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l'angelo mysterioso

Your vision for the game

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Within reason what is your vision for the game?

Do you think that vision will help it grow? If so, how?

Do you think growth is needed or wanted anyway?

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I'm sure this forum is stuck in some sort of Matrix glitch...!

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Within reason what is your vision for the game?

Do you think that vision will help it grow? If so, how?

Do you think growth is needed or wanted anyway?

 

Growth is essential as we are being dwarfed by larger sports with much bigger national and international profiles.  

 

As for how it's done, well that's the eternal question and I don't think anybody has answered it yet. I'm not even sure there is an answer without some form of a miracle.

 

It sounds pessimistic but if we had the profile that we have now in 20 years time I'd be pretty happy.

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gradual expansion of the game from grass roots level and then we could look at more clubs from outside the heartlands joining championship 1.

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gradual expansion of the game from grass roots level and then we could look at more clubs from outside the heartlands joining championship 1.

Long term that is the best way.

However, in today's celebrity driven society, to encourage people to watch and/or play RL a British figure head like Russell Crowe, who talks about how great the game is at every opportunity, would be a massive boost.

Maybe then your average RL fan might "big up" the game to non fans as well.

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Long term that is the best way.

However, in today's celebrity driven society, to encourage people to watch and/or play RL a British figure head like Russell Crowe, who talks about how great the game is at every opportunity, would be a massive boost.

Maybe then your average RL fan might "big up" the game to non fans as well.

 

If we had a British figure head like Russell Crowe who was prepared to pump money into a club like London in the way that Mr Crowe has pumped money into South Sydney, then that would be a big boost. Simply having celebrities bigging up the game on its own has minimal effect.

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gradual expansion of the game from grass roots level and then we could look at more clubs from outside the heartlands joining championship 1.

 

This is our catch-22.

 

Why would somebody where RL isn't a popular sport want to play a sport like RL? It hurts, it's unforgiving, none of your family or friends will know much about it and usually you could choose Union which is similar and has a much higher profile or Football which is universal.

 

Selling RL outside of the heartlands is a real tough sell. I work 35 minutes south of Widnes and RL has next to no presence here never mind 250 miles away.

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Simply having celebrities bigging up the game on its own has minimal effect.

How do you know that? We've never had one.

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How do you know that? We've never had one.

 

Oh I don't know. Bernard Cribbins liked his rugby and he was quite famous a few years back. ;)   :biggrin:

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How do you know that? We've never had one.

 

Richard Branson struggled... Would he count as a celebrity?

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Oh I don't know. Bernard Cribbins liked his rugby and he was quite famous a few years back. ;):biggrin:

I must have missed him reading This Sporting Life on Jackanory. ;-)

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I must have missed him reading This Sporting Life on Jackanory. ;-)

 

No. I think that would've been Willie Rushton. ;)

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Oh I don't know. Bernard Cribbins liked his rugby and he was quite famous a few years back. ;):biggrin:

There he was, digging this hole. ..

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This is our catch-22.

 

Why would somebody where RL isn't a popular sport want to play a sport like RL? It hurts, it's unforgiving, none of your family or friends will know much about it and usually you could choose Union which is similar and has a much higher profile or Football which is universal.

 

Selling RL outside of the heartlands is a real tough sell. I work 35 minutes south of Widnes and RL has next to no presence here never mind 250 miles away.

that is exactly why we have to start at the very bottom and work upwards............

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My vision for Rugby League would be a game played throughout the country. In order to achieve this, I'd start by developing a long term strategic plan. It is absolutely vital that the powers at be look 20-30 years out rather than coming up with short term gimmicky fixes to larger problems, which inadvertantly cause the game more harm than good. So some of the ideas would be:

 

1. The development of the Community game - This is the absolute heartbeat of Rugby League. Without it, there would be no game at all. So my first long term decision would be the employment of a nationwide set of Development Officers. The loss of these individuals are already have a devastating impact on participation levels across the country. Currently there is no way the RFL will meet targets set by Sport England without these people being employed, which will inadvertantly see a further reduction in that funding stream. The RFL should take the hit elsewhere (funding to SL clubs for example) and fund these people to develop the game. The long term benefit would be more people playing the game at all levels, increasing funding through other means and building a RL base throughout the country.

 

2. Utilisation of the Schools to develop talent - This in my opinion is a valuable resource, which doesn't seem to have been tapped properly. Rather than professional clubs taking players out of the Community game at weekends in order to fill their scholarships sides, this should be done mid-week using the schools as the basis. Schools RL increased massively over recent years (until the reduction of development Officers at least) across the country. Not only would it relieve the pressure on Community Clubs allowing more games to take place at the weekend, it may also identify talent not currently in the Community game who could develop into great players in the future. Professional clubs could send good coaches into the schools (or the RFL employ specialist coaches) to develop 'town teams' who would compete against other 'towns' regularly improving standards across the board and develop players to move to professional Academies post-16 exams.

 

3. Professional Academies - The removal of certain Academy age groups are strategically an awful decision. The game over the last couple of years has seen some excellent young players coming into the game both at SL and Championship level. The reduction in opportunities due to a lack of Academy sides and the falling participation levels will have a devastating impact on player development in 5-10 years time as clubs fight for an ever dwindling talent pool. Professional clubs or aspiring professional clubs should be forced to fund an U18, U20 and Reserve side. This would remove the necessity of the barking 'dual registration' system and continue to develop the amount of players required to fill the professional ranks.

 

4. Pyramid Structure - This is more or less already in place. It does need a bit of tinkering but does not require wholesale changes as are currently being proposed. A SL of 12 (incl French clubs), followed by the Championship, Championship 1, Tier 3 (North & South), Tier 4 Regional Leagues etc are the way forward with movement between each stage but with strict criteria requirements. Develop this plan and stick to it. Stop tinkering with it all the time and trying to create quick short term fixes; the game needs stability as stability allows for growth and development to take place in the long term.

 

5. RFL Board - I'd ensure that the RFL Board is run by independent professional people; there should be no-affliation to clubs. This board should be advised by people with experience in the game but utilmately make the decisions so the best interests of the game, rather than the clubs are at the forefront.

 

For me, this is how I would implement my vision. There are loads of working parts of course but fundamentally the building blocks are already in place to a certain extent. However, we currently have our priorities all wrong and this is why the game is struggling, especially in the most important area, the Community game.

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that is exactly why we have to start at the very bottom and work upwards............

In which case we'll be waiting a hundred years for anything to happen.

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We desperately need to sort out the league structures of our game,bring back under 23s with an under 19s, look at bringing in new sustainable expansion clubs for championship, we simply have to play more rep/international games and put them on the bigger stage like wembley 2011 instead of the usual, introduce war of the roses and work towards improving the international calendar. just a few things

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In which case we'll be waiting a hundred years for anything to happen.

If there is no alternative then that's what we must do.

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gradual expansion of the game from grass roots level and then we could look at more clubs from outside the heartlands joining championship 1.

Don't you think that's bit one dimensional?

I don't disagree with what you say, but you can do other things as well at the same time

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France is the absolute key to the development of the game. Make France competitive again (and I mean again because they were in the past) then you have competitive World Cups, Aus v Fra, NZ v Fra, Eng v Fra test series and four nations. France maybe hosting a World Cup - Catalans and Toulouse (and maybe more) strengthening SL without any English players.

 

In 5-10 years Catalans v Toulouse matches could be drawing 10-20,000 and England v France could be a 3-game mid-season series. How is this possible? Well in 2005, France had 1-2 full-time professionals - now they have 20-25. The aim is to increase that pool to 50-100. It can't be done just by Catalans or Toulouse but if English SL clubs were losing lots of players to the NRL then France must be an obvious target to recruit.

 

France also needs a world class coach - and I mean world class to get every bit of talent performing to a high standard. We are talking Bellamy, Bennett, Sheens here not Agar, Goulding and Kear.

 

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France is the absolute key to the development of the game. Make France competitive again (and I mean again because they were in the past) then you have competitive World Cups, Aus v Fra, NZ v Fra, Eng v Fra test series and four nations. France maybe hosting a World Cup - Catalans and Toulouse (and maybe more) strengthening SL without any English players.

 

In 5-10 years Catalans v Toulouse matches could be drawing 10-20,000 and England v France could be a 3-game mid-season series. How is this possible? Well in 2005, France had 1-2 full-time professionals - now they have 20-25. The aim is to increase that pool to 50-100. It can't be done just by Catalans or Toulouse but if English SL clubs were losing lots of players to the NRL then France must be an obvious target to recruit.

 

France also needs a world class coach - and I mean world class to get every bit of talent performing to a high standard. We are talking Bellamy, Bennett, Sheens here not Agar, Goulding and Kear.

If we could get Toulouse in SL in 2015 & say Avignon five years later we would create 6 French derby fixtures. This would change the dynamics here instantaneously. Thats like one every six weeks. It would completely change everything. Stop people talking about an English SL per se. I hope to live the day to see a Toulouse-Catalan clash at the citys Municipal Stadium in front of 25,000.

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I don't think that current way of thinking of growing from the top down works.    Giving the large majority of the UK game's income to only 14 clubs (soon to be 12!!) alienates quite a large chunk of the games support area.    Things grow from the bottom up and if we don't feed the grassroots then the main plant will not grow.

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I don't think that current way of thinking of growing from the top down works. Giving the large majority of the UK game's income to only 14 clubs (soon to be 12!!) alienates quite a large chunk of the games support area. Things grow from the bottom up and if we don't feed the grassroots then the main plant will not grow.

Are the two mutually exclusive?

The current composition of championship one would suggest not

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Are the two mutually exclusive?

The current composition of championship one would suggest not

 

But the clubs in Championship 1, especially the new ones, are struggling with crowds of 150 - 200.    Surely it is these clubs that need the funding to help them grow not Leeds, Wigan, etc.

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But the clubs in Championship 1, especially the new ones, are struggling with crowds of 150 - 200.    Surely it is these clubs that need the funding to help them grow not Leeds, Wigan, etc.

But it's Leeds, Wigan, etc that generate the funds needed to help those clubs grow. Everything we do stems from having a successful top tier.

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