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Oldbear

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Oldbear last won the day on July 18

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    Vancouver, Beautiful BC
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    Rugby League, Canadian Univ Football

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  1. I have a question which I hope someone can answer. Let’s say a Challenge Cup game is watched by a non heartland teenager who likes it so much he (or she) is interested in taking up the sport. Does the RFL have a department who can put that teenager in touch with their nearest amateur club or is that potentially another lost opportunity?
  2. This is the problem. For whatever reason RL has consistently failed to attract talented individuals at the administrative level, possibly because anyone with any talent or vision would find their plans stymied by the clubs acting in their own self interest. As I have repeated several times before I am pro expansion, I was introduced to the game one Sunday afternoon when I was working in London so I am proof that you don’t have to be from the heartlands to get this game. Sadly I believe that although the RFL wants to expand, it hasn’t a clue how to do it, which is why when someone comes along willing to set up a team in a new area, they snap their hand off without thinking how strategically this will work. In my time watching the game there have been all sorts of bizarre attempts in places like Mansfield (a backwater), Scarborough (a seaside resort and retirement home), Maidstone (where?) and Bridgend (another backwater). Now to add to these we have clubs being formed in Canada which appear to be unwanted by the majority of RL fans and club owners and the RFLs criteria for admitting them seems to be “no cost to us”, rather than an actual plan to break into North America. The vast majority of past failures were usually down to a. A lack of money b. A lack of patience from owners (usually because they underestimated the cost of the new venture) c. A lack of support/expansion strategy from the RFL Sadly until there is a major change at the top in the RFL then it’s just going to continue and if that happens the whole future of the sport in the Northern Hemisphere has to be bleak.
  3. Most likely. Having spoke to a coach in another sport he suggested that there will be no international competition till 2022.
  4. When I was a kid my mom would come out with a whole series of quotes, the one that springs to mind here is “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”. Sadly as much as there’s been a long series of screw ups by the RFL/SL the past couple of years have seen plenty of screw ups by TWP and their management and the amount of negative press generated by the whole visa saga and the non payment of players and suppliers means that any future moves are always going to be treated by a lot of scepticism, even by pro expansion fans by me. My position all along is that it’s unforgivable to not pay your players and small business suppliers since these are livelihoods you are messing with. I would happily vote for TWP to come back (if of course I had one), provided there is no return to the less than ethical practices which seem to have been part and parcel of Mr Argyles regime. If the new ownership can’t behave ethically then it’s a resounding no, and that should apply to every team with SL aspirations.
  5. Having listened to the podcast I wondered if Noble was also owed money, there was a slight hint when Dave Woods raised a “disagreement “ with Mr Argyle. There was also more than a few hints that TWP were under resourced off the field. Once again raises questions about what was really going on and why people left (Perez, Fogerty, Noble and I’m sure a few more whose names we will never know). I suspect the desperation stems from Noble realizing what an opportunity a well run, well capitalized TWP could be, but thanks to the chaos of the past year irreparable damage may have been done and now it’s time to plead for their life.
  6. This is really important, going to live sport is more than the game, providing you can give people a safe, enjoyable experience and they can afford to go (not a given considering the number of job losses under the pandemic), then they will be back.
  7. I sort of partly agree, although I do think that if the money is spent, then NA could contribute to the player pool, my issue is that the amount of money required to do that would make Argyles losses look like chicken feed and I honestly don’t see anyone making that kind of commitment, whereas they would for established NA sports.
  8. There is a proposed 6 team University football comp planned at Laval for May 2021, all teams quarantined on campus for the duration of the comp, beyond that there’s nothing planned and even that comp is subject to us not catching a second wave this winter, if that happens then yes God only knows.
  9. If there’s anywhere that could do it then it’s North America, given the sheer number of sporty, talented youngsters, however it’s highly unlikely because 1. The sheer amount of money required would be staggering, no one would ever be crazy enough to try it. 2. Even if someone were to try, I can’t see the established NA sports just idly sitting by and letting it happen, and all of these sports are very rich and very powerful, plus culturally they will always be more attractive to the local kids. Even soccer, with its untold millions has struggled to establish more than a few footholds, usually by appealing to immigrant families where soccer was their established sport. RU has been in Canada for over 100 years, apart from sevens it’s still seen as a niche sport played predominantly for fun. Only the really dedicated kids make it to pro, until MLR that meant moving abroad. A huge amount of money is being spent on MLR, maybe it will work, most likely it won’t. Perhaps the answer, if we do want NA teams in SL, is to require them to set up an academy in a part of the UK or France which for one reason or another is unlikely to ever get a SL team but has a pool of local youngsters (thinking Cumbria, South Wales, Avignon), then for them to scout for Canadian/American youngsters in high school RU competitions and offer the best a place in that academy, that way you could get a few North Americans plus provide an outlet for young Cumbrian, Welsh or French talent. However once again we are talking about a serious monetary investment.
  10. Speaking as someone who has lived in Canada for almost 12 years I just worry about the country’s ability to ever generate sufficient local players unless there is some really serious money thrown around for a long period of time. Canada is still a country where sporting excellence is admired, kids are encouraged to be sporty and parks are full of kids playing sports. The problem is that the established NA sports of Ice Hockey, gridiron, baseball and basketball all offer the chance of becoming seriously rich and all also offer the possibility of getting some or all of your education paid for through university athletic scholarships. You would have to be incredibly dedicated to choose rugby of either code and sadly many of today’s youngsters have to be hard headed, especially in expensive cities like Vancouver and Toronto.
  11. The first few times people go to a game it may just be for entertainment, however to keep them coming back there has to be an emotional involvement, otherwise they move on to the next form of entertainment. I agree that away fans really matter when you want to generate an atmosphere, although I’m not a big soccer guy I have been to a couple of Vancouver Whitecaps games and the ones with the electric atmosphere are always games against Seattle and Portland because in each case around 3-4000 raucous travelling fans generates the atmosphere and gets the sleepy Vancouverites to wake up and respond. Similarly the few times I have been to NHL games the atmosphere usually sucks, because only Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Toronto actually have any travelling support (actually not usually travelling far, Vancouver is usually their new home but they always support their home town team).
  12. Probably 6 certainties, Wigan, Saints, Warrington, Hull, Leeds, Catalans. Beyond that who knows. Would love to see a Bradford revival but no dodgy owners and please no Odsal, obviously would also love Newcastle to be there, but again they have to be strong enough. I would also like to see some creative promotion of an underdog team, and given the incredible work they have done in transforming their facilities, with I think if I am correct no council help, that should be Fev. After that any other potential candidates have a few question marks London, needs a home, also heavily dependent on an ageing owner Huddersfield, home of the game, but also dependent on an ageing owner Toulouse, big city, potential but so far little evidence to suggest they will be a hit, what’s the junior game like around there? Leigh, great little club, will probably be screwed by Wigan and Saints though Hull KR, rugby mad city and incredible derby, but financially can they cope? Any North American expansion, Covid may change the world of long haul travel for a number of years making expansion here difficult. Also a big question mark over where the players come from, attracting players from the UK and Oz invariably leads to overpayment, lots of sport loving juniors, but the big bucks and university athletic scholarships are in NA sports so only the committed will choose rugby, hence why the Canadian and US national RU teams are so weak Would love something in Cumbria but as others have said the scattered population plus the lack of wealth, particularly in the west would seem to rule this area out. Will probably be resigned to being a feeder area for existing SL clubs. The same argument could be said of Wales.
  13. Central Park for sure, a dump by the end but so atmospheric. I also loved Gillford Park, Carlisle, very basic but just a fun place to watch a game, especially when Cameron Bell was coach and although I haven’t been there since 2009 I always enjoyed games at Fev, Batley and Dewsbury.
  14. Attending an NHL game is out of the reach of most families. When my kids were younger we very rarely went to a Canucks game due to the cost. Minor league sport has a place in North America because it is affordable, as BP says a lot of people go for the night out but there are also a lot of people who are passionate about their teams and love to play spot the next superstar, having said that I don’t see that system working in the UK.
  15. I agree fully with this, the problem is we lack the strength of leadership and too many top flight clubs have too much influence which allows the criteria applied to be seriously distorted to protect those clubs. As much as I love the thrill of P&R I do worry that the game is not strong enough to allow it in the future. When a team goes down they basically have to bounce back or they face near oblivion (Oldham and Workington are good examples and even Cas sailed close to the wind when they went down), and as I think BSJ said the reward for the players of a newly promoted team is usually notice to go find another club, as the newly promoted side invests to say up (usually ageing Antipodeans). I just worry that without the leadership and an overhaul to the way the game is run we will keep going round and round in circles.
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