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  1. Some long trips! Hopefully a few English clubs will take the opportunity to tour there like we did back in the day.
  2. The ‘balkanisation’ of the RLC needed to happen as clubs in different regions were developing at a different pace - if anything it possibly needed to happen a little sooner.
  3. Back when there was plenty of govt funding flying around prior to 2010, the RFL took on lots of ‘volunteer coordinators’ (I can’t remember the exact title). These positions led to a huge rise in the number of ‘registered volunteers’ largely by counting existing volunteers who hadn’t actually been registered previously. What I’m not sure of is how many - if any - new volunteers were generated. There is a role in this for the RFL and the pro clubs though. The RFL has the expertise in media and event management needed to flush potential volunteers out and bring them together, whilst the clubs have the databases of supporters in different areas. Both could provide expertise and guidance on how to run a club and both could potentially do more to incentivise volunteers to give up their time.
  4. I agree with all of that. We were relatively well structured at Chargers, with a functioning committee and teams at Open Age, u16, u14 and u12. The problem is, no matter how hard you work to put a proper structure in place, if you lose a couple of key individuals, things can turn around quickly.
  5. I can’t honestly recall that being an issue with any of the teams mentioned above. Many of those teams competed in the Yorks/Lincs division of the RLC at one point and more than held their own. Reliance on RU players definitely a factor though.
  6. I think you’re referring to Buxton Bulls. I think Mike Shires from Leeds Akkies was involved there iirc. With a bit of structure, organisation and joined up thinking, there was definitely something that could’ve been built in that area 10 or so years ago. No idea what state it’s in now but I know a few of those who’d been at Chargers are now quite influential at Sherwood Wolfhunt (Mansfield) and Sheffield Forgers (version 2.0).
  7. Who runs those clubs though, week in, week out? Who coaches each age group? Who flips the burgers, washes the kits, collects the subs etc? It’s ok targeting an area and even delivering some schools development but it’s not so easy manufacturing the army of volunteers you need.
  8. Hillsborough Hawks Hoyland Vikings Dearne Valley Bulldogs North Derbyshire Chargers/Chesterfield Spires* Sheffield Forgers Doncaster Toll Bar Moorends Marauders Rotherham Roosters(I think) Barton Bulldogs Lincoln City South Humber Rabbitohs (Grimsby) Scunthorpe Barbarians Derby City Nottingham Outlaws Sherwood Wolfhunt I don’t know how many of these clubs are still afloat and I’ve probably forgotten a few but over the past decade or there have been a lot of clubs in and around the wider South Yorks/North Mids region.
  9. By trying to maintain the facade of running an academy and a scholarship, even though they clearly didn’t have the grassroots base to sustain this. They ended up destabilising lots of the nascent junior clubs in the area, without doing anything to support/reinforce them, and filled a lot of young enthusiastic lads with false expectations just to make up the numbers. Back when I was in Sheffield, Hillsborough Hawks ran juniors, Sheffield Forgers had juniors (but folded and later reformed), North Derbyshire Chargers (playing out of the area on the border of Sheffield/Chesterfield) had juniors and some of the Doncaster clubs had juniors. However, if you’re regularly taking 4-5 young players from each of those clubs at each age group, without doing anything to help replenish the playing stock, you pull down the entire house of cards.
  10. Sheffield had a number of development staff at one point. It’s how they were utilised that was the issue.
  11. There were several emerging grassroots around South Yorks about a decade ago but Sheffield Eagles actually ended up doing more to damage them than to help them - particularly at junior level.
  12. There have been amateur clubs in most of the places you mention before and a pro club in Preston (albeit briefly). The problem is, they all need their own ecosystem made up of dedicated volunteers in order to thrive. Often when these clubs pop up they’re either run by one-man-bands or the RFL permit another club to be established on the doorstep. In both cases, it always ends to a sudden decline and death. In short, the RFL can’t ‘magic up’ these volunteers but they can put structures in place to support them (eg. Club starter packs) and measures in place that encourage enthusiasts in the same area to work together rather than cannibalise all the local resources.
  13. I've got my own thoughts about summer/winter. One general observation I'll make, however, is that as a sport we've talked ourselves into a crisis and I almost wonder if some people are getting a perverse kick out of it.
  14. This is very true. Aston is a fantastic coach and has done well to scrabble cash together from various sources to create the facade of a top class club.They let themselves down in other areas (I won't go into this as West Country Eagle will tell me off) but it'd be a shame if Sheffield were to unravel after another successful season on the pitch. Let's hope a workable, common sense conclusion emerges. Ps, has the club looked at all the non-league football grounds in and around Sheffield?
  15. The difference is, despite Brown's tinkering and dithering preventing them from pushing on, many of the building blocks of success had been implemented prior to Anderson's elevation. Can the same be said of Hull?
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