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Martyn Sadler - Talking Rugby League

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After 11 rounds of this season's Super League competition Hull were in ninth place, so they wouldn't have played Warrington on Friday night. We would have had the very strange sight of players like Ellis, Holdsworth and Horne playing in the second tier, and no doubt running up cricket scores against some of their opposition.

Again, I don't think it helps the argument if you deliberately miss the point. One of the things that I actually like about the proposed system, and which should be considered very carefully in any new structure, is that it forces clubs to hit the ground running rather than coast through the spring.

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Again, I don't think it helps the argument if you deliberately miss the point. One of the things that I actually like about the proposed system, and which should be considered very carefully in any new structure, is that it forces clubs to hit the ground running rather than coast through the spring.

It's beginning to look more and more like Martyn's made up his mind before looking for the reasons why, and now is looking for anything to back up that first instinct. This is why the arguments aren't quite stacking up. You're supposed to use logic to come up with the answer, not answer the question and then find what logic backs it up.

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I've been away for the week, so not had time to really get into the article and critique it, but going to give it a go now (sorry for the length of the post due to quotes!):

"It's fair to say that I didn't find anyone who was in favour of the proposed changes, and many supporters couldn't understand why the changes were being proposed."

It's not exactly a brilliant argument to use this tiny and rather specific area of the RL community to portray an overall opinion to the reader.

It's safe to say there are a lot of people that favour the proposal, and trying to use an argument by numbers is not only a poor arguing technique in the first place, it's also dishonest when done with your particular target for survey.

"Having said that, there is no doubt that some clubs in the Championship support the proposals, because they can see the possibility of being able to move up the league ladder, even though it would be in a fairly convoluted manner.

Under the licensing system, those clubs see little prospect of moving up to join the Super League clubs, so they clearly favour any system that appears to make that process easier."

So literally a few sentences later you've recognised that maybe some people do support a change, and given a reason why they would. It kind of makes your first point (no one supports it or understands why there needs to be a change) redundant, no?

"The problem is that the 'two twelves, three eights' proposal, which is clearly favoured by the RFL chief executive Nigel Wood, has so many drawbacks that the clubs should think very seriously before they jump on board with his proposals.

As does any proposal, especially the current one. ANY system adopted will have many drawbacks, many critics, and there is no way to guarantee it's the best way forward. But I think many people in the game would agree that the current system isn't working as intended.

"To start with, we would see clubs reverting to playing some other clubs three times during the regular season.

I don't think the RFL and the clubs realise just how resistant the fans will be to seeing too many matches between the same clubs."

ANY option to reduce the league will see repeat fixtures. We had 6 repeat fixtures in the league from 2000-2006 (5 for the two years after). The fans hardly boycotted.

If say the fans are more resistant to watching boring mismatches between lower clubs than watching repeat fixtures between the top clubs. It probably won't be too difficult to find crowd figures to back up that statement.

"Secondly, although all three groups of eight clubs will have their own play-offs and a Grand Final, the only one that will mean anything will be the Super League Grand Final for the top eight clubs. The other 'Grand Finals' will be a tremendous anti-climax and it would be better not to have them."

Got to agree with you in part here, Martin. The structure for the play-offs is one of my concerns but can easily be remedied with the right set up. I'm not 100% sure what they've settled for, and I've added my two-pennies worth on other threads as to how I think they should go to guarantee everyone has something to play for. I agree that play-offs for the top of the league (when really they aren't the top of the league they started the season in) is a bit arbitrary. I don't see why the play-offs can't be for the last promotion spot for example.

"The other thing to bear in mind is that the proposals could do untold damage to the Challenge Cup in 2014, which would be a shame when the tournament, at least as shown on TV, has started so well this year."

I think the reasons you cite here are incredibly exaggerated. Untold damage? The league has had relegation spots for years, yet the cup has been going along just the same. I think to suggest clubs will go easy in the cup to ensure they don't get relegated ignores the fact that if they're bottom of the league they won't be exactly that successful in the cup anyway due to their playing talent! It also ignores the fact that the Challenge Cup is one of only two major prizes on the line in British RL, and IIRC has the biggest pay day!

Not to mention, this is an argument to not do something because of the effects of one transitional season. Hardly a reason to stop attempting progression.

In all the years of P&R, I've never seen a club field a weakened side to save themselves from relegation.

"They will spend up to the salary cap limit, whether they can afford it or not..."

Will they? Based on what evidence? How many clubs at the bottom during the P&R era spent up to the salary cap limit?

"We will also find that the number of young players being given opportunities in Super League next season will be well down on recent seasons, as the clubs try to recruit trusted journeymen to avoid the drop."

I think the salary cap in the NRL will make that route a lot less rewarding and clubs will continue to push youth personally. The 3x8 system will, IMO, actually help these young players develop at a better and more appropriate rate as well as they'll be facing more balanced opposition rather than the best elite teams.

"Unfortunately, making wholesale changes will send out the wrong message, and will make that job even harder."

Sticking with a system that many have lost faith in and is getting attacked by our own supporters also sends out the wrong message. We shouldn't focus solely on the negatives of these proposals.

"Only Hull KR have come up through being promoted and stayed up.

And Huddersfield. And Hull. And Wakefield. And Salford. And Widnes. Only Cas and Leigh haven't stayed up after one season.

I'm all for opinion pieces, but as long as they are honest and factual arguments in there. On this occasion Martyn, I've got to say, there's a lot of oversight and contradiction in your arguments, not many facts and it just screams of forming a personal opinion and sticking to it on first instinct.

It's good to see that someone has tried to counter my arguments. which is what I hoped would happen.

 

I'll get back to this on Monday, as I'm busy now on League Express.

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We are heading for the tail wagging the dog once again.

 

It's called democracy and involves he concept of doing what's best for the whole not having a divine rights group appropriating everything to their own narrow demographic elite.

 

It's a good thing. Ask most Western countries.

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If you see my next post you'll see why it took so long!

That's got it going again. Thanks

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In 1991 Heatherington proposed 3 divisions of 14 8 14 following the admission of Scarborough into the RFL, this gave the league 36 clubs.

 

There was a presumption from the RFL that this would be passed easily as the vast majority of the clubs were making all the right noises, when it cam to the vote it failed to get enough votes to the dismay of Oxley.

 

Never trust the public noises of club chairman and never presume that what they say will have any bearing on the way they will vote.

 

Incidentally Hull KR around this time managed to turn a £900,000 surplus into a crippling loss by buying promotion.

 

Padge, I don't remember exactly when but they did have an 8 team middle division at one point where they all played each other several times.

 

It was a disaster but it suffered from having some over achieving teams with small fan bases like Rochdale and Carlisle.

 

I am sure you have the exact year and other details at your disposal as your research base seems impressive.

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It's called democracy and involves he concept of doing what's best for the whole not having a divine rights group appropriating everything to their own narrow demographic elite.

It's a good thing. Ask most Western countries.

Rugby league isn't a country or a local authority or the rotary club

It appoints people to run it. And quite right too

By no means all organisations in fact very few are democracies or if they are the democracy is internal elections to board of directors of companies including sports clubs

Decisions taken by democracies aren't necessarily right especially since what is right and what is wrong is value judgement one persons wrong is another's right

In any case what you are describing isn't even a democravy

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Agree with reason 1. Its a question of quality. If the games are like the top games we've seen so far the crowds will go. Let's face it some rugby league fans will go anywhere to watch a quality game, regardless of who it is. Reason 2....yes they have to make it a meaningful grand final. Imagine something like the Cas play off final at headingley with 20, 000 fans for promotion and we know what we''re aiming for. There were people going to that game who've never been to a game before. Reason 3...the challenge cup needs revitalising whatever happens . Just need to make sure anything doesn't stop it from progressing which is martyn's point. The one sided games super league against lower sides aren't helping. Martyn's plate competition could play a part here linked with the northern rail plus the maybe the 2nd tier grand finalists also joining the super league teams in a later round.

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Rugby league isn't a country or a local authority or the rotary club

It appoints people to run it. And quite right too

By no means all organisations in fact very few are democracies or if they are the democracy is internal elections to board of directors of companies including sports clubs

Decisions taken by democracies aren't necessarily right especially since what is right and what is wrong is value judgement one persons wrong is another's right

In any case what you are describing isn't even a democravy

 

I think the key quote in your post is the phrase ' It appoints people to run it", ie there is the consent of the governed. What we have had in RL since the inception  of SL is a cabal who seized power and ran the sport from the point of view of their narrow self interests without the consent of the rest of the game.

 

Now that some form of return to control including the rest of the game is in the offing the game is becoming more of a representative democracy within the admittedly narrow confines of the sport

 

What Padge defines as the tail wagging the dog.

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Again, I don't think it helps the argument if you deliberately miss the point. One of the things that I actually like about the proposed system, and which should be considered very carefully in any new structure, is that it forces clubs to hit the ground running rather than coast through the spring.

Or does it mean instead of blooding the youngsters due to injuries giving them valuable SL experience which is now reaping the rewards of blooding them youngsters, clubs will panic buy with fear of finishing in the bottom 4 after 11 games

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I think the key quote in your post is the phrase ' It appoints people to run it", ie there is the consent of the governed. What we have had in RL since the inception of SL is a cabal who seized power and ran the sport from the point of view of their narrow self interests without the consent of the rest of the game.

Now that some form of return to control including the rest of the game is in the offing the game is becoming more of a representative democracy within the admittedly narrow confines of the sport

What Padge defines as the tail wagging the dog.

What is this return of control you speak of?

I didn't know the constitution of the RFL had been changed

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A quote that I've seen recently as a criticism of Wood's approach is "let leaders lead", suggesting that him asking the RL community for their opinion is not good leadership and that he should make the decisions himself.

I don't understand this at all. Surely if he did this he'd just be criticised for not listening to what people want? The poor guy can't win.

Personally, I applaud him for this approach. He HAS made a decision, and that is he wants a "whole game approach" and not a closed shop licensing process. And asking for the advice from the RL community isn't asking them to choose what happens in the future. It's him listening to people's views on the game to enable him to make a more informed decision. It's a form of market research. He may choose to do something in the end that doesn't go with the popular demand. We don't know yet. But he quite clearly wants to hear what people have to say, whether he agrees with them or not.

I also applaud the #AskTheRFL Twitter session. It has given an open window to what is actually going on rather than what some fans think I'd going on. It was an education for some of the fans. Example:

Q.) – From @Saintguss - Why do you insist on continuing the Magic Weekend, all it does it boost RFL funds at our expense. We go because we love our team?

This is quiet clearly nonsense, but many fans think this is the case! This consultation allows fans to know what actually is happening. I think the RFL should continue with this initiative to educate the fans instead if letting their imaginations run wild and Chinese whispers allowing cynical and pessimistic fans to continually and needlessly damage the morale of the game from the inside out.

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It was a disaster but it suffered from having some over achieving teams with small fan bases like Rochdale

Rochdale went in to that division off a 2,500 fan base.

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Why am I an "agitator".

We should look back to what happened under three divisions when all the eight clubs set off on an even footing.

Or don't you want to look? Afraid of what you may find??.

Your very quickly moving to name calling based on blind perceptions, unless we've met? I suggest you stop doing that, it's silly and it discounts the possibility that what insults you send out may just return to you in spades, then the thread gets locked.

Or should we lock all threads in which you don't like other peoples opinions?

because you know fine well you are not comparing like for like.

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Padge, I don't remember exactly when but they did have an 8 team middle division at one point where they all played each other several times.

 

It was a disaster but it suffered from having some over achieving teams with small fan bases like Rochdale and Carlisle.

 

I am sure you have the exact year and other details at your disposal as your research base seems impressive.

 

The 8 team Second Dvivision was in 1991 and I wouldn't wish that on any club.    Each team played the others 4 times and including Cup matches Workington Town played Carlisle 6 times.    Fans got heartily sick of the same clubs meeting each other and crowds dropped accordingly.    So, no thanks, should that suggestion every be put forward again.

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because you know fine well you are not comparing like for like.

The middle division was made up of relegated clubs from the top division and promoted clubs from below. It was like for like.

More up to date figures appear on the "reconstruction" thread where the attendances for Cas and Leigh's drop in 2006 & 2007 are used. If the new system had come in then crowds would have fallen 20% for these clubs as the figures back this up.

Two exchanges on and all you have managed to say is I'm an agitator and am wrong.

Come up with your ideas of how crowds are going to zoom up in this new second tier. If you can.

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What we have had in RL since the inception  of SL is a cabal who seized power and ran the sport from the point of view of their narrow self interests without the consent of the rest of the game.

 

Now that some form of return to control including the rest of the game is in the offing the game is becoming more of a representative democracy...

You wish.

Haven't you noticed how the top clubs still get all the money and the cabal of the top eight get bigger crowds after sending two SL clubs to relegation and possible ruination, and four SL clubs to play out the second half of the season in a second tier.

The cabal is alive and well and will be stronger and more entrenched than ever.

I'll accept "democracy" when SKY/SL decide to split the TV money 24 ways. £700K each.

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Rugby league isn't a country or a local authority or the rotary club

It appoints people to run it. And quite right too

By no means all organisations in fact very few are democracies or if they are the democracy is internal elections to board of directors of companies including sports clubs

Decisions taken by democracies aren't necessarily right especially since what is right and what is wrong is value judgement one persons wrong is another's right

In any case what you are describing isn't even a democravy

 

Thanks L'Ange saved me a reply

 

I think the key quote in your post is the phrase ' It appoints people to run it", ie there is the consent of the governed. What we have had in RL since the inception  of SL is a cabal who seized power and ran the sport from the point of view of their narrow self interests without the consent of the rest of the game.

 

Now that some form of return to control including the rest of the game is in the offing the game is becoming more of a representative democracy within the admittedly narrow confines of the sport

 

What Padge defines as the tail wagging the dog.

 

If you want democracy then lets have the supporters vote,  I'll take SLs 1000,000 votes to top the Championships 15,000 votes.

 

In fact about 3 clubs could out vote all the rest of the league.

 

If you want your club to have more influence then pull in 15k crowds and turnover £6m, When your club can do that then they may be in a position to have influence. Why shouldn't those that bring home the bacon be first to the table.

 

Don't say we are never given the chance, truth is and its a brutal truth, a lot of clubs despite laudable ambitions will never, ever be in that position.

 

I understand the frustration felt by smaller clubs, but that is the problem they are smaller clubs, have always been smaller clubs and they want to pretend its still the 1970s when they could play with the big boys. Once the retain and transfer system was proven to be unenforceable in law and players had to be offered contracts, bringing about the inevitable full time professionals, the smaller clubs were going to struggle.

 

Its not that anyone has got it in for them, its just the way sport has developed. 

 

You can rejig the league any way you like but unless clubs all turnover enough to easily pay the salary cap to the full then those with the most cash will win the trophies.

 

If a small club wants to compete then ridiculous league structures won't deliver it, cash will deliver it. Small clubs have to stop thinking big and start thinking growth and there only seems to be one club doing that in the Championship at the moment.

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The middle division was made up of relegated clubs from the top division and promoted clubs from below. It was like for like.

More up to date figures appear on the "reconstruction" thread where the attendances for Cas and Leigh's drop in 2006 & 2007 are used. If the new system had come in then crowds would have fallen 20% for these clubs as the figures back this up.

Two exchanges on and all you have managed to say is I'm an agitator and am wrong.

Come up with your ideas of how crowds are going to zoom up in this new second tier. If you can.

all teams will play in 2 divisions of 12 to decide how the 3 eights will be made up. each team will play each other once, and know whats at stake.i don't think that applied before. in the next phase all 3 divisions will have an equal number of teams and the teams in each division will play each other twice, once home once away. this didn't apply before. teams in the middle 8 know that finishing in the top 4 will get them lnto the top division of 12 the following season. that didn't apply before. thats as i see  it, if yousee it different then fair play.

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all teams will play in 2 divisions of 12 to decide how the 3 eights will be made up. each team will play each other once, and know whats at stake.i don't think that applied before. in the next phase all 3 divisions will have an equal number of teams and the teams in each division will play each other twice, once home once away. this didn't apply before. teams in the middle 8 know that finishing in the top 4 will get them lnto the top division of 12 the following season. that didn't apply before. thats as i see  it, if yousee it different then fair play.

I see it the same as you sir. I see the 4 SL clubs losing out crowd wise. However I see the Championship clubs gaining crowd wise. This may help even the competition up a bit.

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If a small club wants to compete then ridiculous league structures won't deliver it, cash will deliver it. Small clubs have to stop thinking big and start thinking growth and there only seems to be one club doing that in the Championship at the moment.

Not from where I'm standing. If claiming Mr. Nahaboo will provide the cash out of his own pocket to "easily pay the salary cap to the full" (an excellent perceptive phrase BTW) is what one would call "growth" then fair enough.

But it's not, and whilst fans live in hope Nahaboo and Abbott will bankroll their clubs heavily and year on year, I can only think these two are not daft enough to fall into the same trap Wilkinson, Hudgell, Hughes, O'Connor, Richardson, Hood, Samuels and Fulton have fallen into.

All these predecessors of Abbot and Nahaboo have proved is you don't invest in a small Rugby League club, you throw money away at it.

Edited by The Parksider

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Not from where I'm standing. If claiming Mr. Nahaboo will provide the cash out of his own pocket to "easily pay the salary cap to the full" (an excellent perceptive phrase BTW) is what one would call "growth" then fair enough.

But it's not, and whilst fans live in hope Nahaboo and Abbott will bankroll their clubs heavily and year on year, I can only think these two are not daft enough to fall into the same trap Wilkinson, Hudgell, Hughes, O'Connor, Richardson, Hood, Samuels and Fulton have fallen into.

All these predecessors of Abbot and Nahaboo have proved is you don't invest in a small Rugby League club, you throw money away at it.

Throwing money at it is the think big method.

 

I didn't mention a particular club by the way, you made an assumption which may or may not be correct.

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Let's not be foolish in thinking people are paid to run the game. Tgey are paid to run the boring stuff - the interesting stuff will be voted on by the clubs as per tge rules.

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You wish.

Haven't you noticed how the top clubs still get all the money and the cabal of the top eight get bigger crowds after sending two SL clubs to relegation and possible ruination, and four SL clubs to play out the second half of the season in a second tier.

The cabal is alive and well and will be stronger and more entrenched than ever.

I'll accept "democracy" when SKY/SL decide to split the TV money 24 ways. £700K each.

 

I totally agree with you and I think it's a recipe for disaster but the point I was making is that the whole membership of the RFL pro and semi pro sections are being consulted re these changes. I am not sure if they all get to vote on it but hopefully, as it's a decision being made by Woods, it will not be a SL rubber stamp dictat as has previously been the case.

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MR.SADLERS ARTICLE TODAY

Having read your article today I’m disappointed with it in that you say “The RFL’s proposals are a roundabout way of bringing back promotion and relegation”. You go on to demonstrate how chasing success has run up large debts and ruined clubs, and indicate the changes will only encourage this citing Featherstone’s growing liabilities.

The article ignores how Superleague itself has encouraged clubs to run up liabilities albeit in a seperate piece you refer to heavy liabilities at HKR, so you must be aware of this. Reaching for the Superleague dream has sent Wakefield, Crusaders, Bradford bust and Salford nearly to extinction, and Cas and HKR could follow, you yourself have looked the latter's debts up.

This financial mire you warn P & R will cause is already with us and has occurred without P & R in place (something the BBC's "close up north" did a TV piece on), something you are yet to really acknowledge, and I wonder why this is??

On the article on the coaches views there’s the suggestion that “maybe we need to get some more money into the championship and make that full time” Even the coaches have their heads in the clouds when it comes to the games finances.

Finally back to HKR and it seems Neil Hudgell is puzzling you as he refers to Superleague being “bland and lacking intensity”. League express has already posted articles about how he (like others)doesn’t want to invest any more and how clubs have chased and are still chasing his best players. These are the problems in the here and now, and just as deep as the problems you say P & R will bring.

I am not priveliged enough to get close to the top people in the game, if I was I’d want to know what really was going on here, what problems and motivations are driving these radical changes - after all you can just stick one up one down into the existing league structure if all this is is just looking to re-introduce P & R and nothing more.

All that fits for me is that there is already financial collapse within Superleague created during a period when SL businesses (as per Ralph Rimmer's justification of licensing)were supposed to steadily grow year on year, not go backwards and collapse.

It should be considered when it comes to analysing the full reasons why the game is making these controversial proposals.....

Edited by The Parksider

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