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Potential Players Strike


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17 minutes ago, Harry Stottle said:

Hi Michael 

I would prefer the Independent SL exec option, Elstone strings in my opinion are being tugged by his SL paymasters, but to proportion such a voting scheme as you suggest, will err have to be sanctioned by the one club one vote method as it stands today on any SL matter, do you envisage the clubs will allow overall control to be taken away from them? I think some clubs would see that as signing their own warrent.

I think most would see it that way, and that's why it's unlikely to come to pass, but I think whatever model that comes to pass needs to acknowledge the wants and needs of each stakeholder - not just being approach from the perspective of "how can I, as an owner, reduce my personal contribution this year?"

If clubs had to win over the players union and England / Elite Performance management, they'd be more minded to consider the wider impact of the loop fixtures that they (in my view, wrongly) insist they need, Easter weekends and so on. If they had to consider the needs of sponsors and media, they'd be more minded consider new initiatives to provide them with more value, and so on. 

I think Elstone should listen to the clubs - they are ultimately stakeholders like everyone else, but he should also be empowered to push forward with what is best for the competition as a whole. 

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17 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

I think Elstone should listen to the clubs - they are ultimately stakeholders like everyone else, but he should also be empowered to push forward with what is best for the competition as a whole. 

If you have followed any posts I have made on any RL topic, you will have noticed how my preferences lie, the sentance highlighted is the one that worries me, for clarification Michael when you say the competition as a whole is that just pertaining to SL? If so and allowing for all his faults I would have Ralph Rimmer or anyone else for that matter employed by the RFL who would be looking at the "game as a whole" not just 33% of it, maybe in your line of work Michael you are very radical in some of the advice you give to clients in saying such and such should be sacrificed to transfer funds to main criteria, is that how you see the bigger picture for the sustainability and progress for Rugby League?

I am just asking your opinion, not pointing any fingers.

Edited by Harry Stottle
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At the majority of clubs the players are being asked to take a 30% wage cut across the board. Some are also losing other contractual privileges as well!  Some clubs are asking for deeper cuts than 30%!

Rather than being selfish quite a lot of Senior players at a number of clubs have acted to protect junior squad members who are on very low salaries to begin with. One player who’s been prominent recently was on £9k as a SL squad member, he’s in his early 20s!

Another club who are currently looking to make a very large sporting acquisition and have just secured an international player on a very large salary but yet have asked their current players to take a 30% pay cut. It hasn’t gone down well at all with one or two threatening to go legal & fly home.

Running a club on a shoestring, paying lip service to everything at the club except SL while doing little to nothing to advance the organisation in every other area will eventually see you being found out! I think one or two clubs/owners are being caught out by this now and they’ve no one to blame but themselves. 

 

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4 hours ago, Harry Stottle said:

If you have followed any posts I have made on any RL topic, you will have noticed how my preferences lie, the sentance highlighted is the one that worries me, for clarification Michael when you say the competition as a whole is that just pertaining to SL? If so and allowing for all his faults I would have Ralph Rimmer or anyone else for that matter employed by the RFL who would be looking at the "game as a whole" not just 33% of it, maybe in your line of work Michael you are very radical in some of the advice you give to clients in saying such and such should be sacrificed to transfer funds to main criteria, is that how you see the bigger picture for the sustainability and progress for Rugby League?

I am just asking your opinion, not pointing any fingers.

I'll admit that I've approached this from the point of view of Super League, probably because my optics are as a fan of an SL club (I'll try and put that to the side for this) but also partly because the game has fragmented into ESL and RFL, both of which have different aims and objectives. 

Whilst I'm not exactly an advocate of 'trickle down economics', I do think that Super League is the field to sow in many respects. Super League is our biggest asset, it's our premium product and it is, for the most part, the game's "shop window". Super League makes up more than 33% of the game when you look at its audience and financials, so on that basis the argument stands that making Super League stronger has the biggest potential upside for RL in the UK as a whole (assuming that international RL is largely beyond our control because it relies on the cooperation of the NRL). 

My personal view is that Super League should be a franchise model, largely because I don't think promotion and relegation really does much to further the appeal of the sport (it has historically seen us take one weak club out of the league, replacing them with a club that is not really any stronger thanks largely to the way player recruitment is done in RL and the fact that the foundations of the business are no more secure than the club they replace). I think P&R distracts clubs from building sustainable clubs for the long term and instead, encourages them to look no further than "keeping the lights on" for another year (or betting the farm on promotion). 

That said, my idea of franchising isn't the 'stick pins in maps' idea that many other posters suggest (big cities would be nice, but they rely on private investors putting their money into those places). Instead, I think the best model for franchising is one that should:

  • Encourage clubs to grow themselves, by making aspects of central funding contingent on certain KPIs
  • Be allowed to reap the benefits of that growth, replacing the salary cap with an FFP system. 
  • Make it easier for clubs to fail, but not in a way that is catastrophic. I don't want to see clubs going into administration but at the same time, clubs shouldn't be surviving in SL on the basis of holding other clubs on a leash. 

I think the third point is just as important as the second one - we can't have an elite competition that only runs at the pace of the slowest man. 

You ask if my approach is to routinely go to clients with radical ideas and the answer is usually no - not at the start at least. It's hard to win over a client with radical ideas straight away because people who appoint / employ marketing people are usually quite logical people who are inherently uncomfortable with something which, like marketing, isn't an exact science - which means they invariably see it as a cost. What you do instead is win them over by getting the basics right, delivering incremental 'quick wins' first to earn their trust, and that's something that many RL clubs simply don't do. 

But developing a product to broaden it's appeal isn't, in my view, "radical" by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it's essential. Even nature understands this - in a honey bee hive, a proportion of the bees fly around looking for new food sources because they know that if something happens to their usual food source, the hive is going to die. The same applies to a business and it's customer base. Unfortunately I think it's widely accepted that RL generally keeps returning to the same "food souce" again and again and again.  

I've said before that some the game's issues are because RL clubs are owned by people who are usually from "logical" backgrounds. We're a media and entertainment product and, with the exception of Simon Moran (there may be ones I've forgotten), nobody owning an RL club made their money from media and entertainment. They made their money from being "logical" - from selling widgets, from understanding law, from accounting. Unfortunately, things like accountancy are pretty easy - it's counting money and my three year old can do that. What's harder is working out how to make more of it. People who understand logic think that the way to make more money is to sell more stuff (it's why we have loop fixtures and why we waste an opportunity with things like Magic). People who understand behavioural economics think that the way to make more money is to make something inhertently more valuable, and that's the thing the game lacks. 

Which brings us to the non-SL clubs. 

There is a lot of scoffing at the idea that the Championship should be sold as a competition in it's own right but there is a lot of merit in that. 

What Championship clubs do is essentially sell themselves as "wanting to get out of this league and into a better one" which, when you paraphase it, is essentially the clubs saying "our competitors are selling a better version of this than we are". The clubs are devaluing their own product. 

Now whilst that criticism might apply to clubs in the Football League for instance, the problem for Championship RL clubs is that the competitor selling that better product is three bus stops down the road. If you're Leigh or Featherstone and your message is "we want to be in the same league as Wigan or Castleford next door because the rugby is better",  why wouldn't a curious fan simply go to Wigan or Castleford? In a pervese way, lower league clubs should be supportive of expansion because it takes away that localised competition. 

I know you question the argument about "matchday experience" but that's why things like that are important - not to appeal to fans like you who will turn up come rain or shine, but to allow clubs to offer something to new and casual fans that make up for the fact that the rugby might not be as good as the rugby being played down the road. 

Edited by whatmichaelsays
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Thanks for the reply Michael there is a lot of common sense in your post, but there are things that I would be dubios of, your 3 point plan would require a good dose of looking at and every angle of those points could fall in either direction for some clubs depending who is designing, delivering and signing them off, I say that not to be argumentative but I think for every positive reaction that would be of benefit to some it could have an adverse reaction perceived by others.

The trouble as I see it - and please contradict me if I am off course - when you deliver a presentation to your clients presumsbly there is a guy where the buck stops and he will after all due consideration to your "solution" make a decision to go with or reject it.

In Super League terms it is no point delivering a "one size fits all" garment to the clubs concerned some are bigger, some are smaller, some are leaner and some are fatter in terms of club standing and financial stability, but they all have one thing in common the weakest poorest club's vote carries exactly the same weight as the strongest and richest club, so we ain't got that singular guy who is the head of the company and the decision maker we have a collection of people who's existance could depend on some 'radical' solutions.

How do you get that to change?

A couple if other things from your post you mention Simon Moran in the media and entertainment industry, hasn't Ian Leneghan been a theatre producer with quite a number of successful productions?

And, when you say why wouldn't fans of lower league clubs simply go along to a more lucrative neighbouring team, if it were that simple then Uncle Mo Lyndseys merger proposal in '95 would have been well recieved! Do I need to remind you how the suggestion was viewed, treated and subsequently abandoned.

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10 hours ago, Dave T said:

It's interesting you paint the clubs as poor victims having to cut their cloths accordingly, but players as being greedy. It is clear which side you have come down on. 

I expect all players are well aware there will be impacts, it doesn't mean that they should just accept whatever the clubs offer. 

I find your post bizarre, particularly as you say without knowing the detail. 

I'm painting no picture about the clubs.

Cutting cloth comment related to every worker, RL or not, spending their means based on what they take home.

Ie, earn less, spend less. Earn more spend more. Big earner, big mortgage. Pay cut; 2 up 2 down or 6 bed mansion, we may all find hardship when less comes in each month.

My point was clear, it's not about the rich directors or the overwhelming majority of SL players, it's about the regular folk.

Whilst they're not Premier League footballers they earn considerably more than average UK wages, much much more.

This is not about underselling the comp as per how this thread has been totally hijacked for no relevant reason, this is about Covid19. The merit of that point belongs on a different thread. I agree FWIW, the comp is much better than the revenue it generated pre covid.

I'll return to this thread in 9 months when my point will be much more obvious.

The best solution for everyone is that ALL clubs survive, ALL employees take home sufficient money to make ends meet even if it means sacrifice and we ALL live to prosper another day.

Player strikes risks the entire industry and not just the players, this is exactly why they dare threaten it in such an horrendous time. I'm sorry, it is just wrong.

Are people not watching the news? Maybe everyone is home, enjoying the furlough money.

In general I honestly feel for business owners. Not specifically SL but across the board. I nurtured a business for almost 16 years that went pop almost a decade ago with over 30 guys joing the dole queue, most of them with family and a mortgage.

You take it home. As do most human beings. You can say what you want but I don't believe for a moment ANY club is trying to fleece any player, they're educated folk trying to survive.

Cost cutting come from the top and unfortunately for the players it's there and not letting general workers go to facilitate players contracts and that is what it'll come to.

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11 hours ago, Harry Stottle said:

Thanks for the reply Michael there is a lot of common sense in your post, but there are things that I would be dubios of, your 3 point plan would require a good dose of looking at and every angle of those points could fall in either direction for some clubs depending who is designing, delivering and signing them off, I say that not to be argumentative but I think for every positive reaction that would be of benefit to some it could have an adverse reaction perceived by others.

The trouble as I see it - and please contradict me if I am off course - when you deliver a presentation to your clients presumsbly there is a guy where the buck stops and he will after all due consideration to your "solution" make a decision to go with or reject it.

In Super League terms it is no point delivering a "one size fits all" garment to the clubs concerned some are bigger, some are smaller, some are leaner and some are fatter in terms of club standing and financial stability, but they all have one thing in common the weakest poorest club's vote carries exactly the same weight as the strongest and richest club, so we ain't got that singular guy who is the head of the company and the decision maker we have a collection of people who's existance could depend on some 'radical' solutions.

How do you get that to change?

A couple if other things from your post you mention Simon Moran in the media and entertainment industry, hasn't Ian Leneghan been a theatre producer with quite a number of successful productions?

And, when you say why wouldn't fans of lower league clubs simply go along to a more lucrative neighbouring team, if it were that simple then Uncle Mo Lyndseys merger proposal in '95 would have been well recieved! Do I need to remind you how the suggestion was viewed, treated and subsequently abandoned.

All perfectly fair points Harry. I'll stand corrected on Lenaghan if that's the case - I thought his wealth came from the food and drink trade. 

I think it's important to stress that, unlike some posters, I don't think it is the job of Super League or Elstone to market the clubs. To me, the clubs are the ones who should understand their markets and audiences, who should understand where the growth areas are in their areas, who should understand what they can deliver and who are the primary point of consumption for the vast majority of the game's directly-paying support. 

Elstone's job, in my view, is to look after 'brand Super League' (and there have been improvements in that regard) and to make that brand more attractive to broadcasters. sponsors and audiences outside the traditional heartlands that otherwise find it hard to buy into RL. 

A part of doing that, in my view, is creating structures and rules help him to do that, such as making it easier for clubs to recruit talent and creating a league structure and format that allow us to put the best possible product on the field as much of the time as possible. This is where he is hampered by the clubs and the voting structure. 

Elstone can't market the clubs because, as you rightly point out, the clubs have different degrees of willingness but this is where my point about "allowing clubs to fail" is important. 

As it stands, it is very easy for clubs to remain competitive on the field whilst doing the bare minimum off it. We have an artificial cap on one of the game's biggest costs and as a result, it is cheaper and 'safer' for clubs to try and reduce their costs than it is to invest, innovate and grow (because accountants will always do what they are trained to understand). In effect, the incentive is for some clubs to engage in a race to the bottom, rather than for them to race to the top, because those clubs that are racing to the top are coming up against an articifically low ceiling. If you replace that ceiling with an FFP system that sets salary cap spending at a % of turnover (limiting the impact of "directors loans"), you force the hand of clubs to invest in growth if they want to compete on the field.

But Elstone needs to be empowered to do this and I think we're in agreement that the voting system is a root cause of many of these issues. 

On the point about mergers, I'm not talking here about the hardened Leigh fan defecting to watching Wigan or the Hunslet season ticket holder deciding to go to Headingley. What I'm talking about here is that big audience of people who have some money to spend on a Friday night's / Sunday afternoon's entertainment who could be tempted to try a day at the RL. The audience who don't necessarily care for tribalism or rivalry, they just want to know that the £20, £40 or £60 they spend on a family day out is going to be worthwhile - and a message of "we're trying to get in the better league that our neighbours are in" doesn't wash with those people. 

Those are the audiences that we struggle to attract as a sport. There are many reasons why but I think one is that I think the sport can be quite dismissive of them as "not true fans" and another is that I think we struggle to grasp the idea that "RL in the tradtional fan's vision" isn't enough to take the sport forward long term. I've said it before, but yelling "TGG" at people doesn't work and we have to do more. I know that you will turn up at your club no matter what, but if that family of new fans turns up for game one has a bad experience, they aren't coming back.You've fairly asked "who pays for all this when I just want to watch the game" but the counter to that is "who shoulders the cost of not doing it?" There are only so many of you and I out there, and we're probably already selling to most of them. 

Edited by whatmichaelsays
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Back to the potential strike news

It seems there are still around 5 clubs yet to agree a deal with their players and the clock is ticking at the players union office as well as at SL HQ and also restart day.

Some clubs haven’t even agreed with the players on how they’re going to reintroduce them to a safe training regime. Players must sign a document that means they agree to the safe measures imposed by the club and a few of the clubs have players who are refusing.

Most clubs have agreed a climbing scale of wage cuts dependent upon the size of a players contract. e.g. all players will take a 30% cut up to a certain value then the higher wage earners will take a 40% cut on wages that are above a certain threshold, then 50% at the next threshold. (It’s a bit like income Tax)

Obviously there are problems with this at some clubs where players on very low salaries (£10k or less) really can’t afford to lose 30%. While at the other end of the scale high earners aren’t happy to agree to a 50% cut.

Every club but one has agreed to a deadline where these cuts will cease to be applied but one club has told its players that the cuts will continue indefinitely! The Chairman sorry Chief Executive of that club has not handled the negotiations particularly well, his usual dour, dictatorial and dismissive tone has upset quite a lot of the playing staff.

 

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18 minutes ago, OMEGA said:

Back to the potential strike news

It seems there are still around 5 clubs yet to agree a deal with their players and the clock is ticking at the players union office as well as at SL HQ and also restart day.

It is down to 4 now as it is being reported that Warrington have come to agreement with their players. I think the plan was for 1 club each day to go through negotiation alongside the Player's Union and Hull KR who are due to play soonest of the 6 that were to meet the Player's Union were sorted first with Warrington following the day after. Hopefully the final 4 can get it sorted over the next few days.

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Anyone thinking there will be a players strike, has no understanding of the Law surrounding industrial action.

It isn't going to happen.

Omega seems to think he knows an awful lot of detail regarding Michael Carter.  What he has suggested about cuts lasting indefinitely at Wakefield, is directly contradicted by what MC said right from the start - that, as the club's finances improve, any profits/windfalls would go to the players before it went anywhere else.

He sounds bitter.

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46 minutes ago, dboy said:

Anyone thinking there will be a players strike, has no understanding of the Law surrounding industrial action.

It isn't going to happen.

Omega seems to think he knows an awful lot of detail regarding Michael Carter.  What he has suggested about cuts lasting indefinitely at Wakefield, is directly contradicted by what MC said right from the start - that, as the club's finances improve, any profits/windfalls would go to the players before it went anywhere else.

He sounds bitter.

Omega isn't an agent of one of the players is he/she? 😀

You can imagine officials at any club wouldn't be happy with players playing hardball when other members of staff have accepted their cuts without the same amount of sympathy. Same bills, same issues and pressures.

Speaking of, the loudest of the agents has gone quiet. Gravy train coming to an end?

Edited by RigbyLuger
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2 hours ago, dboy said:

Anyone thinking there will be a players strike, has no understanding of the Law surrounding industrial action.

It isn't going to happen.

Omega seems to think he knows an awful lot of detail regarding Michael Carter.  What he has suggested about cuts lasting indefinitely at Wakefield, is directly contradicted by what MC said right from the start - that, as the club's finances improve, any profits/windfalls would go to the players before it went anywhere else.

He sounds bitter.

And you sound like you are one of the followers that believes everything that comes out of Carters mouth. You really shouldn’t. And i say that from personal experience of the man. 

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2 minutes ago, Wakey Til I Die said:

And you sound like you are one of the followers that believes everything that comes out of Carters mouth. You really shouldn’t. And i say that from personal experience of the man. 

I take as I find.  I have not seen or heard anything from MC to suggest he is anything but trustworthy. Blunt and direct maybe, but I'd see that as a positive.

Have you anything to share to make me reconsider that, or is it just your opinion?

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54 minutes ago, Wakey Til I Die said:

And you sound like you are one of the followers that believes everything that comes out of Carters mouth. You really shouldn’t. And i say that from personal experience of the man. 

What’s up do you have to pay full price to get in now?  Still sulking you can’t bring you own drinks in anymore.  What’s your personal experience?  
 

Up the Trin 

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1 hour ago, WakefieldCityLoyal said:

What’s up do you have to pay full price to get in now?  Still sulking you can’t bring you own drinks in anymore.  What’s your personal experience?  
 

Up the Trin 

2 hours ago, dboy said:

I take as I find.  I have not seen or heard anything from MC to suggest he is anything but trustworthy. Blunt and direct maybe, but I'd see that as a positive.

Have you anything to share to make me reconsider that, or is it just your opinion?

Not my opinion but my facts. But not ones i’m sharing on a public forum. Couldn’t care less what you think of that to be honest. You want to hang on his every word, good for you. I’ll pass thanks. 

Edited by Wakey Til I Die
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1 hour ago, WakefieldCityLoyal said:

What’s up do you have to pay full price to get in now?  Still sulking you can’t bring you own drinks in anymore.  What’s your personal experience?  
 

Up the Trin 

What are you on about? Don’t you have another inane post about a non-existent stadium or something?

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11 minutes ago, Forever Trinity said:

And all but 33 season ticket holders have agreed to take the hit fab response from the terraces

Was there any need for Wakefield to mention those 33 fans in that story?

It doesn't make them any less of a supporter than those who haven't asked for refunds.

2008 RFL Wakefield & District Young Volunteer of the Year

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1 minute ago, Chris Taylor said:

Was there any need for Wakefield to mention those 33 fans in that story?

It doesn't make them any less of a supporter than those who haven't asked for refunds.

There is no intention to make them a lesser supporter my intention was to highlight in all this grief only 33 requested a refund that is down to their individual circumstances and no way a criticism the intention is to highlight the 2200 or so happy not to take a refund other clubs are putting packages together.

 

If you have read it the wrong way apologies it was not my intention

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3 minutes ago, Forever Trinity said:

There is no intention to make them a lesser supporter my intention was to highlight in all this grief only 33 requested a refund that is down to their individual circumstances and no way a criticism the intention is to highlight the 2200 or so happy not to take a refund other clubs are putting packages together.

 

If you have read it the wrong way apologies it was not my intention

Not you, sir. I was meaning the club. Theres going to be a lot of people lose there jobs in our area and I think they should focus more on the positives. 

Really pleased Wakefield are sorted, some good honest players in that team. 

2008 RFL Wakefield & District Young Volunteer of the Year

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1 hour ago, Chris Taylor said:

Was there any need for Wakefield to mention those 33 fans in that story?

FFS!  Nobody has mentioned any individuals.  We haven't a bloody clue who 31 of them are.  

This world was never meant for one as beautiful as me.
 
 
Wakefield Trinity RLFC
2012 - 2014 "The wasted years"

2013, 2014 & 2015 Official Magic Weekend "Whipping Boys"

2017 - The year the dream disappeared under Grix's left foot.

2018 - The FinniChezz Bromance 

2019 - The Return of the Prodigal Son

 

 

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