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  1. The very fact that we find it difficult to come to an agreed total of how many clubs are playing in the men's pyramid is itself indicative of what it wrong with the amateur game. Websites are poor, information is out of date. No one has updated the wiki entry on the National Conference which does not list clubs in the correct league, There seems to be little or no coordination. The model on how to run amateur sport is the GAA in Ireland. i am not being in any way patriotic when I say it is state of the art model. Over 2,000 clubs in 32 counties in 4 provinces acting as regions, with 5 tiers of club competition below a 32 county tier 1. Competitions seamlessly linked from county to province to countrywide, promotion and relegation clear and easy to understand. Have a look at any county website and compare it to a regional league website.....The GAA is amateur but is professional in how it runs its business. The RFL is professional but amateur in how it runs its business.
  2. It is remarkably difficult to spread a sport out of its heartlands...almost impossible. Think about it. RL is where it always has been. Union is the same. Scottish Borders, Wales, S-W England. Unions outposts in the North are poorly supported. Baseball has not taken one territory it was not active in decades ago. The US, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, some Latin states and that is it....just as it was decades ago. Same for Cricket. American football has never really spread despite all the publicity and money. The only sports that have managed to thrive are soccer and basketball.both remarkably cheap and easy to play and supported by the imperial might of the UK and then USA as they spread. so cool attractive and above all easy and cheap. RL is not "easy" to play and needs to be coached etc. It is not going to spread significantly outside its heartland. The real key is to preserve that heartland.
  3. True. The dominance of that Wigan team was a double edged sword but what RL team has come close to breaking through into the general sporting consciousness like they did....Edwards, Gregory, Lydon, Hanley, Iro, etc etc....30 years later you don't have to be a Wigan fan to remember and the BBC covered the game every week in prime time sporting coverage. It was regular for RL to be on BBC1 on Saturday afternoon........just think about it. People need to get to know their sporting stars.....as you say what casual sports watcher is going to become familiar with current players whereas Edwards, Gregory etc were on terrestrial TV probably 10 times a year.
  4. Attention levels in the public are shortening all the time. The Aussie Union side are in Europe regularly whereas the Aussie League side have disappeared from view. Also Union here is much more high profile now since professionalism came along. It's not just league. If you asked the average lad in the street 20 years ago to name the biggest soccer club outside England he would probably have said AC Milan. Now no one would. If you are not in the headlines you disappear.
  5. All good points. TV coverage evidently important as was weather. Average Final attendance is not a fail-safe way to measure the prestige of an event but over an extended period of time it gives a real indication. The John Player/Regal began in 1971/72 and ran concurrently with the county cups until after 1992/93 when the cups were discontinued. So 22 seasons in which all Three knockout events ran. Average final attendance at each over those 22 seasons. John Player/Regal: 13,845 Lancashire Cup: 11,525 Yorkshire Cup: 10,559.
  6. Interesting that several of us place the John Player/Regal ahead of the Premiership. That's pretty much how I remembered it but I have compared the attendances at finals from 1975 through 1992 ( 18 years ) and it is as follows John Player/Regal average atttendance 14,664 Premiership average attendance 23,439. Big difference. Of course weather would generally be much better and moving to OT in the late 1980s helped but it only moved to OT because the potential was there.
  7. Interested in your views on this lads. Many of you will have much more "on the ground" memory of this than me or know friends and family who were following the game in the 1970s and 1980s. There were 5 top level events open to each senior club: Championship, County Cup, John Player Trophy, Challenge Cup and Premiership. How would you rate them from most prestigious to least prestigious back in the day? I have my own ideas but really interested in knowing your views.
  8. Recently rewatched the 1983 CC Final which Featherstone played in. Commentary said that 10 of the lads worked in the pit. I don't know if that was a bit of "oop Norf" romanticism or if it was true.
  9. History never stops. 200 years ago there was little or nothing in the way of organised team sport. Things changed. Economy changed, work and education models changed. Things are changing now. We all know the reasons: Rise of individualism, increasing insurance costs, rise of gig economy, Sunday trading, decline of family unit so "dad" not there, etc etc etc. The list could be expanded to 40 or 50 issues. In RL we also have the general difficulties in the former textile and mining industrial towns that are the heartbeat of the game. EG. Take a town like Batley or Dewsbury or any heartland town to be honest. How many boys aged 10 to 12 are living in a family unit with their dad now compared to 50 years ago in towns like that? A fraction. There are no easy answers. In fact there may be no answers if the aim is to retain the numbers of 40 years ago. We have to accept the reality that things are not what they were.
  10. Used to support Everton FC and was on a couple of EFC forums but in recent years I have tired of soccer and simply don't care about it anymore so I have long since stopped that. Otherwise I don't bother. Only joined this from very recently since I find myself more interested in the game than others.
  11. I've spent about 4 minutes on this thread and have to get off it pronto. The unadulterated northern misery has a hypnotic quality.
  12. Steve I am a perfect example of an Irish person ( so not from the heartland ) who was attracted to the game. I had no interest at all in RL as a kid until I saw Challenge Cup finals on TV. You remember all those Widnes finals in the late 1970s and Eddie Waring etc? I thought it was great and started to talk about it and no one ( no one) was interested. I would watch the Grandstand games on Saturday afternoon if I wasn't out and no one else even knew they were on. None of my friends even knew what the Challenge Cup was. I had my teams I supported before I had ever visited the towns in question and this may sound strange but actually visiting those towns was a big thrill. The game attracts fans outside the heartland by having people see the game and if they become fans great. We can't make it artificial. I was attracted to the game because it was REAL in Yorkshire and Lancashire and because it was a great game.As a kid I wouldn't have been attracted to Ireland in the RLWC. Not real you see? It'll always be minority ( and do I mean minority !!! ) in places like Ireland and it is the real thing that will attract not artificail concepts. What attracted me was seeing town teams play like men possessed in real competition.
  13. The truth is that the notion of a World Cup in rugby league is absurd. The game is a regional game in the North of England and the East coast areas of Australia.. Nothing wrong with that. I'm Irish. The reality is that the RLWC makes no impression in Ireland and the Irish team gets no support for two reasons. 1. League has little or no fanbase in a heavily contested sporting landscape 2. The team is not Irish. The concept is artificial.
  14. I don't have a vested interest to argue for any particular town but in my opinion Leeds is the sensible place if only because it is by far the biggest city in which the game thrives. Transport links exist. Hotels, infrastructure etc. On another point I wouldn't worry about American or other "new fans". Fact is that the heartland of the game is what it was 30 years ago and will be 30 years in the future. By all means try to appeal to others but when I got into the game I knew very well that places like Widnes, Warrington, Batley and Dewsbury were not Las Vegas. Grit and northern townscapes are part of the game's history.
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