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  1. https://www.wigantoday.net/sport/football/exclusive-wigan-warriors-led-bid-buy-wigan-athletic-2906124 I mentioned earlier in the thread that I could see this being Lenagan's plan rather than purely buying the stadium. As far as local businessmen with considerable knowledge of football and experience owning a football club (and a rugby club) go, he'd be the obvious candidate to try to organise a consortium to buy the club.
  2. Orrell is worth £3 million based on the last accounts, but it's likely to generate less than that if it was actually sold. I'll take your word for it regarding access, but it's hard to see any other way of creating access other than through Edge Hall Road without demolishing houses. Still, the club won't raise anywhere near enough to finance a new stadium purely through the sale of Orrell. Temporary stands at Robin Park would be a temporary solution. The stadium would never have made enough profit to subsidise football. It would have to generate over £10 million to cover that alone. All it really has to make money are football and rugby income, pitch rental, conference facilities and income from bars/restaurants. It also faces competition from Bolton because the facilities available are just as good, if not better, and it's location is better for those travelling from out of town.
  3. Fair point, but either way it's hard to see the stadium itself as profitable. There may be 'potential' from increasing events and holding concerts, but the fact that the only time there isn't sport being played there is when the pitch is relaid means there isn't the same opportunity for pop concerts like those held at Bolton's stadium. Neither club is likely to be able to increase rental payments, ticket sales aren't going to increase significantly and conference facilities won't bring in much money either. They've been unable to find a naming sponsor too. This is before you take the Covid pandemic issues into account.
  4. The rugby club wouldn't fold, but Wigan Athletic are owners of Wigan Football Company Ltd that own the stadium. The stadium loses £1.5m a year and is only propped up by loans from the parent company (or at least it was). If Wigan Athletic were to fold, the stadium company goes with it. Wigan RL wouldn't buy the stadium because they couldn't cover the current losses, nevermind the losses they'd incur without professional football there. It's currently not worth anything to investors because of the covenants on the land. The council wouldn't operate it and incur the losses. They'd only buy it for redevelopment and remove the restrictions they put in place. If the stadium ceased to operate then Wigan would have to find somewhere else to play initially, and would lose hundreds of thousands as a result. They have Orrell but it can't be developed into a Super League standard stadium. It may have value to be sold off as housing but there's a real issue with access which could put investors off, as there's only one narrow road to access it. You'd struggle to get 20 odd houses with only that access road. Robin Park is operated by Wigan RL but not owned. Developing it into a ground would presumably require council permission, which would no doubt require keeping the athletics facilities which would massively impact on the amount of space available to build, and so it's unlikely you'll get a big enough stadium on that land unless there was somewhere else in the town for athletics facilities to be built. And ultimately this might not be the best time to be trying to gather funds to finance a stadium. Wigan Athletic pretty much have to survive as a football league club for Wigan RL to survive as a competitive SL club.
  5. They've been losing it because of the cost of the players.
  6. It's not about the empty seats, it's about the lack of income from seats that weren't anticipated to be empty. If you're building a stadium you're going to need a rough idea of how many fans you think the club playing there is likely to attract and balance that against the running costs. If you're anticipating crowds of around 16,000 though, and only get 10,000 then that's 6,000 fewer tickets/season tickets and 6,000 people not spending money on food and drink at the grounds, buying programs, betting or taking part in half time draws. Pretty much all modern stadiums have corporate/exhibition facilities as an extra money maker. There's likely to be a limit on how much they are used, and how much you can charge people to use them though. The local economy will make a difference there, including how many other places in the area can cater for similar functions. I don't think it's a coincidence that Bolton had similarly massive financial problems. It's not all to do with stadiums, or even mostly to do with stadiums, but the fact that these arenas were built with Premier League football in mind and presumably attendances to match surely hasn't helped now that they are almost always more than half empty on match days.
  7. There certainly could be an element of that. One thing I often wonder is how much a players career can be decided by chance. Williams had the physical advantage of Hampshire which meant he made his debut off the bench at hooker. He then got 2 games in the halves and he impressed. His ability to play hooker got him a bench spot for several games in the following season. For a stand-in hooker no one was expecting him to be James Roby. Any mistakes he made in that role were probably much easier to miss (passing the wrong side, scooting at the wrong times) and defensively he was sound. Hence he could keep his place in the side. Hampshire's only other suitable position was fullback, and any mistake in that position tends to be more noticeable (like a goalkeeper in football). In a way that could have been his downfall. Yes he lacked physical presence and struggled a bit making tackles, but he didn't get the chance to develop as a halfback because why would you put a weak defender there when you've got George Williams. While both Williams and Hampshire got their chances at a similar time, neither ousted Green or Smith. But Williams played 26 games before being made our starting 6, and 10 of those were at halfback. In that period of time, Hampshire had only played 15 games. The number of times Hampshire played in the halves during that time? Once. Hampshire played 30 games for Wigan in total yet only 2 of those were in his preferred position. Given how halfback is going to be a tricky position to master and probably needs time to develop in, to say he was in the right place at the wrong time is probably very accurate. Wigan gave him plenty of opportunities, and Williams is the example of how things could have gone for him, but ultimately the presence of Williams was the problem. Faced with competing against a similarly talented player who was much better defensively, he didn't stand much of a chance in Wane's team. In fact Hampshire has only played about 30% of his professional rugby in either of the two half positions. He's certainly never been afforded time in that position. Blake Green was a utility in the NRL at the same stage in his career having never really got a consistent run as a halfback. He went on to be outstanding for Rovers and Wigan when he got the chance in his preferred position, so Hampshire's career still has the potential to take off.
  8. Every case has to be based on the circumstances and the individuals. In Smith's case though, he's been absolutely outstanding for the academy side, was head and shoulders above his Australian counterparts when playing for England Academy against the Australian schoolboys and was by far the most creative player in that series. He was outstanding for Swinton while on loan, with several man of the match performances and generally looked a stand out player at that level. The issue though, is that you can't take anything for granted. He probably should have been given his opportunity in the Wigan fist team sooner, but he's getting that opportunity now in the way that you would expect. We had an injury, he was brought into the side, he played well so he's kept his place. He's getting his opportunity and he's on the way to taking it. The issue is though that he's playing alongside a quality halfback in Hastings, and is supported by another experienced halfback in Leuluai. There's a difference between going into 2021 with Smith earmarked as starting 7 but also bringing in cover as a back up, and going into 2021 without Hastings or Leuluai and having Smith bear the brunt of the responsibility as a playmaker. Williams was given an opportunity to be first choice 6, but some forget that he had a fair number of first team appearances to his name at the time. He didn't go from academy to first team. He went from academy, to back-up to first choice when Green left. After just 5 first team games Smith is inexperienced. Wigan could take the risk, but we still need cover. Besides being good at academy level and in the Championship doesn't mean you're guaranteed to make it. An example would be Josh Ganson. He was almost unplayable at times in the academy, and in his few dual reg games with Swinton he was impressive too. Should he have been thrown in at 9 instead of the under-performing Powell? Well Ganson got a couple of first team games, was disappointing, didn't really impress when loaned out in the Championship again, struggled to attract clubs in the Championship and last I was aware of he had a 4 week trial with Widnes. It's not as simple as good young player = future Super League player. Ryan Hampshire is another who was a superstar academy player. He was probably considered by many to be better than Williams - was the England academy captain, top points scorer in pretty much every game, got more man of the match awards than any player I can remember, but in Super League he struggled to make his mark for a long time. He's still only 25, but he's a long way from what people were expecting of him.
  9. It's a fair point, but I think ultimately the best team in Super League is generally the one with the strongest defence, so teams are wary of having players that can be targeted defensively. Plus, it depends how big the weakness is too. Smith currently offers something that the team has lacked for a while - which is a good long kicking game. He also makes up for the loss of Williams' short kicking game. That's why he's managed to keep his place in the team even with Leuluai returning and the obvious issue of trying to fit all our talented forwards into the side. However, he's only played 5 Super League games, and not all of those have been starts. If he's one of our first choice halves by the end of the year then there's no reason for him not to start 2021 in the same role. Right now though, it's perfectly sensible to consider a players potential weaknesses along with their strengths when deciding whether to make them first choice next season and not sign any cover. What if his form isn't impressive when the season returns?
  10. I think that's a huge risk. It worked for Wigan with Williams but it's worth pointing out that Williams was an exceptionally strong defender, not just for his age but for any halfback. That meant Wane could stick him in without any worry for one major aspect of the game that is typically a weakness for young halves. Harry Smith on the other hand does have a weakness defensively, despite his attacking strengths. Plus, he's only just made it into the side and is playing alongside Hastings. If Hastings stays then I'd be concerned to rely so much on Smith but it's not the end of the world. If Hastings was to leave though I think we wouldn't have enough attacking threat even if Leuluai remained.
  11. Wigan suffered in a similar way back in 2005. We lost Lam and Farrell at the end of 2004 which was a massive blow. Dennis Moran replacing Lam was a massive step down. Not only that, but we also lost Craig Smith, Terry O'Connor, Mick Cassidy, Quentin Pongia and Danny Sculthorpe at the same time. Add to that the 2005 injury crisis that saw key players like Radlinski and Hock miss large parts of the season. In some ways the injuries in 2005 were used as an excuse to cover the real issue which was the loss of so much talent and leadership all at once. It came close to completely ruining the club.
  12. It's good news for Wigan and for Super League in general, and more importantly it's the news his family probably wanted too. As barnyia said, the recent situation has probably been particularly difficult for him given his daughter was on the other side of the world. It's bad enough being thousands of miles apart but then lockdown comes along and makes it even harder than simply just booking the next flight. It seems like ultimately the only thing that would have kept him in the NRL is a huge amount of money - where the justification would have been that he may be spending even more time away from his daughter but he'd be earning enough to support him and his daughter once his career ends. I'd say it's pretty likely he'll be earning less at Wigan than at Canberra. I think the Aussie press was reporting quite a difference between the amounts offered. Ultimately though, he knows Wigan, he'll get a much longer deal and there's a greater chance of stability, along with the fact that he's earning decent money and can see his daughter. Bateman will presumably be our shirt number 13 next year and probably also named captain, while O'Loughlin will confirm his retirement. Hopefully Wigan can also keep hold of Hastings for another year, as finding a suitable replacement for him could be difficult in the current circumstances. Losing O'Loughlin, Hastings and Leuluai all in one year removes a lot of intelligence and playmaking ability from the side and for me that would be too much all at once unless a quality playmaker was brought in as a replacement.
  13. It's incredibly unlikely that the administrators are going to consider selling the stadium. They are trying to sell the club and all its assets together and it's hardly going to entice someone to buy the club if they sold off the stadium to someone else first. Perhaps a co-ownership agreement could be reached, but there's no way that any money would be coming from Wigan RL directly. Whether Lenagan has the money or the desire to buy a share in the ground remains to be seen, but I highly doubt it. I can only see the administrators agreeing to such a deal if things were looking really bleak and they need the money as quickly as possible. As for the RFL getting involved, I just don't see any logic behind that at all, especially not during the biggest crisis the sport has faced in decades. I think there's more chance of Ian Lenagan buying into Latics as part of a consortium with other local businessmen than actually trying to buy the stadium for the Warriors. He's a Latics fan, has previous experienced owning a football club (Oxford Utd) and is a former chairman of the Football League, so I do wonder if it's something that might cross his mind. Speculating on how someone else might spend their money seems a bit weird though. I can't see Wigan RL wanting to be responsible for the ground though. The current deal works very well in our favour. The new facilities at Robin Park will hopefully help to reduce one of the negatives that is the lack of income from hospitality. If the ground was owned by Wigan RL we'd be more dependent on the income from Latics than they are on income from RL right now. Everyone can see the ground is far too big for the attendances that both clubs are getting right now. There's always the opportunity to bring in money by other means like hosting concerts and other events, but ultimately Wigan is not the most desirable place to hold events. The local economy will play some part in how much the stadium can generate away from football and rugby.
  14. As said above, Wigan generally produce more of this country's best young players. I can't remember how many academy Grand Final's the club has won but I think it's something like 9 of the last 10. It's testament to the quality within Wigan but also that the club scouts from other areas. Having the reputation of the being the strongest academy and a club that will promote young players is attractive to players from other parts of the country. That's why along with Wigan-based players our academy brings through plenty from other areas. While the Australian media often seems to be ignorant about Super League and it's players, NRL scouts certainly aren't. They don't just watch Super League games and identify a few players who play well, they keep tabs on our academy players too. Ryan Sutton was generating interest from the NRL since he was a teenager. So NRL scouts will always be keeping close tabs on the most promising youngsters (quite a lot coming from Wigan) as well as just generally the best players in the competition (again, quite a lot playing for Wigan). Those who were on their radar as youngsters AND quickly become some of the best players in the competition probably stand an even greater chance of being approached by NRL clubs. Wigan also have a lot of young players who have already experienced success at a young age, so the obvious next step is often to test themselves further. If you experience success in one area at the age of 22, it's only natural to start looking for the next test. Add to that the fact that young players are probably less likely to be in serious relationships and having settled down with families, that's one less thing to tie them down to Super League and Wigan. It's the reason Joe Burgess wanted to move to the NRL - he didn't know if he'd get the chance later down the line. That attitude is probably mirrored by the Williams, Sutton and I'd say Gildart too. Then you have Harry Rushton, who, presumably due to the success of UK based players in the NRL, has been chased a little more purposefully than if he'd been coming through the ranks a few years ago. The fact that Williams and Sutton are at Canberra makes a potentially scary career decision for an 18-year-old much easier. The departure of Luke Thompson shows that every clubs best players are under threat. We have to hope that we can sign some good quality NRL players in return to counter any reduction in quality.
  15. Can't see any way that it would. It might benefit a few clubs who are worried about not being able to spend to the cap and falling behind others by holding back those who intend to pay their players what they agreed and have the ability to do so. Super League players are already paid less than their peers in the NRL and Rugby Union competitions and enforcing what will effectively be league-wide wage reductions or significant contract terminations will play into the hands of those rivals. This season Super League features some fantastic players. It's the best it's been for years and it finally looked like we were emerging from the bad old days following the financial crisis where the league lost its marquee players and the whole competition became stagnant.
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