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Hopping Mad

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  1. Time to consider 11-a-side (and union 13-a-side)? The players have got bigger and bigger yet the pitches are the same size.
  2. After the fire at Valley Parade (now, more than ever, a hopeless site for a stadium), a new stadium should have been built, either at Odsal or elsewhere in the city, with Bradford Council playing a lead role, for the football and rugby league clubs to share. It happened in Hull and Wigan.
  3. Yes, you probably remember the Teesside Steelers amateur club, based at Billingham RUFC. In the mid-70s, Middlesbrough's speedway team went through a phase of being called Teesside Teessiders - probably a bit much! Though completely dominated by Middlesbrough FC, Teesside's sporting landscape manages to sustain a few rugby union clubs, such as Acklam, Billingham, Middlesbrough and Stockton. Nearest amateur rugby league activity to Teesside would be Hartlepool and Yarm, I think.
  4. The locals would be more in favour of using Teesside...
  5. Watched the recording this morning. Tight, tense, absorbing game. Bit short on the spectacular (but then how many cup finals, in any sport, have that element?). I wonder what non-aficionados made of it. My wife - at best a casual, occasional observer of rugby league - enjoyed it. Indeed, she gave the thumbs-down to my suggestion we fast forward through the last eight minutes, once it was obvious Warrington had won. Always good to see the underdog triumph. Irrespective of the various 'dodgy' decisions, Warrington were much the better side. Not for the first time, St Helens had a shocker on one of the season's biggest days. I'm not a fan of the new Wembley's sunny-and-shady, now-you-see-me-now-you-don't pitch. Bad enough watching on TV. Must be difficult for players, match officials and spectators.
  6. Whereas rugby league (let's be honest) remains an alien game in large parts of the three counties - Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire - in which it can claim at least some popularity. Quite a contrast.
  7. By the time rugby league got into its stride, in the late 1890s, English football already had something rugby league has never had - an elite, nationwide (the key word), professional competition, albeit then only two divisions in size. The fact Manningham switched to football so soon after winning rugby league's inaugural championship is pretty damning. They weren't the only ones. My feeling is rugby league hasn't, doesn't and probably won't ever attract enough mover-and-shaker types with influence and connections in high places. During my time living in several places outside rugby league's heartlands, I found it a bit depressing how much the sport wasn't merely ignored - most people barely knew it even existed.
  8. Amid all this talk/speculation about York's new stadium, it's great to see the old Clarence Street/Wigginton Road ground hasn't been forgotten. This impressive commemorative plaque (in distinctive white and black rather than the standard blue and white that proliferates across the city) was positioned earlier this year, on the side of The Hut, near what was the ground's main entrance on Wigginton Road. Thanks to everybody who made it happen.
  9. I wasn't, exclusively. The various incarnations of what began as the Associate Members Cup (for lower division Football League clubs) has always, the final excepted, attracted pitiful attendances. The 1895 Cup seemed like a good idea but when a number of eligible clubs decline to enter, and others who do field below-strength teams, then I can't see the point. Playing midweek was simply asking for nobody to turn up.
  10. And attendances in virtually all those competitions are abysmal until the closing stages are reached. In non-league football, hardly any of the National League clubs care about the FA Trophy (which has its final at Wembley). Most field 'shadow' teams and are happy to be knocked out.
  11. How about Blackpool Borough's plain grey away shirt of the late 1980s? Went a colourful treat with the usual white shorts and black socks.
  12. Worth adding: Belle Vue (Manchester) Premiership Speedway - £18 Sale Sharks Premiership Rugby Union - £22
  13. Don't forget the cricket and rugby union clubs, who both departed for Bingley... Not sure the Bradford Cricket League has 'gone'. Its top division is one of the strongest ECB Premier leagues.
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