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Everything posted by iffleyox

  1. That's an incredibly narrow definition of 'success' When I was watching Oxford success could be measured in any or all of 'not finishing bottom of L1', 'beating a Northern team', 'not getting hammered' etc (by that yardstick they were actually remarkably successful) but I never thought they were going to get to SL. I'd have hoped, if they'd bedded down, they might have eventually had a tilt at the Championship. If they'd done that in 10 years that would have been successful. For other teams it might be not yoyoing between L1 and the Championship, or cementing themselves as a top half Championship side, or stopping the rot in L1 after years of mismanagement etc. I accept Oxford are a bad example as demonstrably they weren't successful...
  2. There's a paradox there though... sure I've written this a thousand times before... great grounds look good on TV, but not if they're so big that it's a sea of empty seats. Because *then* it looks like no one wants to watch it. And that's worse when it's a football ground, even if the RL club has a stake in the ownership, because your average TV viewer is not going to either know that or be bothered to find it out. the best atmosphere in SL to be there and experience is a full Wheldon Road with Cas winning. And I'm not even a Cas fan And it's the same in RU - if you want atmosphere (in person or to see on the TV) you go to Kingsholm, the Rec or the Stoop (full houses, 2 inches from the pitch, etc) - not Ashton Gate or the Ricoh Arena. Ideally, teams should be playing in great modern grounds that they fill, or at least try to fill.
  3. although weirdly Cleveland has stuck a bit harder I came from Hereford and Worcester and the struggle for our freedom was real. People from Herefordshire thought people from Worcestershire looked down on them and treated them as second class citizens. Meanwhile in Worcestershire we couldn't wait to be shot of the ungrateful spongers.
  4. I suspect with a whole continent to play with it should probably be both, but NARL felt like the former
  5. I'd hope we're still (just) on RL and RL-relevant subjects though? Because the list that's generated the pages about Coventry is germane to the situation. I just wish for a bit more self-confidence rather than pins in maps. There's no reason N America can't have a professional RL league, but just not this one. Taking the last 7 pages into account, what *is* the way to expand properly in North America?
  6. I prefer to see my failure to spot that one as a feature of my contempt for that particular club and it's shameless move onto the patch of another pro club. But either way, yes, Coventry actually has two professional RU clubs.
  7. although at least technically it hasn't needed to - Waterloo were founder members of the top flight when leagues were introduced in 87, and Liverpool St Helens were a force (well, they weren't actually very good but they had England players playing for them while internationals) in the 80s, so in some ways Liverpool is a place with RU pedigree without the RFU trying to build a flat pack club. Also, the RFU hasn't felt the need to build flat pack clubs. OK, in some ways it has been lucky in that investors came in with genuine money and took Saracens*, Worcester, Newcastle and Exeter on a journey to the top flight (and in two of those cases the top of the top flight), but I really wish the RFL would have more self-confidence and say 'these are our best clubs at the moment, if you want to join them or displace them you're welcome to try, but we're not going to go out of our way to help you set up an instant top flight club in (for example) Norwich for the hell of it.' What the RFL actually needs is someone with serious money coming into Broncos, Hemel, Coventry etc and taking an existing club up the leagues; or if they can't do that then at least building a club from scratch in BARLA then taking it into L1 and up from there. It's what football and RU do - clubs don't just appear from nowhere (well, ok, MK Dons did, but at least they were a paper relocation) at level one, two or three.** *lest it be thought that I'm standing up for Saracens, I'm talking about their meteoric rise from park pitch that had to be swept for needles before the start of every match to the top tier, rather than the subsequent 'the rules don't apply to us' tenure at the top of it. ** and I say that, with much regret, as an Oxford STH who still feels burned by the experience.
  8. everything above the river = Newcastle. Everything below = Gateshead https://www.google.com/maps/place/Gateshead/@54.9702739,-1.6199476,3336m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x487e65525287ead7:0x594570c53db4f5c6!8m2!3d54.95268!4d-1.603411
  9. Cov are pro, although given the current climate they, and a lot of the rest of that league, might be shortly to dilute that status. But yes, for now. On Newcastle/Gateshead, they're separate, but face each other across the river. It's a bit like saying people from Birkenhead won't watch Liverpool/Everton. Gateshead relatives of mine get very shirty if/when accused of being Geordies, but to everyone from outside the area they are Geordies and it doesn't stop them going basically 1000m to watch Newcastle United. I've just looked on Google maps and I knew NUFC was close, but it's *really* close. Put it this way (I've just done this by eye on a map) but I would estimate Gateshead is 7 times closer to Newcastle than Leigh is to Wigan.
  10. a bit sleight of hand there though, there isn't a pro RU team in Gateshead granted, but the other side of the river there is. So basically the answer to your question is RU isn't it...? Unless no one in Gateshead can use a bridge. I'm not being picky for the sake of it though - but Newcastle/Gateshead is a bit of an artificial divide for the purposes of 'is there a pro sports team on your doorstep to watch?' rather than 'does it have the same name as you while still being on your doorstep?' Certainly I don't suppose the backers of (the original) Gateshead Thunder expected to survive and thrive without fans from the north bank.
  11. disagree actually - he's being linked with a coaching role, so he can do some coaching. Which, again, will give him experience of another pro club's methods. Let's be honest, he didn't get that at Leeds RU, and potentially an insight into their off-pitch stuff while he's there. So when he comes back to Leeds he's got more experience of the on and off-pitch stuff somewhere else. So, on and off the pitch he'll have more experience of what he's looking at, or at least different perspectives on that.
  12. all the more reason to do some time out of the box before being given the keys to the box... 'what do they know of Leeds, that only Leeds know....'
  13. Do you know what though, if that's the case then Sinfield to Leicester makes all sorts of sense. I've got a mate who's going to inherit a business. He absolutely was not sent to learn his trade at that business. I've got another mate who is now an Oxford don, having been one of their star students. He had to do a couple of years at another university before Oxford would give him a job. KS is a one club man from what, 16? We'll ignore Leeds RU for a sec because they played at Headingly so it's not like he was far from the nest. If that's the plan then if I was Hetherington, Sinfield, or Leeds as a club I'd think it was no bad thing to go and sit in another set-up for 18 months or so, especially in a different sport. I do think obviously there'd be a risk that he would have his head turned, but actually I can see why this is possibly the last chance for KS to learn his trade with a bit of a different perspective before taking the reins at Leeds. On that basis I could see it working for all sides actually. Even Leicester would get an injection of fresh thinking, and KS might learn a few different things to 'the way it is at Leeds'
  14. agree, though I could just about live with ERL
  15. Agree - it would actually make (northern Hemisphere) RL sound more small time than it is (which sometimes might look like an achievement) - try turning the tables, Super League (Australasia) doesn't work very well either. Fundamentally if you're the bolt on to the main brand then you're basically screaming 'we're the afterthought' Some people might think that was true, but we really don't need to be branding accordingly.
  16. women's cricket is also Super League - there was a window where it looked like Super League was going to become a general women's sport thing, but that seems to have closed as leagues have become more aligned to their male counterparts by sport,
  17. The Guardian on Wednesday 24th March had a team by team preview article but it didn’t get much beyond bland 90-words-per-team
  18. I read it the week before and don’t remember one...
  19. Good luck with the Observer - seems to me though, and I like it/usually read it, that you’re jumping from one paper that doesn’t really cover it to another...
  20. The thing is, Brian Redhead literally says this in The Game That Got Away. In 1969. That (damaging) perception has been cited for (at least, because he can’t have been the first) 51 years, and I can’t say I hold out much hope that anything can or is going to be done now.
  21. My path and his crossed quite a lot almost a decade ago in RU. I have never seen such a gap between (potentially what was then) the public perception and the reality. A lovely, decent, down to earth bloke who was very easily led astray but absolutely wracked with self doubt and a desire to be liked. Strangely, for all his (then) playboy image, he was the one who was always staying behind to meet the kids after matches and training sessions, and the fans who wanted to talk. I've wanted him to do well ever since really.
  22. Absolutely true, but it goes deeper than that. I've told this story before on here I think but a few years back I was involved in trying to get a multi-multimillion pound household name sponsor to invest in rugby league - and crucially a sponsor that's right for the demographic. Clearly given what follows below I won't name them... They weren't buying it at all - we tried all the arguments about fit with business - knocked back because apparently lower socio economic group males and families are in the bag already Really good grounds - showed them Wembley, Headingley, Wigan, Saints - still not buying it When it came down to it they finally said that despite their business being perfect for RL they'd be much more comfortable sponsoring something aspirational, or going to hospitality at football ('everyone likes football, cricket, tennis, or RU') - they objected to the people that watch RL - happy to sell to them, don't want to mix with them or be associated with them... Crucially also felt that they would be judged negatively by their own clients and suppliers if they invited them to come to corporate jollies at RL - it was 'right up there with greyhound racing' and further stymied by 'not having a national footprint' Not a lot you can say to that but it was an eyeopener. Personally I think it was both shortsighted and distasteful but it happened. BTW, as an aside, they then did pump a load of money into another sport (and not RU, so it's not as bad as it could have been).
  23. Indeed, but for the top you apparently want BUCS Super Rugby, which is the top 10.
  24. Exeter 20 years ago, I'm not sure we had an RL side. I played a bit of intra-mural RU for the drama department (on loan from history who tended to have more and better players to choose from to start with). They've got one now - I follow them on twitter. They're quite good. Funnily enough the strong links with Chiefs are attracting enough decent players who don't make the grade that the RL team is benefitting massively. That's not a sly comment on RL (I've been here long enough) it seems to be what is genuinely happening. As repeated BUSA (or whatever they're called this week) champions, rugby union players are going to Exeter and not all of them are making the grade. So they're looking around and some of them are choosing RL. I'm always a bit cynical of the 'rising tide lifting all boats' line, but it seems to be happening a bit down there.
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