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Scubby

Is the British game hypocrites in regards Catalans and Toulouse?

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In 2004 we admit a French side (Catalans) that was just mulling around in Elite 1, with no stadium to play in and a squad that would struggle to beat Rochdale. We gave them 2 years to prepare for SL and gave them exemption from relegation for 2 years.

In 2018 we are still p#ssing Toulouse about. Making them trawl through League 1 and then having to knock SL sides off to try and win promotion. No guarantees, no special lead-in time to SL, no exemptions. They've knocked off the likes of Widnes and Hull KR despite the system not because of it.

Catalans have been to Wembley twice in 12 years and are now Challenge Cup winners. Why have we ignored this proven route to success for clubs in France? Everyone loves their trips to Perpignan don't they? What do Toulouse have to prove if you compare their situation with Catalans inclusion? Over 4000 there today. Are we hypocrites or just too bloody minded?

 

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Catalans had the financial backing of Guasch and support from the local authorities. Toulouse don't have that to the same extent. They are doing it for themselves and likely would be in SL now with a licensing system, but it's not a direct comparison.

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Toulouse are absolutely earning their place in the hierarchies. They overwhelmed almost all their opposition in League One and then battled gallantly in the difficult second tier the following year. This year they have exceeded all expectations with a spectacular season yet unfinished and are knocking loudly on the golden portals of SL.

I understood their management were putting together a five year plan before considering themselves ready for the upcoming big step,so they are ahead of schedule and still haven't got all their ducks beak to tail. If their rate of progress continues and there's consolidation and team strengthening then they will be up there with the good and the great in a year or two anyway.

They don't seem ready yet but their progression is a joy to behold. The best is yet to come.

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8 minutes ago, Scubby said:

In 2004 we admit a French side (Catalans) that was just mulling around in Elite 1, with no stadium to play in and a squad that would struggle to beat Rochdale. We gave them 2 years to prepare for SL and gave them exemption from relegation for 2 years.

In 2018 we are still p#ssing Toulouse about. Making them trawl through League 1 and then having to knock SL sides off to try and win promotion. No guarantees, no special lead-in time to SL, no exemptions. They've knocked off the likes of Widnes and Hull KR despite the system not because of it.

Catalans have been to Wembley twice in 12 years and are now Challenge Cup winners. Why have we ignored this proven route to success for clubs in France? Everyone loves their trips to Perpignan don't they? What do Toulouse have to prove if you compare their situation with Catalans inclusion? Over 4000 there today. Are we hypocrites or just too bloody minded?

 

I’ve no idea why we don’t just give two SL spots to the FRL and let them decide how clubs get in and out of SL. Then adding more French clubs if/when they become ready. 

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1 minute ago, Evil Homer said:

Catalans had the financial backing of Guasch and support from the local authorities. Toulouse don't have that to the same extent. They are doing it for themselves and likely would be in SL now with a licensing system, but it's not a direct comparison.

They weren't invited to bid though. If you are invited to bid then you get backing for that bid. Look at any City of Culture or Sports Event bids.

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If it was up to me there would be a 14 team Super League with 2 French clubs guaranteed, as per the original Super League plan. With 2 French clubs a TV French Super League deal would be more attractive too and they could end up funding themselves and then some.

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Weren't Catalans invited to join SL for a set period to help the French National side? or are we wanting a half English half French SL and ignoring the good of the game in France itself?? 

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Toulouse has probably proved itself far more than Catalans did. Remember Catalans was a recently merged club playing in the French comp in front of about 1000-2000 crowds. Toulouse has put in the hard yards in the lower tiers, is beating incumbent SL teams and has been getting crowds of 3000 plus on occasions. The biggest hurdle is the ground situation but they are in a similar position to Catalans. There are grounds they can use while they push the local authorities to upgrade theirs like Catalans did. Unfortunately the structure means it’s all moot unless they buy their way up against other clubs doing the same.

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16 hours ago, East Coast Tiger said:

Toulouse has probably proved itself far more than Catalans did. Remember Catalans was a recently merged club playing in the French comp in front of about 1000-2000 crowds. Toulouse has put in the hard yards in the lower tiers, is beating incumbent SL teams and has been getting crowds of 3000 plus on occasions. The biggest hurdle is the ground situation but they are in a similar position to Catalans. There are grounds they can use while they push the local authorities to upgrade theirs like Catalans did. Unfortunately the structure means it’s all moot unless they buy their way up against other clubs doing the same.

Probably have, but TO don’t seem to have the backing of the City Mairie the same as Catalans have/did.  If they could get that, they might also get some backing from Aerospace and that would be tremendous.

Wrong about the Catalan crowds though.  I would say Cats average was similar to what TO is now, maybe a few hundred more and they certainly had decent crowds for a couple of finals I went to though at Carca and maybe narbonne iirc.  

Often not mentioned, but TO have been around for a long time.  It’s not like they’ve just popped up and are a new club deserving a shot.  The difference between them at CD would probably be Guasch was willing to sponsor them, whilst TO don’t seem as bullish.

BTW, Catalans have been at GB since the 60’s.

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18 hours ago, Wildcat said:

Weren't Catalans invited to join SL for a set period to help the French National side? or are we wanting a half English half French SL and ignoring the good of the game in France itself?? 

One club isn't enough to build the game in any country, never mind a very large one like France. How many professional French players were there pre-Catalans, in the early 2000s? I can think of Guisset, Houles, Elima. Any more?

These days we have probably 20-25 professional level French players running around Super League and the top of the Championship. The progress has been tremendous, even if the French team's results haven't.

In response to the OP - yes, Toulouse continue to build a fantastic case for Super League that I hope we don't squander. I think we are reaching the stage where even the Garry Schofields of RL are recognising what they bring as a club. I really hope they can get into the MPG.

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On 9/22/2018 at 9:08 PM, Scubby said:

In 2004 we admit a French side (Catalans) that was just mulling around in Elite 1, with no stadium to play in and a squad that would struggle to beat Rochdale. We gave them 2 years to prepare for SL and gave them exemption from relegation for 2 years.

In 2018 we are still p#ssing Toulouse about. Making them trawl through League 1 and then having to knock SL sides off to try and win promotion. No guarantees, no special lead-in time to SL, no exemptions. They've knocked off the likes of Widnes and Hull KR despite the system not because of it.

Catalans have been to Wembley twice in 12 years and are now Challenge Cup winners. Why have we ignored this proven route to success for clubs in France? Everyone loves their trips to Perpignan don't they? What do Toulouse have to prove if you compare their situation with Catalans inclusion? Over 4000 there today. Are we hypocrites or just too bloody minded?

 

I'd argue that the fast tracking of Catalan will turn out to be the mistake and the Toulouse/Toronto method will come to be regarded as a better blueprint, but until they have been around as long as Catalan it's impossible to say with any great certainty which method is more successful, and even then, there will always be other variables that can make direct comparisons unequal.

I just think that starting at the bottom and working your way up allows expansion clubs to grow organically. It ensures that by the time they reach Super League there is some body of evidence that they are as ready as anybody else currently outside of it, certainly on the field, and gives them time to adapt to the logistical and aministrative challenges of their new venture in a slightly more forgiving environment. It's also fair to existing clubs, and whilst there will always be a vocal minority against the presence of expansion clubs at any level, by enlarge it leads to their rise through the levels being embraced as a positive thing for the sport rather than fostering resentment over special treatment.

That isn't to say that fast tracking Catalan hasn't worked for them. We'll never know whether they'd be in a better, worse or similar predicament now had they started at the bottom, and in any case I'm pleased to see them in their current state of health. But i wouldn't want to see fast tracking repeated.

I do however hope that plenty more expansion teams follow in the footsteps of Toronto and Toulouse and that we see more of them in Super League before too long.

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I personally think if the RFL were mindful of expansion, they would have kept the Eights and marketed the entire professional game as "One League, Three Tiers".  It is clear as day to me that the League's are no longer exclusively an M62 endeavour or even a British endeavour, and shouldn't be treated as such.  

The LNR in French Rugby Union has two fully professional leagues that collectively contain over 30 professional rugby teams, with fluid movement of teams between the two leagues.  The LNR even has a long term plan to establish a 3rd Tier of Professional Rugby Union in the country with the expectation that a new Federale Elite division will be added to the LNR system. 

https://www.rugbyworld.com/news/french-rugby-enjoys-a-popularity-boom-68018

 

 

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27 minutes ago, CanadianRugger said:

I personally think if the RFL were mindful of expansion, they would have kept the Eights and marketed the entire professional game as "One League, Three Tiers".  It is clear as day to me that the League's are no longer exclusively an M62 endeavour or even a British endeavour, and shouldn't be treated as such. 

Lol it has never been an 'M62 endeavour'. The league was founded as SL Europe and the first match was in Paris v Sheffield. Know your history (that's RL not RU history BTW).

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1 hour ago, Evil Homer said:

Lol it has never been an 'M62 endeavour'. The league was founded as SL Europe and the first match was in Paris v Sheffield. Know your history (that's RL not RU history BTW).

The problem was they never told anybody else and don't really seem to want anyone else playing 😆

 

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2 hours ago, Evil Homer said:

Lol it has never been an 'M62 endeavour'. The league was founded as SL Europe and the first match was in Paris v Sheffield. Know your history (that's RL not RU history BTW).

Haha. Tell that to the 90% who claim to own the game in the north. Mention any non-English club entering and it’s “our league” and “why don’t they look after our backyard first?”

 

1 hour ago, CanadianRugger said:

The problem was they never told anybody else and don't really seem to want anyone else playing 😆

 

This is true.

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4 hours ago, Yakkers said:

I'd argue that the fast tracking of Catalan will turn out to be the mistake and the Toulouse/Toronto method will come to be regarded as a better blueprint, but until they have been around as long as Catalan it's impossible to say with any great certainty which method is more successful, and even then, there will always be other variables that can make direct comparisons unequal.

I just think that starting at the bottom and working your way up allows expansion clubs to grow organically. It ensures that by the time they reach Super League there is some body of evidence that they are as ready as anybody else currently outside of it, certainly on the field, and gives them time to adapt to the logistical and aministrative challenges of their new venture in a slightly more forgiving environment. It's also fair to existing clubs, and whilst there will always be a vocal minority against the presence of expansion clubs at any level, by enlarge it leads to their rise through the levels being embraced as a positive thing for the sport rather than fostering resentment over special treatment.

That isn't to say that fast tracking Catalan hasn't worked for them. We'll never know whether they'd be in a better, worse or similar predicament now had they started at the bottom, and in any case I'm pleased to see them in their current state of health. But i wouldn't want to see fast tracking repeated.

I do however hope that plenty more expansion teams follow in the footsteps of Toronto and Toulouse and that we see more of them in Super League before too long.

There are arguments either way and the organic method certainly didn't work for Celtic Crusaders. I think ultimately what Toronto and Catalans have both shown is that as long as the club is well financed, well supported by fans and sponsors and has a decent ground that it can call its own then any club has the building blocks to succeed, regardless of the method used.

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3 hours ago, Damien said:

There are arguments either way and the organic method certainly didn't work for Celtic Crusaders. I think ultimately what Toronto and Catalans have both shown is that as long as the club is well financed, well supported by fans and sponsors and has a decent ground that it can call its own then any club has the building blocks to succeed, regardless of the method used.

Well Crusaders wasn't entirely organic as they lost in the Championship play offs and only got in to Super League via licencing, but i think their biggest problem was just appauling management. I don't think moving to the opposite end of the country out of easy reach of their existing fan base was a good idea either, but they probably began life in the wrong city to start with. Which is part of the problem the current nomadic South/West Wales club are having in my opinion. Like i said, there will always be variables that make it hard to compare like with like.

You're right, both methods can work for the club concerned, competent management is undoubtedly a bigger factor than how they get there, but I still fancy that time will show the organic method to be more successful. And crucially, it is the only method that is fair to existing clubs and keeps the vast majority pulling in the same direction on expansion rather than causing rifts and division in the sport.

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If the "organic method" was going to work. It would have already worked. If the "organic method" was going to work the problem of the lack of geographical growth would never have been a problem.

Les Catalans were appraised as ready, given time to prepare, given the time and space to grow and adjust and have been an unmitigated success.

Being a good championship club does not prepare you for being a good SL club. They require different things.

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1 hour ago, scotchy1 said:

Les Catalans were appraised as ready, given time to prepare, given the time and space to grow and adjust and have been an unmitigated success.

They are also the only expansion club who were admitted using this method, giving it a 100% success rate. So of course it was abandoned.

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1 minute ago, damp squib said:

They are also the only expansion club who were admitted using this method, giving it a 100% success rate. So of course it was abandoned.

Its crazy that Les Catalans arent the blueprint for new clubs.

We did something with a plan for how it would work, it worked perfectly, So of course its not something to repeated.

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3 hours ago, scotchy1 said:

If the "organic method" was going to work. It would have already worked. If the "organic method" was going to work the problem of the lack of geographical growth would never have been a problem.

Les Catalans were appraised as ready, given time to prepare, given the time and space to grow and adjust and have been an unmitigated success.

Being a good championship club does not prepare you for being a good SL club. They require different things.

One swallow doesn't make a summer. If fast tracking was such a perfect solution then London, Gateshead, Paris and Celtic Crusaders would all be long established succesful Super League clubs now.

That they aren't doesn't necessarily mean fast tracking can't work for the club that benefits from it, like i said previously, there will always be other factors at play that mean you're never quite comparing like for like, same with the organic route which has had plenty of failures of its own. But the hit rate of fast tracking is hardly compelling evidence that it's worth the inevitable sense of injustice that will turn large numbers of the sport's followers against one another and against expansion as a concept. Far better to keep the vast majority enthused about expansion.

If in 5 or 10 years time Toronto and Toulouse are emulating Catalan it won't prove that they wouldn't have achieved the same via fast tracking, nor does it mean every club that tries to go organic is going to make it.

What it would prove though is that expansion can be achieved in a manner that isn't unfair to existing clubs, thus keeping fans of the sport much more united behind the virtues of expansion than would be the case if a sense of injustice was allowed to cause a rift.

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1 minute ago, Yakkers said:

One swallow doesn't make a summer. If fast tracking was such a perfect solution then London, Gateshead, Paris and Celtic Crusaders would all be long established succesful Super League clubs now.

That they aren't doesn't necessarily mean fast tracking can't work for the club that benefits from it, like i said previously, there will always be other factors at play that mean you're never quite comparing like for like, same with the organic route which has had plenty of failures of its own. But the hit rate of fast tracking is hardly compelling evidence that it's worth the inevitable sense of injustice that will turn large numbers of the sport's followers against one another and against expansion as a concept. Far better to keep the vast majority enthused about expansion.

If in 5 or 10 years time Toronto and Toulouse are emulating Catalan it won't prove that they wouldn't have achieved the same via fast tracking, nor does it mean every club that tries to go organic is going to make it.

What it would prove though is that expansion can be achieved in a manner that isn't unfair to existing clubs, thus keeping fans of the sport much more united behind the virtues of expansion than would be the case if a sense of injustice was allowed to cause a rift.

London went the organic method, as did Celtic. Paris were a silly idea poorly executed and Gateshead were never even given funding before being sacrificed for Hull.

None were admitted in the same way les Catalans were. The fact we are talking about a 80 year old club being 'fast-tracked' shows that the organic method doesnt work.

We have tried the Les Catalans method precisely once. It worked brilliantly. We have tried the organic method a huge number of times and it is littered with failure.

I honestly couldnt care less about those who would whine about a club being fast-tracked. Just because they make a lot of noise doesnt mean they are right, just because they claim injustice doesnt mean it is real.

Its self-interest masquerading as fairness and a terrible reason to hold the game back. It is also impossible for this game not to have someone, somewhere whining about some imagined burning injustice anyway, so its really not something you can worry about.

 

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7 minutes ago, scotchy1 said:

London went the organic method, as did Celtic. Paris were a silly idea poorly executed and Gateshead were never even given funding before being sacrificed for Hull.

None were admitted in the same way les Catalans were. The fact we are talking about a 80 year old club being 'fast-tracked' shows that the organic method doesnt work.

We have tried the Les Catalans method precisely once. It worked brilliantly. We have tried the organic method a huge number of times and it is littered with failure.

I honestly couldnt care less about those who would whine about a club being fast-tracked. Just because they make a lot of noise doesnt mean they are right, just because they claim injustice doesnt mean it is real.

Its self-interest masquerading as fairness and a terrible reason to hold the game back. It is also impossible for this game not to have someone, somewhere whining about some imagined burning injustice anyway, so its really not something you can worry about.

 

London and Celtic were placed in Super League, not promoted.

I could give you lots of 'if onlys' about failed organic expansion in the same way you have Gateshead and Paris.

It is not imagined injustice, it is very real and blatant unfairness.

Yes there will always be someone moaning no matter what you do, but surely it's better to keep this number to a minimum and certainly preferable to keep the vast majority enthused about expansion than turned against it.

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1 minute ago, Yakkers said:

London and Celtic were placed in Super League, not promoted.

I could give you lots of 'if onlys' about failed organic expansion in the same way you have Gateshead and Paris.

It is not imagined injustice, it is very real and blatant unfairness.

Yes there will always be someone moaning no matter what you do, but surely it's better to keep this number to a minimum and certainly preferable to keep the vast majority enthused about expansion than turned against it.

When Super League expanded to 14, the top two clubs in the league below were promoted. They were Salford and Celtic.

Celtic played in league 1, and the championship. They came 2nd and were promoted when SL expanded by two. L1 fans moaned it was unfair when they were in L1, Championship clubs moaned it was unfair when they were in the Championship. Both moaned it was unfair when they were in SL. Putting them in league 1 and asking them to build their way to SL didnt stop those same people moaning and imagining some sort of injustice took place. We still hear about it 10 years later.

We asked the same of Toronto, they have by no means been welcomed with open arms and those same fans still moan about some injustice that Toronto are somehow perpetrating in some way.

And it isnt blatant unfairness. What it is, is un-examined privilege suddenly not being enough. Its the systems and structures put in place by the game for the benefit of the heartlands no longer being an unassailable barrier to new entrants and to those who have been the beneficiaries of those systems and structures seeing no long being enough of a beneficiary as unfairness. The low salary cap, the quota rules the lack of funding, the concentration on the heartland in terms of development all served to exclude expansion areas. It continues to do so. Allowing expansion clubs the time and space and stability to enter SL like Les Catalans isnt unfair. Its the opposite, it address existing unfairness.

Its also not the vast majority that we are talking about. The vast majority are enthused about expansion, the vast majority were hugely enthused by Les Catalans entrance to SL, how they entered, their contribution since entry. It is, as always, a very noisy minority looking to protect their vested interests and their little fiefdom.

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