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Everything posted by EssexRL

  1. I'm wearing my RLWC gear around my bit of East London (and rather pleased that the rail strike isn't gonna screw up my trip up to Newcastle from here)
  2. Have just bought my train tickets for the opener. I am heading up on the Friday and staying in Darlington but just to say for anyone else traveling back to London on Saturday 15th there are very few tickets left (none after 7pm).
  3. Despite being born and raised in West Berkshire I have loved RL since I first watched it on Grandstand in the 1970s. My love for the game was confirmed in the early 80s when I went to Bradford University. On my return to the south I followed Broncos for a couple of decades (even when they were at Crystal Palace) and then for the last ten years, because I moved to North East London, I have followed Skolars. I have sponsored games, players, bought shares, bought people along and have a huge amount of respect for the club. But life is short and in London I feel I am in a relationship (with RL) that isn't going any where and it is time to say goodbye. I hope that the game gets its act together and will check in every so often to see if it has. I have some good memories, but honestly I have not confidence that the game is going to go anywhere, over than downwards, - so for the the foreseeable future (World Cup aside) I have to sadly say the sport has lost me.
  4. A southern conference Is an end in itself. It won’t help clubs become competitive which is what we need, in the absence of someone investing a ton of money in RL down south (wasn’t that a name of a podcast a few years back when we thought it was all going to be a lot brighter?)
  5. Not sure where I went wrong being born and raised in Berkshire and now living in London. If you don't come across the sport in school, or with your friends, or on TV or in papers as is the case down here, how would you know about it? The idea that RL should not be national is daft (and its not like northerners are flocking to watch games). Cornwall could well end up being one of the best attended teams in L1 this season!
  6. I am not sure everything in the heartlands is hail and hearty but certainly there are a lot of successes in all leagues, but the issue remains whether realistically the sport is limited to those towns and the occasional city and the rest of the country isn't really going to have any RL to speak of. Clubs neat the heartlands (Cu, and Midlands, for example) may have a fighting chance of survival and progression but outside of that its not going to happen for all the reasons discussed here - unless someone has a lot of money. For me living in London that's sad because it effectively means my engagement with the sport looks like its going to be very occasional rather than a week-in-week out affair with my family and friends and that at one point included away games up the road in Hemel and nearby in Oxford and Glos. (I am obviously hoping Skolars can turn things round but am not confident). Does this matter more generally? I think so, because for all the good stuff going on, many heartland clubs have shaky foundations and a successful sport needs a broad base (not least to get national media coverage) and to feel dynamic. Perhaps rather than the scatter gun approach to expansion that seems to have been taken, there should have been a more measured approach supporting one team in London, the SW and somewhere else initially.
  7. I’m finding it hard to be positive to be honest from where I’m sitting in London but….ultimately it’s an amazing, exciting, sport.
  8. Watching the death of RL in London, which I’m doing at the moment, suggests strongly to me that expansion has “failed”.
  9. I’d add (and this is a chicken and egg thing) an inability to create a competitive squad in the south and west (unless someone has shed load of money).
  10. I agree. I can’t fault the club but seriously this nonsense that teams can be competitive outside the heartlands without support or tons of money has to stop. I don’t expect to be spending much time at new river this season giving the standard. The game is in danger of losing me in all honesty.
  11. I sometimes wonder whether the RFL think making announcements make things happen, as if by magic. It certainly felt like that when Oxford et al, were bought into L1 with frankly very little thought about how they would be sustainable or competitive.
  12. Certainly in my bit of east London RU has very little profile and I completely agree RL is a different sport with a lot (potentially) going for it.
  13. I think the comment about "the rugby league community" in London is interesting. As far as I know there has been no attempt made to bring people together in London to discuss how to stabilise/grow the sport. The poor state of the game in the capital also means that community is getting smaller and smaller. Despite my regular posting on here I am struggling TBH to retain an interest in the game. I have not gone to a game yet. Steve - just for the record Hector didn't walk away. I happen to know he was put a lot of his own money into the club over the last twenty years and he ensured that the board was viable before stepping down. He still supports and helps the club. Mind you, as someone who has put a few £000s of his own money into RL down here I do realise you do it out of love, with zero expectation of return.
  14. I agree with your post but on the Skolars point - the strategy (which I saw and was good) was built around the expected money from TWP's Argyll which never materialised. Efforts to find an investor after that were unsuccessful (investing in a RL team at this level in London isn't an amazing prospect). Covid then hit. The original owner, understandably, stepped back to focus on his business. Funding was then cut, and finally Broncos gutted the team. What drives me nuts is the set up at Skolars really could deliver but the problems remain the same - where do you get players from? How do you get investment? How do you promote RL? I don't see any answers to these questions, despite the massive efforts made by all those involved in the club, (Broncos are a whole different story). Skolars have tried to build steadily, lay roots down, build community clubs etc, but despite that we are now in a position of sub 200 crowds and 60 point losses.
  15. Don’t get me wrong I’m 100% behind Skolars, but I can’t see where a competitive squad will come from next season. If a club deserved success it Skolars but we need a team that can compete at the level and London needs teams that can perform.
  16. Exactly. Given how fragile the game here was anyway what chance do we have of people like me are losing interest?
  17. 120 points. That’s how many Rochdale and Leigh put against Skolars and Broncos this weekend. Clearly there is not a competitive squad in south or east London, which is a disaster. No one wants to watch one sided games week in week out. If Broncos had not gutted Skolars squad we would have been pretty competitive this year but we are where we are and frankly it’s depressing. I struggle to see semi pro RL having much of a future unless there’s some sort of reset.
  18. I think you're spot on. The tragedy is that the foundations at Skolars are there (e.g., we're long term tenants at New River, have junior squads, a loyal fan base, links with schools etc,) and were building a decent squad. If we get the players back next year then yes things will be back on course. If we don't then we are essentially building from square 1 team-wise. My fear, as you say, is that Broncos will bring both clubs down. More generally, I would point out that if Rochdale can only get 450, as they did against Hunslet, despite being in the heartlands and presumably with a lot more profile locally than we have - what chance does the sport have else where and where there are successes (like Cornwall's 1,500 on Sunday), the inability to build a decent squad means people will drift away.
  19. Here's the rub- 1. Skolars alone, with the limited resource they have, have to build not only awareness of the club but RL more generally in its locality (they do a good job - look at the local sponsors). 2. They need to do this (promote) in an area with no history of RL or profile for the sport. 3. PT players have to travel long distances across London to training and away games can often mean not getting home on Sundays until after midnight. 4. There is no opportunity, outside of matches, to experience RL - to build a RL "mentality". 5. Any players that are any good are lost to other teams. Unless a wad of cash is pumped into the club (as has happened at Broncos) I think becoming competitive is going to always be a challenge - and to be fair all things considered we have not been that bad most seasons. Re, the crowds...if we lose 50, 60 or more each week crowds will drop further. Its not an enticing prospect week in, week out to watch such heavy losses. (That aside, Skolars crowds have not been too far off other L1 clubs and some Championship ones). Given the reality of RL in the south (zero exposure, tiny player pool, next to no funding), how on earth do you make a club like mine (or Hemel, Oxford, Ironmen, All Golds in the past) competitive? Frankly I feel like I am watching the slow, maybe not so slow, death of the sport here.
  20. You’re right. The problem for non heartland clubs is attracting players who can compete. Over two decades we’d got close to doing that but then Broncos ripped the squad out. Our squad are local but inevitably are struggling. Ditto WWR and Cornwall. End result - it’s almost impossible to attract new fans. How do you develop community clubs when there’s no history of RL though? Impossible so there needs to be another solution.
  21. I’ve had similar experiences at Skolars with very drunk and aggressive away fans. Funny for a little while but not for long.
  22. Yes, very decent. Obviously been a lot of promotion. Good stuff.
  23. Am I missing something (quite possible)? My email invited me to enter a competition (as a foundation fan) with the chance for ten people to have their tickets upgraded.
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