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Number 16

Broken Time Payments & RL's origin - socialist or capitalist

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Okay, maybe an overly simplistic thread title for a complex issue but do people have views on this (without turning it into a political slug fest)?

Fair remuneration for workers who were also players was a driving force, as was the club boards made up of self made men and business men who maybe had different motives for professionalism.

Any views?

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I think it was more revolutionary liberalism. Liberal in the sense of freedom - why can't people be paid for playing rugby, if someone is willing to pay them? Revolutionary in the sense that it was a direct challenge to the authority of the upper middle classes who ran the sport at that time and were trying to impose their values (amateurism) on everyone else.

Whatever it was, 1895 and the creation of the Northern Union is something to be very proud of!

Edited by Steam Pig
Grammatical error
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Social democracy. 

Owners exhibiting a little bit of economic entrepreneurialism and the players saying, we’ll have a bit thank you.

Both giving an appropriate two fingers to an established elite who wanted them to stay in their respective places. 

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1 hour ago, Number 16 said:

Okay, maybe an overly simplistic thread title for a complex issue but do people have views on this (without turning it into a political slug fest)?

Fair remuneration for workers who were also players was a driving force, as was the club boards made up of self made men and business men who maybe had different motives for professionalism.

Any views?

Basically the clubs boards were not in it for personal profit so much as achieving success as a club. No doubt fair remuneration was in everyone's interest so no real capitalism or socialism unless you consider success as profit and pay higher wages

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12 minutes ago, super major said:

Basically the clubs boards were not in it for personal profit so much as achieving success as a club. No doubt fair remuneration was in everyone's interest so no real capitalism or socialism unless you consider success as profit and pay higher wages

I'm guessing that RL started with broken payments and evolved into payment for results (winning bonus!) and part time working by players. Further evolving with some players helping found jobs.

This strikes me as somewhat similar to the Welsh RU, but their payments were under the counter.

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Always remember one thing. Players were not being paid for playing rugby, that would have made them professional. They were being compensated for missing a shift at work.

There is a huge difference. The NFU were as strict about players being amateur as the RU were. 

Anyone believed to be making his living from playing was banned. Union chaps of course could receive expenses as this wouldn't pollute a real gentleman

This therefore wasn't political, just very pragmatic 

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Straight forward capitalism and one time I'm very grateful for it, if only it always turned out so fantastic.

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26 minutes ago, Oxford said:

Straight forward capitalism and one time I'm very grateful for it, if only it always turned out so fantastic.

It wasn't though, the Northern Union Rules on professionalism were stricter than the RFU had. It was authoritarianism from the club boards demanding that the game was honest and open and not professional and telling players that they could not profit from the game.

They main driving force though was top clubs having control of the competitions they played in, sound familiar?

 

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5 minutes ago, Padge said:

It wasn't though, the Northern Union Rules on professionalism were stricter than the RFU had.

Capitalism: workers allowed to earn but how much controlled by the bosses .... simples.

Being stricter was probably a reflection that they felt there was every chance they might have to return with their tails between their legs.

We got TGG out of it, so all good for mine.

 

Edited by Oxford

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2 minutes ago, Oxford said:

Capitalism: workers allowed to earn but how much controlled by the bosses .... simples.

Being stricter was probably a reflection that they felt there was every chance they might have to return with their tails between their legs.

We got TGG out of it, so all good for mine.

 

Workers were not being allowed to earn, they were compensated for losses. How hard is that to understand.

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6 minutes ago, Padge said:

Workers were not being allowed to earn, they were compensated for losses. How hard is that to understand.

I think you need to look at what clubs hide/ hid and understand bending breaking rules and being economic with the truth. in other words, all the hallmarks of capitalism.

The Players who came north wouldn't have come for a bit of compensation.

We got TGG they got yawn, we got Simply the best they got 100 years of shamateurism!

Edited by Oxford
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From everything I have read on the subject it was less to do with the economics than the power struggle for control of the game at the time.  By the 1890's while the RFU was the controlling body, the powerful clubs were all in the north - often owned and run by the same people that owned and ran the industries in which the players worked during the week.  It was a working class powerhouse that was on the verge of controlling the game.

The introduction of the phrase and definition 'professional' and the opposing 'amateur gentleman player' was really just because of this power struggle... in 1888 the British Lions tour to Australia paid its players to tour so there was no real crackdown on payments before then.

At the behest of the southern gentlemen clubs the RFU cracked down on professionalism which was defined as any financial remuneration for playing - even if it was just to compensate for loss of earnings with northern working class players typically working a 6 day week and so missing work to play on a Saturday.

The northern club owners were in a pickle.  I am sure they did not want to leave the Union but their success on the field and their club support from the community would be under pressure if their top players could not play as they had to work.  How many 'gentleman players' could they call upon?

Things came to a head and the northern teams were threatened with expulsion by the RFU if they did not cease with broken time payments and so they met and agreed to break away and form the Northern Union.

As mentioned above, this did not immediately bring the onset of professional players as it was broken time payments only that were allowed.

The rest is history.

What is the political definition of this... I don't really know, I would call it social democracy if pushed.

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Basically, the working class were paid, the middle and upper class received 'expenses'. There was one season at the back end of the nineteenth century when cricket reported that Dr. W. G. Grace's expenses had been £6000, the equivalent of over half a million now.

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7 minutes ago, Chronicler of Chiswick said:

when cricket reported that Dr. W. G. Grace's expenses had been £6000, the equivalent of over half a million now.

When other players were not allowed to run after the ball while NU players did a weeks work, seems fair to me.

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21 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

I would call it social democracy if pushed.

Certainly was a symptom  of social change.

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Don't ignore the influence of the Football League on all this (at the time an exclusively North/Midlands enterprise).

It provided both competition for Northern clubs and a blueprint for how a competitive league could be organised.

It had effectively wrested control from the Old Boys at the FA.

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8 minutes ago, headtackle said:

wasnt just about pay.

It was for the players, I would think.

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Yes am sure it was but dont underestimate the push for league tables and cups.

If I remember rightly Union did not have league tables for years (into the 80s) at a guess. Clubs had regular fixtures and the papers used to publish W/L records in some sort of merit table for a comparison but that was nothing formal.

  

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I have always understood that there were a few other factors at play, not necessarily mentioned explicitly on here so far.

First, was the view that it was noble to take part in recreational activity without pay, the 'Corinthian' spirit; well, yes, if you can afford to...!  This wasn't peculiar to rugby union.  You see the same attitude in, for instance, athletics, while soccer managed to have two approaches side by side - amateur and professional.  The former gave us sides like the Corinthian Casuals, but over the decades arguably became compromised (like, some would say, Welsh rugby union), so that in the closing years of the old FA Amateur Cup, for instance, the dominance of north-eastern teams from the Northern League (itself, I believe, the world's second oldest soccer league) was somewhat farcical as they were, de facto, semi-professional.

Second, although players in the NU may have felt they deserved to be paid, a more immediate consideration was probably that club directors often knew that their best players would be forced to make themselves unavailable if there were no broken time payments; such working class players simply could not afford not to work a full working week (as it then was).

Third was the issue of competition.  The RFU seems to have disliked this and watched with either alarm, contempt or both, as the association code embraced it fully.  In the north, the Yorkshire RFU had established the Yorkshire Cup as early as 1878, as a knock-out competition, but the RFU never liked it, I understand.  However, NU clubs (and their owners, in particular) could see from soccer's burgeoning success that competitions, including week-in-week-out leagues, were popular with the paying public.

Fourth, there quickly became a different emphasis, which would soon affect the playing rules.  It is easy to forget that the emphasis in union was on playing, not watching (and maybe, to an extent, it still is).  the concept of professional sides striving to increase spectator numbers is a phenomenon that is barely twenty years old in the 15-man code.  Spectating at union was largely centred on internationals and the county championship, the latter of which would have had a profile within the sport that it has now lost.  The notion of watching club matches was rudimentary, and of course all such games were played just for the fun of the immediate encounter; no league structure, so no points won or lost.  If a match could not be played on the scheduled date it was - to be linguistically precise - cancelled, not postponed.

Fifth, there may well have been unease in the south about the apparent technical superiority of northern clubs' play.  This most obviously manifested itself in the county championship which was inaugurated in 1889 and was won by Yorkshire in seven of its first eight seasons; Lancashire won the other!  No doubt that would have encouraged a view in London and the home counties that the loss of the mercenary element from parts of the north was not a great cause for concern!

All the above makes me understand, with the benefit of hindsight, that the great split of 1895 was frankly inevitable.

 

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2 hours ago, PrimroseAndBlue said:

If I'm not mistaken, the Northern Union originally would ban players if they could not show that they had a full-time means of employment.

Correct, and some 'jobs' couldn't be used as employment.

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1 hour ago, Wiltshire Warrior Dragon said:

I have always understood that there were a few other factors at play, not necessarily mentioned explicitly on here so far.

First, was the view that it was noble to take part in recreational activity without pay, the 'Corinthian' spirit; well, yes, if you can afford to...!  This wasn't peculiar to rugby union.  You see the same attitude in, for instance, athletics, while soccer managed to have two approaches side by side - amateur and professional.  The former gave us sides like the Corinthian Casuals, but over the decades arguably became compromised (like, some would say, Welsh rugby union), so that in the closing years of the old FA Amateur Cup, for instance, the dominance of north-eastern teams from the Northern League (itself, I believe, the world's second oldest soccer league) was somewhat farcical as they were, de facto, semi-professional.

Second, although players in the NU may have felt they deserved to be paid, a more immediate consideration was probably that club directors often knew that their best players would be forced to make themselves unavailable if there were no broken time payments; such working class players simply could not afford not to work a full working week (as it then was).

Third was the issue of competition.  The RFU seems to have disliked this and watched with either alarm, contempt or both, as the association code embraced it fully.  In the north, the Yorkshire RFU had established the Yorkshire Cup as early as 1878, as a knock-out competition, but the RFU never liked it, I understand.  However, NU clubs (and their owners, in particular) could see from soccer's burgeoning success that competitions, including week-in-week-out leagues, were popular with the paying public.

Fourth, there quickly became a different emphasis, which would soon affect the playing rules.  It is easy to forget that the emphasis in union was on playing, not watching (and maybe, to an extent, it still is).  the concept of professional sides striving to increase spectator numbers is a phenomenon that is barely twenty years old in the 15-man code.  Spectating at union was largely centred on internationals and the county championship, the latter of which would have had a profile within the sport that it has now lost.  The notion of watching club matches was rudimentary, and of course all such games were played just for the fun of the immediate encounter; no league structure, so no points won or lost.  If a match could not be played on the scheduled date it was - to be linguistically precise - cancelled, not postponed.

Fifth, there may well have been unease in the south about the apparent technical superiority of northern clubs' play.  This most obviously manifested itself in the county championship which was inaugurated in 1889 and was won by Yorkshire in seven of its first eight seasons; Lancashire won the other!  No doubt that would have encouraged a view in London and the home counties that the loss of the mercenary element from parts of the north was not a great cause for concern!

All the above makes me understand, with the benefit of hindsight, that the great split of 1895 was frankly inevitable.

 

Generally corectish. I will go in a bit more detail when I get home.

 

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