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Cerulean

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  1. I completely agree. Referees do a difficult job very well, and make very few mistakes; the mistakes they do make should be excused amongst the hundreds of marginal decisions they have to evaluate. They most certainly are not corrupt, and surely do everything they can to eliminate unconscious bias. Fans probably do not work so hard to eliminate unconscious bias. Referees have, though, chosen to perforn on a stage, and scrutiny and evaluation are inevitable. I would suggest that proper scrutiny and evaluation are essential.
  2. Sorry - and you can look this up - but there are significant studies, good quality peer reviewed science, showing that referees, judges and umpires show bias; home teams, big names, and favourites being particular beneficiaries. And, yes, shirt colour has an impact. We all carry biases, conscious or unconscious, and referees are no different. Constant vigilance is a good way to reduce the effect.
  3. “Getting them in Super League” is probably a worthwhile objective. Super League is a tired looking organisation: the pinnacle of Northern Hemisphere rugby league remains Wigan v Saint Helens, Warrington v Leeds, Hull v Hull KR. It’s looking tedious and it needs revitalising. But: History and common sense observation tells us that any new team acquiring a place in Super League will only be successful and remain successful if they are successful on the field, and win most of their games. The initial 10,000 crowd will dwindle quickly as losses mount up. In the search for a decent share of leisure spending, in these times when almost anything is available, it is probably not going to look attractive belonging to an organisation where the highlight of your activity is a visit of three or four biggish names each year. The enthusiasm of the backers will fade as the money runs out. This has all happened before. The only way for a new team to do well, on a long term basis, is for it to be a very good and successful team for a long time. I suspect the only way for this to happen is for Super League/ RFL to fully back, support, sponsor and assist the new team, to any extent it can, even by adjusting funding, salary cap, selective fixture timing, and every other opportunity, to just about ensure its success. This should always have been done with London. Even now, it would only work for one team at a time: a full decade, probably, for two new teams. Is there enthusiasm for such an approach among the few who have hold of the power?
  4. By 1969, it wasn’t as bad as some may think. We started the team at Sheffield University in 1969 (still going strong, as is the old boys group from that time) and were reasonably well treated. There were some battles to fight: after all we were a new venture looking for a share of funding and facilities, but we had some good people fighting those battles and we were reasonably well accepted quite quickly, and found support from some areas of the university structure. There was already a league with regular fixtures, and even second team fixtures, so any opposition couldn’t have been very effective, and was mostly overcome. I suspect the issue was not so much opposition by the establishment and RU, more the need for determined enthusiasts to get stuck in. We may have been looked down on by a few, as northern oiks, but we were difficult to offend, quite proud of our venture, and received some credit for our resilience. Training on adjacent pitches, we noted the size and stupidity of the RU players, and the RU players noted the scruffiness of the RL players. They most certainly quickly developed a respect for our ball-handling ability. And if we were looked down on, a little, as an annoying and embarrassing distraction, it’s not so different from the attitude of a few posters on this forum towards the lower professional RL teams. Universities (apart from a few) were not an extension of the public school system. I know of 8 from my cohort in the small mining town of Featherstone who had university places that year ( a time when about 5% gained university places), down to, in a large part, the grammar school system. RU clearly saw RL as a rival game. There were tales of a letter from Twickenham, and some lads played under an assumed name, but I never actually encountered the legendary letter. Many of the RL lads could readily get a game with faculty and department RU teams when the RL team did not have a game, and were often sought out. And after university, playing at my modest level, I switched comfortably between RL and RU, as did many in the RL area I was living in. From the mid 1960s, much of the war between the codes may have been exaggerated.
  5. As you know, I did not excuse unpleasant behaviour. I do not do so, and have spent a lifetime you don’t know about fighting prejudice in its many forms. I did offer a perspective on your own prejudices, and those of a few others. But no matter. I shall now find other ways to access news and comment on my sport and I shall no longer share any platform which encourages such disturbingly vile prejudice as your own. Feel free to take pleasure in making this my last ever post on this forum; count it as a victory. I promise I shall not be back.
  6. Featherstone Rovers have a few unpleasant supporters, and I wish the club could do something about them. I certainly don’t want to spend a couple of hours within yards of them and have, at times, moved to another part of the ground. Post Office Road is not the only ground where this has happened. Horrendous is a ridiculous word from a ridiculous contributor (and supported, I note, by others who should be ashamed of themselves). There are horrendous situations in the world - make your own list - but a handful of mouthy and unpleasant drunkards doesn’t compare with the true horror to be found. The community of Featherstone is pretty decent, and similar to many towns which have lost their primary industry - the steel and mining towns and villages of South Wales and the North East come to mind - coping well enough with a high level of poverty, poor services and an unfairly insufficient share of government spending. Of course, blaming the victims (of comparative poverty and deprivation in this case) has become a modern spectator and participation activity these days. As an interesting observation, I find that the reaction of people who discover the details of the Featherstone Incident (some use the word massacre) of 1893 indicative of the mind of the observer. Sympathetic folk are sympathetic and see victims, accusatory folk believe that those who suffered deserved it.
  7. A careful count will reveal that there are five or six such posters on this forum, and perhaps twice that number who wish to display their superiority as fans by expressing the maximum amount of positivity. All annoying, but easily passed by. Most of the rest of us are passionate enough about the game to want to keep up with developments, and share thoughts and news and discuss varied aspects of Rugby League. Amongst these, some are worried that their favourite game in the world is not looking as good as it should do. And some of these have had decades of deep involvement in the game: think of them as whistleblowers, they may have a point.
  8. Wouldn't it have been a little less unreasonable to say: earning millions in tv money, in the same way as, say, Leeds or Wigan or any of the other teams who have maintained a place in Super League?
  9. My point, as you well know, was about also remebering and celebrating iconic moments before and outside Super Legue. Your point evades me, though I do find something disturbing in the subtext of animosity within your sarcasm.
  10. Can't find a picture, but back then you could get boots which had a flat front edge, made specifically for the straight on kickers. Long ago, in a distant galaxy, I had a pair myself.
  11. Eddie Hemmings (a valuable part of Super League, an excellent commentator, an enormous enthusiast of the game) worked hard to promote Super League as a new sport with a new name and a new ethos, and rarely mentioned the history of the game, and the layers of the game below and outside of Super League, and even avoided the label of Rugby League. It was his job and he did it excellently. Less excusable, in my eyes, are those who promote the belief that the lower clubs - and therefore much of the game’s heritage - are an embarrassment, and the sport would look so much better without them. There are a number on this forum: they are, of course, entitled to an opinion, and they may be correct.
  12. The queen handing the Challenge Cup to Mal Dixon in 1967 is iconic, not least because there is a subtext there enhancing the image of Rugby League and its place in sport. The Challenge Cup has long been iconic; the sport itself is iconic. The photographic, video, and narrative history of the game is packed with iconic images: from wingers in flight at Wembley, to the Australian tourists leaving the tunnel to enter the field, to bloodied and exhausted warriors, to Sunday morning park games with five spectators, to the Grand Final winners celebration, to crowds streaming from the streets into the ground, to Thursday night training under rickety floodlights on practice pitches, to ... There’s a fantastic wealth of iconic moments, an enormous amount to celebrate and highlight, which should not be wasted. Subtext is important: having a clear understanding of what the game is, and was, and can be, and where it fits, and will fit, in the sporting landscape, is essential to explaining and enhancing any image. No apologies for this, and I can be annoying over it, but: attempt to sanitise the game, reject where it came from, regard the lower clubs as an embarrassment and the history as distracting, creates an activity which can be lost in a morass of other modern entertainment endeavours, and the images mean less, and the iconic moments become harder to find. And will lead even further to a diminishing game, constantly struggling to retain its visibility.
  13. That, as I suspect you well know, is a disingenuous inference from a dubious premise. However: the money passed on to the lower divisions could be seen as the buying of essential support services. Or not, if you don't want it to seem like that, or if you believe that Super League could exist comfortably without this particular underlying structure, or any underlying structure, or if you could be certain that Super League could develop (and pay for) a different underlying structure of its own design.
  14. And is this also self-evident? Is it a widely held belief? Who has done the costings and evaluations? And is it axiomatic that the “value” of Super League should be separated from the value of the rest of rugby league? It doesn’t seem a clear enough issue to me to make such definitive statements.
  15. "... giving above and beyond to the lower divisions..." I'm wondreing if this is an almost univerally held opinion. Someone set it up at one time, so they must have believed in it.
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