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Rupert Prince

"Rugby League needs to look at it's future"

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Neil Hudgell wants changes to the league structure. There is too much instability. Effectively he is calling for no automatic promotion of relegation. New clubs enter SL on merit. 

"Super League needs to be the flagship of the game."

He suggests that of 7 or 8 chairmen walked away ("fell under a bus") 7 or 8 clubs would struggle to exist. 

A "new model" needed that allows fewer games with better quality on the back of it.

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He’s right.

The evidence is there with Catalans that a club can thrive if they’re not battling relegation for the first few years. 

Some of the clubs in super league will just never allow the sport to obtain the profile we want it to.

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I may be wrong but it looks like he is saying he wants to get rid of the smaller clubs from SL - This would I'm assuming include Salford....... What ever happened to them??

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Hudgell may be right in his view that the sport lacks a real direction, but much of the issue he points to is down to the fact that there has been so little growth at club level - a situation that is largely unrelated to the issue of promotion and relegation. 

Since the dawn of SL we have seen TV income rise, player wages decline in real terms and crowds did, until recent years, grow. Why therefore, with those factors in mind, are so many of our clubs still skint and/or still reliant on the benevolence of an owner?

The real issue here is the SL and the clubs have failed to adapt to modern approaches when it comes to commercial, marketing, TV and the leisure economy. The clubs are relying on the same out-dated models, the same out-dated approach to matchday experience and the same out-dated approach of relying on dads and grandads to drag their reluctant kids along. Things have moved on but whilst the world is now drinking expensive cocktails in fancy gin bars, RL is still in the Working Mens Club wondering why the function room is empty despite cutting the price of John Smiths to £2 a pint. 

Changing the promotion and relegation process doesn't fix that and it is people like Hudgell who are in the position to address those issues. 

To give Hudgell his credit, he has invested (no doubt at some significant cost to him) in many off-field developments at his club, but his comments smack of "somebody needs to fix this" when that "somebody" is looking back at him, and the eleven other SL chairmen / CEO's, in the mirror. 

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Interesting comments and if you read the full thing https://www.totalrl.com/neil-hudgell-calls-for-detailed-discussion-over-long-term-direction-of-rugby-league/ you'll notice Toronto are a glaring omission in the "adding value" part.

There probably is too much instability and I wouldn't be at all surprised if SL goes the way of the NRL and becomes a closed shop with expansion by invitation.

Not saying that's a good thing but I can see it happening as we always seem to do what the NRL does, in the end. 

 

 

Edited by Man of Kent

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3 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

Hudgell may be right in his view that the sport lacks a real direction, but much of the issue he points to is down to the fact that there has been so little growth at club level - a situation that is largely unrelated to the issue of promotion and relegation. 

Since the dawn of SL we have seen TV income rise, player wages decline in real terms and crowds did, until recent years, grow. Why therefore, with those factors in mind, are so many of our clubs still skint and/or still reliant on the benevolence of an owner?

The real issue here is the SL and the clubs have failed to adapt to modern approaches when it comes to commercial, marketing, TV and the leisure economy. The clubs are relying on the same out-dated models, the same out-dated approach to matchday experience and the same out-dated approach of relying on dads and grandads to drag their reluctant kids along. Things have moved on but whilst the world is now drinking expensive cocktails in fancy gin bars, RL is still in the Working Mens Club wondering why the function room is empty despite cutting the price of John Smiths to £2 a pint. 

Changing the promotion and relegation process doesn't fix that and it is people like Hudgell who are in the position to address those issues. 

To give Hudgell his credit, he has invested (no doubt at some significant cost to him) in many off-field developments at his club, but his comments smack of "somebody needs to fix this" when that "somebody" is looking back at him, and the eleven other SL chairmen / CEO's, in the mirror. 

Agree with this, although I am struggling to think of what Hudgell has invested in regarding off field developments.  Certainly he has financially helped propping the club up.

The ground is gradually going the same way as others have.  Fortunately, the Council helped with the new stand and conference rooms, but the existing ‘best stand’ isn’t endearing and is definitely akin to  a WMC.  

 

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46 minutes ago, Mr Frisky said:

I may be wrong but it looks like he is saying he wants to get rid of the smaller clubs from SL - This would I'm assuming include Salford....... What ever happened to them??

I don't see where you get that idea from.  You are trying to read between some very narrow lines indeed there. 

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26 minutes ago, Man of Kent said:

Interesting comments and if you read the full thing https://www.totalrl.com/neil-hudgell-calls-for-detailed-discussion-over-long-term-direction-of-rugby-league/ you'll notice Toronto are a glaring omission in the "adding value" part.

There probably is too much instability and I wouldn't be at all surprised if SL goes the way of the NRL and becomes a closed shop with expansion by invitation.

Not saying that's a good thing but I can see it happening as we always seem to do what the NRL does, in the end. 

 

 

Why is that?


Talent is secondary to whether players are confident.

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2 hours ago, Rupert Prince said:

Neil Hudgell wants changes to the league structure. There is too much instability. Effectively he is calling for no automatic promotion of relegation. New clubs enter SL on merit. 

"Super League needs to be the flagship of the game."

He suggests that of 7 or 8 chairmen walked away ("fell under a bus") 7 or 8 clubs would struggle to exist. 

A "new model" needed that allows fewer games with better quality on the back of it.

The dilemma is, considering all the clubs which have featured in SL since 1996 very few (if any) measure up to the level required to be part of the flagship of a game which wants to be taken seriously as a major sport.  They way they dragged their feet about accepting Toronto and nickle and dimed the Wolfpack in the process is proof of that.

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2 hours ago, Rupert Prince said:

Neil Hudgell wants changes to the league structure. There is too much instability. Effectively he is calling for no automatic promotion of relegation. New clubs enter SL on merit. 

"Super League needs to be the flagship of the game."

He suggests that of 7 or 8 chairmen walked away ("fell under a bus") 7 or 8 clubs would struggle to exist. 

A "new model" needed that allows fewer games with better quality on the back of it.

 Presumably with his club within SL?

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57 minutes ago, Mr Frisky said:

I may be wrong but it looks like he is saying he wants to get rid of the smaller clubs from SL - This would I'm assuming include Salford....... What ever happened to them??

Are Hull KR one of the smaller clubs?

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30 minutes ago, Man of Kent said:

Interesting comments and if you read the full thing https://www.totalrl.com/neil-hudgell-calls-for-detailed-discussion-over-long-term-direction-of-rugby-league/ you'll notice Toronto are a glaring omission in the "adding value" part.

There probably is too much instability and I wouldn't be at all surprised if SL goes the way of the NRL and becomes a closed shop with expansion by invitation.

Not saying that's a good thing but I can see it happening as we always seem to do what the NRL does, in the end. 

It may be more complicated than I am suggesting, but the National (Australian?) Rugby League Commission ... the overall governing body ... has 18 shareholders, 16 of them are the NRL teams.

So in Australia the major full time teams are running the whole game. We have got song way to do that here, although frankly we should do something similar.

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1 hour ago, Cdd said:

He’s right.

The evidence is there with Catalans that a club can thrive if they’re not battling relegation for the first few years. 

Some of the clubs in super league will just never allow the sport to obtain the profile we want it to.

What do you suggest then Cdd. Boot some teams out but who would you replace them with, or do you want a league of 6 teams playing eachother five times a season?

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He’s right that there are plenty of clubs, Super League included, who are only being propped up by the goodwill and deep pockets of their owners and he’s right that it’s completely unsustainable. 

As for the league structure, I think there’s equally some positives and negatives to such a format, as proven with the no P&R period of Super League in the last ten years. 

 

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2 minutes ago, Marty Funkhouser said:

As the 7th best supported RL club in the Northern Hemisphere the game is in big trouble

We're in trouble because they are both a small club and the 7th best supported in the Northern Hemisphere.

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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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2 hours ago, Rupert Prince said:

Neil Hudgell wants changes to the league structure. There is too much instability. Effectively he is calling for no automatic promotion of relegation. New clubs enter SL on merit. 

"Super League needs to be the flagship of the game."

He suggests that of 7 or 8 chairmen walked away ("fell under a bus") 7 or 8 clubs would struggle to exist. 

A "new model" needed that allows fewer games with better quality on the back of it.

Promotion/relegation IS new clubs entering on merit.

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5 minutes ago, Oliver Clothesoff said:

He’s right that there are plenty of clubs, Super League included, who are only being propped up by the goodwill and deep pockets of their owners and he’s right that it’s completely unsustainable. 

As for the league structure, I think there’s equally some positives and negatives to such a format, as proven with the no P&R period of Super League in the last ten years. 

 

Where is your proof that they are only being propped up by the goodwill of their owners?

Anyway, even if that is the case so what, it works fine in football, where the majority of clubs are in exactly that position. And it definitely happens in Union too. 

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I'm not against licensing/franchising call it what you will, but I would need to see how a closed shop directly removes shareholder reliance. And I don't mean a load of management talk. 

If we are going down that route, we need to be 100% clear on what the reasons for it are, and what will be achieved. Because after 10 years of licensing when the lower clubs are still reliant on shareholders, what then?

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3 hours ago, Rupert Prince said:

Neil Hudgell wants changes to the league structure. There is too much instability.

I spot a contradiction!

Not 12 months after the last restructure, the calls already start for another.

The same people then bemoan a lack of stability. Madness.

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Just now, Chris22 said:

I spot a contradiction!

Not 12 months after the last restructure, the calls already start for another.

The same people then bemoan a lack of stability. Madness.

Elstone in 2018: We need to change the structure. It's not good that four SL teams are in danger of being relegated.

Elstone in 2019: It's really exciting that on the last day of the season, four teams are facing the drop. 

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I think licensing or franchising, whatever you want to call it, was always going to be revisited when the RFL and SL split. It's something that will no doubt be talked about with the next TV deal in mind.

I've always been a fan of licensing, but only when done correct, and when the top tier is not a closed shop for any aspiring clubs currently not in SL. There should always be the option to apply to join SL for all clubs not currently in it.

Bringing back licensing is pointless unless the game has a proper strategy around growth for SL that is measurable. Significant resource also needs to be put behind such strategies. Licensing alone will not solve the games ills.

I know a strategy document does exist but from what i recall its pretty vague and doesn't give any indication on what is actually being done, and where, to increase things like participation, viewership, attendance etc

For me, this kind of thing is where Robert Elstone needs to show his credentials.


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2 hours ago, Eddie said:

Where is your proof that they are only being propped up by the goodwill of their owners?

Anyway, even if that is the case so what, it works fine in football, where the majority of clubs are in exactly that position. And it definitely happens in Union too. 

However it does not happen in North America, where a very different operating model has made pro sports franchises a profitable investment for their owners which in turn has produced steady increases in the value of those franchises.

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I'm assuming he sees his own club as one of the elite?

I'm struggling to see what there is about Hull KR that could be described as 'elite'. Clearly reliant on him and the other guy (I forget his name) to keep going despite many years of SL funding, adequate but still average facilities, poor playing record over the years etc etc.

It just looks like he wants to pull up the drawbridge so that clubs, like his, that are always in danger of relegation don't have to worry about getting relegated.

Basically, self-serving with no actual vision for what will grow the sport.

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