Just read an interview with Tony Smith and he summed up some of my feelings about the direction the sport is taking and my reservations about the leadership of the sport in the UK.
Watching the interview with Nigel Wood on the BBC more or less confirmed what I was thinking, that he is not fit to take the sport in this country forward and take on the challenges which it faces in order to compete with other sports in this country and the NRL for vital sponsorship and playing resources.
I started a seperate thread as this is not purely about promotion/relegation but the way Rugby League is being led in this country, I honestly believe the sport is going down the wrong path and not tackling the real issues in Rugby League governance, such as effective management, lack of corporate activity, development of the international scene etc, I don't think there is too much wrong with SL it just needs tweaking not a complete overhaul.
By overhauling the structure of the sport we will strip back all of the good work that was taken on during the Richard Lewis era, such as developing more english players, and creating stronger governance of the sport in the other home nations.
Now that the sport is being led by someone from within the sport who was chief exec at Halifax, it is now more clearer why it was more beneficial for someone not involved in RL such as Richard Lewis, he had a less emotive objective perspective of what was needed to develop RL over here.
It was always great to see Richard Lewis being interviewed, he was precise, clear and most importantly confident about where the sport needed to go, there was no flip flopping, leaving it to the clubs or making decisions based on what might deemed to be popular opinion. He was confident and the sport looked confident as a result.
The current administration smacks of a return to 'RL people' governing the sport with a lack of objectivity, clarity, but worse of all it's pandering to the sports own insularity. I have no understanding of its strategy and worse of all the clubs are being afforded too much power and too much of a say in the way the sport should be run.
Let's compare this to the new NRL commission, the clubs have effectively handed over control of the overall running of the sport to the new body, they act as advisors and communicate with the body from a business led perspective. But ultimately the new commission is leading the sport at all levels and putting in place procedures and processes based on research by proven experts like Jim Doyle and Todd Greenberg to name but two, decisions aren't being left to SL or Championship chairman or they are providing leadership on well thought out principles. They are looking outwards to promote the sport at all levels and re-energise international football, I believe the sport over here is looking inwards and retreating within itself and not consolidating the gains made during the Lewis era.
An example of this is a mooted return of the British Lions. My first issue with this and the biggest flaw is that it's not really a British team, if it was brought back tomorrow there would be no scots, irish and no welsh (although there are some great players coming through) ready to play for this team so on one level bringing back the Lions appears progressive but it's just england in a different guise. We are kidding ourselves, The average sports viewing joe public man on the street knows this and won't be kidded it has no resemblance to its union counterpart and I wonder what the sport has to gain by reintroducing this. Attendances at Lions fixtures before it was put to bed indicates its true popularity , it was never a roaring success and returning is a part of the retreating that I've indicated, we need to focus more on improving Wales, Ireland and Scotland.
The return of p and r is also a part of this retreatment, returning to concepts which only worked in hindsight and not at the time of it existing. But I have gone over that in another thread.
See below for the link to the Tony Smith article, its an interesting read