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Everything posted by wiganermike

  1. Following Covid and what happened with Toronto the investors in Canada decided it wasn't feasible to enter a Canadian team in the RFL/SL system and withdrew from the project. With no financial backing anymore the Ottawa idea was shelved and Eric Perez sought new investors in areas of the UK with no existing club. He found some in Cornwall and what would have been Ottawa became Cornwall RLFC instead.
  2. I know some players aren't as quick as others but that would be some run up.
  3. Unfortunately the primary conduit for Welsh players into the sport is two League 1 clubs (one of which barely functions) so this standard of squad is about as much as we could expect at the moment. They have been declining for a few years as the players that emerged during (Celtic) Crusaders time in the SL have got older with the system that brought them through gone so no new blood of a similar standard has appeared. The only one of note who appeared in the last few years (Grace) has now been lost to RU. The Welsh clubs we have will take years to grow sufficiently (if they ever do) to produce sufficient numbers of top level players. Development Officers and a centrally run youth system in Wales to feed into the pro teams at large could be a possible avenue. The problems of how to fund such a scheme and whether it would and could be run competently though would still make the success of such a project doubtful. Another possibility could be for clubs to be allowed cap dispensation for 2 Welsh players under the age of 21 and for them to be encouraged to scout and bring such players into their youth development systems.
  4. The source of division of opinion comes with what people would consider constitutes a reasonable championship type league. This comes down to the level of funds they believe clubs should be given to function with. Whatever level of funding that is personally I think the most important factor is that it should be the same figure for all clubs within a division. During the period of licensing and before the Championship was a very competitive competition with a fairly low salary cap level (c.£300k IIRC) where clubs were part time operations. Whether you support(ed) them or not the introduction of the 3x8s structure was the start of the current inequality in the Championship. The need for Championship top 4 to have at least near parity in the middle 8 phase led to the vastly uneven funding distribution we now see at Championship level and the raising of the cap at that level to a point where very few have the funds to spend it. This was exacerbated when first Toulouse returned and then Toronto joined League 1 as the cap was raised further to allow them to use their spending power to reach SL. Toronto are no more and Toulouse are likely to return to SL for 2024 (and are considered likely to stay there under the proposed system of grading). However the Championship will still be left with the legacy of the changes made due to the 3x8s and those two expansion clubs. That is a model of inequality in funding distribution that is no longer necessary and an inflated cap level that will no longer be necessary as success on the pitch will no longer be the sole arbiter for reaching the top division. The unequal distribution model for whatever funds are available should definitely be the first thing to go from 2024. The salary cap level should also be lowered so that the Championship can return to being a more competitive league for (at least predominantly) part time clubs. This will allow clubs to use some of whatever funding does eventuate on the establishing and improving of the club infrastructure that will go towards improving their club grade rather than trying to keep up with one or two clubs that are splashing the cash. The bone of contention will always be the level of funding that is given to the individual clubs at Championship (and League 1) level. Some clubs (and their supporters) that have been at the top end of the Championship for a few years will have become accustomed to operating with the higher levels of funding and may want a continued level of funding that allows them to run (if they choose to) a full time team. Some people will think that enough funding to run a part time club and team will be sufficient. IMO though the level of funding is important to the clubs the level of the permitted salary cap within the competition is more important, as lowering it will make it more likely that some portion of funding at least will go towards the building of infrastructure which the proposed system appears to want to encourage.
  5. Unfortunately the only type of stories that would result would be of 100+ point winning margins and community/european club players having periods off work after coming off worse from trying to tackle/be tackled by the likes of Alex Walmsley. The SL clubs do enter the cup at too late a stage IMO but we already have a team in League 1 that ships 100 points against other League 1 teams. It would be unfair and potentially damaging to have SL teams come up against community clubs or european clubs (many of which are of a poorer standard than our community clubs' teams). Bringing the SL clubs in at the last 32 stage of the Challenge Cup as it exists now would be workable when likely the weakest teams left in the cup will be the top teams in League 1.
  6. Matty Russell was born in Scotland. Dave Scott was born and raised in Scotland (he played in the Championship and for Scotland for a few years after Hull KR signed him from a Scottish community club. He played for Midlands Hurricanes this year I think).
  7. On the face of it yes that would be how it would be expected to work as the initial proposal suggests B grade clubs will exchange places should one in the Championship be graded as stronger than one in SL. In practice you would expect that your hypothetical Featherstone would have been warned at their most recent review (and possibly the one before that) that they were in danger of not meeting required standards/being surpassed by a Championship club and so were at risk of demotion. It is very unlikely that clubs will be demoted/ promoted based on the events of a single season. It is also possible that some amendment could be made before the proposals are adopted that will allow for expansion of SL by admitting additional strong B grade clubs rather than 1 up meaning 1 must go down (rather than only expanding by adding new A grade clubs). What we will likely see is some negotiation on specifics before the structure is finalised. Using your hypothetical it would be unfair to punish Featherstone if they had continued to meet the standards they had in previous seasons in SL simply because Leigh had also achieved what was asked of them to be elevated to SL. In a scenario where every club in SL has an A grade the proposals put forward state that any club outside would need to attain an A grade to enter SL. As I said though I wouldn't be surprised to see that slightly amended as an A grade may be too difficult in practice to attain in the Championship (though the clubs won't know that until they are given details of what constitutes the minimum standards for each grade).
  8. No, but if during the annual assessments a grade B club in the Championship was judged to be better suited for the SL place than the one in SL then they would exchange places.
  9. They have still publicly had a rant about the organisations that will be making the decisions on grading in the future and have probably done more harm than good to their own cause because of it. If they are sceptical about the proposals due to their own experiences they are entitled to that opinion but a measured diplomatic response would be better than a public rant. Even if only for the public image of the Keighley club. Something like " we have viewed and listened to these early proposals by IMG for the future of Rugby League and have some concerns over the ways in which these proposals could be implemented and the clarity and transparency of the process involved. We will liaise with both IMG and the RFL to raise and address these concerns before deciding whether to lend our Club's support to these proposals or otherwise." In the Cougarmania years they did grow considerably and especially given the ongoing travails of the Bulls there is the opportunity for a well run Keighley to grow again. There is the possibility for any club that can achieve sufficient growth to find itself elevated to the top tier under the IMG proposals. The only limit to how high a club like Keighley can climb should be determined by how much the club (business) can grow. They seem to have assumed that the experience will be the same as in 1996 already. Lots has changed since then, the decision makers that changed the rules and relegated 6 clubs and denied Keighley (and Batley) promotion are all gone. In 1996 both Bradford and Halifax were top 6 clubs in the top tier with the Bulls about to become one of the pre-eminent clubs of the next decade, in 2022 Halifax have been outside the top flight for almost 20 years and Bradford are a pale shadow of what they were. Keighley are in the same division as both next year and have an opportunity to build to get ahead of both. If IMG are looking for a club in that area to elevate then Keighley are in a position where it can be achievable to be the best available option. They may hold a position of scepticism and mistrust but the tone of their club statement was ill judged at best. The bits about expansion being a particularly poor choice.
  10. Done. I have split up the large opening paragraph in my post above. Should be easier to read now.
  11. On your first paragraph, those could be valid concerns that Keighley or any club currently have given the rules around allocation of elite academies now and the poor way in which the Licensing process was run. However there is already a publicly announced follow up meeting for the clubs in the calendar prior to the requirement to vote. That is the time and place that already exists for concerned parties to raise those and other issues they have and to have them addressed. What Keighley have done is had a public rant criticising the way things have been done in the past in their opinion, despite one complaint 'creating a celebrity and glamour that was not authentic' being pretty much what the Keighley club did when they launched Cougarmania. They may not think they would have much chance of growing the club to be granted a top flight place under the proposed system (they haven't managed that too well under P&R either though barring one season immediately prior to SL being founded. Batley finished second behind Keighley that season but you never hear them complaining about it). If I applied for a job I didn't think I quite qualified for I would still have to put the same effort in as for any other to try to overcome that. I might well still not get it anyway but I'd have some chance, however if I stated in my application or at interview that those making the decision were creating a false image for the organisation and were prejudiced towards me as employing me wouldn't tick a box for diversity I'd be pretty sure I had shot myself in the foot application wise. That is pretty much what Keighley have done with their statement. On the second paragraph, yes that is a nonsense idea and if adopted it would last one season at the most. It won't be adopted though as it is nonsense. It most likely is put forward to make another proposal such as (hypothetically) SL clubs entering the cup a round earlier look better by comparison to make that more sensible proposal more likely to be adopted. On the final sentence Keighley's issues are clearly not all around this proposed structure alone but as mentioned previously there are much better avenues open to them in which they can raise their issues. If memory serves didn't they want to have the expansion clubs in League 1 kicked out a few years ago? Whatever their concerns they have not done their club any favours reacting in the way they have.
  12. I intended to type 'naive enough to think that cuts will not occur below SL before they do in SL if cuts are needed' here. Somehow I managed to dumbly miss out typing the word not and so said the opposite of what I intended. I have edited the initial post to correct this. I agree with your reply, when the last deal saw income fall the greatest cuts were below SL. I would expect cuts to be made to allocations below SL before they were made at SL level. Your quoting of my post allowed me to spot my mistake so thank you. When assessing the grade B clubs then I would expect ratios to be applied to the metrics being assessed to account for the competition in which a particular club is competing. It would be unreasonable to expect a club in the Championship to be able to attract the same size of crowds or to generate the same amount of turnover as a club of comparable size competing in the higher profile SL. As an example an average attendance of 3000 would be of great concern for a SL club, an average crowd of 3000 in the Championship however would be a strong base from which to build if promoted. I would expect the required targets to attain to gain promotion would be lower than those needed to be met in order to avoid being demoted.
  13. Probably something reminiscent of Cougarmania?
  14. Challenge Cup ties were two legged (including finals) during World War 2. The first round was two legged for a few years afterwards.
  15. I too hope that the gap in funding between SL and Championship can be narrowed, but that is to a certain extent dictated by whatever money the next broadcast deal brings in. Nobody is naive enough to think that cuts will not occur below SL before they do in SL if cuts are needed due to broadcast revenue falling. For the gap to close even partially we will need to see broadcast rights income increase to pay for it. With regards to the money coming in from the broadcast deal most if not all will go to paying the wages of players. SL wage bills are much higher (unless you have an owner like Derek Beaumont paying for it) and require more to pay for them. Once the playing staff are paid from tv revenue I doubt clubs in either division have much left over to accrue further advantage. The money that pays for everything else will come from other income (tickets, merchandise etc.), sponsors and the owner. The ability to raise the funds to pay for all the club infrastructure is essentially what most of the grading assessment should come down too. That is the strength of the club and what each club would rely on should broadcast revenue disappear altogether.
  16. That's what I expect will happen so that the clubs don't lose income from home league fixtures. Then as the number of clubs in SL begins to increase each extra club means that two loop fixtures can be dropped until we get to a point where we don't have any loop fixtures anymore.
  17. Any effort to replace home games cut from SL with other games would be to allow clubs to maintain the same income level from tickets over the season, not to compensate season ticket holders. The reason we have the loop fixtures is that club owners said when two teams were cut from SL that they needed at least 13 home games to be financially viable.
  18. I expect the clubs will be told something similar with regard to distributions to what they were before this current deal was negotiated i.e an amount or proportion of funds they will receive if the value of the broadcast deal is above or below a specified threshold value. Any vote will need to happen long before the next broadcast deal is done. Whatever the figures end up being I wouldn't be surprised if the SL clubs all got the same whether A or B grade, the B grade Championship clubs all got the same amount (equal to a proportion of the SL allocation) and the C grades got what they get now or nothing.
  19. Alex Murphy co-commentating on the 1985 Challenge Cup said of John Ferguson something like 'he's carrying a leg, he'll have to go off in a minute'. Ferguson promptly intercepted a loose pass and went 50 metres to score.
  20. The new proposed structure would be being implemented during a different, yet to be negotiated broadcast deal so putting concrete figures on the table for clubs in respective leagues would not really be possible. There may be a proposed distribution by percentage of broadcast income plan put together that has not been publicised. The comparative strengths of playing rosters should not be a factor for clubs in different competitions. There are no published frameworks but assessment of on-field performance would (or should) be relative to the competition the club competes in, grading points gained for making the Championship playoffs would be the same as for making the SL playoffs for example. As for metrics like attendance, turnover etc then the people at IMG should be smart enough to work out that a ratio would need to be applied when comparing second tier to top tier. An average crowd of 3000 would be a great concern in SL but a strong base to build from (if promoted) in the Championship for example. The standards to be attained to be promoted are likely lower than those needed to retain a SL place. There haven't been solid details released about the schedule of re-assessment of A grade clubs but it is likely that a mechanism exists for a failing club to be downgraded from A to B or B to C as well as for clubs being upgraded. The hope would be that such a situation never arises as it would probably involve another Bradford style collapse.
  21. Reported on LoveRugbyLeague.com now with quotes of what Simon Johnson said on the BBC podcast. It's one of many proposals, and is such a poor idea that it may just be there to make a different proposal look better by comparison (e.g a hypothetical Challenge Cup group phase proposal). They (IMG) are proposing to cut three home fixtures for each SL club and so need to propose ways to replace them (to get club owners on board with cutting league fixtures) until such time as the SL expands the number of clubs and the fixture numbers increase again. I think it far more likely that we will see the loop fixtures retained with these reducing in number as the SL expands over time so we keep the same number of home league fixtures per club (13).
  22. I assume by Cumbrian you mean West Cumbrian and not Furness. Given the size of population centres in the county it will always be a challenge to grow the clubs beyond a certain size support wise. I wouldn't say that these proposals lock out either Workington or Whitehaven with certainty as we don't know how high the bar will be to reach a high enough grade for SL (in the early years at least). The aim for both (and Barrow) should be to become a leading Championship club with a B grade and to attract wider support outside their town to swell crowd numbers (I don't know how much they do this already). The annual reviews will then tell them whether they have a chance to progress further from that point. Without meaning to sound harsh it has been 26 years since Workington were in the top tier (and it nearly destroyed them) and about 40 years for Whitehaven. I doubt this proposal has made much material difference to their top flight aspirations than they were previously.
  23. I can envisage a bunch of poorly attended second legs following a convincing win in leg 1. RL games produce too many points for the sport to lend itself to two-legged ties. When we did have them in the years around World War 2 the points tallies were lower so a deficit would be less to turn around. There is little interest in cup games when your team just needs a 1 point win, even fewer people will bother if their team needs to overturn say a 20 point deficit. This is obviously a short term fix as the aim is that the SL will expand in a few years as we get more A grade clubs so the fixture shortfall will disappear. This plan has ditched after a year written all over it though.
  24. The shift from a system whereby winning the competition guarantees promotion to one where a place in the top tier is gained through improving club infrastructure to increase the size of the club should see an end to clubs essentially buying their way to the Championship title as the money would be more wisely spent on areas other than the playing roster so as to improve the club overall. Competing at the top end of the Championship will help with grading reviews no doubt but as Batley have shown in the last few seasons that doesn't require breaking the bank to achieve. The Championship was a better competition prior to the change in funding distribution and spending that came in during the Super 8s period. The removal of the necessity to win the competition in a win or bust effort should see an end to the all-conquering behemoth team each season we have been seeing at that level.
  25. Hopefully the club has reached its nadir during the first half of this season and can stabilise and build at Plough Lane. The aim should be to do that and as you say build some success in the Championship. Establishing themselves as a leading Championship club while expanding the club infrastructure should be the aim for the next few years.
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