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Martyn Sadler - Talking Rugby League


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Okay then, here goes a potted history leading up to the advent of the 73 changes.

 

 

 

In the post war sporting boom of the 1950s RL, along with other sports, saw a massive increase in attendances at all games, not just cup games. With people relaxing after the war and a distinct lack of home entertainment other than radio, few people had television, live sport was the entertainment of the day.
 
In the period between 1952 - 62 CC semis managed 5 attendances over 5k, 6 over 40k, 9 over 30k none under 20k.
 
In June 1961 the RFL announced that a 3 season experiment would take place, starting in 62/63 the league would split into two divisions.
 
In 62 the semis attracted an average of just over 37.5k in 63 that halved to just over 18.5k, however the 63 semis came after the big freeze of Dec 62- March 63, the first signs of a thaw were in Feb 63 and things were getting back to normal come March, there was a backlog of games to sort out but the Semi-Finals went ahead on April 22nd 1963 long after the weather had improved.
 
The following two seasons (63/64 - 64/65) saw an improvement in attendance (Av. 28k and 24k) but in December 63 Bradford were set to fold and in January 64 they did. Also in January 64 there was a proposal put forward to change the two division P&R from 2-up, 2- down to 4-up, 4 down after just one season of the experiment. Could this return to favour for the semis have been anything to do with the announcement In Feb 64 that the experiment was to be abandoned at the end of the season (announced around the time of the second round of the cup). If it did it was short lived as the attendances for 66 and 67 only averaged around 17k.
 
Following the ups and downs of the early 60s the late 60s and the early 70s saw a rising trend in 72 the average attendances for the semis were 25k.
 
In January 72 there was concern about the falling attendances at games in general and Wakefield and Hunslet were in financial trouble.This was also around the time of the Cain report which proposed 3 divisions with the 3rd division including the best amateur teams. The three divisions was rejected at a later meeting but clubs decided to investigate, nothing new is there, splitting the league half-way through the season, this was being proposed as a possible interim before a move to two divisions.
 
Eventually they settled for one division with fixtures arranged on an East West split as was the case a few years earlier.
 
In January 73, two divisions were back in favour, with reports that most clubs were in favour of the change. On Feb 16th 1973 the clubs voted for two divisions split 16 - 14 with 4-up, 4-down P&R. Once again around the time of the second round of the challenge cup two divisions was voted in. The 1973 semis fell to a post war low of average 14,698 only to be topped by 1974 which delivered a mere 9,880.
 

Thanks Padge - as always, an interesting read.

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I certainly didn't claim that if we had stuck at 12 clubs everything would have been fine, you have added that extension to the point yourself. it's your point not mine.

Just to be clear, you concluded "all in all 14 clubs didn't really work" but it was not your point that moving to 14 clubs was the cause? Either the extra 2/14ths of Sky money would have saved them or not, else how does the 'extra protection' make any difference? Do you even know that Sky would have paid the same for the last two contracts had it been for a 12 team competition? Sponsors? That with all clubs being richer the salary cap would not have risen, leading to the extra income being lost in league wide wage inflation? That attendances would have not turned reduced instead of seeing a record high because of the need for repeat fixtures to fill out the fixtures. That the quality of management of clubs would have been so much better that they would not have peed that additional money up the wall too.

I am all for seeing researched evidence to show how the current system is detrimental when compared to an alternative. But there are so many hypotheticals and assumptions that all other things would have been exactly the same that to say things would have been better if just one detail was different is meaningless and self serving.

But Super League would be bigger than the Premier League now if only Ian Millward had not abused that Warrington press officer.

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And finally i do not get this obsession with The international game as a driver for other things "in our sport" The RU world cup is a massive read herring, they had a media fair waiting to massage every last drop out of that win and bloody drop goal (as good as it was).  We Just do not have the presence to gain any sort of tale wind from any international success. 

 

It would be easy to prove that one way or another if England/GB hadn't spent the past four decades being so bad.

 

There are only two meaningful opponents in the international area and England simply aren't competitive with one of them.

 

It won't be enough to beat Australia, but until we are regularly doing so then the lack or otherwise of any media presence for the international game is irrelevant because there's no story to tell.

 

The Ashes is one of the biggest sporting events in England.  Compare the profile of it in the 90s when Australia were invincible, to the profile since 2005 when it's been a real competition.   And that's with the media and establishment onside.

English, Irish, Brit, Yorkshire, European.  Citizen of the People's Republic of Yorkshire, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom and the European Union.  Critical of all it.  Proud of all it.    

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The middle division was made up of relegated clubs from the top division and promoted clubs from below. It was like for like.

More up to date figures appear on the "reconstruction" thread where the attendances for Cas and Leigh's drop in 2006 & 2007 are used. If the new system had come in then crowds would have fallen 20% for these clubs as the figures back this up.

Two exchanges on and all you have managed to say is I'm an agitator and am wrong.

Come up with your ideas of how crowds are going to zoom up in this new second tier. If you can.

Three differences between the proposed middle 8 and 1991

1/ The game had no money before 1995, the game was semi pro. crowds in the top div have improved since then so why should the middle 8

2/ Perhaps more importantly the middle 8 would only be half a season and then your back with the big boys.

3/ The proposed middle 8 would play each other only twice -not 4 times

Edited by Lobbygobbler
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Just to be clear, you concluded "all in all 14 clubs didn't really work" but it was not your point that moving to 14 clubs was the cause? Either the extra 2/14ths of Sky money would have saved them or not, else how does the 'extra protection' make any difference?

Just to be absolutely clear, it would be 2/16ths of the Sky money and not 2/14ths as 1/16th goes to the RFL and 1/16th goes to the rest of the game (Championships, Community game etc) with the SL clubs getting 14/16ths between them.

I’m not prejudiced, I hate everybody equally

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Just to be absolutely clear, it would be 2/16ths of the Sky money and not 2/14ths as 1/16th goes to the RFL and 1/16th goes to the rest of the game (Championships, Community game etc) with the SL clubs getting 14/16ths between them.

Well I'm not clear either, but I'll take my telling off in good faith......
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Three differences between the proposed middle 8 and 1991

1/ The game had no money before 1995, the game was semi pro. crowds in the top div have improved since then so why should the middle 8

2/ Perhaps more importantly the middle 8 would only be half a season and then your back with the big boys.

3/ The proposed middle 8 would play each other only twice -not 4 times

 

Can you show me anything that shows that what is proposed will actually increase crowds, when, where, has this been tried before. What market research is there that this will work.

 

If any form of P&R worked for rugby, then we wouldn't have to keep chopping and changing it as often as we do.

 

No combination has ever worked, the game isn't suited to it. That's why for most of the games existence we didn't have it.

 

P&R has been trying to fix the games problems for fifty years and failed time after time. Its is now time to give up on it, its never worked, It will never work (unless the game gets soccer type funding), forget it, we are heading on the path of another P&R experiment doomed to failure.

Edited by Padge

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Radio 5 Live: Saturday 14 April 2007

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Can you show me anything that shows that what is proposed will actually increase crowds, when, where, has this been tried before. What market research is there that this will work.

If any form of P&R worked for rugby, then we wouldn't have to keep chopping and changing it as often as we do.

No combination has ever worked, the game isn't suited to it. That's why for most of the games existence we didn't have it.

P&R has been trying to fix the games problems for fifty years and failed time after time. Its is now time to give up on it, its never worked, It will never work (unless the game gets soccer type funding), forget it, we are heading on the path of another P&R experiment doomed to failure.

Soccer gets soccer-style funding because it has P&R! This keeps their fans interested and gives them hope.

The 4up/down P&R we had in RL would have been even more successful if RL hadnt been geographically frozen out by RU. I do think as the geographical spreading constraints have faded, then multi-number P&R has a chance to attract much more soccer-style funding if the likes of Cru, Hemel, Oxford et al can make progress upwards to the middle 8 (and maybe higher) within a few years

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Soccer gets soccer-style funding because it has P&R! This keeps their fans interested and gives them hope.

The 4up/down P&R we had in RL would have been even more successful if RL hadnt been geographically frozen out by RU. I do think as the geographical spreading constraints have faded, then multi-number P&R has a chance to attract much more soccer-style funding if the likes of Cru, Hemel, Oxford et al can make progress upwards to the middle 8 (and maybe higher) within a few years

 

Soccer gets no funding because of P&R, it gets funding because of its popularity. Why do you think they invented the 'Premier League', it wasn't just about a change in name. It was about keeping the 'brand' pure by introducing standards.

 

Wigan Athletic fans have had no hope for eight years, they may as well have been the best in the second division than the perennial cellar dwellers in the premier.

 

how many none Premiership matches do Sky show during these great P&R battles going on in the lower divisions.

Edited by Padge

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Radio 5 Live: Saturday 14 April 2007

Dave Whelan "In Wigan rugby will always be king"

 

This country's wealth was created by men in overalls, it was destroyed by men in suits.

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Soccer gets no funding because of P&R, it gets funding because of its popularity. Why do you think they invented the 'Premier League', it wasn't just about a change in name. It was about keeping the 'brand' pure by introducing standards.

 

Wigan Athletic fans have had no hope for eight years, they may as well have been the best in the second division than the perennial cellar dwellers in the premier.

 

how many none Premiership matches do Sky show during these great P&R battles going on in the lower divisions.

 

Here you perfectly sum up why Rugby League is doomed to fail if it continues to follow your odd way of thinking.

 

Wigan may not have had much chance of winning the PL, but from a fan's point of view, you have to be in it to win it.  Wigan Athletic fans would not accept a glass ceiling at the top of the second division and neither would any other roundball fan.

 

I think you've lost sight of the fact that fans fund the game, be it via the turnstile or via a Sky subscription.

 

Sky show loads of second division games and blanket play off coverage, for someone who is a bit OCD with the research, that's a bit of a sloppy statement.

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1. Wigan Athletic fans would not accept a glass ceiling at the top of the second division and neither would any other roundball fan.

 

2. Sky show loads of second division games and blanket play off coverage,

1.Nor would wednesday, sheff united, leicester, watford, birmingham, Ipswich, notts forest, etc the list is endless of BIG football clubs on BIG crowds all vastly BIGGER that anything RL has to offer who of course would not accept glass ceilings and no coverage.

There's no comparison at all none whatsoever, last year our second "division" average 1,000 fans a game, even soccer fourth tier dwarfs that and you have to go to non league to find a comparison.

2. The switch to the soccer argument always happens when the RL argument does not hold up and there is no comparison whatsoever. Do SKY pay for and show non league soccer in the lower reaches? Even if they did at least TV audience would actually recognise the game.

You lose the argument once you start switching it to another game altogether. RL is RL

Edited by The Parksider
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Multi-number P&R has a chance to attract much more soccer-style funding if the likes of Cru, Hemel, Oxford et al can make progress upwards to the middle 8 (and maybe higher) within a few years

WHAT? Oxford.v.Castleford, HKR.v.Hemel, Gloucester.v.Wakefield Trinity?

These are dreamland arguments when small entrants to our game have never made such strides.

Doncaster set out over 60 years ago, to get where?????.

RL needs to make decisions on realities and not dreams, wake up man.

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Soccer gets no funding because of P&R, it gets funding because of its popularity. Why do you think they invented the 'Premier League', it wasn't just about a change in name. It was about keeping the 'brand' pure by introducing standards.

Wigan Athletic fans have had no hope for eight years, they may as well have been the best in the second division than the perennial cellar dwellers in the premier.

how many none Premiership matches do Sky show during these great P&R battles going on in the lower divisions.

By having P&R soccer keeps the rest of the clubs and fans interested and involved. If soccer dropped P&R, the sport would massively decline and subscriptions for sky would drop enormously. I suspect you know this.

If the Aussies had the same model as soccer here, it would become more popular (though perhaps not to the same extent given the much lower population).

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By having P&R soccer keeps the rest of the clubs and fans interested and involved. If soccer dropped P&R, the sport would massively decline and subscriptions for sky would drop enormously. I suspect you know this.

If the Aussies had the same model as soccer here, it would become more popular (though perhaps not to the same extent given the much lower population).

I don't know what would happen in soccer if they dropped P&R nor what would happen in the NRL, unlike you I cannot read the future, I don't even pretend to.

 

However I can study the past and look at what has been tried and failed in the past. P&R in RL has been tried and has failed time and time again.

 

Answer the question I asked earlier, if automatic P&R was so great in the past why was the model continually changed back and forth.

 

We've had two divisions, three divisions, two up two down, four up four down, we've had a top division of 18, 16, 14, 12. Why have we had so many versions and why have the different versions been continually abandoned.

Visit my photography site www.padge.smugmug.com

Radio 5 Live: Saturday 14 April 2007

Dave Whelan "In Wigan rugby will always be king"

 

This country's wealth was created by men in overalls, it was destroyed by men in suits.

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Rugby League is a sport, just like the rest of them.  It is a valid argument.

 

To claim that RL is different is slightly deluded, IMHO of course.

No, comparing them is delusional.

 

IMHO oc course.

.

Visit my photography site www.padge.smugmug.com

Radio 5 Live: Saturday 14 April 2007

Dave Whelan "In Wigan rugby will always be king"

 

This country's wealth was created by men in overalls, it was destroyed by men in suits.

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Rugby League is a sport, just like the rest of them. It is a valid argument.

To claim that RL is different is slightly deluded, IMHO of course.

In the interests of informed rational discourse would you care to illustrate how soccer and rugby league are directly comparable?

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No, comparing them is delusional.

IMHO oc course.

.

In the interests of informed rational discourse would you care to back up your statement by illustrating how soccer and rugby league are not directly comparable?

WELCOME TO THE ROYSTON VASEY SUPER LEAGUE 2015

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Rugby League is a sport, just like the rest of them.  It is a valid argument.

 

To claim that RL is different is slightly deluded, IMHO of course.

You know full well that above and below the split between premiership and championship in soccer are dozens of big clubs with big attendances and wealthy owners who run academies and produce their own players.

Do you really want me to list them to show you how P & R works in soccer because of this?

Do you really want me to go back over the fact SL clubs turn over from £3.2M to £7M. and that even the top championship club can only just manage £1M at a stretch to show P & R doesn't work in RL.

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1.Nor would wednesday, sheff united, leicester, watford, birmingham, Ipswich, notts forest, etc the list is endless of BIG football clubs on BIG crowds all vastly BIGGER that anything RL has to offer who of course would not accept glass ceilings and no coverage.

There's no comparison at all none whatsoever, last year our second "division" average 1,000 fans a game, even soccer fourth tier dwarfs that and you have to go to non league to find a comparison.

2. The switch to the soccer argument always happens when the RL argument does not hold up and there is no comparison whatsoever. Do SKY pay for and show non league soccer in the lower reaches? Even if they did at least TV audience would actually recognise the game.

You lose the argument once you start switching it to another game altogether. RL is RL

 

To refuse to consider what makes a sport successful and to consider adapting any such successful conditions to our sport is to stick your head in the sand.

 

The most successful RL competition on the planet is the NRL and they are moving towards expansion, albeit by awarding new licences, but expansion nevertheless. In the UK P and r is the way to get to the top tier, but I am open to the argument that they just award more licences and increase the size and scope of the top tier that way.

 

In any event, I think your unchanging static vision of SL is due for a rude shock in the near future and not before time.

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WHAT? Oxford.v.Castleford, HKR.v.Hemel, Gloucester.v.Wakefield Trinity?

These are dreamland arguments when small entrants to our game have never made such strides.

Doncaster set out over 60 years ago, to get where?????.

RL needs to make decisions on realities and not dreams, wake up man.

 

Swinton had over 100 years, to get where, to the top and back. Workington set out almost 70 years ago and have won the challenge Cup, the Champions cup, the Lancashire Cup and have been in SL only to regress. now they are on the move again and with the opportunities made available when p and r is reinstated have the chance, however slight, of regaining past glories.

 

Present SL powerhouses, Wigan, Hull KR, Hull, Widnes, Wakefield, London, Huddersfield, Bradford, Salford and Castleford have all spent varying amounts of time in the lower tiers.

 

Broughton Rangers once did the double.

 

Things are not unchangeable forever including SL.

 

For you therefore to dismiss the ambitions of Hemel and Gloucester and even Crusaders and South Wales, Gateshead or Skolars or even Oldham shows a remarkable lack of vision. No one is suggesting that such advances are going to happen tomorrow or even in the next ten years but, over time I can see no reason why Hemel could not be playing Wakefield in SL in a purpose built stadium, having captured the imagination of the local populace and attracting a decent attendance. the same goes for Oxford or Crusaders.

 

Gloucester might be more of a long shot than even those above mentioned teams but, given that Gloucester is a hotbed of rugby, albeit of the 15 a side variety, I don't see why they can't tap into that support over time.

 

This never, never, never argument is futile. the past is only a guide to the future. Once, no one had ever crossed the Atlantic to the Americas, no one had flown in a plane, defied the RU and got away with it. Australia was adamantly opposed to the Northern union. there was no chance of a world cup in RL with more than flour teams. I hope you get my drift.

 

There is something to be said for the what we have we hold arguments put forth by the SL supporters but equally, eventually change must come, and, I think, in the case of RL, we must change and expand our horizons or ultimately perish.

 

This is the case with soccer, with RU, with the NBA, NHL, NRL, NFL and even cricket and baseball and to pull in our horns and refuse to get on this expansionary model of progress demonstrated by all these various sports will be disastrous in the long term.

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You know full well that above and below the split between premiership and championship in soccer are dozens of big clubs with big attendances and wealthy owners who run academies and produce their own players.

Do you really want me to list them to show you how P & R works in soccer because of this?

Do you really want me to go back over the fact SL clubs turn over from £3.2M to £7M. and that even the top championship club can only just manage £1M at a stretch to show P & R doesn't work in RL.

 

You're working on the set up as it is now, not as proposed.  Nobody thinks that a KPC team could go up now and compete. 

 

The 2X12 and 3X8 allows this gap to bridged by both increasing the crowds (due to there being something to play for and adding in 2 ex-SL teams) of the top KPC teams and allowing money men to spend more on players in full time environment. 

 

The future of Rugby League has potential to be exciting and massive if we embrace this change, your argument is old news and no longer relevant to the potential new structure.

 

Anyway, I'm a Wakey fan for the next hour and a half, if you're watching it, enjoy the game

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To refuse to consider what makes a sport successful and to consider adapting any such successful conditions to our sport is to stick your head in the sand........

 

The most successful RL competition on the planet is the NRL..........

I just cannot believe you have written this.

The NRL has the same teams every year, and the rest are feeders.

The NRL also has loads of money so It can afford to allow another club in who in turn have loads of money and can compete.

I'm all for copying this over here. But I have obvious reservations.

You however never bother to include the obvious - the money.

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