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London Broncos time to be very afraid

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Hardly mysterious!  It was as clear as the nose on everyone's faces. 

 

Interesting though that the Cru seem to be doing incredibly well just at the moment, and not only on the field.  They also have almost 1000 supporters turning up to their home matches on quite a regular basis.  I remember all the vitriol spouted in their direction from the northern flat capper brigade and yet here they are, achieving more than many of the so-called heartland clubs, and they're a cooperative too.  They even have a wheelchair team now.  Shows what can be done when a rugby league team roots itself in a community.  Personally I think that not doing the same thing is where the Broncos have gone incredibly wrong.

 

Don't normally buy the RL weekly papers but did so this week and have to say I was pleasantly surprised to see the crowd figure for the Crusaders. Looks like there is really something to build on there.

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Don't normally buy the RL weekly papers but did so this week and have to say I was pleasantly surprised to see the crowd figure for the Crusaders. Looks like there is really something to build on there.

Sshh, Parky might hear you.

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Junior development.  I don't know the ins and outs.  I believe having London there is important.  But it's more important that good young players enter a beneficial set-up.  Right now, that's definitely not happening.

Their under 19s is a very competitive team.  They have also introduced a couple of talented young players into the first team.  Unfortunately by the time they have been ready to make their first team appearances the rest of the squad has gone to pot and everything appears to be crumbling, which IMO is a real shame.  These young guys coming through are the first generation of rugby league players in London who have grown up with the sport.  With a growing number of amateur and school/college teams also playing in the capital, there is a definite reason for optimism in the participation side of things below the Broncos first team.

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I haven't lived in Cumbria for a long time but there are at least two issues that are different: firstly, it's under 2.5 hours from west Cumbria to Wigan.  A scout, agent or whoever can do that easily.  It's four hours from London, which is a bit less convenient all told.

 

Secondly, there is (or was) a very strong amateur rugby league community in Cumbria that brings players through.  There's very little chance of that being replicated anywhere where such a community doesn't already exist - at least not with the same spread and connections.

 

I think your example of Wigan is actually misguided and that a better one would be the time from west Cumbria to Leeds, given that the Rhinos have strong links with I believe Whitehaven. You would be looking at a good 3 hours easy, more I would have thought during the week.

 

But using the example of Wigan, I would have thought they can scout quite cheaply in the South East. I believe their chairman still has a home in Buckinghamshire, so a low cost base and they have the link up with Saracens to identify young talent better suited to RL.

 

Let's face it, if the likes of London Irish could afford to have scouts at SL Academy matches in the past, then surely SL clubs could afford to be scouting at RU academy level?

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Don't normally buy the RL weekly papers but did so this week and have to say I was pleasantly surprised to see the crowd figure for the Crusaders. Looks like there is really something to build on there.

A lot of it's due to a highly competent 'back office' that doesn't assume that all you've got to do is put a match on and people will turn up Don't know what this season's figures are but last year they sold more season tickets than the old club did in the last year in SL.

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Sshh, Parky might hear you.

 

I'd have to get all Vicky Pollard in that case!

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Let's face it, if the likes of London Irish could afford to have scouts at SL Academy matches in the past, then surely SL clubs could afford to be scouting at RU academy level?

 

SL clubs can barely afford to run academies it seems.  I honestly have no idea what they do for scouting.

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A lot of it's due to a highly competent 'back office' that doesn't assume that all you've got to do is put a match on and people will turn up Don't know what this season's figures are but last year they sold more season tickets than the old club did in the last year in SL.

 

Exactly, a well run club, on and off the field, that knows how to sell and market itself.

 

It's not rocket science, something a number of heartlands Superleague clubs who should know better can't seem to grasp. 

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Their under 19s is a very competitive team.  They have also introduced a couple of talented young players into the first team.  Unfortunately by the time they have been ready to make their first team appearances the rest of the squad has gone to pot and everything appears to be crumbling, which IMO is a real shame.  These young guys coming through are the first generation of rugby league players in London who have grown up with the sport.  With a growing number of amateur and school/college teams also playing in the capital, there is a definite reason for optimism in the participation side of things below the Broncos first team.

 

Apologies I wasn't clear.  So, just to be clear, I mean players who have come through the system further benefit from joining a first-team set-up that isn't a pile of cack.  That isn't happening now.

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The RFL should look very closely indeed at the Crusaders and other successful expansion clubs and see what can be replicated elsewhere. From a London perspective, people want to see events. For a brief period, when SL was fresh and the Broncos were good, and Virgin were backing them, the Stoop became a place that you could take anyone because it felt buzzy. I sat next to Robbie Williams at one game.

For whatever reason, that feeling about the club and the game has long gone. Replicating it will be virtually impossible, to my mind, but one thing which we know from the experience of the last 2 decades is that it is eminently feasible to get Londoners to watch big games in greater numbers than northerners.

If the aim is to give players a local SL team, and that is considered essential/important enough for the game, then the RFL should have the guts to say so, and demonstrate how that can be achieved. But if the game down here is to be subsidised the people doing the subsidising deserve to know how much it is costing and why. As it happens, our boy can go and play for South Croydon in a couple of years, just as I could go and play at my local club when I was growing up. If he is good enough to play semi pro he could get to Hemel or the Skolars easily enough. If he is good enough to play at a higher level he would have to move, but is that such a hardship in this day and age?

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I believe it was and we relegated 25% of the teams.

 

1 from 14 would be about 7%. I an useless at maths so if that is wrong, i apologise but it/s way less than 25%.

 

Many teams got caught in the 4 relegation spots overreach and didn't survibe promotio, Whitehavn and York come to mind. very few teams were able to reatin their spot with such a high relegation percentage.

 

I don't want to derail a Broncos thread but when we talk of P&R this fact has to be remembered when analysing the damaging effects of the yoyo syndrome. Four up four down was ridiculous. Two up two down at that time would've been far better, and solved any yoyo problems. In the end RL lurched from one extreme to the other, as is its wont.

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I don't want to derail a Broncos thread but when we talk of P&R this fact has to be remembered when analysing the damaging effects of the yoyo syndrome. Four up four down was ridiculous. Two up two down at that time would've been far better, and solved any yoyo problems. In the end RL lurched from one extreme to the other, as is its wont.

 

It was 3 and 3 in the first season I watched I believe (87-88).  That made more sense.  But 2 and 2 would have worked better.

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SL clubs can barely afford to run academies it seems.  I honestly have no idea what they do for scouting.

 

Probably not a lot is the honest answer for a lot of them.

 

It was interesting reading about Henry Paul's new job in USA rugby, trying to put on what they call combines in the States, basically trials/ run outs for people looking to make it in rugby. Basically it was a programme to talent spot athletes who could be introduced to rugby to make up the numbers for a proposed domestic US Super rugby tournament.

 

The whole project has been shelved for the time being, but it did get me wondering how much the SL clubs get out and around the country putting on such talent spotting events in non traditional RL territory. You might think somewhere like the East Midlands, strong rugby territory, could be a decent place to put on a weekend of trials, see who turns up. 

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I'd have to get all Vicky Pollard in that case!

I was thinking that the other day.

 

Yeah but no but, you see the thing was that Salford have low crowds too and anyway my mate Dave reckons that no club has ever grown organically....

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For scouting, I imagine most teams watch games liek last Friday's, pick a fringe Wigan player to sign and then relax for another year.

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There's no delusion to conclude fans from traditional areas often resent SL expansion clubs when it's at the expense of their own club, that's been rife on here. As long as London, Wales, Catalans or Crusaders don't take an SL place from people's own clubs of course they are fine with expansion. But not when they see their own clubs being leapfrogged.

Equally nobody I know "negatively labels" people any more on here who call for organic or sustainable growth.

I don't know exactly what you mean by those terms, is "organic" where the game lays down roots that multiply and divide so more and more play, more and more watch and this throws up individuals who may excel at playing administering or funding the game??

Is sustainable where clubs make some profit as modest as that may be then pop that back into the business so the club gets that bit more profit next time round and so the virtuous circles sustains that growth.

This subject of the game just growing leads to terms like "grass roots up" and "building in the championships" etc etc. Ever since 1945 when Workington came into the pro ranks (a club that may have grown once but has shrank this last 17 years) we have had Blackpool, Whitehaven, Doncaster, Huyton, Fulham, Sheffield, Mansfield, Trafford, Nottingham, Scarboro,Skolars, Gateshead, the list goes on attempting to grow.

You know the record on that this last 70 years??

And what of the "growth" of our historic championship clubs in recent decades founder members Halifax, Oldham, Hunslet, Leigh Batley, Rochdale, and York, Keighley and Swinton who followed?

Do you want to tell me what "growth" these are achieving??

That's all I ever ask for but never get the answer. Instead the classic switch comes in saying people are being "labelled negatively" for holding such views.

That isn't the point, and it isn't how we've worked on here for some time. How we have gone about the debate is people fairly offer the opinion the game doesn't need Superleague to grow, it can build outside Superleague organically and sustainably.

Other people fairly ask how does this work because we have so many failed attempts to grow the game outside the heartlands and inside the heartlands. The answer never comes. The debate gets switched.

Have you got the answer as to how this growth actually works??

 

 Are you saying that the growtgh of RL in the South West, Wales, north and south, the midlands ( Coventry, leicester, Nottongham, Northampton, telford), the north east ( Durham, Northumberland) and London in the north and south east, far removed from Twickenham is because of SL and the presence of a SL club in the areas.

 

In fact the most successful expansion in many years is the present CC1 teams. Crusaders are the prime example. Hemel were founded at least 30 years ago and are now buig enough to join the semi pro ranks. They have their own ground, have recenlty built their first stand and are in a middle to upper position in their league table. This is all from their own efforts. I don't want the 122 attendance to be made a big point of either. It's early days.

 

Oxford are there. we will see how that goes. Next season Coventry will join the club building on an impressive amateur presence in the area.

 

All these are examples of organic growth. Will they morph into SL teams ever. no one knows, but they have made a start. Top down teams like Gateshead ( SL version), London ( SL version), Paris have not. Catalans can be argued as an exception to this but they are a SL team in an area which has been organically growing since the 1930s.

 

As for the other traditional clubs, you jeer at. They are still here. Many have come from the depths of near death to positions of stability. York have a new ground on the horizon, Leigh already have one, Rochdale also are safe at Spotland and running as a community and a DR club and maybe moving up. Batley are strong on the field and have a decent ground. Halifax have now a decent ground and are moving slowly towards a bid for SL . Workington and Whitehaven are emerging from near or actual death and looking at playoff places in the Championship. Even lowly Keighley have plans for a 10,000 capacity ground so let's see where that goes. Dewsbury are extending their capacity this very season.

 

I think you do all these initiatives a diservice when they are dismissed as no hopers out of hand and SL is extolled as the only way especially when the Broncos are the example. Huddersfield, Hull KR and Wakefield were the very same position as these clubs not too long ago and are now members of SL.

 

Sometimes things go in phases and growth and failure are cyclical. Lets stop condemning these smaller teams and see what happens slowly over time. i suspect, in some cases, we might all be surprised at what they can achieve.

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Probably not a lot is the honest answer for a lot of them.

 

It was interesting reading about Henry Paul's new job in USA rugby, trying to put on what they call combines in the States, basically trials/ run outs for people looking to make it in rugby. Basically it was a programme to talent spot athletes who could be introduced to rugby to make up the numbers for a proposed domestic US Super rugby tournament.

 

The whole project has been shelved for the time being, but it did get me wondering how much the SL clubs get out and around the country putting on such talent spotting events in non traditional RL territory. You might think somewhere like the East Midlands, strong rugby territory, could be a decent place to put on a weekend of trials, see who turns up. 

I did follow that little almost-adventure.  I got a little thrill from union being riven by splits and idiot ideas in a way that league normally is.  However I did think that scouting NCAA athletes through combines was a pretty smart move.  Obviously if we were doing it for British RL we'd need to check they have a granny in Bratislava so they can get an EU passport as they'd never get a visa otherwise.

 

London did do 'prop idol' back in the day.  I think the poor lad got injured before he could do anything though.  You'd think it could be done pretty much anywhere where they play union but I'm not sure of the coordination or detail required.  And cost, obviously.

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I haven't lived in Cumbria for a long time but there are at least two issues that are different: firstly, it's under 2.5 hours from west Cumbria to Wigan.  A scout, agent or whoever can do that easily.  It's four hours from London, which is a bit less convenient all told.

 

Secondly, there is (or was) a very strong amateur rugby league community in Cumbria that brings players through.  There's very little chance of that being replicated anywhere where such a community doesn't already exist - at least not with the same spread and connections.

 

 

I thought the whole point was that there is a strong amateur rugby league community in London that brings players through. If that is the case what is the difference between the situation of Cumbria without a SL club and London without a L club, possiby.

 

On the travel times, a minor point I think, but Cumbria to west Yorkshire must be a 3.5 hour journey athe least. Its probably quicker to get to London

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I simply cannot see a better alternative than the Broncos playing in whatever division best suits them, drawing on largely local talent, with the RFL making sure there are at least 5 events in London every year. Far more people would watch the Aussie Champions play any northern SL team than would ever watch the Broncos.

Very few people have any affinity for London as a place, and even fewer of the people who have been exposed to RL down here do. But there are enough people who would turn up for a London magic week end, or other games at Wembley. Last time I looked most of the biggest crowds for internationals have been darn sarf, so there is an awareness of the game.

A vibrant London SL team would be a great thing, but that is unlikely to happen any time soon. But there is still plenty of interest in the game in the capital.

 Yes. I think you've made this point before, and sadly I am in agreement with you that having a proper strategy for events in London would be better than a team pulling in 2k 13 times a year.

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Sadly the vast majority of London Public that Stevo talks about don't even know a RL club exists in London. There in lies one of the problems.

Having lived in london for 20 years I can honestly say that is bo11ocks, there is a large section of the sporting population that knows there is a team in London, they just can't be @r5ed going to Twickenham and spending hard earned saving to watch a losing team. There used to be an Australian RL fan that I used to work with, and her and her BF went to see them, and hated the experience, souless, pathetic players, no match day involvement, etc etc.

My Mate who is a RU player/fan came with me to Brentford a couple of years ago, and was surprised there was a match about to start as we approached Griffin Park. There was over 3k in the ground, but the only noise seemed to come from a few disaffected Broncos supporters, who spent the entire afternoon shouting abuse at their own players

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Some good points raised on here about the damage that London may be doing. 

 

Is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

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There was over 3k in the ground, but the only noise seemed to come from a few disaffected Broncos supporters, who spent the entire afternoon shouting abuse at their own players

 

Did one of them have a yellow rosette on?

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I thought the whole point was that there is a strong amateur rugby league community in London that brings players through. If that is the case what is the difference between the situation of Cumbria without a SL club and London without a L club, possiby.

 

On the travel times, a minor point I think, but Cumbria to west Yorkshire must be a 3.5 hour journey athe least. Its probably quicker to get to London

 

The amateur situation in (parts of) Cumbria is comparable to that in parts of the M62 corridor, that in London is not and is unlikely ever to be so.

 

And, to be fair to me(!), I have said many times both that the idea of a Cumbrian SL team should be properly explored & that Cumbria as a rep team should get more games. I'd love to see Cumbria v England (18-18 last time) become a more regular thing and matches v tourists.

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, who spent the entire afternoon shouting abuse at their own players

Balls.

 

It can't have been the entire afternoon as that wouldn't have given time for us to get the cans of VB in.

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Go back to those early days at Fulham RL Club and the atmosphere at matches was amazing, the game was built quickly around a community and based around families. It was always my claim that when the London club had to leave Craven Cottage the RFL should have stepped in and assisted the club in finding and buying its own land and building a ground, one that would have become the London HQ for London and RL in the south. I'm sure people will claim why help London? then why help Bradford in buying Odsal? should we allow all clubs to just fade away? Why were Hull with Gateshead and Huddersfield Giants with Sheffield Eagles allowed to keep their places?

 

The work currently with London Academy players is really now starting to produce rich fruits, with Northern Clubs currently looking at Sarginson, Chubb, Channing and Dixon, it would be disappointing if the RFL allow the club to fold or leave Super League, London give many of the young players scholarships allowing them to be trained and continue some college education.

 

Remember that it was only 1980 that Fulham was formed, just 33 years ago, many Northern established clubs are over 100 years and attract under 10,000 supporters, in fact there are only a handful of clubs that command 10,000 plus, Huddersfield Giants even with their last few years of success can't attract major crowds and this is the home of Rugby League. Many have pointed out how well Crusaders are doing, well what about Sheffield Eagles who attract much larger crowds than many well established clubs in the North and Cumbria.

 

The RFL must take much blame for the failure with a lot wrong in the game today especially London and the same people who have governed over the period, no major sponsors etc are looking at the future of the game, would any major corporate company act in this way?

 

I just hope what Stevo may have tried cleverly to indicate he is in the know about London is once again wrong! We need new young blood now to take over the running of the game with fresh ideas otherwise we will end up going back to being a semi-pro game once again.

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