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'Expansion' of the heartlands


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7 hours ago, Wellsy4HullFC said:

Personally, I'd love to see a team from every district of the heartlands somehow in the RL pyramid, and it all joining together.

We shoot ourselves in the foot in this game by closing off new clubs in the area to protect old ones and use the excuse "well it's hard enough as it with the clubs we've got." Maybe it's hard because of some of the clubs we've got? Why not make a more fluid system and let find find their level in the 21st century?

Here are the districts in the North West and Yorkshire (I'll include the Humber as well since it's technically part of the wider region):

North West (5 counties, 39 districts, 12 clubs in 10 districts):

Cheshire (4 districts, 2 clubs) - Warrington, Halton (Widnes), Cheshire West (inc. Chester), Cheshire East (inc. Crewe)

Greater Manchester (10 districts, 6 clubs) -

Manchester, Salford (inc. Swinton), Wigan (inc. Leigh), Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Tameside, Trafford, Stockport

Merseyside (5 districts, 1 club)

Liverpool, St Helens, Knowsley, Sefton, Wirral

Lancashire (14 districts, no clubs)

West Lancs, Chorley, South Ribble, Ribble Valley, Fylde, Preston, Wyre, Lancaster, Pendle, Burnley, Rossendale, Hyndburn, Blackpool, Blackburn

Cumbria (6 districts, 3 clubs)

Barrow-in-Furness, South Lakeland, Copeland (Whitehaven), Allendale (Workington), Eden, Carlisle

 

Yorkshire and the Humber (5 counties, 23 districts, 16 clubs in 9 districts)

North Yorkshire (11 districts, 1 club)

York, Selby, Harrogate, Craven, Richmondshire, Hambleton, Ryedale, Scarborough, Redcar and Cleveland, Middleborough, Stockton-on-Tees

South Yorkshire (4 districts, 2 clubs)

Sheffield, Doncaster, Rotherham, Barnsley

West Yorkshire (5 districts, 11 clubs)

Leeds (inc. Hunslet), Bradford (inc. Keighley), Wakefield (inc. Castleford and Featherstone), Kirklees (inc. Huddersfield, Batley and Dewsbury), Calderdale (Halifax) 

East Yorkshire (2 districts, 2 clubs)

Kingston-upon-Hull (FC and KR), East Riding (previously broken into Beverley, Holderness, Boothferry and North Woods)

(Northern part of) Lincolnshire (2 districts, no clubs)

North Lincolnshire (inc. Scunthorpe), North East Lincolnshire (inc. Grimsby)

 

In our so called "heartlands", we're only really present in about a third of the districts. There are 43 districts in those 2 regions that have no presence in the pyramid.

They may have amateur clubs in, but nothing attached to the main pyramid. I know some will argue that it doesn't need to be attached to the main pyramid (and some want it breaking up altogether to form franchising), but I'd disagree. I think it all should feed in together to get maximum coverage. We're a tribal sport, and people support their areas - it can't be a coincidence that in the places that aren't represented there is next to no interest, so I don't subscribe to the "Wigan should draws from Manchester, Saints from Liverpool..." model.

I'm not sure how you'd implement an expansion strategy, but I certainly wouldn't argue that "we've enough in the heartlands" at all. Demonstrably, we're not even close. Only arguably West Yorkshire is saturated in areas.

With North Yorkshire, I have setup during lockdown a team in Harrogate. We are linked with York Knights Foundation and actively working with schools and colleges across the Harrogate District as we expand our potential youth development playing base and open age options. We have links from Primary through secondary and college age into the first team. It will take time to bed down but with talks with York Foundation there is definitely work that can be done in other areas. Selby is a big area and Scarborough too. The Teeside/Cleveland area hopefully benefits from legacy stuff from the world cup with the Cook Islands being based there. Whitley Bay have a side I believe which isn't too far from that region. 

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7 minutes ago, HarrogateKnights said:

Darlington for me would have been a good catchment area too, maybe falls under the Middlesbrough/Cleveland area but the Northern Arena home to the union side now is a decent stadium with good parking and easy access from A1 and train station. 

Agree. My partner is from Darlo and I go there regularly but other than the sport appearing on regional TV news I don't think I really seen any sign of interest in the sport. The town is mid-point between York and Newcastle.

Whether you try to expand to Turo, Hackney, Lincoln, Darlo, New York or wherever the problem is the same: how to you get people to come along and watch a new sport and then how do you create roots? Nearly a quarter of century with London Skolars and we've not managed it.

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28 minutes ago, HarrogateKnights said:

With North Yorkshire, I have setup during lockdown a team in Harrogate. We are linked with York Knights Foundation and actively working with schools and colleges across the Harrogate District as we expand our potential youth development playing base and open age options. We have links from Primary through secondary and college age into the first team. It will take time to bed down but with talks with York Foundation there is definitely work that can be done in other areas. Selby is a big area and Scarborough too. The Teeside/Cleveland area hopefully benefits from legacy stuff from the world cup with the Cook Islands being based there. Whitley Bay have a side I believe which isn't too far from that region. 

I think it would be a good idea if York and Newcastle worked together especially in the Teeside area. They're both trying to expand their catchment of community clubs and they would overlap working north from York and south from Newcastle

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21 minutes ago, EssexRL said:

Agree. My partner is from Darlo and I go there regularly but other than the sport appearing on regional TV news I don't think I really seen any sign of interest in the sport. The town is mid-point between York and Newcastle.

Whether you try to expand to Turo, Hackney, Lincoln, Darlo, New York or wherever the problem is the same: how to you get people to come along and watch a new sport and then how do you create roots? Nearly a quarter of century with London Skolars and we've not managed it.

I agree, its hard, which is why Toronto's crowd successes were amazing to most and should be looked at by every team in Super league (and indeed all of RL) to see what they can learn.

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On 22/07/2020 at 17:35, JM2010 said:

There's lots of talk about who should be in SL and what new areas could potentially support a professional team. I'm all for this expansion and welcome anyone who wants to invest in new and existing clubs.

One area I think gets overlooked is the community game in the already established areas. 

I think the game should look at trying to strengthen existing clubs in Yorkshire and the North West and look to try and increase the amount of junior and open age sides in the areas.

One obvious approach would be to try and expand into towns and cities such as Manchester, Liverpool, Preston, Bury, Barnsley,  Sheffield etc as they would have ready made leagues to join but I would also look at towns and cities that are already established RL areas.

I think helping to strengthen existing junior sections of heartland clubs, especially the weaker ones, and supporting the setting up of new clubs in places such as Leeds, Huddersfield, Bradford, Wakefield, Salford, Oldham, Hull etc would an effective way of increasing playing numbers and would also help the game push into bordering towns and cities.

 

This should of happened long ago and you will ear lots of league fans say it outside super league, lots of fans go on about expansion but they are trying to run before they can walk like playing behind a beaten pack.

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On 22/07/2020 at 17:56, Smudger06 said:

There's enough clubs in the heartlands, could definitely do with an Expansion effort to increase playing members at existing Clubs, I think the areas to look at expanding Club numbers would be the North East and Greater London. 

I disagree with there being enough clubs (amateur) in the heartlands.

Carlsberg don't do Soldiers, but if they did, they would probably be Brits.

http://www.pitchero....hornemarauders/

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38 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

I agree, its hard, which is why Toronto's crowd successes were amazing to most and should be looked at by every team in Super league (and indeed all of RL) to see what they can learn.

Lot of ex-pats in Toronto.

Carlsberg don't do Soldiers, but if they did, they would probably be Brits.

http://www.pitchero....hornemarauders/

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3 minutes ago, Marauder said:

Lot of ex-pats in Toronto.

Even if that was the case for their success (which it isn't), the are lots of Leeds people in Leeds, or wakey people in wakey, we don't sell out though?

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On expansion in the heartlands I'll offer an anecdote which in my experience will be true in many cases.

Within the confines of Wakefield (city) we have 3 what most would describe as strong amateur clubs: Stanley, Eastmoor and Crigglestone. We have 1 RU club, Sandal. Do you want to guess which has better facilities/pitches etc?

Take Leeds. Loads of Junior RL clubs, the best facilities however, West Park and Yarnbury RUFCs. 

That isn't a dig at RL at all. We should be proud that our sport doesn't have the snobbish attitudes of some others and works in some really difficult and economically struggling areas. 

My point is more this, would we be better consolidating junior spending? Instead of having 6 struggling amateur clubs with poor facilities, have 2 top rate ones? The world cup team have been dishing out grants which is fantastic; we need to invest in the amateur game. 

Would like to hear some thoughts on this. I don't think its just as simple a case of "union has more money".

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35 minutes ago, Marauder said:

I disagree with there being enough clubs (amateur) in the heartlands.

Fair enough.

My thinking is rather have 50 Clubs fielding 10 teams each than 200 Clubs struggling to field 2 teams each (say an open age and an U16 or open age 2nd team?) If you saturate any given area with Clubs sooner or later you are gonna be stealing each other's players. 

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19 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

On expansion in the heartlands I'll offer an anecdote which in my experience will be true in many cases.

Within the confines of Wakefield (city) we have 3 what most would describe as strong amateur clubs: Stanley, Eastmoor and Crigglestone. We have 1 RU club, Sandal. Do you want to guess which has better facilities/pitches etc?

Take Leeds. Loads of Junior RL clubs, the best facilities however, West Park and Yarnbury RUFCs. 

That isn't a dig at RL at all. We should be proud that our sport doesn't have the snobbish attitudes of some others and works in some really difficult and economically struggling areas. 

My point is more this, would we be better consolidating junior spending? Instead of having 6 struggling amateur clubs with poor facilities, have 2 top rate ones? The world cup team have been dishing out grants which is fantastic; we need to invest in the amateur game. 

Would like to hear some thoughts on this. I don't think its just as simple a case of "union has more money".

There is an argument for having less junior clubs in areas but creating more stronger ones but that may leave areas without any local club.

Maybe it should be done in stages in the heartlands. 

Stage 1-  to work with existing clubs to help them recruit and strengthen (this could also be done in areas such as the NE, London etc. 

Stage 2 - identify areas in towns and cities that already have several RL clubs that may be able to support a junior and possibly open age club then help set up and recruit players, volunteers etc. 

Stage 3 - identify neighbouring towns and cities to set up RL clubs then repeat stage 2

Once the new clubs have been established they then become stage 1. Stage 2 and 3 then just continue with expanding the game

 

 

 

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15 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

On expansion in the heartlands I'll offer an anecdote which in my experience will be true in many cases.

Within the confines of Wakefield (city) we have 3 what most would describe as strong amateur clubs: Stanley, Eastmoor and Crigglestone. We have 1 RU club, Sandal. Do you want to guess which has better facilities/pitches etc?

Take Leeds. Loads of Junior RL clubs, the best facilities however, West Park and Yarnbury RUFCs. 

That isn't a dig at RL at all. We should be proud that our sport doesn't have the snobbish attitudes of some others and works in some really difficult and economically struggling areas. 

My point is more this, would we be better consolidating junior spending? Instead of having 6 struggling amateur clubs with poor facilities, have 2 top rate ones? The world cup team have been dishing out grants which is fantastic; we need to invest in the amateur game. 

Would like to hear some thoughts on this. I don't think its just as simple a case of "union has more money".

I certainly understand your points and agree with the gist of it all but I have great reservations of things like this if it means less clubs, less spots for players and less players. In theory it sounds great but in practice I don't know if it would work as intended.

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49 minutes ago, Damien said:

I certainly understand your points and agree with the gist of it all but I have great reservations of things like this if it means less clubs, less spots for players and less players. In theory it sounds great but in practice I don't know if it would work as intended.

I get that. I suppose I should add stuff like how some amateur RL clubs will have 1 or maybe 2 pitches compared to the RU club having 3/4 or more for example. 

I think with weaker clubs you risk more instability 

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11 hours ago, Smudger06 said:

Fair enough.

My thinking is rather have 50 Clubs fielding 10 teams each than 200 Clubs struggling to field 2 teams each (say an open age and an U16 or open age 2nd team?) If you saturate any given area with Clubs sooner or later you are gonna be stealing each other's players. 

It's only saturated if they are close to each other.

Having these super amateur clubs in say Wigan isn't going to be that good for many from Bury. 

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12 hours ago, JM2010 said:

There is an argument for having less junior clubs in areas but creating more stronger ones but that may leave areas without any local club.

Maybe it should be done in stages in the heartlands. 

Stage 1-  to work with existing clubs to help them recruit and strengthen (this could also be done in areas such as the NE, London etc. 

Stage 2 - identify areas in towns and cities that already have several RL clubs that may be able to support a junior and possibly open age club then help set up and recruit players, volunteers etc. 

Stage 3 - identify neighbouring towns and cities to set up RL clubs then repeat stage 2

Once the new clubs have been established they then become stage 1. Stage 2 and 3 then just continue with expanding the game

 

 

 

There is a clear omission here of having dedicated people doing this work who are adequately remunerated.  IMO, this is the number one requirement.  Dedicated people are hard to come by and when you do get them, they need to be looked after.

 

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31 minutes ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

Melbourne Storm and Toronto Wolfpack have been very successful expansion clubs, they both draw big crowds in non heartland areas.

Expanding to new areas like Melbourne and Toronto is not mutually exclusive with improving the community game in the heartlands. 

Absolutely. If anything it helps. Offering new exciting places to go play the game professionally as opposed to the small town a young lad lives in is part of the magic that gets people to pick up a ball.

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14 hours ago, JM2010 said:

I think it would be a good idea if York and Newcastle worked together especially in the Teeside area. They're both trying to expand their catchment of community clubs and they would overlap working north from York and south from Newcastle

The teeside area is fully within the NERL which we develop and run, we have a full time development officer in the teeside area 

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13 minutes ago, Newcastle Thunder said:

Our area stretches from Alnwick in the North down to Catterick in the South, within this area we have 15 community clubs that run 54 teams and feed into our development programmes 

We would now class the North East as part of the heartlands

Excellent news and well said 👏

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1 hour ago, Lowdesert said:

There is a clear omission here of having dedicated people doing this work who are adequately remunerated.  IMO, this is the number one requirement.  Dedicated people are hard to come by and when you do get them, they need to be looked after.

 

I haven't omitted it. I was just suggesting a strategy which I think would work if these people and finding were in place

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1 hour ago, Newcastle Thunder said:

The teeside area is fully within the NERL which we develop and run, we have a full time development officer in the teeside area 

I think Newcastle Thunder should be the blueprint for any new clubs, especially in new areas. There should be a requirement to help set up and develop new clubs in their local area as part of the application process otherwise I don't think they'll be sustainable long term

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1 hour ago, Newcastle Thunder said:

Our area stretches from Alnwick in the North down to Catterick in the South, within this area we have 15 community clubs that run 54 teams and feed into our development programmes 

We would now class the North East as part of the heartlands

Great work, it’s nice to see the area has been rewarded with the World Cup Opening Ceremony of England v Samoa 

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1 hour ago, Newcastle Thunder said:

Our area stretches from Alnwick in the North down to Catterick in the South, within this area we have 15 community clubs that run 54 teams and feed into our development programmes 

We would now class the North East as part of the heartlands

How many community clubs do you think the North East could accommodate?

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