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EssexRL

Rugby league in London, what next?

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Most discussions on this board about RL in London have focused on the plight of Broncos but RL in London is about much more than one team: including Skolars and a growing number of amateur clubs. As a southern (Berkshire) born and bred RL fan and Skolars season ticket holder I believe the greatest game deserves and needs to grow outside the heatlands. Lets be honest must RL fans rightly think our sport should be bigger than it is. London and the south has to be part of that, so looking forward and being positive - what do we need to do to grow the sport in London? (Looking forward answers only please?)

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Good luck with that.

Thanks but thats not really the point is it? How do WE build and expand RL? Bit like NI punk bands in 77/78 like SLF, Rudi et al, could have stayed regional but got UK wide attention. Ditto RL, how do we build it.

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Thanks but thats not really the point is it? How do WE build and expand RL? Bit like NI punk bands in 77/78 like SLF, Rudi et al, could have stayed regional but got UK wide attention. Ditto RL, how do we build it.

Success instantly springs to mind. It's very hard to market a losing team, especially one with an uncertain future.

What London needs more than most however is consistency. The Broncos to remain in Barnet and gradually build and grow, Skolars and particularly Hemel are still relatively young clubs at this level.

There's no overnight solution; barring a millionaire. But success on the field for all clubs and creating habits for the neutral in attending the odd game or event can really build positive reputations.

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Thanks but thats not really the point is it? How do WE build and expand RL? Bit like NI punk bands in 77/78 like SLF, Rudi et al, could have stayed regional but got UK wide attention. Ditto RL, how do we build it.

I totally agree with you 100%. The problem being many people in RL don't and are perfectly happy to see it remain as a game for areas of Yorkshire and Lancashire. In fact more than this, they vehemently oppose anyone else getting involved.

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For a successful SL team you'd probably need the following things:

1. A committed owner - Hughes needs to go imo. Richard Lamb lives in London ffs, we should be chasing him up to buy the club. Otherwise target a businessman based in London or someone involved in another sport. 

2. A solid youth base - we currently have that with quality younger players coming through, but you need a bit of quality and experience to supplement them, to build a competitive team.

3. An audience and a good marketing plan - we don't really seem to have a target audience for our fanbase and no one knows we exist, you pretty much have to discover the club yourself. A strong marketing plan to promote the club, both through the internet and through local businesses is the way forward. Target and promote the club to locals, with novel marketing ideas and not just the same old generic ideas.

4. Based in SW/W London - imo that's where the club's strongest base was and with the best development in youth was from, Barnet hasn't worked and the pitch is probably too small for RL anyway. 

5. Showing respect to the fans - no wonder so many have walked away when the club treats them like dirt for years. 

 

If the club worked on those 5 things, I think we could have a solid 5-8k fanbase and compete in the SL. 

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There needs to be centralised management and control of rugby league at all levels in London. There's some great things happening at community level in and around the M25 but the whole 'network' needs knitting together with each grassroots club feeding into the tier one club.

This would avoid some of the awful scheduling that has occurred previously (ie, staging Broncos games at the same time as most of the RL community is indisposed) and allow each community club to be part of the Broncos' marketing arm.

The relationship between the Broncos, the community clubs and the RFL needs to be symbiotic.

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Thanks but thats not really the point is it? How do WE build and expand RL? Bit like NI punk bands in 77/78 like SLF, Rudi et al, could have stayed regional but got UK wide attention. Ditto RL, how do we build it.

So we need a really powerful first couple of singles and first album?

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For a successful SL team you'd probably need the following things:

1. A committed owner

2. A solid youth base

3. An audience 

 

Of course but the question is how do we get those things?

 

Sorry to disagree with you on "Marketing", you need an attractive product first.

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Most discussions on this board about RL in London have focused on the plight of Broncos but RL in London is about much more than one team: including Skolars and a growing number of amateur clubs. As a southern (Berkshire) born and bred RL fan and Skolars season ticket holder I believe the greatest game deserves and needs to grow outside the heatlands. Lets be honest must RL fans rightly think our sport should be bigger than it is. London and the south has to be part of that, so looking forward and being positive - what do we need to do to grow the sport in London? (Looking forward answers only please?)

 

You need the exact same thing that has grown the sport in Leeds, Wigan, St.Helens, Warrington, Hull, Bradford, Perpignan etc.

 

A decent professional club in the locality.

 

Take a look at where and how the game does grow, and just do the same. 

 

It's not a northern thing, after all the game has failed to grow in Sheffield, Rochdale, Swinton, Doncaster, Blackpool etc.

 

Look at the growth in South Wales for the very short time they had a professional club on the up. Look at the low level amateur clubs outside the north who have had little growth for many years.  

 

I'ts a tired old debate and here we go again, but if London had a top eight team what do you think the growth would be against the growth if London only had a couple of CC1 clubs.

 

As people are indicating Melbourne Storm are the answer, funding it is the problem.

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You need the exact same thing that has grown the sport in Leeds, Wigan, St.Helens, Warrington, Hull, Bradford, Perpignan etc.

A decent professional club in the locality.

Take a look at where and how the game does grow, and just do the same.

It's not a northern thing, after all the game has failed to grow in Sheffield, Rochdale, Swinton, Doncaster, Blackpool etc.

Look at the growth in South Wales for the very short time they had a professional club on the up. Look at the low level amateur clubs outside the north who have had little growth for many years.

I'ts a tired old debate and here we go again, but if London had a top eight team what do you think the growth would be against the growth if London only had a couple of CC1 clubs.

As people are indicating Melbourne Storm are the answer, funding it is the problem.

What are CC1 clubs?

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If the RFL really want to persevere with London (I wouldn't but that's another argument) perhaps a good idea would be to play the Magic Weekend at a London soccer ground, but not on the same day as the FA Cup Final. It would be a good weekend away for the fans and in the old Wembley weekend slot would perhaps fill a void in their sporting lives.

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Of course but the question is how do we get those things?

 

Sorry to disagree with you on "Marketing", you need an attractive product first.

 

1. Richard Lamb, who was keen on buying Bradford, is based in London. Why not chase him up and ask why he wouldn't be interested? If he would, then get him on as owner asap.

2. The RFL should pay for 2/3 development officers in London and the SE, to continue helping develop the young talent coming through. More of an effort to tie down youngsters to longer contracts needs to be made, but without a committed owner in it for the long haul, we won't be able to. Once you have the nucleus of the side with youth, you can build the rest.

3. The old fans who no longer come, locals to the stadium (wherever they're based), school kids, students, sports fans, disillusioned/non-league football fans etc.

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I think one of the key things to have a strong London club, is for them to own their own stadium. The only way I can see that happening, is if there is a link up with a non league club, then raising enough money to buy the stadium from them. By that, I don't mean Barnet as they're still FT, but further down the pyramid, like Tooting & Mitcham, Sutton United, Hampton & Richmond etc. Then obviously, build a couple of stands on the grounds to improve the standard. 

 

The dream would be the AFC Wimbledon stadium gets the go ahead and we ground share with them, but they'd probably want a deal where they keep all the gate receipts and we'd be in no better position than now at The Hive. 

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Not sure if this has been mentioned before or not  but maybe the NAME of the club can have an impact,

London Barnet, London Enfield, Harringey, Fulham  etc, surely a name linked to the area it is baesd

in would make a better impact,

Never did like the name London Broncos  or Harlequins RL,

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Not sure if this has been mentioned before or not  but maybe the NAME of the club can have an impact,

London Barnet, London Enfield, Harringey, Fulham  etc, surely a name linked to the area it is baesd

in would make a better impact,

Never did like the name London Broncos  or Harlequins RL,

 

Yeah I agree, a more regional name is needed rather than London, although you don't really need one imo, like Quins, Saracens, Wasps, Arsenal etc. 'Broncos' is a terrible name and has nothing to do with London or England, whatsoever. 

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Yeah I agree, a more regional name is needed rather than London, although you don't really need one imo, like Quins, Saracens, Wasps, Arsenal etc. 'Broncos' is a terrible name and has nothing to do with London or England, whatsoever.

The broncos name should have ended when the partnership with Brisbane ended, they should go back to the crusaders name if they stick with being called London.

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The broncos name should have ended when the partnership with Brisbane ended, they should go back to the crusaders name if they stick with being called London.

I partly agree with you on this, the Broncos name is just as much connected to Brisbane Broncos as Quins RL was tp Harlequins RU.

The most recent name change was a chance to put this right but as usual we took the wrong choice.

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What you need is an identified market.  That is tricky.  

 

Despite what many people think, there is no mass market region of London looking for a new sport in London, so the location does not matter that much.

 

Rather than wondering who wants to watch a sport in London, we should ask who is not watching live sport, but could.

 

That, and do not use Runcorn Highfield as a model of how to run a club.

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Also what you've got to remember about London, is it a largely cosmopolitan city with people from all different backgrounds around the globe. A lot of the time, the only sports they would recognize are football, athletics and basketball, which is part of the reason why they have such high participation rates. RL is still seen as being a 'white Anglo Saxon sport', but it's slowly changing, especially in London where we're seeing players from Eastern European backgrounds, African, Caribbean ad Asian backgrounds playing the sport. It's something RL needs to use to its advantage. For example if a Londoner with Turkish descent doesn't make it in football or basketball, where else are they going to go? You don't see any Turkish cricketers or rugby union players, RL should be searching minority cultures for players and it will start to relate to the minority cultures in the region and from there you can start to grow an interest. 

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So we need a really powerful first couple of singles and first album?

And the equivalents of Terri Hooley and John Peel.  Then we've got it cracked  ;)

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And the equivalents of Terri Hooley and John Peel. Then we've got it cracked ;)

I think in the music business timing is very important. So if for example Inflammable Material had come out five years later or five years earlier then it may have done nothing. The timing has to be right. I am not sure the relevance of that statement but it may be relevant in some way. I recall hearing an account of RL in Wales where a club was set up in the 19226/27 in Pontypridd and it was a complete failure because it was launched at the wrong time. While at other times circumstances were more favourable but chances were not taken.

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Yeah I agree, a more regional name is needed rather than London, although you don't really need one imo, like Quins, Saracens, Wasps, Arsenal etc. 'Broncos' is a terrible name and has nothing to do with London or England, whatsoever. 

Nevertheless it is the name that is most recognized and identified with. Broncos really don't need any new names, they have had far too many identities already, this is their main problem.

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1. Richard Lamb, who was keen on buying Bradford, is based in London. Why not chase him up and ask why he wouldn't be interested? If he would, then get him on as owner asap.

2. The RFL should pay for 2/3 development officers in London and the SE, to continue helping develop the young talent coming through. More of an effort to tie down youngsters to longer contracts needs to be made, but without a committed owner in it for the long haul, we won't be able to. Once you have the nucleus of the side with youth, you can build the rest.

3. The old fans who no longer come, locals to the stadium (wherever they're based), school kids, students, sports fans, disillusioned/non-league football fans etc.

 

Lamb knows there's a London club to pick up he also know there's a bill of several £Million a year to pay for over a decade to make the club competitive at Superleague level, and heavy bills to use a suitable ground. He also knows SLE/RFL will provide no real help at all, and that the club will be good for 500 fans a game whilst the young players will have to aim north or concentrate on Union for a pro career whilst he's footing all these bills.

 

Love all the positiveness of the posts, it's just what RFL/SLE need to get them off the hook of abandoning the game in a retreat to the north

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IMO the northern clubs benefit from being in a network of clubs. Players, coaches, know-how etc can pass from one club to another. They also benefit from short travel times to games and being easy to reach for away fans.

 

For RL to succeed in London and the south, it is necessary to replicate this network down south. It's going to take time but progress has already been made.

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