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'Expansion' of the heartlands


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4 hours ago, Damien said:

I remember my couple of seasons playing RU after moving from the heartlands. I cant say I enjoyed the game much but can certainly relate to the posts about it being more welcoming especially when playing away matches. I remember my first couple of away matches and my opposite inside centre came up to me in the clubhouse afterwards and made a big point of buying me a drink and going out of his way to chat to me. I probably came across as a right grumpy sod because I found it that strange. After a few games I realised it was the norm but it just felt completely alien to me and I never came across that in RL. Rugby League is generally pretty ruthless from an early age and a win at all costs mentality, I never got that feeling in RU.

Saying you may have heard:    Union is for the players, League is for the spectators."

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On 22/07/2020 at 18:38, Eddie said:

Where you say the game should look at, who do you mean by ‘the game’?

I agree with you sentiment but the RFL clearly don’t have a pot to ###### in, or a strategy, so it’s not going to be them who do it. What’s needed is people with time and money to do this, and they are thin on the ground. 
 

Its definitely a quirk of Northern England where RL can be the biggest sport in one town yet 6 miles up the road in another town nobody plays the game or gives a toss. 

The reason for the quirk is the town 6 miles up the road will have a rugby union club. When we split with the RFU a lot of Northern clubs were willing to come along, but many reverted to the RFU as their players started demanding broken time. Also many Northern clubs didn't tag along they stayed put with the RFU.

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30 minutes ago, Padge said:

The reason for the quirk is the town 6 miles up the road will have a rugby union club. When we split with the RFU a lot of Northern clubs were willing to come along, but many reverted to the RFU as their players started demanding broken time. Also many Northern clubs didn't tag along they stayed put with the RFU.

In some cases yes, but if you look at say Huyton, 5 miles from St Helens, it’s hardly a Union hotbed, nor are Bolton, Horwich etc. 

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3 minutes ago, Eddie said:

In some cases yes, but if you look at say Huyton, 5 miles from St Helens, it’s hardly a Union hotbed. 

But you do have Prescot RU club just up the road.

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Radio 5 Live: Saturday 14 April 2007

Dave Whelan "In Wigan rugby will always be king"

 

This country's wealth was created by men in overalls, it was destroyed by men in suits.

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On 22/07/2020 at 19:35, 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

I agree and think this should have always been the original expansion strategy.

I think places like York and Sheffield, on the fringes geographically, are key to this.  Areas like this should have been targeted years ago. Once a good foothold has been established in Sheffield (which has not yet been done yet) you could then aim to achieve the same down in the midlands. 

I like what's been going on in and around Newcastle over the last 5 years with some good steady growth, coupled with an improved (and rebranded) Newcastle Thunder.  The co-ordination between the club and the community clubs seems clear for all to see, even for an outsider like myself.  I truly believe that at the rate they're going, in 10-15 years the Newcastle will be considered 'heartland territory' as well.

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3 minutes ago, Eddie said:

They’re not taking any fans from Huyton. 

I don't follow your line of argument here, Huyton had a club, they were rubbish, skint and folded. No interest as if you want RL you have Saints just down the road. 

 

Visit my photography site www.padge.smugmug.com

Radio 5 Live: Saturday 14 April 2007

Dave Whelan "In Wigan rugby will always be king"

 

This country's wealth was created by men in overalls, it was destroyed by men in suits.

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39 minutes ago, Padge said:

I don't follow your line of argument here, Huyton had a club, they were rubbish, skint and folded. No interest as if you want RL you have Saints just down the road. 

 

They just don’t want RL, it’s nowt to do with Saints being nearby. 

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3 minutes ago, Eddie said:

They just don’t want RL, it’s nowt to do with Saints being nearby. 

I still don't get your argument.

If in 1895 the FA had split into the PFA (professional Football Association) and the AFA (amatuer Football Association) there would be an argument going now in soccer circles about why the PFA don't have clubs in AFA ares/towns/cities.

If soccer had split in the same way rugby did soccer would have the same problem.

Visit my photography site www.padge.smugmug.com

Radio 5 Live: Saturday 14 April 2007

Dave Whelan "In Wigan rugby will always be king"

 

This country's wealth was created by men in overalls, it was destroyed by men in suits.

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20 minutes ago, Padge said:

I still don't get your argument.

If in 1895 the FA had split into the PFA (professional Football Association) and the AFA (amatuer Football Association) there would be an argument going now in soccer circles about why the PFA don't have clubs in AFA ares/towns/cities.

If soccer had split in the same way rugby did soccer would have the same problem.

There are Union teams in the vast majority of, if not all towns with a league team though, so that can’t be the only reason. 

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Just now, Eddie said:

There are Union teams in the vast majority of, if not all towns with a league team though, so that can’t be the only reason. 

 

Let me try again, in the North some but not all Union teams switched to RL, some then switched back. So in the North you have a mix  of places with Soccer strong RL strong and Union strong, the areas tend to stick to what they know.

In the South there was in effect no Union split though some clubs, very few, gave it a go. So in the South you have Union areas and Soccer areas.

It all boils down to the split and how it came about. Bolton is predominantly a soccer town and their rugby club remained union, Preston a soccer town, their rugby club remained union.

Its a miracle that RL has survived in towns like Wigan, St.Helens, Warrington, Leigh, Salford  and Widnes with the massive soccer clubs they are surrounded by, and I would include Preston and Bolton as they were both massive clubs in the fifties.

If it's so easy to go and set up an RL club in these places then go on get on with it and that let us all know the secret of your success or more probably failure.

 

Visit my photography site www.padge.smugmug.com

Radio 5 Live: Saturday 14 April 2007

Dave Whelan "In Wigan rugby will always be king"

 

This country's wealth was created by men in overalls, it was destroyed by men in suits.

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2 minutes ago, Eddie said:

There are Union teams in the vast majority of, if not all towns with a league team though, so that can’t be the only reason. 

Half of those from a line to pre 1895 a lot are later additions often spawning off Grammar schools old boys clubs/networks. The two (now one) Wakefield RU clubs are an example of this. Even Hull KR played Union for a while after the split, the Hull RU club (now Hull Ionians) may have been an off shoot of them. Its no surprise that most of the Leeds based RU clubs are in the affluent northern suburbs nearer the grammar schools.

I don't think its the only reason. Though, as I put in another thread, the legacies of 1895 stunted rugby's growth. 

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2 minutes ago, Padge said:

 

Let me try again, in the North some but not all Union teams switched to RL, some then switched back. So in the North you have a mix  of places with Soccer strong RL strong and Union strong, the areas tend to stick to what they know.

In the South there was in effect no Union split though some clubs, very few, gave it a go. So in the South you have Union areas and Soccer areas.

It all boils down to the split and how it came about. Bolton is predominantly a soccer town and their rugby club remained union, Preston a soccer town, their rugby club remained union.

Its a miracle that RL has survived in towns like Wigan, St.Helens, Warrington, Leigh, Salford  and Widnes with the massive soccer clubs they are surrounded by, and I would include Preston and Bolton as they were both massive clubs in the fifties.

If it's so easy to go and set up an RL club in these places then go on get on with it and that let us all know the secret of your success or more probably failure.

 

I agree with most of that but you lost me on your last paragraph, when on earth have I said it’s easy to set a RL club up anywhere? 

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2 hours ago, Eddie said:

In some cases yes, but if you look at say Huyton, 5 miles from St Helens, it’s hardly a Union hotbed, nor are Bolton, Horwich etc. 

 

6 minutes ago, Eddie said:

I agree with most of that but you lost me on your last paragraph, when on earth have I said it’s easy to set a RL club up anywhere? 

The implications of the first is that your second quoted post is what you are on about.

Places either have no history of RL, do have but are swamped by soccer nearby you seem to be implying that there are empty zonse that we could easily go in and fill.

 

Visit my photography site www.padge.smugmug.com

Radio 5 Live: Saturday 14 April 2007

Dave Whelan "In Wigan rugby will always be king"

 

This country's wealth was created by men in overalls, it was destroyed by men in suits.

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56 minutes ago, Padge said:

 

The implications of the first is that your second quoted post is what you are on about.

Places either have no history of RL, do have but are swamped by soccer nearby you seem to be implying that there are empty zonse that we could easily go in and fill.

 

I’m not implying anything if the sort 😂

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2 hours ago, Eddie said:

They just don’t want RL, it’s nowt to do with Saints being nearby. 

There are Saints and Widnes, both a stone's throw away. 

How do you know that Huyton folk don't make up a significant slice of their fanbases? 

Huyton seems to be similar positioned to Pontefract, I can state that about 20% of Featherstones fanbase and 5% of Castlefords fanbase are from Pontefract. Give or take. 

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49 minutes ago, Eddie said:

I’m not implying anything if the sort 😂

Well maybe you should word things more carefully. 😛

Visit my photography site www.padge.smugmug.com

Radio 5 Live: Saturday 14 April 2007

Dave Whelan "In Wigan rugby will always be king"

 

This country's wealth was created by men in overalls, it was destroyed by men in suits.

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I love the idea of expansion in RL, but the north will always give it there best, but to be a truly national sport we need to  get into the South and have a strong foothold, no idea how to do it, but I think it is key for our great game..

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19 hours ago, Smudger06 said:

There are Saints and Widnes, both a stone's throw away. 

How do you know that Huyton folk don't make up a significant slice of their fanbases? 

Huyton seems to be similar positioned to Pontefract, I can state that about 20% of Featherstones fanbase and 5% of Castlefords fanbase are from Pontefract. Give or take. 

Maybe, as I'm not sure if you know Huyton but as a lad born and bred in Huyton I don't know of any interest in RL, even though Widnes ground is so close...  less than 10mins in car from where I lived - Other side of Huyton Saints is closer and again less 10mins in car.  

Unlike when I was a lad Huyton is seemingly just a part of Liverpool now. Near all and sundry follow soccer.  Nobody ever asks who do you support Saints or Widnes... only question is whom do you support Liverpool or Everton.  I mean Liverpool city centre is only 6, 7 or 8 miles away depending on start point... by city centre I mean the actual main city shopping area & Albert docks etc..

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On 26/07/2020 at 17:21, langpark said:

I agree and think this should have always been the original expansion strategy.

I think places like York and Sheffield, on the fringes geographically, are key to this.  Areas like this should have been targeted years ago. Once a good foothold has been established in Sheffield (which has not yet been done yet) you could then aim to achieve the same down in the midlands. 

I like what's been going on in and around Newcastle over the last 5 years with some good steady growth, coupled with an improved (and rebranded) Newcastle Thunder.  The co-ordination between the club and the community clubs seems clear for all to see, even for an outsider like myself.  I truly believe that at the rate they're going, in 10-15 years the Newcastle will be considered 'heartland territory' as well.

Can only comment from the York point of view but the work York City Knights foundation do is great. Very similar to Thunder in establishing community links with schools and colleges etc. I have recently setup a club in Harrogate and piggybacking with them has allowed me to get into schools and colleges where we can deliver Rugby League programmes to 11-18 year olds and primary Rugby League. With the 11-18 year old bracket we have a captive audience of approx 2,000 kids and young adults both boys and girls that we can deliver Rugby League programmes too across 4 sites in Harrogate. On the back of this we are able to then look at our Elite player development alongside York Knights picking players for further coaching sessions with them as part of their player pathway. 

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1 hour ago, HarrogateKnights said:

Can only comment from the York point of view but the work York City Knights foundation do is great. Very similar to Thunder in establishing community links with schools and colleges etc. I have recently setup a club in Harrogate and piggybacking with them has allowed me to get into schools and colleges where we can deliver Rugby League programmes to 11-18 year olds and primary Rugby League. With the 11-18 year old bracket we have a captive audience of approx 2,000 kids and young adults both boys and girls that we can deliver Rugby League programmes too across 4 sites in Harrogate. On the back of this we are able to then look at our Elite player development alongside York Knights picking players for further coaching sessions with them as part of their player pathway. 

    Thats the right way to go about it.The game needs more youngsters playing and if they are not OVER coached the ones who enjoy playing will keep playing and training.

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3 hours ago, HarrogateKnights said:

Can only comment from the York point of view but the work York City Knights foundation do is great. Very similar to Thunder in establishing community links with schools and colleges etc. I have recently setup a club in Harrogate and piggybacking with them has allowed me to get into schools and colleges where we can deliver Rugby League programmes to 11-18 year olds and primary Rugby League. With the 11-18 year old bracket we have a captive audience of approx 2,000 kids and young adults both boys and girls that we can deliver Rugby League programmes too across 4 sites in Harrogate. On the back of this we are able to then look at our Elite player development alongside York Knights picking players for further coaching sessions with them as part of their player pathway. 

Great to hear about the Knights!  I have been keenly following the Fire Ants on social media, massive well done to you and your crew, it looks like you've made a promising start!

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8 minutes ago, langpark said:

Great to hear about the Knights!  I have been keenly following the Fire Ants on social media, massive well done to you and your crew, it looks like you've made a promising start!

Thanks alot, we have put alot of work into the off field stuff with 4 months focusing on structures and social media which has led onto other projects. We have the first fitness session for our open age teams tonight which will be great to get the players together. With the next priority being juniors. 

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On 26/07/2020 at 12:33, jroyales said:

Looking at the amateur game, many cubs had two and some had three teams, now some struggle to field one side! The major cause I feel is summer rugby. Players in summer have too many other things to do but during winter there are fewer distractions. Another causal factor in the reduction of players is the demise of RL in the schools for whatever reason.

If you look at other sports, you will see reduced participation at adult (male) level.  They have stayed in their traditional seasons.  The sports doing big increases are getting them from kids and womens, or more casual participation (park run for example).  Not saying the move had zero effect, but I don't think its as important as other factors (such as schools).  

With the best, thats a good bit of PR, though I would say the Bedford team, theres, like, you know, 13 blokes who can get together at the weekend to have a game together, which doesnt point to expansion of the game. Point, yeah go on!

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