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Oxford

"Goodbye to All That"

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First of all I've got a lot of time for Tony Smith but this story covered by the Beeb of course who fail to find good stories by consistently looking the other way at things like the Frog Jumping World Championships in an effort not to show RL to the general public,.....

"The game is becoming less attractive," he told BBC Radio Manchester.

"But that is my vibe on it. I am not bitter because I am finishing at Warrington, I've felt like this for a few years now."

He continued: "I'm not sure that we are growing much as a sport. I think the sport is dwindling and we need some freshness and excitement about the way we promote it."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-league/41271778

But there's a few things here: Why hasn't he voiced this before? What did he do about it while he had the chance?

It's not that he is necessarily wrong though I'm sure a few negative posters will be in a rush to agree;) in spite of the great stuff served up by Hull v Trinity and many other games this season but this is worth the debate even though I seem to remember a few times when people leaving the game have tended to get a bit shirty about stuff they neglected to mention to a wider public beforehand!:rtfm:

Edited by Oxford
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"It is, by a million miles, a better sport than union. League is 80 minutes of physicality, speed, good handling, good kicking. It’s continuous."

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I suppose it depends what you mean by excitement. Personally things like TWP and the Middle 8s have been really exciting developments and the WCS has added much needed variety. I do miss proper playoffs though.

But, if he is talking about on field then I have some sympathy, rules like 7 tackles are boring and reduce variety of kicks, and many clubs do like to play safety stuff - but I think SL is still more open than the NRL. Smith has long advocated attacking Rugby.

Internationals still havent taken off and often get lip service, and the WCS os dwindling rather than growing.

For me its a mixed bag, but only the real international stuff is going to make major differences.

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"I wouldn't be excited about jumping into anything in rugby league just at the moment. I'd love to see some changes before I could get excited about the game as a whole," Smith added.

The implication being that he won't be taking a SuperLeague coaching job any time soon?

 

 

Edited by JohnM

Four legs good - two legs bad

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2 hours ago, JohnM said:

"I wouldn't be excited about jumping into anything in rugby league just at the moment. I'd love to see some changes before I could get excited about the game as a whole," Smith added.

The implication being that he won't be taking a SuperLeague coaching job any time soon?

 

 

I said it on another thread, I could really see him taking on the same role that Brian Noble has at Toronto with the next North American team

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I have been increasingly grumpy and much of that is disillusionment.  I have a little bit of experience of having seeing some success in growing the sport, only to see adherence to traditionalism let it rot.  There are some naive idealists on this board (few in the game), but there are many more who will happily watch the game wither and die rather than accept the modern age.  To me, that is the main challenge the game faces.

Edited by Bob8
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"You clearly have never met Bob8 then, he's like a veritable Bryan Ferry of RL." - Johnoco 19 Jul 2014

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1 hour ago, paulwalker71 said:

I said it on another thread, I could really see him taking on the same role that Brian Noble has at Toronto with the next North American team

Please let that be true. 

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Im not doom and gloom but I've been of the opinion that the game is on the slide.The amount of partially filled stadiums is worrying, at lower league level it's petrifying. Just ask the Cumbrian clubs,I've been talking to some who think this weekend's Worky v Haven game could be the last,not good at all.Wigan,a colossus of the game,the DW looks half empty most of the time.We can't fill Wembley any more in our most historic, treasured and prized tournament.I think the fact that a superleague coach has said what I would've thought a lot of people are thinking must tell you that they're feeling it at the top too.But that's just me.

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8 hours ago, moorside roughyed said:

I'm not doom and gloom but I've been of the opinion that the game is on the slide.

 

8 hours ago, moorside roughyed said:

But that's just me.

Clearly you're not alone mr, well it might be just you and Mr Smith but at least you won't be lonely!

The falling crowds are certainly a worry!


"It is, by a million miles, a better sport than union. League is 80 minutes of physicality, speed, good handling, good kicking. It’s continuous."

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8 hours ago, moorside roughyed said:

Im not doom and gloom but I've been of the opinion that the game is on the slide.The amount of partially filled stadiums is worrying, at lower league level it's petrifying. Just ask the Cumbrian clubs,I've been talking to some who think this weekend's Worky v Haven game could be the last,not good at all.Wigan,a colossus of the game,the DW looks half empty most of the time.We can't fill Wembley any more in our most historic, treasured and prized tournament.I think the fact that a superleague coach has said what I would've thought a lot of people are thinking must tell you that they're feeling it at the top too.But that's just me.

I know where you are coming from but crowds are actually up at more than 50% of SL clubs during the regular season. 

When was Wembley last fully sold out?

Outside of SL including the amateurs but with the odd exception the game is in a mess.

BTW hopefully there won't be a West Cumbrian Derby next season but only if one of the clubs get promoted. The seasons afterwards might be more of a challenge

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13 hours ago, Oxford said:

First of all I've got a lot of time for Tony Smith but this story covered by the Beeb of course who fail to find good stories by consistently looking the other way at things like the Frog Jumping World Championships in an effort not to show RL to the general public,.....

"The game is becoming less attractive," he told BBC Radio Manchester.

"But that is my vibe on it. I am not bitter because I am finishing at Warrington, I've felt like this for a few years now."

He continued: "I'm not sure that we are growing much as a sport. I think the sport is dwindling and we need some freshness and excitement about the way we promote it."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-league/41271778

But there's a few things here: Why hasn't he voiced this before? What did he do about it while he had the chance?

It's not that he is necessarily wrong though I'm sure a few negative posters will be in a rush to agree;) in spite of the great stuff served up by Hull v Trinity and many other games this season but this is worth the debate even though I seem to remember a few times when people leaving the game have tended to get a bit shirty about stuff they neglected to mention to a wider public beforehand!:rtfm:

He has. 

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20 hours ago, scotchy1 said:

He has.             Oh, that's alright then!

The night we called it a day!

Edited by Oxford

"It is, by a million miles, a better sport than union. League is 80 minutes of physicality, speed, good handling, good kicking. It’s continuous."

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12 hours ago, LeeF said:

I know where you are coming from but crowds are actually up at more than 50% of SL clubs during the regular season. 

When was Wembley last fully sold out?

Outside of SL including the amateurs but with the odd exception the game is in a mess.

BTW hopefully there won't be a West Cumbrian Derby next season but only if one of the clubs get promoted. The seasons afterwards might be more of a challenge

I am far more pessimistic that most on here.

Participation in team sports is in decline and participation is contact sports is in decline. 

The exception of MMA is often cited, but MMA is a spectacle to watch, whereas the sport for ordinary men to  participate in (boxing) has declined.

Sport, and particularly contact sports, are increasingly something you watch rather than something you do, particularly at open age.  There are also far more things to distract you with, so to turn up an event people need to be heavily engaged rather then turning up because there is nothing else to do. 

It is against this backdrop that clubs like Swinton are struggling.  It is but putting the emphasis on engagement that means Manchester Rangers are thriving (though the RFL still think there are a certain, limited number of rugby league fans, who just have nothing else to do).

It is also against this backdrop that TWP prosper, heavy engagement and as Super League is for TV, they will do well. 

Many clubs are doomed in their current form.  As many who say they love the game are determined it would be better for it to die than change its form, the future might be dire.


"You clearly have never met Bob8 then, he's like a veritable Bryan Ferry of RL." - Johnoco 19 Jul 2014

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On 9/15/2017 at 10:29 AM, Bob8 said:

I have been increasingly grumpy and much of that is disillusionment.  I have a little bit of experience of having seeing some success in growing the sport, only to see adherence to traditionalism let it rot.  There are some naive idealists on this board (few in the game), but there are many more who will happily watch the game wither and die rather than accept the modern age.  To me, that is the main challenge the game faces.

SPOT ON although i must say that middle 8,s have been brilliant this season 

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1 hour ago, Vladman said:

SPOT ON although i must say that middle 8,s have been brilliant this season 

True, and I confess I was against it.


"You clearly have never met Bob8 then, he's like a veritable Bryan Ferry of RL." - Johnoco 19 Jul 2014

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On 9/15/2017 at 9:29 AM, Bob8 said:

 

Mistake sorry!

On 9/15/2017 at 9:29 AM, Bob8 said:

I have been increasingly grumpy and much of that is disillusionment. 

That's just your age and bad back.;)

On 9/15/2017 at 9:29 AM, Bob8 said:

There are some naive idealists on this board (few in the game), but there are many more who will happily watch the game wither and die rather than accept the modern age.  To me, that is the main challenge the game faces.

Your post is really well balanced and well made.

Although idealists have rarely caused the quality and quantity of disasters that those who look on the dark side of conflicting ideas and passions.

 

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"It is, by a million miles, a better sport than union. League is 80 minutes of physicality, speed, good handling, good kicking. It’s continuous."

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I'm sure some clubs aren't doing well this season but some are doing well, so how do we get an overall picture.  People are moaning about falling crowds but one poster says SL figures are up.  Does anyone have any stats to back this up.

Some people are moaning about the Challenge Cup final but it looked fuller this year than it has for a while.  I'm pretty sure the Championship has been getting bigger crowds than normal over the last couple of years.

In terms of what's happening on the field, it strikes me that this season has been more interesting than normal.  Castleford's success and their brand of rugby,  Saint's and Wigan's poor form and their turnaround, Hull KR bouncing back, Bradford's demise, Toronto's emergence.  There really is a lot to talk about.

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On 2017-9-15 at 4:07 AM, paulwalker71 said:

I said it on another thread, I could really see him taking on the same role that Brian Noble has at Toronto with the next North American team

Does he speak French?  If the next North American team gets placed in Montréal, being able to give interviews in French to Le Journal de  Montréal, Réseau des Sports, TVA, Radio-Canada and other such media will be an important skill for any club spokesman to get the city's francophones onside.

Edited by Big Picture

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On 9/15/2017 at 10:16 AM, moorside roughyed said:

Im not doom and gloom but I've been of the opinion that the game is on the slide.The amount of partially filled stadiums is worrying, at lower league level it's petrifying. Just ask the Cumbrian clubs,I've been talking to some who think this weekend's Worky v Haven game could be the last,not good at all.Wigan,a colossus of the game,the DW looks half empty most of the time.We can't fill Wembley any more in our most historic, treasured and prized tournament.I think the fact that a superleague coach has said what I would've thought a lot of people are thinking must tell you that they're feeling it at the top too.But that's just me.

I think that in a lot of cases the rise of the half filled stadium is to do with stadium design and shared stadium use, rather than crowd numbers going down (Salford clearly excepted).  

For example, the Halliwell Jones.  Lovely little stadium, easy to get to, great flexibility, brilliant accessibility.  However, it's a rugby stadium and only intended to be a rugby stadium.  It has capacity of only 15,000.  Consequently, it's much easier to cause the Halliwell Jones to look full than it is the DW, which has a capacity of 25,000, the other shared use stadiums or Wembley/Old Trafford, which are both frankly colossal for a rugby league crowd.

It's natural in these days of sport being shown on TV that there are going to be more people who watch on TV rather than attending, for a whole load of reasons.  I don't know how long you've been going to matches for, but I can tell you for certain that places like Odsal were never full even when top flight matches were being played there when I was a kid.  The attendance record there is over 100k, for a cup final replay.  If it takes 100,000 people to truly fill the place then yes, with a standard match it will look rather empty.

Add to that the position that TV cameras have relative to seating and sometimes games on TV look deserted even when I'm watching them back and know how full the other stands were during the match.

The objective measure is that crowd size is actually going up for most teams, even those at L**ds who have to cope with their godawful band for a whole match!
 

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2 hours ago, themainbrace said:

I'm sure some clubs aren't doing well this season but some are doing well, so how do we get an overall picture.  People are moaning about falling crowds but one poster says SL figures are up.  Does anyone have any stats to back this up.

In terms of what's happening on the field, it strikes me that this season has been more interesting than normal.  Castleford's success and their brand of rugby,  Saint's and Wigan's poor form and their turnaround, Hull KR bouncing back, Bradford's demise, Toronto's emergence.  There really is a lot to talk about.

For the second part, I concur. 

On the first point, the stats may depend on how you read them. Is it for the 23 rounds of SL only, or also the Super 8s as well. Then you could include the qualifiers. I don't have the third option but on the first two they are down very slightly. With P/R each season and different teams in the Super 8's and qualifiers, it's not comparing apples with apples anyway. Overall about the same.


My blog: https://rugbyl.blogspot.co.nz/

It takes wisdom to know when a discussion has run its course.

It takes reasonableness to end that discussion. 

 

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3 hours ago, Big Picture said:

Does he speak French?  If the next North American team gets placed in Montréal, being able to give interviews in French to Le Journal de  Montréal, Réseau des Sports and other such media will be an important skill for any club spokesman to get the city's francophones onside.

Trent Robinson does. He'd be quite a catch. :tongue:


My blog: https://rugbyl.blogspot.co.nz/

It takes wisdom to know when a discussion has run its course.

It takes reasonableness to end that discussion. 

 

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On 9/15/2017 at 5:02 PM, Oxford said:

First of all I've got a lot of time for Tony Smith but this story covered by the Beeb of course who fail to find good stories by consistently looking the other way at things like the Frog Jumping World Championships in an effort not to show RL to the general public,.....

They found a good story about the All Blacks. As the leaders of a four nations championship, they got past the second best side so far 57-0.

That  tournament is looking very one sided.

Now if that happened in the RL, the derision from some in the community would be about international RL is a farce, there is only one good country in the game, the code is a joke.... 

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My blog: https://rugbyl.blogspot.co.nz/

It takes wisdom to know when a discussion has run its course.

It takes reasonableness to end that discussion. 

 

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2 hours ago, RayCee said:

They found a good story about the All Blacks.

Ray I hope you're not implying our beloved BBC is somehow involved in what would be a rather seamy and hardly neutral favouritism when it comes to sport, whatever next?

Be careful or you'll have poor Tony spending his days in the CC forum and we wouldn't want that to happen to one of our lads, would we?

3 hours ago, sfmedusa said:

The objective measure is that crowd size is actually going up for most teams, even those at L**ds who have to cope with their godawful band for a whole match!

This has been said so often that I didn't think it could possibly be incorrect with that little research I could be a journalist!

So where does that leave Tony's comments then?

On another forum, same subject, it was argued that the game was no less interesting just different and I think for most TGG fans not all changes on the paddock have been welcomed, felt necessary and may have even been seen as not an improvement from before. And TBPH I suspect that this may be the root of how people feel. I did think that Tony's comments were a bit of a kick in the teeth for a sport that I presume has given him a reasonably good living over the time. And maybe if he was feeling that jaded about the quality it may have affected his own performance as coach and been passed on to his team.


"It is, by a million miles, a better sport than union. League is 80 minutes of physicality, speed, good handling, good kicking. It’s continuous."

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6 hours ago, themainbrace said:

There really is a lot to talk about.

There certainly is and even more than you alluded to .....maybe it's TGG's fans that are less interested and jaded now rather than the sport?


"It is, by a million miles, a better sport than union. League is 80 minutes of physicality, speed, good handling, good kicking. It’s continuous."

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Might be worth remembering that even on a good day  Tony Smith isn't the most happy of chappies. An occasional smile might threaten his otherwise sombre visage on the odd ocasion. 

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Four legs good - two legs bad

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6 hours ago, sfmedusa said:

I think that in a lot of cases the rise of the half filled stadium is to do with stadium design and shared stadium use, rather than crowd numbers going down (Salford clearly excepted).  

For example, the Halliwell Jones.  Lovely little stadium, easy to get to, great flexibility, brilliant accessibility.  However, it's a rugby stadium and only intended to be a rugby stadium.  It has capacity of only 15,000.  Consequently, it's much easier to cause the Halliwell Jones to look full than it is the DW, which has a capacity of 25,000, the other shared use stadiums or Wembley/Old Trafford, which are both frankly colossal for a rugby league crowd.

It's natural in these days of sport being shown on TV that there are going to be more people who watch on TV rather than attending, for a whole load of reasons.  I don't know how long you've been going to matches for, but I can tell you for certain that places like Odsal were never full even when top flight matches were being played there when I was a kid.  The attendance record there is over 100k, for a cup final replay.  If it takes 100,000 people to truly fill the place then yes, with a standard match it will look rather empty.

Add to that the position that TV cameras have relative to seating and sometimes games on TV look deserted even when I'm watching them back and know how full the other stands were during the match.

The objective measure is that crowd size is actually going up for most teams, even those at L**ds who have to cope with their godawful band for a whole match!
 

Good points,however in lower league games(I'm an Oldham fan) the attendances are truly dire with most clubs lucky to see 1000 through the gates.Just look at the players that have come from oldham-Sinfield,Scunthorpe, Eastmond etc.The game is dying in these so called hot bed areas.People are losing interest in the game.There is history and heritage at stake as well.It just seems that the RFL are more interested in foreign clubs with a few quid to spare instead of their traditional clubs.I really do worry for the sport long term ie-10,20,30 years.I'm 41 and it doesn't seem to be the same as it was say 20 years ago.

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