COLUMN | Ignorance towards the sport’s supporters is Rugby League’s biggest downfall

For months, heck, for years, we’ve heard important figures at clubs all over the land preach their beliefs about how to take the game forward.

But has anyone once thought about the most important people of all?

They are, of course, the game’s supporters. Without them there would be no game and no future. There wouldn’t even be a League Express.

Perhaps it is time for us to do just that, and more pressingly, it’s time for the decision makers to take into account their views on how the game should be run.

It’s been proposed in recent times, amongst a plethora of other proposals nobody seems entirely satisfied with, that ten teams in Super League could well be the future.

You have to wonder who comes up with all these ideas at times, but more to the point, does anyone bother to ask what the people who pay the wages think?

Last week, our readers’ poll asked fans what the ideal number of clubs would be for Super League – 10, 12, 14 or 16.

The results were overwhelming evidence of just how out of touch clubs are with the people they rely on to ensure their existence continues.

Just seven per cent of readers believes a ten team structure is the future. That should be enough to put those pushing for ten teams to end the fight instantly, although history suggests they won’t even blink reading the results.

For reference, almost half of voters said the competition should revert back to a 14-team league, with 47 per cent voting for that. Will that happen? It remains to be seen.

But perhaps this is where the game is at its weakest, its inability to gauge and react to its customer audience’s wishes.

The same can be said for fixtures.

In a poll the previous week, we asked readers when they prefer to watch Rugby League. A mammoth 49 per cent said Sunday afternoon.

How many Super League fixtures have taken place at that time this season? Five, out of a possible 26. Two of those would have taken place on Friday had it not been for the snow.

It’s a damning figure that tells you everything you need to know about where the game is right now.

Any sport that doesn’t listen to its customers is destined to struggle.

And you don’t need to be Eddie Hearn to understand that.