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Eddie

League One

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League one is a fairly bizarre league, Heartlands clubs fallen on hard times thrown in with some expansion teams who can rarely compete with them (Newcastle excepted). It’s almost as if there should be a separate division for each of those groups, only there aren’t enough teams to do it. 
 

If you could choose, assuming the game can  continue with spectators etc in 2021, would you leave League One as it is or change it?

Edited by Eddie

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How do you change it and make it worth all participants’ worthwhile though? 

There seemed to be a bit of a plan around League One around the early-to-mid 2010’s with the admission of Hemel Stags, Oxford, All Golds and Coventry Bears alongside South Wales (as they were), North Wales, London Skolars and pre-takeover Gateshead Thunder. It looked as though it was going to be a development league and that seemed like a good idea. Like all Rugby League plans, it lasted barely three years, the league expanded, the heartlands teams went down and the disparity between them and the expansion sides was huge on the field and the costs, amongst other things, eventually saw Oxford, Hemel and the All Golds drop out altogether. 

What do you do now? I can’t see the league going back to being a development league. I don’t think there’s going to be many/any sides possibly ready to step up at such short notice who aren’t already planning for League One in 2021. I don’t think it’s right either to force Skolars, West Wales and Coventry into their own makeshift “development” league or force them into the Southern Conference, as I’m sure someone will suggest on here at some point. That’s tantamount to killing them, to me. 

I’m not sure you can do much to League One at such short notice. From 2022, perhaps, you can have the league looking differently, depending on what happens with TV negotiations etc. 

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1 hour ago, Eddie said:

League one is a fairly bizarre league, Heartlands clubs fallen on hard times thrown in with some expansion teams who can rarely compete with them (Newcastle excepted). It’s almost as if there should be a separate division for each of those groups, only there aren’t enough teams to do it. 
 

If you could choose, assuming the game can  continue with spectators etc in 2021, would you leave League One as it is or change it?

To be honest as someone who watches Lg1 games quite a bit I can confirm over the past 3 or 4 years there its been a cracking league to watch.

3 leagues give teams something to play for most of the season and in the case of Newcastle its given them time to develop and grow.

Leave the 3 leagues as they are and hopefully encourage more new teams to enter as teams need more than 10 home games a year.

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32 minutes ago, Mr Frisky said:

To be honest as someone who watches Lg1 games quite a bit I can confirm over the past 3 or 4 years there its been a cracking league to watch.

3 leagues give teams something to play for most of the season and in the case of Newcastle its given them time to develop and grow.

Leave the 3 leagues as they are and hopefully encourage more new teams to enter as teams need more than 10 home games a year.

Yeah agreed 11 teams and only 20 games doesn’t work. Obviously there’s Ottawa to come in and possibly New York (which will make it even stranger - Hunslet v New York) to boost numbers, but it would be good if a team or two from the NCL or Southern Conference fancied it too. 

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11 minutes ago, Eddie said:

Yeah agreed 11 teams and only 20 games doesn’t work. Obviously there’s Ottawa to come in and possibly New York (which will make it even stranger - Hunslet v New York) to boost numbers, but it would be good if a team or two from the NCL or Southern Conference fancied it too. 

If the Dublin (IIRC) side in this Euro XIII’s is to be believed, the “buy in” to League One now is £500,000 so I cannot see any amateur side in the UK going for it. 

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3 minutes ago, Hela Wigmen said:

If the Dublin (IIRC) side in this Euro XIII’s is to be believed, the “buy in” to League One now is £500,000 so I cannot see any amateur side in the UK going for it. 

I would assume that would be a bond asked of overseas clubs only (to cover costs incurred in the event of them withdrawing mid-season) and wouldn't apply to UK clubs entering League 1. I don't expect the RFL would ask Medway Dragons, Nottingham Outlaws, or Valley Cougars for example to stump up £500k to enter League 1 if they wished to, as the costs of participating against them are likely to be much smaller (and thus losses from them withdrawing less devastating) compared to overseas clubs.

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39 minutes ago, Hela Wigmen said:

If the Dublin (IIRC) side in this Euro XIII’s is to be believed, the “buy in” to League One now is £500,000 so I cannot see any amateur side in the UK going for it. 

Is that an actual cost or a deposit? 

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When the division is cut loose with little or no central funding the remnants may be able to form some sort of division with the fallout from the championship. If they had bitten the bullet collectively when the writing was on the wall a couple of years back and formed Eastern and Western conference's then, Covoid apart, more of the non SL clubs may have had a future, alas too many have ideas above their station and refuse to accept the lie of the land then or now so the whole thing's a sh**storm without any redeeming features or many survivor's ongoing.

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3 hours ago, Eddie said:

League one is a fairly bizarre league, Heartlands clubs fallen on hard times thrown in with some expansion teams who can rarely compete with them (Newcastle excepted). It’s almost as if there should be a separate division for each of those groups, only there aren’t enough teams to do it. 
 

If you could choose, assuming the game can  continue with spectators etc in 2021, would you leave League One as it is or change it?

It is and it isn't. Ideally Hemel, Gloucester and Oxford would have survived and thrived and I think it could be argued that clubs outside the heartlands could have more support. It is a bit sink or swim, and while clubs outside the heartlands could be more competitive they are improving. This is especially since the standard of the league has gone up over the last 5 years. 

Coventry have had ups and downs but the team on the pitch has got better year on year. Wins against Newcastle, Workington, Keighley and Hunslet shows the progress. There is plenty of work to do but players and staff will continue to improve as they get more experienced at this level. That takes time. 

I would like to see a better strategy for the league. The current 11 team league is not enough and is damaging. I'd also like to see more support to help build and develop academies across all teams in the league instead of everyone being left to fend for themselves. 

 

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If the new TV deal is significantly less, this time round, I suspect that there will little money or nothing at all, and that will be end of league 1 as we know it.

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Realistically it needs to be 14 teams so that a 26 game home and away format can be adopted. 13 home games gives the league more credibility and makes it easier for clubs to sell sponsorship and hospitality packages. It also serves a useful purpose for allowing new clubs to build their way up, like Coventry, whilst also allowing long established clubs to regroup and get their acts together. I only get to see Thunder highlights via You Tube but have loved what I have seen and there’s been some great games, especially with our Cumbrian rivals and there’s no doubt that League one has been better for Thunder to grow in than the old 2 league system when our reformed team had the joys of getting battered by the likes of promotion chasing Hull KR and Salford. The problem as everyone says is firstly finding the three extra teams to make it a better league (hopefully Ottawa is one, can’t see New York myself, so who else - Nottingham? another French team?), and most importantly getting the financing to make the whole league actually happen.

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5 hours ago, Oldbear said:

Realistically it needs to be 14 teams so that a 26 game home and away format can be adopted. 13 home games gives the league more credibility and makes it easier for clubs to sell sponsorship and hospitality packages. It also serves a useful purpose for allowing new clubs to build their way up, like Coventry, whilst also allowing long established clubs to regroup and get their acts together. I only get to see Thunder highlights via You Tube but have loved what I have seen and there’s been some great games, especially with our Cumbrian rivals and there’s no doubt that League one has been better for Thunder to grow in than the old 2 league system when our reformed team had the joys of getting battered by the likes of promotion chasing Hull KR and Salford. The problem as everyone says is firstly finding the three extra teams to make it a better league (hopefully Ottawa is one, can’t see New York myself, so who else - Nottingham? another French team?), and most importantly getting the financing to make the whole league actually happen.

Depends if the RFL are looking Europe wide for League 1 or not. Before Edinburgh Eagles or Dublin joined that Euro 13s I would have suggested them, probably the most established team with the suitable budget is Red Star Belgrade however another French side is just as likely too. 

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10 minutes ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

Bring in more teams and have a League One South and a League One North is the way to go IMO. Obviously this makes promotion and relegation to the Championship more tricky, but not impossible. 

Its not the worst idea to be honest, one of the biggest costs to sides in Cumbria, wales etc is travel so to have regional leagues would help that. The problem is where do you get the clubs, whats the split point etc. Workington would always be classed as North, but then again so will Doncaster and its a 4 hour journey between them. 

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3 minutes ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

Bring in more teams and have a League One South and a League One North is the way to go IMO. Obviously this makes promotion and relegation to the Championship more tricky, but not impossible. 

I think the expansion clubs in the south only improve by playing the established heartland clubs though. Plus there’s only Coventry and London Skolars (could argue West Wales) who are in the south.

I think expansion teams benefit from playing heartland clubs in small leagues (10-12 teams) 

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It just seems perverse to me that shoestring teams in the third tier have far more travelling than teams in the top two tiers. L1 doesn't seem to serve either its heartland or developing clubs well. 

But as with most things the new TV contract is key. If the distribution drops, I cam see the heartland teams (plus Newcastle) being folded into an expanded Championship and the expansion teams joining the CLS. Which wouldn't be the worst outcome in my view. 

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1 minute ago, Toby Chopra said:

It just seems perverse to me that shoestring teams in the third tier have far more travelling than teams in the top two tiers. L1 doesn't seem to serve either its heartland or developing clubs well. 

But as with most things the new TV contract is key. If the distribution drops, I cam see the heartland teams (plus Newcastle) being folded into an expanded Championship and the expansion teams joining the CLS. Which wouldn't be the worst outcome in my view. 

Where do North Wales Crusaders fit in with that? 

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There are many interesting and positive ideas being thrown around. I sincerely believe, however, that the impact of the Covid 19 crisis is in danger of being ignored. If we still have a fairly serious situation in 2021, which many experts are predicting to be the case, then we could permanently lose a number of current C! and Championship clubs.

Personally I fear for the future of the game at this level.

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Sport, amongst other things, is a dream-world offering escape from harsh reality and the disturbing prospect of change.

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10 minutes ago, Mr Plow said:

I think the expansion clubs in the south only improve by playing the established heartland clubs though. Plus there’s only Coventry and London Skolars (could argue West Wales) who are in the south.

I think expansion teams benefit from playing heartland clubs in small leagues (10-12 teams) 

Exactly this. 

I also can’t imagine there are too many sides from the South who are ready/keen/good enough/financially in a place to join League One. I also can’t imagine that there would be many current clubs keen to further share, what is likely to be a smaller share of the central funding pot once/if the TV money drops, which seems likely. Unless you effectively relegate the three “southern” clubs from League One to play in an amateur league, which would be a terrible move, IMO. 

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3 minutes ago, Toby Chopra said:

It just seems perverse to me that shoestring teams in the third tier have far more travelling than teams in the top two tiers. L1 doesn't seem to serve either its heartland or developing clubs well. 

But as with most things the new TV contract is key. If the distribution drops, I cam see the heartland teams (plus Newcastle) being folded into an expanded Championship and the expansion teams joining the CLS. Which wouldn't be the worst outcome in my view. 

It would be a terrible outcome. 

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I spoke to one of those heavily involved at Oxford after they went. He said one main driver for the decision to disband was that he believed League One would be cut adrift in about five years. A decision was made not to accept further losses as they wouldn't have long to make those losses up if the club picked up.

Sadly I fear the next TV deal will cause real problems at this level. I hope I am wrong. That's assuming the club's can survive Covid of course. It looks horribly like a perfect storm.

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44 minutes ago, Mr Plow said:

I think the expansion clubs in the south only improve by playing the established heartland clubs though. Plus there’s only Coventry and London Skolars (could argue West Wales) who are in the south.

I think expansion teams benefit from playing heartland clubs in small leagues (10-12 teams) 

Skolars, Coventry and West Wales would obviously be in. Hemel, Oxford and Gloucestershire may be able to rejoin and compete in a League One South competition. I’d also like to see a 2nd team in South Wales. Nottingham has a strong grassroots scene, they may be able to host a League One South side, as is the case with  London, so many amateur sides in London they should be able to sustain a few sides at that level. Throw it open to bids. 

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33 minutes ago, Hela Wigmen said:

It would be a terrible outcome. 

Why? Teams aren't getting anywhere stuck in a failing L1. IF we start with an assumption that financial support for L1 will fall after 2021 then we need a more realistic structure for the sport.

Most of the historic heartland teams like Keighley, Workington etc would benefit financially from being back with their semi-pro peers, while the developing teams need a competition more suited to their development goals. 

Sticking our fingers in our ears and pretending change isn't happening isn't viable. Sometimes you have to make difficult short term decisions for the longer term benefit. 

Obviously if the TV contract goes up we can do something much more ambitious, but that seems an unlikely scenario at the moment. 

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47 minutes ago, Blind side johnny said:

There are many interesting and positive ideas being thrown around. I sincerely believe, however, that the impact of the Covid 19 crisis is in danger of being ignored. If we still have a fairly serious situation in 2021, which many experts are predicting to be the case, then we could permanently lose a number of current C! and Championship clubs.

Personally I fear for the future of the game at this level.

I agree sadly 

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14 hours ago, Eddie said:

League one is a fairly bizarre league, Heartlands clubs fallen on hard times thrown in with some expansion teams who can rarely compete with them (Newcastle excepted). It’s almost as if there should be a separate division for each of those groups, only there aren’t enough teams to do it. 
 

If you could choose, assuming the game can  continue with spectators etc in 2021, would you leave League One as it is or change it?

The same could be said about the top 7 or so teams in the Championship in that they are far better than the rest of the division. 

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