League Express editor Martyn Sadler gives his response to Leigh owner Derek Beaumont’s withering words about the Leigh players in his club’s match programme for Sunday’s home game against Wakefield Trinity
I sometimes wonder what Rugby League would be like, if it were run by Derek Beaumont, the owner of Leigh Centurions.
The one thing we can be certain of is that we wouldn’t have a mealy-mouthed leader.
Derek has a habit of taking aim and firing.
On Sunday some of the Leigh supporters might have been surprised to open their match programme and read the following comments by Derek in the light of Leigh’s 44-6 defeat to Hull Kingston Rovers in the last game of the Magic Weekend.
Derek, his wife and a group of his friends had undertaken a sponsored bike ride from Leigh to Newcastle for the Magic Weekend, with the money raised going to cancer charities. Derek’s own father had sadly succumbed to cancer, so clearly he feels strongly about the need to fight that particular illness.
So when, after all that effort, he got to Newcastle, only to see his side fall to such a heavy defeat, it’s not too difficult to understand his disappointment.
And he took it out on his players in his programme notes for Sunday’s game against Wakefield Trinity.
“It was a complete collapse, a surrender of belief, desire and will to give pride to the situation and I felt hurt by it and still do,” he wrote.
“I care not for the response of the group, as I don’t see how anything I can say will make them care, when they don’t care for each other, or this club.
“How many of them sponsored our challenge? How many of them shared or promoted our challenge? How many of them wished us well ahead of the challenge? How many of them congratulated us for completing the challenge? The answers, of which I am aware, tell me everything I need to know.
“I therefore have no problem showing this current group no support.”
If I had been a Leigh player, sitting in the dressing room reading the match programme before the kick-off, I don’t think I would have been pleased.
In fact I would probably have been very angry.
I don’t know how the Leigh players reacted, but they did come out to gain a surprise victory against Wakefield, who had been playing very well in the weeks preceding their visit to Leigh.
Maybe they took their anger out on Wakefield.
If so, Derek’s shock tactics clearly worked.
Even so, if I were a Leigh player, I would probably be on the phone to him early this week to have it out with him.
As someone who takes a lot of criticism on social media for some of the things I write in this newspaper, I’m a great believer in responding to criticism, when I have the time to do so. And I would be no different if I were a Rugby League player, for Leigh or for any other club.
If Derek was upset about the Leigh players not sponsoring his very worthy charitable cause, it would probably be better if, rather than worrying about people who didn’t contribute, he thanked those people who did.
Having said all that, I realise that I may be in a minority, but I like his direct style.
If Derek ran Rugby League, he would bring a lot of the fun back into the game, and plenty of arguments too.
And I suspect his business skills would be put to very good use.
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