I posted here a week or so ago about developing Juniors and School teams and a few people said that was rubbish.
Football (Soccer) has a huge following, why is that? because most people have played the game at some level, be it at School, the local 7th grade team in a Village or Town, in some way there has been a connection.Or there has been so many with a connection that the game looks like the game that is popular and the game to follow for the ones that have never played any Sport.
Australia has built the game where it is today in Oz by the local communities that promote the Juniors and their local games between small towns in the bush and country towns.
When SOO is played and they show the players photos and profiles look at where they come from, small local clubs built around local communities.
Build the foundations with the enthusiasts and get the game into all of the local Schools, its not a Flat Capper mentality its the obvious way to move forward.
The problem in England seems to have been the Cities and Towns that were Rugby League strongholds lost their way to some extent and decided importing players was easier and cheaper than building the infrastructure to develop a Junior player.
What are the chances of a Punter just deciding Rugby League looks like a great game although I know nothing at all about it other than I stumbled across it on a TV channel showing Ice Hockey and Badminton?
Or a team was just landed in my patch by the authorities, London, Wales, without any build up of the local juniors and community support, NONE
Salford are on a hiding to nothing, the money will not matter, there is no grass roots support and the money will fade before the enthusiasm grows.
An excellent excellent post.
Leeds as a club took this path around 2002, and today there are probably the most junior RL clubs in the city there has ever been, with a new junior club opening near us, an area that had no amateur league outside schools for 20 years.
I find many soccer fans can find the game at pro level tedious, but they go because that's their game, one they know, one they played, one they shared with their mates mums and dads.
Their excellent policy needs to be adopted by all the big clubs, for conversely only the big attractive SL clubs turn the heads of the local kids and inspire them to watch, play and make a career out of it.
This however can't be a policy for major growth. We are beyond that. It's more a policy for survival. So IMHO no we will not catch up, but we can stay in the game and survive.....