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Keith T

Future of RL in Cumbria

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http://www.therfl.co.uk/news/article/29813/review-launched-into-future-of

 

At last we are to have an in-depth review of the game in Cumbria which hopefully everyone will accept and move the game forward.


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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http://www.therfl.co.uk/news/article/29813/review-launched-into-future-of

 

At last we are to have an in-depth review of the game in Cumbria which hopefully everyone will accept and move the game forward.

Hopefully

 

Be nice to see it cover the game from the lowest junior level right through to the proffessional level. Was at the Brow v Egremont game a few weeks ago and there were an estimated 1200 there so there is definately a big appetite for the game. Either of those 2 against Kells, who are also going well, would get a similar amount so there is obviously a lot for Whitehaven and Workington to tap work with but it would have to benefit all levels


100% League 0% Union

Just because I don't know doesn't mean I don't understand

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Heard recently from a lad from Carlisle that a lot of people up there are completely peeved with RL and are concentrating on playing union rather than RL, which is sad to hear. So its good to hear the RFL are finally taking some time to try and sort something out up there. Lets hope something actually gets done.


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Heard recently from a lad from Carlisle that a lot of people up there are completely peeved with RL and are concentrating on playing union rather than RL, which is sad to hear. So its good to hear the RFL are finally taking some time to try and sort something out up there. Lets hope something actually gets done.

That may be his experience in Carlisle but I'd be a bit supprised if he mean't West Cumbria or Barrow areas. The numbers in those area's may not be quite what they were but the game is still much stronger than union whereas Carlisle has never really had a strong RL presence - there was the summer conference side that often seemes to struggle and a few teams played in the Cumberland league, the longest running probably being St Nicholas' Arms but they were a while ago


100% League 0% Union

Just because I don't know doesn't mean I don't understand

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Heard recently from a lad from Carlisle that a lot of people up there are completely peeved with RL and are concentrating on playing union rather than RL, which is sad to hear. So its good to hear the RFL are finally taking some time to try and sort something out up there. Lets hope something actually gets done.

 

The review is good news but unless something seismic has happened in the Carlisle area since I lived there that bit of the world is completely off the RL radar anyway with even West Cumbrians believing it to be terra incognita.

 

Of course, that's just jameaters(*) jealous that we beat them on the night electricity arrived in Workington.

 

 

(* I know.  I don't care.)


Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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my Cumbrian geography is clearly not that good..


Newham Dockers - Champions 2013. Rugby League For East London. 100% Cockney Rugby League!

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The 7,500 crowds for the two World Cup games held at Workington showed that there is still an interest for the game at the top level as 80% of the crowds were from the area.     Many people have walked away from the semi-professional games in West Cumbria and this downward spiral will continue unless there is a change made to stop two clubs fighting each other for the same pots of funding, the same pools of players, and so on.    

 

At the weekend both Whitehaven and Workington were at home on the same day and both had crowds of 751 and 746 respectively.    The speedway at Workington on the Saturday evening had more than those two put together and as some have said amateur teams in the area can draw bigger crowds.    


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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The 7,500 crowds for the two World Cup games held at Workington showed that there is still an interest for the game at the top level as 80% of the crowds were from the area.     Many people have walked away from the semi-professional games in West Cumbria and this downward spiral will continue unless there is a change made to stop two clubs fighting each other for the same pots of funding, the same pools of players, and so on.    

 

At the weekend both Whitehaven and Workington were at home on the same day and both had crowds of 751 and 746 respectively.    The speedway at Workington on the Saturday evening had more than those two put together and as some have said amateur teams in the area can draw bigger crowds.    

That's a very interesting viewpoint.

 

I would have thought the rivalry between Whitehaven and Workington should have driven Cumbrian Rugby League, in a similar way to the rivarly between Wigan and St Helens or Hull and Hull KR, rather than detracting from it.

 

To put them both at home at the same time seems crackers. But would things really be better if there was only one club in West Cumbria? I find it hard to accept that, especially when both clubs have had proud histories and have engendered strong support in the past.

 

I'm due to speak on Radio Cumbria tonight at around 5.50pm, so I would welcome any views that you or anyone else has on this topic before then.

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We missed the boat once,to do it again could bring an end to proffesional rugby league in west cumbria

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That's a very interesting viewpoint.

 

I would have thought the rivalry between Whitehaven and Workington should have driven Cumbrian Rugby League, in a similar way to the rivarly between Wigan and St Helens or Hull and Hull KR, rather than detracting from it.

 

To put them both at home at the same time seems crackers. But would things really be better if there was only one club in West Cumbria? I find it hard to accept that, especially when both clubs have had proud histories and have engendered strong support in the past.

 

I'm due to speak on Radio Cumbria tonight at around 5.50pm, so I would welcome any views that you or anyone else has on this topic before then.

 

 

Martyn, there really is no comparison with the other local rivalries you mention. Those areas are densely populated and are within easy travelling distance for most people in the North West or East Yorkshire.

 

Town and Haven only really have the small coastal corridor between Egremont and Maryport, which probably has a population of less than 100,000 people. There is very little interest in RL elsewhere in the county.

 

Therefore they are both fishing in the same relatively small pool for spectators, players and sponsors. While not particularly advocating a merger, because quite frankly I think that ship has sailed, if a new single club could capture the same sponsors and players then it would be a much stronger proposition. For example, both Town and Haven have annual sponsorship deals with their main sponsors worth ~£50k per year each (Haven with Energy Coast, Town with NES) - if you could get both to sponsor a single club then you've double the income. A single club allows income to be hugely increased but costs would not grow in the same proportion because of the salary cap etc as you'd only have one squad of players and one set of backroom staff etc.

 

Also, targeting these kind of reviews at the current die-hard fans of both clubs is the wrong approach IMO. Both clubs are already down to their hardcore support base, their opinions matter very little really.

 

What the review should be doing is contacting those 6,000 or so people who turned up for the RLWC games but who do not go to watch Town or Haven and asking for their opinions. Its not the current support base of the two clubs who will determine success, but the people who currently don't watch either team. The 1,500 or so diehards of Town and Haven aren't the key to this, its the 6,000 people who don't currently watch either but clearly have an appetite for top class RL if its available to them.


I’m not prejudiced, I hate everybody equally

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I think it's more like the couple of hundred diehards now,but still a great post derwent,your bang on.

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Martyn, there really is no comparison with the other local rivalries you mention. Those areas are densely populated and are within easy travelling distance for most people in the North West or East Yorkshire.

 

Town and Haven only really have the small coastal corridor between Egremont and Maryport, which probably has a population of less than 100,000 people. There is very little interest in RL elsewhere in the county.

 

Therefore they are both fishing in the same relatively small pool for spectators, players and sponsors. While not particularly advocating a merger, because quite frankly I think that ship has sailed, if a new single club could capture the same sponsors and players then it would be a much stronger proposition. For example, both Town and Haven have annual sponsorship deals with their main sponsors worth ~£50k per year each (Haven with Energy Coast, Town with NES) - if you could get both to sponsor a single club then you've double the income. A single club allows income to be hugely increased but costs would not grow in the same proportion because of the salary cap etc as you'd only have one squad of players and one set of backroom staff etc.

 

Also, targeting these kind of reviews at the current die-hard fans of both clubs is the wrong approach IMO. Both clubs are already down to their hardcore support base, their opinions matter very little really.

 

What the review should be doing is contacting those 6,000 or so people who turned up for the RLWC games but who do not go to watch Town or Haven and asking for their opinions. Its not the current support base of the two clubs who will determine success, but the people who currently don't watch either team. The 1,500 or so diehards of Town and Haven aren't the key to this, its the 6,000 people who don't currently watch either but clearly have an appetite for top class RL if its available to them.

Wouldn't it be great to believe that all the problems of Cumbrian Rugby League could be sorted out by only having one club in West Cumbria, and that all the people who came to the World Cup games at Workington would suddenly see the light and turn up to watch the new club?

 

I'm not saying that wouldn't happen. But there is absolutely no guarantee that it would.

 

The transition would have to be very skilfully managed, and I'm not sure we have that sort of skill in the game as a whole, never mind just in West Cumbria.

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Heard recently from a lad from Carlisle that a lot of people up there are completely peeved with RL and are concentrating on playing union rather than RL, which is sad to hear. So its good to hear the RFL are finally taking some time to try and sort something out up there. Lets hope something actually gets done.

Not true in Barrow. For every 1 person playing Union there is probably 10 playing league across adults and kids playing at amateur clubs. Quite a few do play both though.

The review doesn't involve Barrow but we just get by. We have amateur clubs in the area to produce the youth and Leeds, Saints, Cas, Warrington have all signed some under 18's in the past year alone so it is not as if the players are not making it to SL clubs.

I do not think Cumbria needs that much attention from the RFL. We have the amateur base and committed fans to get by on our own both South and West Cumbria. We will still produce players like Lee Mossop, Shaun Lunt, Ben Harrison, Brad Singleton, Kyle Amor and the many players at SL academies without the RFL even getting involved.

I can't see an SL super force being made out of Cumbria. Their just isn't a significant population with a high enough density (a third of the county is not populated) and the roads are just to bad to travel anywhere. I think if you ploughed money into a West Cumbria based club you could maybe get 6000 average crowds, but would it be worth it? I couldn't imagine a significant increase in player production, probably slight but not masses like in would in other expansion areas.

Barrow had a half a million pound debt a couple of years ago and didn't require anyone else to bail them out or anything they carried on through it and we are still here (despite our team being below average although majority Cumbrian) Workington and Whitehaven seem to be doing fine also.

A little care and attention from the RFL will be nice for the county. Maybe give us more games like internationals or maybe the odd challenge cup semi final game who knows, I'm sure we would get behind it. As for major restructuring on the back of a review I don't see the point. The player production is still their and all 3 clubs appear sustainable. I get to watch the players we produce play week in week out, we get a few Cumbrian derbies every year and get to see all our teams compete in a competitive league.

I don't see what more you can ask for.

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Wouldn't it be great to believe that all the problems of Cumbrian Rugby League could be sorted out by only having one club in West Cumbria, and that all the people who came to the World Cup games at Workington would suddenly see the light and turn up to watch the new club?

 

I'm not saying that wouldn't happen. But there is absolutely no guarantee that it would.

 

The transition would have to be very skilfully managed, and I'm not sure we have that sort of skill in the game as a whole, never mind just in West Cumbria.

 

Martyn, there's only one thing that would guarantee achieving anything, and that's lots of money !

 

FWIW I think a merged club would be able to compete properly for the "middle 8" of the new structure, I don't think it would ever be a top SL club but would compete at a reasonable level. Whether that'd be enough to drag people out of their stupor is open to debate.


I’m not prejudiced, I hate everybody equally

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Martyn, there's only one thing that would guarantee achieving anything, and that's lots of money !

 

FWIW I think a merged club would be able to compete properly for the "middle 8" of the new structure, I don't think it would ever be a top SL club but would compete at a reasonable level. Whether that'd be enough to drag people out of their stupor is open to debate.

Money is necessary but it isn't sufficient.

 

Take a look at London Broncos. How it's spent is as important as how much is spent.

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At the moment as far as I am aware both clubs are just and so keeping their heads above water.    However, with 5 clubs dropping down to Championship 1 this year it could happen that all 3 Cumbrian clubs get relegated and in my opinion that would spell the death-knell for the game here.   

 

15 years or so ago a local derby match would bring in about 3,000 or so fans.   Nowadays we are lucky to see 1000 - 1200 and it is getting less with every passing year.    The question soon will be can we afford NOT to merge or have just one club?

 

I have followed Town for 65 years and I was brought up seeing some of the greats of the game playing here in our little acre of Cumbria.    Where is that same legacy for the kids of the future if the best we can do is have 3 lowly placed teams in the pyramid of rugby league.     We have people travelling each week to support Wigan, Leeds, Warrington, etc, and not many of them venture to support the local clubs.    The locals have buried their heads in the sand for too long now and where has it got us.    It's time for a good shake up and all the talk of history, etc.   History will still be there where we always find history in the history books.


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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Money is necessary but it isn't sufficient.

 

Take a look at London Broncos. How it's spent is as important as how much is spent.

 

Well again I don't think that's a particularly good analogy. There is already an existing pretty strong RL infrastructure in West Cumbria, particularly in the amateur and junior game where the county regularly beats its larger rival counties at all age levels. The county is over-represented at BARLA level relative to its populace. We also have the accredited RL Academy at Lillyhall.

 

The challenge is to give that talent a platform to perform on locally. Currently any young talented player with any ambition is straight off down the M6 to Wigan, Warrington or Saints and who can blame them ? If the area can retain that talent then it would make a huge difference.

 

Logically, if any area should be successful for RL it should be West Cumbria. There is nothing to compete with - no professional football clubs, no professional RU clubs, no major shopping centres or other major attractions.


I’m not prejudiced, I hate everybody equally

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Well again I don't think that's a particularly good analogy. There is already an existing pretty strong RL infrastructure in West Cumbria, particularly in the amateur and junior game where the county regularly beats its larger rival counties at all age levels. The county is over-represented at BARLA level relative to its populace. We also have the accredited RL Academy at Lillyhall.

 

The challenge is to give that talent a platform to perform on locally. Currently any young talented player with any ambition is straight off down the M6 to Wigan, Warrington or Saints and who can blame them ? If the area can retain that talent then it would make a huge difference.

 

Logically, if any area should be successful for RL it should be West Cumbria. There is nothing to compete with - no professional football clubs, no professional RU clubs, no major shopping centres or other major attractions.

I agree with all of that, and I would love nothing more than to see a strong West Cumbrian club, or even two clubs. I just don't think it will happen overnight through some sort of reorganisation.

 

Having said that, I think it's good to see the RFL taking the lead in examining the issues in West Cumbria, and if the governing body can come up with a convincing means of strengthening the game there I think we'll all benefit.

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Would a Cumbrian representative side gain a lot of support and help entice fans back to the sport if they played against rep teams from West York's, Greater Manchester etc or would there not be enough interest in this sort of thing?

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Well I listened to what you had to say Martyn and I still don't think you have grasped it.    You said that the World Cup matches at Workington were a success and we have to look at those and ask what it was about them that drew the crowds and then replicate that.  

 

We know what brought the crowds.    Top class games with top class players, that's what brought the crowds.    Now how do you replicate that if the top clubs in your area are surviving in the bottom echelons of the game.


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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We know what brought the crowds.    Top class games with top class players, that's what brought the crowds.    Now how do you replicate that if the top clubs in your area are surviving in the bottom echelons of the game.

I'm loathe to bring London into it, but isn't this the same argument for properly funding a top class SL club in the capital?

 

Out of interest, what sort of crowds did Workington get in the first season of SL? And does anyone know what Whitehaven's crowds were like whilst they were in a lower division? MIght make for an interesting comparison.

 

I wouldn't like to say whether it would be best to have a merger in Cumbria or form a new club or keep as it is. Alas my crystal ball is pretty cack.

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RLG, I don't have exact figures but Town's average was around 2500 and Haven had around 1200 in the lower league.    Town's attendances set off as I recall at around 5 - 6000 and lack of success saw them drop game on game.

 

IMHO you are wrong to bring London into it for this review is about the future of RL in West Cumbria.    I'm sure if as much funding had been put in to west Cumbria as London have seen over their 30 odd years the game would be much more of a success than it is at present in our area.


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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Barrow is cumbria and although we are an hr away from Whitehaven/Workington for us to not be involved in this review is short sighted.

We have the same population as west cumbria and get the same attendance on big occasions.

The only way a succesful Cumbrian super league side would work is to share the home games between the three towns. If each club was guaranteed 4 home games they would turn into events and similar sell outs could be achieved.

The most important thing about a new franchise working is that the fans feel a connection to the club so Cumbria would do that.

Barrovians under the age of about 50 feel Cumbrian so why would you ignore that commercial avenue.

For the record as well the big World Cup games I would hazard a guess that between 500-1000 were south Cumbrians .


waddell

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Well I listened to what you had to say Martyn and I still don't think you have grasped it.    You said that the World Cup matches at Workington were a success and we have to look at those and ask what it was about them that drew the crowds and then replicate that.  

 

We know what brought the crowds.    Top class games with top class players, that's what brought the crowds.    Now how do you replicate that if the top clubs in your area are surviving in the bottom echelons of the game.

Decent level teams, not top class. Scotland, Tonga and Italy were not at the same level as England, Aus and NZ. This would suggest that a decent top championship team or lower level SL team could draw the fans. In fact a few years ago when Haven came within a hairbreadth of promotion to SL, I think they managed to push towards 1800 to 2000, which was great compared to now.

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I always thought that you could keep Whitehaven and Workington's identities by playing in the Championships but have them as feeder teams for a Cumbrian SL team.

If they are well run and playing out of a good stadium, that would be great for the game imo.


Everything under the sun is in tune

But the sun is eclipsed by the moon

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