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The Daddy

Cardiff Blue Dragons

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Went to see Cardiffs first away game at Keighley. They got monstered that day. Looked like a bunch of guys thrown together, which they were. Also played in a curtain raiser at Ninian Park against their Colts team before they beat Donny some time later.

They came in with Carlisle on the back of the successful 1st season of Fulham. However, Carlisle followed the Fulham blueprint, sign a solid team of experienced RL pros, capable of winning promotion. Cardiff did sign 4 Welsh international RU players, but weren't up to it on the field. A pity really, as they were part of the soccer operation, and carried a good amount of goodwill, as well as funding in the city (which has always been a football place). The crowd for the Donny game I saw was football, not Union oriented.

Their poor results didn't help. They were always competitive, but never looked like getting promoted. Dai Watkins was the GM. He was lovely and kind to us when we played there. 

I had a bit of a soft spot for them...

Edited by dixiedean
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12 hours ago, Wigan Riversider said:

Gateshead went bust after 1 season.

Did they?

I thought hull went bust and a merger was forced? 

Gateshead's didn't get any central funding which I  ever agree with...same with Toronto.

Gateshead's played on in the lower divisions and continues to this day.

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1 hour ago, yipyee said:

Did they?

I thought hull went bust and a merger was forced? 

Gateshead's didn't get any central funding which I  ever agree with...same with Toronto.

Gateshead's played on in the lower divisions and continues to this day.

You are probably right.

It was two decades ago.

I always believed that it was Gateshead who went bust after one year in SL.

Went to their last SL game in 1999 and then saw them in NL2 several times when I followed Chorley Lynx.

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19 hours ago, burnleywelsh said:

Clive Griffiths was involved with the club and word was that had South Wales been admitted to Super League, many of the Welsh RL players at the time would have returned home to play RL instead of switching back to RU. A great opportunity missed in my opinion.

Yes I remember at the time there were a lot of people within the game who said that it was a missed opportunity. The subsequent Celtic Crusaders team that was full of overseas players and played out of Bridgend was never going to have the same impact. It needed to have some money thrown at it, speculate to accumulate and all that. The constant theme with expansion in this country is that we always do it on a shoe string and expect people to be interested in a second-rate product. It needs to have more resource thrown at it to make it work, otherwise it's just money down the drain. Stumbled across this clip the other day with Ray French talking about a Welsh team. What's the saying? Rugby league never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity? Certainly in the UK anyway.

 

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4 hours ago, Wigan Riversider said:

You are probably right.

It was two decades ago.

I always believed that it was Gateshead who went bust after one year in SL.

Went to their last SL game in 1999 and then saw them in NL2 several times when I followed Chorley Lynx.

It was Hull Sharks who went bust and Gateshead were moved to Hull.

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13 hours ago, Wigan Riversider said:

You are probably right.

It was two decades ago.

I always believed that it was Gateshead who went bust after one year in SL.

Went to their last SL game in 1999 and then saw them in NL2 several times when I followed Chorley Lynx.

Pretty sure it was hull sharks who went bust and the merger reformed as hull with hull getting the best players and Sean Mcreay 

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On 30/11/2019 at 09:59, Number 16 said:

Started in 1981, the same season as Carlisle. Their launch was high profile due to some significant signings from union - Fenwick, David and Ringer.  They played initially at Ninian Park and their colours were blue and yellow (I think). I travelled down with two schoolmates to watch Carlisle's game at Cardiff and was introduced to Brains SA. We arrived back home a day late.

Happy days...

The first game was at home to Salford and I went to the game. I have all of their home programmes from that season. I remember it well because the day before (Saturday) I went to watch Manchester United play at Coventry City (First football match to be played in a all seater stadium in England). It cost £6 on the coach to Coventry and £5 to get in the ground. We were hearded like sheep from the coach park to the ground and hearded back again straight after the game. Coventry won 2-0. Next day (Sunday) I paid £6 for the coach to watch Salford at Cardiff and we stopped for a drink in Newport on the way. Salford won and after the game we had a drink in the bar with the players. On the way home we stopped for a drink in Tewkesbury. I never watched Manchester United play away again.

Celtic Crusaders started in 2006 and I travelled to every home game but one that season, from Salford (430 mile round trip). They played a couple of games away from Bridgend (Aberavon and Maesteg). They played in Bridgend because that is where the owner wanted them to play. It is true that not a lot of the support came from Bridgend but they had fans that travelled home and away from all over South Wales and there was an away bus for every game. They were great days. It's a shame the owner was so unscrupulous. I'm still friends with most of the fans and some of the players now. RL picked up quite a few new fans from the Celtic Crusaders experiment.

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13 hours ago, Celtic Roosters said:

The first game was at home to Salford and I went to the game.

I watched that game on TV, I think it was one of the Welsh channels.

Was the score 20 - 22 or something like that?


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

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I went to watch the Blue Dragons at Fartown (I think).

David Watkins, Tom David and Steve Fenwick were past it, but playing. Watkins still oozed class.

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Under Scrutiny by the Right-On Thought Police

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On 01/12/2019 at 00:14, dixiedean said:

Went to see Cardiffs first away game at Keighley. They got monstered that day. Looked like a bunch of guys thrown together, which they were. Also played in a curtain raiser at Ninian Park against their Colts team before they beat Donny some time later.

They came in with Carlisle on the back of the successful 1st season of Fulham. However, Carlisle followed the Fulham blueprint, sign a solid team of experienced RL pros, capable of winning promotion. Cardiff did sign 4 Welsh international RU players, but weren't up to it on the field. A pity really, as they were part of the soccer operation, and carried a good amount of goodwill, as well as funding in the city (which has always been a football place). The crowd for the Donny game I saw was football, not Union oriented.

Their poor results didn't help. They were always competitive, but never looked like getting promoted. Dai Watkins was the GM. He was lovely and kind to us when we played there. 

I had a bit of a soft spot for them...

Played against Cardiff on Ninian Park.

Paul Ringer,Tommy David,Steve Fenwick,Brynmore Williams all Welsh Union internationals with David and Fenwick and Williams also British Lions (Union) players. 

A few other player's people seem to forget were the likes of  Paul Woods, the ex Widnes and Hull FC player also went down to play for Cardiff.Ness Flowers (14 games for Wigan),Chris O'brien over 100 games for Oldham,Graham Walters played for Hull at Wembley v HKR (and Wakey) Gordon Pritchard (Leeds,Bradford,Barrow,Huddersfield)..Maybe not the same caliber players that Carlisle and Fulham signed but they did have a core of League players along with their union converts.

They actually beat Carlisle as they went on a four game winning streak after they got "monstered " at Keighley.

But as you say never had the depth to be really competetive .

Some interesting  first season results here  (won 17 L 16 D 1 in all competitions) and also look at the two away gates at Carlisle(John Player and league) both 3,000 plus .

https://www.rugbynetwork.net/main/s680/st147706.htm

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1 hour ago, yanto said:

Played against Cardiff on Ninian Park.

Paul Ringer,Tommy David,Steve Fenwick,Brynmore Williams all Welsh Union internationals with David and Fenwick and Williams also British Lions (Union) players. 

A few other player's people seem to forget were the likes of  Paul Woods, the ex Widnes and Hull FC player also went down to play for Cardiff.Ness Flowers (14 games for Wigan),Chris O'brien over 100 games for Oldham,Graham Walters played for Hull at Wembley v HKR (and Wakey) Gordon Pritchard (Leeds,Bradford,Barrow,Huddersfield)..Maybe not the same caliber players that Carlisle and Fulham signed but they did have a core of League players along with their union converts.

They actually beat Carlisle as they went on a four game winning streak after they got "monstered " at Keighley.

But as you say never had the depth to be really competetive .

Some interesting  first season results here  (won 17 L 16 D 1 in all competitions) and also look at the two away gates at Carlisle(John Player and league) both 3,000 plus .

https://www.rugbynetwork.net/main/s680/st147706.htm

Wasn't meaning to disparage them at all. As I said, I had a soft spot for them. But they went down the local players route... They even had a Colts team. 3 or 4 more experienced, gnarly, RL sodden forwards, and they could have got promotion. Who knows then, what would have happened? 

 

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I remember as a kid watching that they had a fantastic goal kicker. Was it Lyn Hallett ??

RL was great in them days. Carlisle and Fulham had a really good go at it and SL would have been orgasmic at some of the attendances at Craven Cottage and Brunton Park.

Even better, I am a Leyther and Leigh had one hell of a Team in them days !!😁

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On 01/12/2019 at 05:25, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

Yes I remember at the time there were a lot of people within the game who said that it was a missed opportunity. The subsequent Celtic Crusaders team that was full of overseas players and played out of Bridgend was never going to have the same impact. It needed to have some money thrown at it, speculate to accumulate and all that. The constant theme with expansion in this country is that we always do it on a shoe string and expect people to be interested in a second-rate product. It needs to have more resource thrown at it to make it work, otherwise it's just money down the drain. Stumbled across this clip the other day with Ray French talking about a Welsh team. What's the saying? Rugby league never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity? Certainly in the UK anyway.

 

As Ray French said then, it needed to be a top club complete with repatriated Welsh players.  It could have worked that way, but RL administrators have always been too shortsighted to things in the right way.

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On 30/11/2019 at 11:22, The Daddy said:

Yes a Cardiff based team is needed 

Saw Skolars play Scorpians at Cardiff Arms Park five or six years ago. Decent crowd (a thousand or so, including 30 London fans). Made me think Cardiff could support a L1 team. 

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Would a Cardiff team have a better chance of success now ?

In the past we have been up against Union bias but these days I think there is less of that as we are not going down there to loot their players with wads of tenners. We are also playing in summer so for large chunks of the year are not competing for crowds

Every village has a team and there is loads of potential talent there. They won't all make it at Union and a decent league team gives them another route into a professional game and on their doorstep.

Cardiff is a great destination for an away trip and easy to get to.

In the current era with a decent team would it work ?

 

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46 minutes ago, headtackle said:

Would a Cardiff team have a better chance of success now ?

In the past we have been up against Union bias but these days I think there is less of that as we are not going down there to loot their players with wads of tenners. We are also playing in summer so for large chunks of the year are not competing for crowds

Every village has a team and there is loads of potential talent there. They won't all make it at Union and a decent league team gives them another route into a professional game and on their doorstep.

Cardiff is a great destination for an away trip and easy to get to.

In the current era with a decent team would it work ?

 

The Llanelli public haven't exactly taken to RL, neither did the people of Bridgend or Cardiff in the past, so why would  they now?

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1 hour ago, Gooleboy said:

The Llanelli public haven't exactly taken to RL, neither did the people of Bridgend or Cardiff in the past, so why would  they now?

They won't take to second rate RL. It needs a top class team with some high profile (preferably Welsh) players to capture the public's imagination. Do that and Cardiff would be able to generate interest to support a SL team. But it would need to be backed by somebody with very, very deep pockets.

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6 hours ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

They won't take to second rate RL. It needs a top class team with some high profile (preferably Welsh) players to capture the public's imagination. Do that and Cardiff would be able to generate interest to support a SL team. But it would need to be backed by somebody with very, very deep pockets.

With deep pockets and a penchant for throwing their cash down the drain. Celtic Crusaders had a decent side, albeit some players on dodgy visas, but they never looked like getting the South Wales public to support them in any great numbers, and had to up sticks to Wrexham.

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1 hour ago, Gooleboy said:

With deep pockets and a penchant for throwing their cash down the drain.

Depends on your definition of throwing it down the drain. There are plenty of Super League club owners who could fall in to that category as well. For some I expect it's a manageable loss in return for the fun that they get out of it. But ultimately it is going to cost someone a fortune.

1 hour ago, Gooleboy said:

Celtic Crusaders had a decent side, albeit some players on dodgy visas, but they never looked like getting the South Wales public to support them in any great numbers, and had to up sticks to Wrexham.

Crusaders first season in Super League saw them finish bottom by some margin. They would've needed to be far more successful, and capture a few high profile Welsh RU signings, Sonny Bill style, in order to grab the public's and media's attention. E.g. compare them to the Welsh team of the 95 World Cup, which did capture the public's imagination. Playing out of a ropey stadium in Bridgend with a losing team of mostly journeymen and no star players was never going to do it - probably the worst possible way of introducing the public to Super League. They were introduced to Super League with a whimper, and the Crusaders never recovered.

The constant theme with expansion in this country is that it's never done properly with enough resource and money chucked at it. I get annoyed when some people make sweeping statements about London or Wales or wherever (which I'm not accusing you of), saying that the people there are not interested in rugby league. The only thing that we know is that they're not interested in second rate rugby league. People want to watch star players in big events in nice stadiums. We could just as easily swap 'South Wales' or 'London' for Rochdale, Oldham, Swinton, Keighley, Doncaster, Whitehaven, Batley etc etc. Sports fans generally don't flock in big numbers to watch a second or third rate product (let's not have anyone trying to compare us with soccer again please). So if we're not going chuck the necessary resource at expansion then let's not bother trying, otherwise it really is money down the drain. 

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23 hours ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

They won't take to second rate RL. It needs a top class team with some high profile (preferably Welsh) players to capture the public's imagination. Do that and Cardiff would be able to generate interest to support a SL team. But it would need to be backed by somebody with very, very deep pockets.

From another thread. Maybe the Wiggles could step up?

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On 30/11/2019 at 13:23, Eddie said:

North Wales might be the area to target, well if the RFL had any sort of strategy to grow the game or money to do it). Less of a Union stronghold and closer to the heartlands. 

Obviously Wrexham is the biggest town and they already have a team but there could potentially be one in the Bangor / Caenarvon area, with a link up with Bangor University - there should be more link ups with Universities imho. 

30 years ago North Wales Coasters attracted players from Bangor down to  Nant Conwy and  all along the coast to Rhyll and played in the NWC League (lower divisions)

The club started of in Llandudno then moved to Abergele before getting their own ground at Boddylwythen Hospital where they built their own changing rooms pitchside, which was unique back then.

They had the potential to develop league in North Wales.

Off course the RFL had no money / interest in devloping the area which as you state was less of a union stronghold (back then).

Come forward to the present day and the union have ploughed money into North Wales (maybe because of the presence of NW Crusaders) and RGC playing out of Colwyn Bay have risen through the ranks and are now be quite competetive in the Welsh Premiership .

Another chance lost in Wales.

Loads of potential with a more "Northern" attitude than South Wales and only an hour from the likes of Wigan and Saints.

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In advance of SL 1999 there was a call for new franchises. The 3 main contenders (Gateshead, Swansea and Cardiff) submitted business plans that included (reasonably) a fair share of central funding. When the SL clubs decided to give almost nothing to any of these (and the money that they did give was oddly tied to shares in the new club making it hard to get other investors in) the two Welsh clubs effectively withdrew, and Richie and his family stumped up all the money themselves to get Gateshead to the starting line in 1999.
They were modestly successful that year, building a good presence in the locality and a solid fan base and they finished mid table. They did lose a lot of money but were able to go around again in 2000 as they would be running a leaner team that year.
Then came the shameful shenanigans of merging with Hull - which could have been a positive if Hull KR had let Hull rebuild from the division below SL allowing Gateshead to continue in the top flight - and like that it all ended. That there is a decent club still in the north east and with credible plans for growth after all these years does make me wonder what would have happened had the game actually invested in them from the outset. 
And the same is true for a South Wales team circa 1996/7 I believe, I think they could have been a success. 

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