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Kear sees the light on franchising


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1. You could try some research and add to it an educated guess?

2. I am sure you are correct that a deal worth hundreds of millions was "scribbled down on the back of a fag packet" ;)

I struggle with educated guesses.

You see, I can't fathom for the life of me why they'd chuck millions at us so they could show games from an empty Stoop or why offering them somewhere like Bridgend is likely to make a substantial improvement in a TV contract.

Just out of interest, how much research have you done?

Just because you think everyone hates you doesn't mean they don't.

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As the Chief Executive of the RFL commented, "At a time when other major spectator sports are facing falling attendances, it is most encouraging to see our gates rising significantly once again. This surely demonstrates that however hard the times, people will always turn up to support a game which offers skill, excitement, commitment, self-discipline, and value for money.

However we musn't be complacent. Much remains to be done and it is particularly pleasingto find that many Rugby League clubs are at last paying attention to the vital need to improve spectators' facilities and comfort. The battle for people's time, attention, and money has never been tougher but the latest figures confirm my conviction that our game is marching inexorably forward to the ultimate goal, which will see Rugby League firmly established as a leading national spectator sport during the course of the current decade".

Mmmmmmmmm.

The above quote that nobody picked up on was actually made by David Oxley in Rothmans Yearbook 1981-82 when he was talking about 1,250,000 people having watched the First Division matches. After goodness knows how many millions of pounds being poured in to the game and more television exposure have we really moved that much further on. Most of the money that should have pushed us in the direction Oxley talked about went in to the pockets of players, mainly antipodeans not into the infrastructure of the game below SL level and we are now starting to pay the price at that lower level.

I remember when .............................

"It is impossible not to feel a twinge of sympathy for Workington Town, the fall guys this season for the Super League's determination to retain it's European dimension, in the shape of Paris. While the French have had every assistance to survive, the importance of having a flagship in a heartland area like West Cumbria has been conveniently forgotten." - Dave Hadfield - Independent 25th August 1996.

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Not too long ago (I have the stats somewhere) the top division had 65-70% of the total attendances.

Now those top division/SL clubs have more than 80%, possibly as high as 85%

So now we have - the SL clubs have virtually all the speccies, Tv receipts and access to the best juniors across the Uk. The Championship clubs used to get bonuses from a transfer deal now and then and big crowds in the hope of causing an upset in the challenge cup.

Now that there are no transfer fees and CC crowds are falling, then the cash is drying up.

If we don't watch it, there will be a super league and the next level will be a glorified version of the division Bramley play in instead of clubs putting pressure on the SL clubs.

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I struggle with educated guesses.

You see, I can't fathom for the life of me why they'd chuck millions at us so they could show games from an empty Stoop or why offering them somewhere like Bridgend is likely to make a substantial improvement in a TV contract.

Just out of interest, how much research have you done?

It is maybe (note the suggestion rather than the declaration) the case that there are two agendas going on. SKY want to see big clubs with stars playing out of packed grounds (hence the "greedy"saints, wigans, wires, leeds and hulls of this world) and the RFL want to see RL developing at all levels in a much bigger geographical area than just the M62 (like the France, Wales, Crusaders, Quins and Catalans of this world).

I've read everything I can on this over the 15 years since this started wether in books or articles, and have particularly taken note of what the people who run RL wether at the RFL or at clubs say and what the few non lazy investigative RL journos have dug up plus the views and findings of several posters on here.

It's been a bit of a hobby, like Golf I suppose.

I suppose you could make an educated guess (why not try it sometime?) that the empty stadia of Bridgend and The Stoop are the making of the RFL and not SKY (note the suggestion rather than the declaration).

Hope this helps you, however I can't help with your handicap.

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Not too long ago (I have the stats somewhere) the top division had 65-70% of the total attendances.

Now those top division/SL clubs have more than 80%, possibly as high as 85%

So now we have - the SL clubs have virtually all the speccies, Tv receipts and access to the best juniors across the Uk. The Championship clubs used to get bonuses from a transfer deal now and then and big crowds in the hope of causing an upset in the challenge cup.

Now that there are no transfer fees and CC crowds are falling, then the cash is drying up.

If we don't watch it, there will be a super league and the next level will be a glorified version of the division Bramley play in instead of clubs putting pressure on the SL clubs.

An excellent analysis Shaun, perhaps you can share this with Jill. She's not too hot at working these things out for herself. Mind she's a good golfer.

This is the Mo Lindsay's "merge or die" plan from 1996 at work, and seemingly succeeding to a point. That plan is written apparently on the back of a fag packet (woodbine's I understand) and is in a frame in the RL heritage centre in Huddersfield.

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From memory at the time we didn't seem overly blessed with a great deal of planning time given the threats from the recently professionalized Union lot and from the "war" raging in Australia were anyone half decent in England seemed to be a target.

I do think we ended up a long way short of Maurcies/Sky's original plan as the only mergers we've had have been to safe clubs at the expense of others rather than any well thought out regional strategy.

We could argue the rights and wrongs all we like, no doubt we all have slightly different relocation's, but it won't alter, we are were we are and can only change the future.

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The above quote that nobody picked up on was actually made by David Oxley in Rothmans Yearbook 1981-82 when he was talking about 1,250,000 people having watched the First Division matches. After goodness knows how many millions of pounds being poured in to the game and more television exposure have we really moved that much further on. Most of the money that should have pushed us in the direction Oxley talked about went in to the pockets of players, mainly antipodeans not into the infrastructure of the game below SL level and we are now starting to pay the price at that lower level.

but we have been told on here that crowsd were poor in that era because of the dire economic times people were goinmg hrough. See posts passim on thi thread.

a look at attendances since then would indicate that perhaps they have.

How can money have gone to 'mainly antipodeans', when they are a small minority o those playing the game?

It s a fair argument that the numbers of overseas players are too high, but there are in may cases legal reasons for that, and I agree with your general point regharding infrastucture

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Hmmmmm :huh:

Maybe they all knew that no SKY contract meant the death of RL so they all voted for it.

No it wouldn't have meant the death of the game. It might have meant the death of some clubs, (many clubs even) from what we now know Wigan for certain. Probably others too. Not Leeds, not Hull, probably not Saints. But the game would have continued and clubs been resurrected like the Welsh Union clubs were. Perhaps a stronger leaner fitter game, but more importantly without being hooked on Murdoch.

The reformed clubs, born out of necessity would perhaps have been the merged ones suggested by the Murdoch deal, but crucially they would not have been perceived to have been forced on the various clubs' fans but grown from the fans' need for a team to support. It's all "ifs and ands" but I thought at the time that the deal would be bad long term for RL, and IMO it has been.

“Few thought him even a starter.There were many who thought themselves smarter. But he ended PM, CH and OM. An Earl and a Knight of the Garter.”

Clement Attlee.

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and ALL the clubs voted in favour of it

Yes - on the assumption that they were going to be recieving Sky money (albeit lower than those recieved by SL Clubs) whilst ever SL clubs were and that a SL place could be earned on the pitch.

I doubt anyone expected that non SL clubs were only going to be included in the Sky payouts for only a short time.

Payment to non SL clubs was only re-instated recently so that they would agree to the scrapping of P & R.

Edited by Jimmy B

Lets not forget, Featherstone Rovers is a RUGBY club.

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But Warrington, Hull and Huddersfield are not really short of money, are they? Perhaps when the likes of Wakey, or Cas, or Salford knock out one of the big boys the romance will be back. I'm not holding my breath, turkeys don't usually vote for an early Christmas.
The year after this magical 1987 game where Oldham knocked Wigan out, saw Wigan start their record-breaking CC run. It was great then when the lower teams were beating the bigger teams.

At least the CC is spread around a bit now.

People just seem to make out that every problem is with a) salary cap or B) franchising, to suit their arguments, and often the link is quite tenuous.

The fact is there have always been clubs that were better off than others, and they will generally have more success.

The fact that Cas, Wakey or Salford haven't knocked Saints or Leeds out of the cup isn't to do with licensing or the salary cap, as they work within the same rules as the other SL clubs.

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We'll have to agree to disagree on this one, if your going to dumb down to he lowest common denominator all the time we may as well scrap payments full stop. I see no merit in lowering standards further, if anything clubs should be taken to task if they can't spend or demonstrate a plan to spend close to the current cap under a licensed system with such decent levels of TV money coming in.

But its sport, there is bound to be elitism, there has to be winners and losers! Even with the salary cap some teams in Super League have demonstrated an amazing ability to maintain success and keep squads together. Unless you bring a draft on youth I think we are miles away from seeing the talent spread about, a salary cap won't do it, not when elite players can go outside the sport or play in the NRL to earn a living.

No but that horse has bolted, clubs have broken away once and no doubt will do again if things are not going there way or you try and take TV money off them.

I am talking about a long term plan for growing the sport. I do agree, short term we will lose some of the top talent, but we are doing that to some degree anyway, in Burgess, Ellis etc who are in Australia. We would also lose the majority of the 2nd rate journey men Aussies that are in our game too who are only here for the pay packet. That would give our home grown youth development a better chance to succeed. So although we are "dumbing down" as you put it initially, long term though the game will benefit and become sustainable with all clubs working profitably.

It is the only way all professional sport will survive in the country eventually, look at Man U,

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QUOTE (Jimmy B @ Jul 2 2010, 09:00 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yes - on the assumption that they were going to be recieving Sky money (albeit lower than those recieved by SL Clubs) whilst ever SL clubs were and that a SL place could be earned on the pitch.

I doubt anyone expected that non SL clubs were only going to be included in the Sky payouts for only a short time.

Payment to non SL clubs was only re-instated recently so that they would agree to the scrapping of P & R.

so it wasn't because they were broke then

WELCOME TO THE ROYSTON VASEY SUPER LEAGUE 2015

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In this doom and gloom scenario.

If the non SL clubs all went bust. Many of their fans would go to watch their nearest SL club (I know plenty of former Oldham fans who now go to Wigan for example).

If RL consisted of 12 or 14 pro clubs all getting an extra 2000 or so fans from extinct NL clubs, would that be better for the sport in the long term than having 30+ clubs, over half of whom barely break the 1000 barrier?

Or,

Should sport be about opportunity and dreams. That even a small club with poor ground/fanbase could one day grow and get into the SL?

Tough one.

For me, there has to be p&r, and any promoted team gets 1 year grace from relegation (like the french/welsh did).

If by then they cant build crowds/team then they can drop back down and try again.

1 up 1 down.

Or how about

bottom of SL plays Co Op winner. Winner gets the place in SL.

There has to be a chink of light for clubs.

With 3 or 6 years of SL, what sort of crods do you think Widnes, Barrow, Halifax, Leigh, Toulouse or Fev would get?

4000 tops?

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People will travel to watch winning teams, it doesn't matter who you are Leeds, Wigan, Saints, Swinton, Oldham, Dewsbury whoever, it doesn't matter. Big clubs are only big clubs because of continually being in the hunt for winning things. Winning trophy's means more support, more money for better players and almost guaranteed success year on year.

To give a bit of evidence to back up my argument look at Huddersfield's or Bradford's gates over the last few seasons, when they are winning then the gates increase and vice versa.

Since the year 2000 the Giants gates have risen (3400 avg in 2000 to an 8000 avg this season) as they have become more competitive and have started to be in with a shout of winning things.

Bradford's have dropped from 14500 avg in 2000, to around 9000 this year, as there form has dipped.

Genuine question - who would you consider to be the last club to break the mold and take the romantic journey from plucky lower league side to thriving top division side?

I agree with your point and example of Bradford, in that crowds will watch a winning side, however, once they drift away from the Bulls are they watching another club or just getting there fix from the TV? But being a big club is not just about the trophies, as a Wigan Athletic fan I can vouch for that, in the North West there are many clubs who have won just as much as us (or even less!) over the last 30 years but are still massive clubs by comparison and in that arena, Wigan Athletic is never going to be a "big" club.

With regards to the rest of your points, the Man Utd example is hardly fair, if the new owners had loaded them with debt to buy the club in the first place they were about as profitable as a football team was going to get as a PLC.

What effect do you envisage your proposed reduced cap having on clubs that are currently spending up to the cap?

I just don't agree with your points it would lead to a more competitive environment, if you lower it to

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In this doom and gloom scenario.

If the non SL clubs all went bust. Many of their fans would go to watch their nearest SL club (I know plenty of former Oldham fans who now go to Wigan for example).

If RL consisted of 12 or 14 pro clubs all getting an extra 2000 or so fans from extinct NL clubs, would that be better for the sport in the long term than having 30+ clubs, over half of whom barely break the 1000 barrier?

Or,

Should sport be about opportunity and dreams. That even a small club with poor ground/fanbase could one day grow and get into the SL?

Tough one.

It's a tough one for you BBR and probably the same for Tro and Terry, but that choice belonged to those who ran the game, who owned the game or whatever, and they chose to go for a limited amount of strong clubs, and for the weaker clubs they had the choice of merge with a big club or stay small.

Merging meant for many of the fans of the small clubs a loss of identity and they unanimously rejected merger, that inevitably has led to the SL clubs nicking their best junior players, senior players and as you point out fans.

Jimmy B states that the smaller clubs have also been manipulated to vote for these things and that's life I suppose.

All totally unfair, devious, underhand, damaging and alienating of the traditional fan at the small club.

I suppose the RFL/SKY were mumbling the mantra "you can't please all of the people all the time".

So they went ahead with the aim of trying to get the majority of RL fans watching a smaller number of clubs. Given that attendances for most of our top clubs have increased considerably since 1996, the devious and dastardly plan is working, and as you suggest some oldham "fans" are now Wigan fans.......

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so it wasn't because they were broke then

All clubs were broke at that time and the probability is, in truth, that most still are. Despit the millions that the SL clubs have recieved over the last 15 years.

My point was that non SL clubs were not expecting to be cut from the payout three years down the line.

Had they known that I suspect there would have been much more debate before the deal was accepted.

Ultimately had Mo. and his mates not got their way SL would have officially broke away from the RFL.

Back to the original topic of the thread, with his latest comments John Kear sums up the attitude of SL Clubs - namely self interest.

I cannot help but feel that had Wakefield not been in danger of losing their licence because of off field failings he would have said nowt.

Lets not forget, Featherstone Rovers is a RUGBY club.

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Genuine question - who would you consider to be the last club to break the mold and take the romantic journey from plucky lower league side to thriving top division side?

I just don't agree with your points it would lead to a more competitive environment, if you lower it to

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No (rejection of the SKY contract) wouldn't have meant the death of the game. Perhaps a stronger leaner fitter game, but more importantly without being hooked on Murdoch. I thought at the time that the deal would be bad long term for RL, and IMO it has been.

Do you really really really, come on hand on heart be honest really, believe that the game would be better today without that SKY contract.

Without that

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Genuine question - who would you consider to be the last club to break the mold and take the romantic journey from plucky lower league side to thriving top division side?

It is impossible to say for sure, HKR would be the last to successfully make the leap. But if you are asking who would be the last club that could possibly make it at the top level, then it totally depends upon who is winning at the time or who is in with a good chance of winning something. People will not watch a losing side. At the moment a winning team is bought, so it is largely down to available money to spend on the team. For instance if a Des Johnson or Roman Abramovich (sp?) esque character with pots of cash came in with a big enough budget to any club, every club could and would make the journey and would be successful, with enough financial backing.

I agree with your point and example of Bradford, in that crowds will watch a winning side, however, once they drift away from the Bulls are they watching another club or just getting there fix from the TV? But being a big club is not just about the trophies, as a Wigan Athletic fan I can vouch for that, in the North West there are many clubs who have won just as much as us (or even less!) over the last 30 years but are still massive clubs by comparison and in that arena, Wigan Athletic is never going to be a "big" club.

I think it is a case of both, but the majority though will still watch the game "live" elsewhere. Some of the 14000 Bradford fans of the year 2000 are without doubt now supporting the Rhinos, Giants or whoever is doing well at the moment.

The big clubs will continue to be generally bigger than the smaller ones for a few years, until the balance is addressed, and the trophy's are won by different teams on a regular basis.

Generally new fans are introduced to the game by parents and friends etc. who are current fans of the game. The more fans you have, the more opportunity you have to increase gates through things like word of mouth and having kids who go with their parents etc. who eventually become your "hardcore" support that will continue to support the team through thick and thin.

What effect do you envisage your proposed reduced cap having on clubs that are currently spending up to the cap?

I think the gates of the big few would invariably decline slightly, but not massively, as they have built up a big "hardcore" and those "lost" fair weather fans from the big few would be found watching the team that is winning/doing well at the time, certainly not gone from the game entirely.

I just don't agree with your points it would lead to a more competitive environment, if you lower it to
Edited by Pride & Heritage
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QUOTE (Jimmy B @ Jul 2 2010, 12:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
All clubs were broke at that time and the probability is, in truth, that most still are. Despit the millions that the SL clubs have recieved over the last 15 years.

My point was that non SL clubs were not expecting to be cut from the payout three years down the line.

Had they known that I suspect there would have been much more debate before the deal was accepted.

Ultimately had Mo. and his mates not got their way SL would have officially broke away from the RFL.

Back to the original topic of the thread, with his latest comments John Kear sums up the attitude of SL Clubs - namely self interest.

I cannot help but feel that had Wakefield not been in danger of losing their licence because of off field failings he would have said nowt.

that's what I meant by 'they' Jimmy, sorry for the misunderstanding.

Youn are right they were.

I'm not sure about the clubs not being aware of the cut off point, but I'll take your word for it. You are a knowledgeable and honest person. If they weren't, then it's an odd way to do business.

From the late eighties, there was a move by the big cliubs to break away and form their own 'Super League

'. It is highly unlikely that those not admitted would have been recompenswed at all, and the drawbridge would have been up from day one.

I agree with you completely about Kear's comments: which to me seem very disingenuous.

I think there is nothing wrong wrong with self interest: but it has to be enlightened self interest. For instance in the past clubs have been allowed to fold and disappear into history-the list is a long one. But this wasn't allwoed in Bradford Northern's case. The fact that a club in a big city and one of the biggest clubs in the game, with an iconic stadium was about to go to the wall with crowds of a few hundred, says something about the state of the game back then. This was not allowed to happen, because Bradford were such an important, club and importantly had a huge ammount of potential, so the clubs and the game rallied round and Bradford were saved.

That is not the kind of self interest being displayed by Kear.

the game, because of the nature of its history has always had major difficulties to deal with in terms of its survival and growth. That is one of the reasons that it has a tradition of innovation, adaption and progressiveness, although people like Bill fallowfield and the clubs who voted almost entirely from short term self interest under the old order of things.

One sad side issue of this history is that perfectly decent people are sat each others throats-people who to a person care deeply about the game-apart from myself of course: according to one poster on here I'm a disgrace.

I was and am in favour of the changes that have been brought to Rugby League, although of course there is a downside: Trojan quite rightly cites the status of the challenge cup-although that might have diminished anyway. I loathe Murdoch, but that gores for media moguls in general as far as I'm concerned. But not to have a SKY deal like all other major sports wouldhave been suicidal. My big quibble with the original deal was that it sold the game short. Rugby League could have negotiated a far better deal.

The past fascinates me, and I'm wrapped up in Rugby League History and fev history and I hope that comes trhrough in what you see around youin the Rovers club house. There are many other projects in the pipeline: on the other hand maybe Lowfield is right and someone with the right thoughts should take over

chris westwood.

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