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South Wakefield Sharks

Does London need a top-class Super League club? (Merged Threads)

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Of course it's not likely. But it's not about the chances of it happening, It's about how top class professional sport underpi ns stability and growth. SL club areas have grown crowds, grown participation of kids, and grown pro players.

 

It's hardly a likely scenario that Scorpions, Rochdale, Gateshead and York will grow crowds and player participation is it?

 

What happened to the game in Widnes and Featherstone when they left the top flight for a drop down the league? The game declined. What got them back?? Rich men.

Well, back in the day around the era just preceding the Gateshead murder, sorry merger, both Hull Clubs were in dire straits. HKR had been bankrupt and were on CC1. Hull were relegated and bankrupt but the 2nd division wouldn't have them and the amateur game there did just fine.

As for Scorpions and Gateshead, both are producing locally based players in numbers and stacking their teams with them so I think you are wrong there. On crowds you are unfortunately right although the Gateshead SL team had crowds from 2 to 4,000 so there is hope maybe sometime in the future.

How many players are Leeds producing from Headingley. Aren't most of their young recruits from Hunslet, Dewsbury, Fev and Castleford ?

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As I say that is the chicken and egg question.    If you have limited funds do you use it to invest in the grass roots and from which a sustainable future from which a SL team may grow with P&R and the aid of a rich investor.... or invest your limited funds in supporting a SL club from the start in the hope it acts as the catalyst for grass roots growth.     

 

Ideal if you can do both and we are all happy. But limited or no funds you have make a decision as you can't have one or the other.... personally I'll go for grass roots with any central funds..... whilst hoping a cash rich investor comes along at some point but if not I'l still use the central funds to help grass roots.

 

You've confused me John. Your investments into small clubs are by your own admission worthless unless a "rich investor" comes along so you seem to admit there's no real grass roots growth of professional RL without someone pumping private money in.

 

The game has already invested every penny of SKY millions into Top M62 clubs clubs and achieved growth. Again had we been able to put that into Carlisle, Highfield, Bramley, Swinton, Hunslet, Rochdale, York, Nottingham, Whitehaven, Scarboro, Sheffield and Doncaster in 1996 instead where would we be?

 

I hear the idea that we have a growth in the production of professional players in places like Gateshead, Neath, or even Oxford and Gloucester but the reality is that low level semi pro clubs paying £100 a match or whatever to a local lad to play RL isn't by any stretch of the imagination producing fully professional players.

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Well, back in the day around the era just preceding the Gateshead murder, sorry merger, both Hull Clubs were in dire straits. HKR had been bankrupt and were on CC1. Hull were relegated and bankrupt but the 2nd division wouldn't have them and the amateur game there did just fine.As for Scorpions and Gateshead, both are producing locally based players in numbers and stacking their teams with them so I think you are wrong there. On crowds you are unfortunately right although the Gateshead SL team had crowds from 2 to 4,000 so there is hope maybe sometime in the future.How many players are Leeds producing from Headingley. Aren't most of their young recruits from Hunslet, Dewsbury, Fev and Castleford ?

If I remember correctly Hull weren't relegated they were in financial dire straits and asked to drop down a division. The lower league clubs, rallied by Hull K R chairman Barry Lilley vetoed this option. The rest as they say is history.

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Having been at the Hive today I can only say that if that's a Super league venue I'll eat my hat.

If that is what professional RL in London has come to then I despair

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Having been at the Hive today I can only say that if that's a Super league venue I'll eat my hat.

If that is what professional RL in London has come to then I despair

 

Good choice of beers in the away bar though.

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If I remember correctly Hull weren't relegated they were in financial dire straits and asked to drop down a division. The lower league clubs, rallied by Hull K R chairman Barry Lilley vetoed this option. The rest as they say is history.

OK. I'm not going to argue. However the fact remains that both Hull pro teams were going to end up in the lower divisions. It is safe to say that neither were roaring successes at that point and yet the amateur game in HULL did not wither and die. Parksider was making the point that without a top tier, now SL, club the amateur game would collapse and no pro players would be produced and he was using the example of Hull without a top team. This did not prove to be the case and the amateur game in Hull was fine.

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OK. I'm not going to argue. However the fact remains that both Hull pro teams were going to end up in the lower divisions. It is safe to say that neither were roaring successes at that point and yet the amateur game in HULL did not wither and die. Parksider was making the point that without a top tier, now SL, club the amateur game would collapse and no pro players would be produced and he was using the example of Hull without a top team. This did not prove to be the case and the amateur game in Hull was fine.

 

The Hull clubs did not pack it in for good, There is a colossal difference between the Hull clubs dropping out of the top echelons of the game and returning several years later as they have regularly done and London Broncos shutting their doors for good.

 

One of the most vibrant places for junior Rugby League was the Broughton area of Salford/Manchester. Rangers moved away for good, the decline was gradual, but eventually total. Swinton remain today but the amateur scene just isn't there after years of the clubs decline. To reinterpret my point in such a manner is exactly why I don't want to debate with you.

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You've confused me John. Your investments into small clubs are by your own admission worthless unless a "rich investor" comes along so you seem to admit there's no real grass roots growth of professional RL without someone pumping private money in.

 

The game has already invested every penny of SKY millions into Top M62 clubs clubs and achieved growth. Again had we been able to put that into Carlisle, Highfield, Bramley, Swinton, Hunslet, Rochdale, York, Nottingham, Whitehaven, Scarboro, Sheffield and Doncaster in 1996 instead where would we be?

 

I hear the idea that we have a growth in the production of professional players in places like Gateshead, Neath, or even Oxford and Gloucester but the reality is that low level semi pro clubs paying £100 a match or whatever to a local lad to play RL isn't by any stretch of the imagination producing fully professional players.

 

 

Yep, see your point but I was meaning grass roots as in youngsters, schools and the amateur game.   That is building an interest in the game over a admittedly long period and then hopefully seeing semi-pro club popping within an area that has a stronger root. i.e. interest in the game to build from.

 

So the chicken and egg for me is I would rather invest trying to grow the amateur game in all its forms in the London region if their was only one choice. But I can see the argument that having a super league club could help as a catalyst for that.   However, I don't see that the game has the funds to support both and hence the only way a London professional club can exist and grow is with a rich benefactor but growing it from the lower ranks.  Assuming the benefactor has the funds to improve the facilities as the team improves and moves upwards which his funds could enable over a few years. . But of course talking pipe-dream.  or maybe have an NRL benefactor build a team in London.

 

Another side note - if their is a London professional club, i.e. London Bronco's continue then any salary cap regime needs to ensure that regional differences in housing and cost of living is taken into account... that is it would seem loony to me that a London club doesn't have a London weighting CAP allowance.

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Having been at the Hive today I can only say that if that's a Super league venue I'll eat my hat.

If that is what professional RL in London has come to then I despair

 

Gosh, I thought the Hive was a new stadium.

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Having been at the Hive today I can only say that if that's a Super league venue I'll eat my hat.

If that is what professional RL in London has come to then I despair

Why? Was it worse than Wheldon Road?

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I havent been but from the pictures I've seen it looks more than adequate for a club of the current size of London Broncos. I thought the onus now was on what goes on on the pitch not some ground capacity grading.

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Yep, see your point but I was meaning grass roots as in youngsters, schools and the amateur game.   That is building an interest in the game over a admittedly long period and then hopefully seeing semi-pro club popping within an area that has a stronger root. i.e. interest in the game to build from.

I can see the argument that having a super league club could help as a catalyst for that.

Even in North Leeds where the Rhinos have won Superleague so many times in recent years we struggle for interest in playing RL because soccer is king in an overwhelming fashion. Equally we have RU junior clubs who are vying to get the lions share of the local kids. It's quite telling that my lad who is a Rhinos supporter since a toddler hasn't considered RL as he wants to be with his mates playing soccer, and his school play RU and so the only kids he knows who play club RU play for Yarnbury Junior RUFC. Slowly however after a lot of hard work by Leeds Rhinos community team interest in kids playing RL has taken an upturn through the senior sides playing success and through there being a professional team to encourage it and we now have "North Leeds leapords" and possibly another junior club close to where we are.

I've watched how this works. I've also counted the number of junior clubs in Leeds, Wigan, Warrington and Huddersfield and there's far far more than in Rochdale, Oldham, Swinton and Doncaster. If it's hard to get a kid playing RL in Leeds imagine how hard it would be to get them playing in Nottingham. Look at the grassroots growth in Sheffield 1984-2012?

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I've watched how this works. I've also counted the number of junior clubs in Leeds, Wigan, Warrington and Huddersfield and there's far far more than in Rochdale, Oldham, Swinton and Doncaster. If it's hard to get a kid playing RL in Leeds imagine how hard it would be to get them playing in Nottingham. Look at the grassroots growth in Sheffield 1984-2012?

 

And yet kids are playing in Nottingham. (http://www.nottinghamrl.co.uk/#) How can this be possible without a flagship club to get their interest?

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Even in North Leeds where the Rhinos have won Superleague so many times in recent years we struggle for interest in playing RL because soccer is king in an overwhelming fashion. Equally we have RU junior clubs who are vying to get the lions share of the local kids. It's quite telling that my lad who is a Rhinos supporter since a toddler hasn't considered RL as he wants to be with his mates playing soccer, and his school play RU and so the only kids he knows who play club RU play for Yarnbury Junior RUFC. Slowly however after a lot of hard work by Leeds Rhinos community team interest in kids playing RL has taken an upturn through the senior sides playing success and through there being a professional team to encourage it and we now have "North Leeds leapords" and possibly another junior club close to where we are.

I've watched how this works. I've also counted the number of junior clubs in Leeds, Wigan, Warrington and Huddersfield and there's far far more than in Rochdale, Oldham, Swinton and Doncaster. If it's hard to get a kid playing RL in Leeds imagine how hard it would be to get them playing in Nottingham. Look at the grassroots growth in Sheffield 1984-2012?

Yep, your right about Leeds and RL playing youngsters and hence your general observation on number of youngsters playing.  Mind you at least Leeds kick started a new initiative at the beginning of the year focused on getting more schools playing and youngsters playing at clubs via the foundation. Seems to have had some success and I went along to a couple of the school finals days played at Headingley and South Leeds Stadium. Really great to see the school teams getting a chance to play at the grounds and they where well attended with the kids from the schools cheering their teams.... especially the screaming girls support... very noisy.

 

Incidentally we all go to Leeds for the home games, that is my wife, myself and x3 grown up children,  We will be their on Friday with split loyalties. My son and I are really Saints fans and the missus and girls avid Leeds fans.    When we first married we lived for a short time in St Helen's hence the saints support (originally watched Huyton but enough said) but we moved to Yorkshire a while a go and nearest SL team being Leeds. Took the missus once when my son couldn't make it, literally had to drag her kicking and screaming so to speak but why waste the monies I said... now I've unleashed an avid can't get enough RL Leeds fan and we have to travel to most away games to keep her happy.... so Friday will be interesting..... any way I ramble on....

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And yet kids are playing in Nottingham. (http://www.nottinghamrl.co.uk/#) How can this be possible without a flagship club to get their interest?

 

Because they can see it on t'telly.

 

Nottingham Outlaws are doing a great job but how many kids have they got playing and how many kids are playing soccer ?

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And yet kids are playing in Nottingham. (http://www.nottinghamrl.co.uk/#) How can this be possible without a flagship club to get their interest?

 

You know as well as I do a small amount of people kids included play RL all over outside the M62 & Cumbria.

 

A few more play in places like Rochdale and York......

 

The big numbers are all in Superleague areas..........

 

Same for you, Fev/Cas/Wakey disappear out of SL is RL going up or down in the area?. The three clubs fold for good - will RL go up or down in the area?.

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You know as well as I do a small amount of people kids included play RL all over outside the M62 & Cumbria.

 

A few more play in places like Rochdale and York......

 

The big numbers are all in Superleague areas..........

 

Same for you, Fev/Cas/Wakey disappear out of SL is RL going up or down in the area?. The three clubs fold for good - will RL go up or down in the area?.

 

You're the one that believes that RL is only possible within spitting distance of a Super League stadium.  The big numbers are going to be clustered in the heartlands for a while yet, that's sort of why they are called the heartlands.

 

It's great that RL is being played countrywide, from little acorns and all that.

 

Just be happy at that, rather than sneering down at it from "SL is everything towers"

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1. You're the one that believes that RL is only possible within spitting distance of a Super League stadium.   

2. Just be happy at that, rather than sneering down at it from "SL is everything towers"

1. No, I believe that the best return on money lies with professional RL, It attracts money, it attracts quality players, it attracts spectators. It just does.

I'm amazed that you can't see this when Rovers charge for SL has big investors on board, better players want to join you, kids want to play in your academy and your looking at 5,000 crowds.

2. SL is nearly everything and you may remember the long thread we had when the question was where would we be if we had refused the TV deal. Just about everyone thought we'd have several clubs bust and gone, many more down to semi pro, much lower crowds, nobody wanting to invest and less people interested in playing the game.

It was Marauder and Trojan who agreed the game would go downhill, but both wanted to see the back of TV anyway and have much more of a minority but "pure" sport.

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1. No, I believe that the best return on money lies with professional RL, It attracts money, it attracts quality players, it attracts spectators. It just does.

I'm amazed that you can't see this when Rovers charge for SL has big investors on board, better players want to join you, kids want to play in your academy and your looking at 5,000 crowds.

2. SL is nearly everything and you may remember the long thread we had when the question was where would we be if we had refused the TV deal. Just about everyone thought we'd have several clubs bust and gone, many more down to semi pro, much lower crowds, nobody wanting to invest and less people interested in playing the game.

It was Marauder and Trojan who agreed the game would go downhill, but both wanted to see the back of TV anyway and have much more of a minority but "pure" sport.

\

I just watched the two videos posted on the forum today about the rise of RL in Fiji as recounted by the founders. Amazing and inspirational stuff.

From nothing to 39 clubs, RLWC semi finalists. A good bet to do well this year. In the schools. Players coming out of the woodwork and many getting life changing contracts with NRL clubs, They were all banned for life by the IRB, had to sleep on floor and mortgage houses to buy national team shirts. No chance of ever really taking off under your scenario because there is no SL or NRL in Fiji.

They are now sponsored by Vodaphone, get funding from the profits of the 2008 world Cup and are doing well. An amazing success story at club and international level with no NRL/SL anywhere in Fiji.

It does seem though that, at various times they got money from the ARL, NRL and sponsorship. That is what the game in the UK should be doing. Some of the Sky money should be used to assist the championship clubs, especially expansion clubs. if this were done some, even if it is only one, lower level wannabe or starter club could do a Fiji and rise to either be a SL club or produce players that could graduate towards SL.

The poster who accused you of looking down from "Super league Towers" has a point. There is no true path for expansion,both top down and bottom up are legitimate routes to success.

The Fiji story could just as well happen in Wales or Gateshead or Cumbria. If the fates allow and the runes are aligned, success will happen in the most unlikely places and from the humblest of beginnings. I think the top down or nothing approach to RL success is not the only way to go.

In truth the Fiji story is almost a latterday repeat of the Australian RL story and look at them now.

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You're the one that believes that RL is only possible within spitting distance of a Super League stadium.  The big numbers are going to be clustered in the heartlands for a while yet, that's sort of why they are called the heartlands.

Indeed.

The RL desert of North Leeds really undermines the idea a SL club will automatically inspire youngsters to take up the game. The reality is that they will only do so when community clubs like the Leopards spring up. And that usually requires RFL / Sport England money and volunteers' time.

The very thing that would get cut back in order to prop up a sinking flagship.

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Indeed.

The RL desert of North Leeds really undermines the idea a SL club will automatically inspire youngsters to take up the game. The reality is that they will only do so when community clubs like the Leopards spring up. And that usually requires RFL / Sport England money and volunteers' time.

The very thing that would get cut back in order to prop up a sinking flagship.

 

North Leeds being miles from an SL club of course.  It's probably four hours drive like it will be down here once London are gone.

 

The Sport England money that's for development is ringfenced, I believe.

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Why? Was it worse than Wheldon Road?

Couldn't comment on Wheldon Road, but a quick review of The Hive, having gone there on Saturday.

At either end, you've got a very small covered terrace. There were over 500 Lincoln fans in the away end and it felt quite full but not uncomfortable. Toilet facilities in the away stand are pretty basic, just a few loos in a portakabin.

One of the pitchside stands is just a few rows of seats along the back of the sports centre.

The main stand is much more like it though; a decent size and with good sized bar albeit the bar felt very sterile; just a counter and some taps, no decoration.

It's a short walk from Canons Park tube, which is in a very residential area. There is one bar near the tube, but most fans appeared to drink in Stanmore before the game, which has a Wetherspoon's (which didn't exactly seem ready for a load of rowdy Lincoln City fans singing "Ten German bombers") and is only one stop away.

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