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Eddie

RL in Scotland

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I listened to an episode of the (relatively new and very interesting) Outlawed RL Podcast when I was running this morning, which was an interview with a couple of lads from the Glasgow RL team. I also noticed there’s a new official Scottish RL podcast and had one of them on too (episode 5) which was pretty interesting. 
 

Anyway it got me thinking, obviously RL is a hugely minority sport in Scotland but do any of you know anything about it and if so do you think there’s any chance the game will grow significantly in the future? It would be great if it did, I think a lot of Scots would love the game if they gave it a go, and not just those who like Union. 

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I am also interested in Scotish Rugby League because my grandad was originally from Scotland. Im In NZ but from what i can tell from Scotland RL Website and occasional updates and post on sites like this theres about 4 mens sides in Scotland, 2 under 16's sides, a couple of wheel chair sides and they are trying to set up a Scotland womans side.

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18 minutes ago, Eddie said:

I listened to an episode of the (relatively new and very interesting) Outlawed RL Podcast when I was running this morning, which was an interview with a couple of lads from the Glasgow RL team. I also noticed there’s a new official Scottish RL podcast and had one of them on too (episode 5) which was pretty interesting. 
 

Anyway it got me thinking, obviously RL is a hugely minority sport in Scotland but do any of you know anything about it and if so do you think there’s any chance the game will grow significantly in the future? It would be great if it did, I think a lot of Scots would love the game if they gave it a go, and not just those who like Union. 

It never ceases to amaze me, and this isn't a dig at you so much as a genuine observation, how short the institutional memory of fans is (and also of forums like this). I agree with you, and would like to think the bolded bit was as you say, but has the complete mismanagement of Scottish Rugby League in the last 5-10 years already slipped from the collective consciousness on here? Not many clean hands the English side of the border. 

When I first started posting on here the shafting of Scottish rugby league was a seemingly permanent, multi-thread topic.

Essentially, if you don't recall that, it was run as a development offshoot, complete with grants, of either the RFL or the RLIF (but at the time when there wan't much difference between those two organisations anyway). Until the taps were suddenly turned off and the sport north of the border, minus the more enthusiastic amateur clubs, was basically left to dangle. Along with a lot of job losses, including one of my mates.

There do seem to be encouraging stirrings north of the border though.

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4 minutes ago, iffleyox said:

It never ceases to amaze me, and this isn't a dig at you so much as a genuine observation, how short the institutional memory of fans is (and also of forums like this). I agree with you, and would like to think the bolded bit was as you say, but has the complete mismanagement of Scottish Rugby League in the last 5-10 years already slipped from the collective consciousness on here? Not many clean hands the English side of the border. 

When I first started posting on here the shafting of Scottish rugby league was a seemingly permanent, multi-thread topic.

Essentially, if you don't recall that, it was run as a development offshoot, complete with grants, of either the RFL or the RLIF (but at the time when there wan't much difference between those two organisations anyway). Until the taps were suddenly turned off and the sport north of the border, minus the more enthusiastic amateur clubs, was basically left to dangle. Along with a lot of job losses, including one of my mates.

There do seem to be encouraging stirrings north of the border though.

Why did the RFL stop funding the game there though (I had a lengthy break from following the details of RL that closely, certainly stuff like this, until I became sad again), presumably it was lack of funds and therefore outside of their control rather than a strategic decision?

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4 minutes ago, Eddie said:

Why did the RFL stop funding the game there though (I had a lengthy break from following the details of RL that closely, certainly stuff like this, until I became sad again), presumably it was lack of funds and therefore outside of their control rather than a strategic decision?

I think i remember reading that the RFL received funding from sport England and so Scotland no longer qualified for funding grants

Edited by kiwis 13 6

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7 minutes ago, Eddie said:

Why did the RFL stop funding the game there though (I had a lengthy break from following the details of RL that closely, certainly stuff like this, until I became sad again), presumably it was lack of funds and therefore outside of their control rather than a strategic decision?

Rather germane to my point about institutional memory, I can't actually remember what the exact reason given was.

From memory it was indeed dressed up as a strategic reprioritisation or similar. Apparently it was Sport England funding cuts to the RFL - see post above.

Whatever it was, I remember it left a nasty taste - the statement below didn't mince it's words

 

https://leagueunlimited.com/news/scotland-rugby-league-in-funding-challenge

Edited by iffleyox
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3 minutes ago, kiwis 13 6 said:

I think i remember reading that the RFL received funding from sport England and so Scotland no longer qualified for funding grants

It was pretty much that but also, from memory, the RFL gave the other associations about half an hour's notice that they were now not going to be funding anything of theirs, despite having ensured that those associations could do nothing to raise funding of their own in advance of the RFL's decision.

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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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3 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

It was pretty much that but also, from memory, the RFL gave the other associations about half an hour's notice that they were now not going to be funding anything of theirs, despite having ensured that those associations could do nothing to raise funding of their own in advance of the RFL's decision.

Thanks - all coming back to me now - hence the bitterness of the Chairman of the Scottish Rugby League when the news broke (as things then stood, he did have a point regardless of Sport England ringfencing their money to the RFL):

 

"Perhaps those in charge at the RFL should remind themselves that they are the Governing body of Rugby League in the UK, not just England," says Hogg. "I hope that we can come to a sensible agreement for the future, that the RFL will find some funds to support Scotland, and that we will continue to work together to develop the sport."

Edited by iffleyox
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Fair enough, though it does seem right that Sport England don’t fund RL in Scotland - there must be a Scottish equivalent. 

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I am based in Glasgow and was part of the Scottish Rugby League Development Association back in the early nineties.

To be honest even Rugby Union is only surviving up here via private school patronage, the chances of any meaningful grass roots up organic growth are pretty much non existent.

The only vehicle that could possibly stand any chance would be something akin to Toronto Wolfpack with similar levels of external investment.

 

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9 minutes ago, BladeHearts said:

I am based in Glasgow and was part of the Scottish Rugby League Development Association back in the early nineties.

To be honest even Rugby Union is only surviving up here via private school patronage, the chances of any meaningful grass roots up organic growth are pretty much non existent.

The only vehicle that could possibly stand any chance would be something akin to Toronto Wolfpack with similar levels of external investment.

 

Sad to hear. Is that due to lack of money, or because football is all encompassing?

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2 minutes ago, Eddie said:

Sad to hear. Is that due to lack of money, or because football is all encompassing?

Football is all encompassing!!

Rugby Union doesn’t want for cash and is incredibly well resourced for a sport with less than 5k adult players in Scotland... the Chief Exec of the SRU Mark Dodson is on £900k per year.

In essence every private school is a Rugby Union development hub with facilities to die for.  But the sport just doesn’t resonate across the wider public other than the annual 6 Nations bounce.

I think the Scottish sporting public would respond very well to a properly resourced Super League side playing out of Edinburgh or Glasgow, but you would need a sugar daddy pumping in tens of millions for a couple of decades to embed the club in the national psyche... In some ways its best thinking of Scotland as Sheffield in extreme.

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19 minutes ago, BladeHearts said:

Football is all encompassing!!

Rugby Union doesn’t want for cash and is incredibly well resourced for a sport with less than 5k adult players in Scotland... the Chief Exec of the SRU Mark Dodson is on £900k per year.

In essence every private school is a Rugby Union development hub with facilities to die for.  But the sport just doesn’t resonate across the wider public other than the annual 6 Nations bounce.

I think the Scottish sporting public would respond very well to a properly resourced Super League side playing out of Edinburgh or Glasgow, but you would need a sugar daddy pumping in tens of millions for a couple of decades to embed the club in the national psyche... In some ways its best thinking of Scotland as Sheffield in extreme.

Just been looking at Union attendances in Scotland, even the tier below the top two clubs (who are in the Pro 14) only averages around 1,500 fans. That said if someone did ever lump money in (unlikely I know) and there was a Scottish team in the Championship or SL it might appeal to some football fans who otherwise have no interest in Union. 

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Is the answer to everything hoping for a sugar daddy to come in and go Toronto like? While I’m sure it would be nice for any Rugby League enthusiasts in Glasgow and/or Edinburgh to have a side intent on Super League dominance, is it the only way? 

 

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11 minutes ago, Hela Wigmen said:

Is the answer to everything hoping for a sugar daddy to come in and go Toronto like? While I’m sure it would be nice for any Rugby League enthusiasts in Glasgow and/or Edinburgh to have a side intent on Super League dominance, is it the only way? 

 

The trouble is that there simply aren't enough existing enthusiasts, so the top-down approach is seen as the best way as creating interest and I believe Glasgow Warriors have something of a similar approach to Toronto, including - dare I say it - beer festivals at games.

I've frequently been going to Edinburgh (and elsewhere) watching Hibs for the last 20 years and quite often try to do a bit of RL-related market research. Unfortunately, in my experience, people switch off at the mere mention of 'rugby' because of an immediate relation to public school attitudes and idiot drunks on Six Nations weekends before you even have a chance to explain that there are two codes and the differences between the two.

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18 minutes ago, Hela Wigmen said:

Is the answer to everything hoping for a sugar daddy to come in and go Toronto like? While I’m sure it would be nice for any Rugby League enthusiasts in Glasgow and/or Edinburgh to have a side intent on Super League dominance, is it the only way? 

 

A lot of money and a lot patience is the only way. Whether that looks like Toronto or something else. A few volunteers, some balls and a field will only get you so far.

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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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3 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

A lot of money and a lot patience is the only way. Whether that looks like Toronto or something else. A few volunteers, some balls and a field will only get you so far.

Is everything about reaching the top though or League One? There seemed to be a phase where everyone, for some strange reason, wanted in to League One. 

A club is so much more than it’s results. I do some “admin” type work for a client who are a non-league football club. The community arm of the club is not just about trying to get players to play under their umbrella or to propel them into their first team. I’m doing them a disservice with this reply because it won’t do their work and their aims justice but their aims are so deep and detailed, for example, they provide the various activities they do in the hope crime goes down, people are then enticed to the area as a result, to reduce the reliance on health services in later life etc. 

Kids are less bigoted than adults, so they’ll play whatever they enjoy and that’s better, IMHO, than trying to develop a club by getting in some Rugby Union players during the summer months. 

 

 

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I think Edinburgh would be a great place for a professional side, as it's more of a rugby City than Glasgow and also makes for a good weekend for away fans. However I've always thought the Scottish borders is an untapped player source for potential RL players.

Plenty of quick wide players of big battering ram props most on not very good money in those RU leagues.

Maybe an option for a well run Newcastle or if Workington ever get est6in the Championship.

 

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15 minutes ago, Hela Wigmen said:

Is everything about reaching the top though or League One? There seemed to be a phase where everyone, for some strange reason, wanted in to League One. 

A club is so much more than it’s results. I do some “admin” type work for a client who are a non-league football club. The community arm of the club is not just about trying to get players to play under their umbrella or to propel them into their first team. I’m doing them a disservice with this reply because it won’t do their work and their aims justice but their aims are so deep and detailed, for example, they provide the various activities they do in the hope crime goes down, people are then enticed to the area as a result, to reduce the reliance on health services in later life etc. 

Kids are less bigoted than adults, so they’ll play whatever they enjoy and that’s better, IMHO, than trying to develop a club by getting in some Rugby Union players during the summer months. 

 

 

You still need money and patience even for a community club or League One. Even if it’s only to ensure that all your coaches have a full DBS, the pitches are properly marked, and you’ve enough bibs.

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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, Mr Frisky said:

I think Edinburgh would be a great place for a professional side, as it's more of a rugby City than Glasgow and also makes for a good weekend for away fans. 

Yes, but I think it's more of a rugby *union* city than Glasgow. The rugby scene in Edinburgh, for all they like to belt out Flower of Scotland, is overwhelmingly red trousered, private schooled and "Anglo" (for want of a better word). It's not insurmountable, I tick all three of those boxes myself, but there's a weird effect with the Edinburgh bubble where although *very* Scottish, you're basically in the south of England again attitudinally - essentially you go up the A1 and eventually you stop being in the north. 

Although then you've got the bits that are very much *not* like Morningside (ie Leith, etc), but then they're not RU or RL so you're back to square one.

I love Edinburgh, and miss being in and around it. If someone wants to bankroll a pro RL side there then I'll be on the next train north. But (IMO) it would be a vanity project for a long time.

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3 hours ago, Hela Wigmen said:

Is the answer to everything hoping for a sugar daddy to come in and go Toronto like? While I’m sure it would be nice for any Rugby League enthusiasts in Glasgow and/or Edinburgh to have a side intent on Super League dominance, is it the only way? 

 

Realistically yes, effectively you’re trying to grow flowers in the desert... and then needs an awful lot of water!!

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In the meantime. Carry on building meaningful short season RL comp, schools and uni/student sides. Get the forces playing it - and civil services. Carry on getting the small things right and you never know

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1 hour ago, iffleyox said:

Yes, but I think it's more of a rugby *union* city than Glasgow. The rugby scene in Edinburgh, for all they like to belt out Flower of Scotland, is overwhelmingly red trousered, private schooled and "Anglo" (for want of a better word). It's not insurmountable, I tick all three of those boxes myself, but there's a weird effect with the Edinburgh bubble where although *very* Scottish, you're basically in the south of England again attitudinally - essentially you go up the A1 and eventually you stop being in the north. 

Although then you've got the bits that are very much *not* like Morningside (ie Leith, etc), but then they're not RU or RL so you're back to square one.

I love Edinburgh, and miss being in and around it. If someone wants to bankroll a pro RL side there then I'll be on the next train north. But (IMO) it would be a vanity project for a long time.

Yep agree.

You point out Edinburgh is more of a Rugby Union city but they do know the 2 sports exist.

I've spent a lot of time in Glasgow and in my experience the majority of people haven't got a clue any sport exists except football.

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