more or less is.

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Also, where is the guarantee that these clubs will attract new, major sponsors?

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