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A London Strategy


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1 hour ago, DoubleD said:

Am I right in thinking there's a London RL Foundation? Foundations are the best place to start things. SkyTry has been a great initiative, helping to drive participation, with the Foundations being at the forefront of leading this development in areas and directing participants from schools to clubs. Foundations are key because they are independent, have charitable status and thus can seek funds from all sorts of areas - businesses etc. 

This should be at the forefront of any strategy to developing the game.............it has been for the Thunder

Yes you're right: https://www.londonrugbyleaguefoundation.org/about_us/about

I'm going to contact them and see whether there is an overarching strategy and how things link.

 

I'm editing this because I've just looked at their Twitter account and the last post is Nov 2018 (!) Ditto Facebook so despite an impressive list of trustees I'm not sure whether its an active organisation. No 2019 accounts either and an interesting mission: To deliver education, physical activity & achieve social cohesion through sport & dance.

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6 minutes ago, EssexRL said:

Yes you're right: https://www.londonrugbyleaguefoundation.org/about_us/about

I'm going to contact them and see whether there is an overarching strategy and how things link.

Essex,  News Corp spent $75 million ( AUS ) over 15 years to create Melbourne Storm and that sort of money doesn`t grow on trees.

But you would have to think that everything that can be done to develop and organise the game from a bottom up approach would only make it more attractive to a prospective investor. It seems to me that there is a fair bit to work with in London and the south of England. And with investors spending money in Ottawa, Toronto and Catalans it would seem that London is a very logical extension of that. Especially if they can see something on the ground.

I keep on coming back to what BedfordeShire Bronco said , a period of sustained success would do wonders for that club.

Good luck.

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9 minutes ago, The Rocket said:

But you would have to think that everything that can be done to develop and organise the game from a bottom up approach would only make it more attractive to a prospective investor. It seems to me that there is a fair bit to work with in London and the south of England. And with investors spending money in Ottawa, Toronto and Catalans it would seem that London is a very logical extension of that. Especially if they can see something on the ground.

Skolar's directors tried last year to find external investors (and they have excellent City contacts) and weren't successful so not sure its that easy for a sport with such a low profile down here. In saying that it's not an 'either/or' approach. 

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Lots of great ideas so far on this thread, as well as the usual fantasy stuff. 
 

It might be good to do more of what Skolars have already done and host internationals between emerging countries with sizeable communities in London, to try to introduce them to game. Sadly as so many have said though, without money it will all be really difficult. 

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11 minutes ago, Bedfordshire Bronco said:

Investment is key and I'd put a purpose built London RL ground as the must have. Broncos and Skolars share it

Money for players and success a la the Storm

If we had say 5 years of making finals etc I think we'd get back up to 5000 plus

It could be that a completely new strategy, ground first, may actually be the answer.  

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2 hours ago, Bedfordshire Bronco said:

Investment is key and I'd put a purpose built London RL ground as the must have. Broncos and Skolars share it

Money for players and success a la the Storm

If we had say 5 years of making finals etc I think we'd get back up to 5000 plus

How big a capacity would you want it to have?

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15 hours ago, Bedfordshire Bronco said:

Investment is key and I'd put a purpose built London RL ground as the must have. Broncos and Skolars share it

Money for players and success a la the Storm

If we had say 5 years of making finals etc I think we'd get back up to 5000 plus

This would seem to be an appropriate long term aspiration (although personally I’d rather see clubs from different parts of London with their own decent grounds competing against each other). There are a lot of steps to be taken from here to there though.

What immediate things could realistically happen to help the game down here?

Is there appetite to bring fans together in London  to see what might be done to raise RL’s profile, support the games grass roots and Community presence, for example? 

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I would definitely think there could be work done with an "exiles" team of Aussie expats in London. Similar to the RUs London Welsh etc having London New South Wales or London Queensland could bring a few together. Try tag rugby linked the RFL has a big presence in London, hopefully X-league will too however that's maybe what most are interested in a non-contact form. 

Full contact wise, people say distance and congestion could be a problem, Yorkshire mens league division 5 has teams from Mansfield and Sheffield to the heartlands, although a different type of travel as in shorter distance but more congestion I don't think there are the number of teams yet to justify having N, S, E, W London leagues. The professional clubs need to keep working with the community clubs and schools and as the numbers get bigger, retention is always the next step. 

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4 minutes ago, HarrogateKnights said:

I would definitely think there could be work done with an "exiles" team of Aussie expats in London. Similar to the RUs London Welsh etc having London New South Wales or London Queensland could bring a few together.

I may be wrong but West Warriors appears to be mostly Kiwi and Ozzie League expats iirc. I agree though an expansion on that could help

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13 minutes ago, HarrogateKnights said:

I would definitely think there could be work done with an "exiles" team of Aussie expats in London. Similar to the RUs London Welsh etc having London New South Wales or London Queensland could bring a few together. Try tag rugby linked the RFL has a big presence in London, hopefully X-league will too however that's maybe what most are interested in a non-contact form. 

Full contact wise, people say distance and congestion could be a problem, Yorkshire mens league division 5 has teams from Mansfield and Sheffield to the heartlands, although a different type of travel as in shorter distance but more congestion I don't think there are the number of teams yet to justify having N, S, E, W London leagues. The professional clubs need to keep working with the community clubs and schools and as the numbers get bigger, retention is always the next step. 

I would also like to add as someone who is experiencing it now. Also have a roadmap and clear goals set out of what you are aiming for and what is achievement too is not always what people want to hear. I would rather have 5-10 club players that play for my team for 10-20 years than 1 player going on to playing professionally. Rugby league people seem to be negative by nature however more rugby league played at a community level for me is better than panicking boardrooms at a pro level. 

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4 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

I may be wrong but West Warriors appears to be mostly Kiwi and Ozzie League expats iirc. I agree though an expansion on that could help

Ah right fair one, I didn't know that. It be good to be branded so people can latch on to the identity even London ANSAC would work. 

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5 minutes ago, HarrogateKnights said:

Ah right fair one, I didn't know that. It be good to be branded so people can latch on to the identity even London ANSAC would work. 

Yeah I guess so. I'm not sure whether they were founded explicitly as an expat side or that is an unrelated development.

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Unless immigration rules have changed again, there are problems for Aussies etc. living and working in London signing for a semi pro side. This change certainly hindered Skolars.

There's usually a few players in amateur RL in London who could play League One but would be on breach of their immigration status if they did - unless the  rules have changed. Given the government focus on immigration I suspect they won't have.

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41 minutes ago, Ivarr the Boneless said:

Unless immigration rules have changed again, there are problems for Aussies etc. living and working in London signing for a semi pro side. This change certainly hindered Skolars.

There's usually a few players in amateur RL in London who could play League One but would be on breach of their immigration status if they did - unless the  rules have changed. Given the government focus on immigration I suspect they won't have.

I think the main focus should be on building a strong community game rather than more professional clubs. Strong community clubs can struggle making the step up to professional and the focus then switches to having an instantly competitive team and surviving rather than development and local players can be pushed out. 

London needs more community clubs and schools playing the game. There is already the Broncos and Skolars in London and id like to see them take an approach similar to Newcastle Thunder

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22 hours ago, ATLANTISMAN said:

WONDERFUL STUFF ROCKET 

BTW have you ever met him when he was coaching Barrow back in 1989/90 I met him and invited him to come to Perpignan with myself and my late parents to watch the France v GB Test match (The last time France won a series on points difference in the return match at Leeds) anyway he accepted and we had a great time over 4/5 days.

This was also the weekend that I met Jacques Jorda (Ex French national coach) and his wife Sylvia who have remained a family friends now for over 30 years.

 

Paul

I did meet him and I have to admit I was a bit star struck. I had a little A4 size picture of him striding out, on my bedroom wall when I was about 12, right next to an Eagles ( Don Henley, Glen Frey variety) poster.

I bet you the Rocket when he was 12, if you told him that one day he would be spending holidays in France the guest of an English family,  he would of wondered what the hell are you talking about. Not bad for a kid from the `Gong. My fondest memories of the Rocket is that could never put him down, standing in tackles, and whenever he got the ball something was going to happen. Cheers.

P.S. I really meant what I said about the depth of analysis on this Forum, Often you have a opinion on something and the subsequent discussion on the various topics can be very enlightening and informative.

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2 hours ago, Tommygilf said:

I may be wrong but West Warriors appears to be mostly Kiwi and Ozzie League expats iirc. I agree though an expansion on that could help

Indeed they are - when they played at New River in a CC game against Pilkerton a few years ago they bought an impressive following (probably more fans than we have!) People have commented though that expats aren't that interested in the English game though but I'm not sure how much that's been tested. I have a friend whose partner is from Australia and she always likes it when she comes along to see Skolars and "proper footy".

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I might be slightly biased in my opinion, as I have lived more than half my life in London & the South-East, and I have seen Fulham/Crusaders/Broncos/Quins RL perform at every ground they call "Home", however temporary, including Kingstonians. London Skolars are also an important bechmark for the leap between community League in London and Full time professional league. We need them both, we needed Hemel too, but Red Hall couldn't see that.

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It’s really so very difficult without major funding. I’ve been around the fringes of the junior, amateur, semi pro & pro side in London over the last 6 years and there are just so many different issues that will take massive and serious long term investment if London is to actually sustain and really grow. 

Juniors seem to be made up of union lads playing in off season with teams managed/coached by keen volunteers and the kids parents. team numbers just about enough week in week out, but sometimes teams have to borrow players to make up the numbers. The really good kids get picked up by the pro union teams, the good kids get picked up by Broncos scholarship/academy and the vast majority of the kids who play for fun return to union as they get into adult age range and can only really play 1 code along with work/college/uni commitments. As the kids move on the turnover of parental volunteers changes so little continuity in the clubs apart from a few very keen and hardworking  people. Most junior teams play out of parks/schools/union club grounds (Elmbridge/Hemel being few exceptions i’m aware of.) Contrast this to the vast multitude of union club in each part of London & all with their own grounds & clubhouses & many with brand new RFU 5g artificial pitches & RFU funded coaches, multiple teams through each age group. All have income coming in from the clubhouse/pitch hire/venue hire & get sponsorship from lots of local small businesses.

Amateur open age is dominated by the Aussie/Kiwi expats and their games can be really good quality matches. Some very good players who would definitely get into Skolars and help raise the quality & profile if the visa regulations would allow it. West Warriors/Hammersmith Hill Hoists/London Chargers seem to be pretty well established, but are funded in the main by the players subs themselves hiring pitches and using pubs etc for after games so no real income streams coming in to move things forward. Very good family/tribe feel about the clubs means that they seem to have a steady influx of players as visas run out and players return home.

Skolars had been starting to regularly compete against the northern teams - they may be near the bottom of the table but the games were starting to be a lot closer. New river is a good stable base and their recent bar addition gives them some much needed income, but unsure how they will afford to stay there if league 1 funding changes with new sky tv deal allocations to lower leagues. They had a development person who worked in primary schools and the primary school festivals were attended well, but not convinced many of the kids would then play league outside of their school mini competition. Skolars don’t seem to have as many mini/junior sides as they used to (just my observation - i may be wrong, but seem to be missing in certain age group competitions). First team Recruitment is difficult and over last few years the better players seem to be getting older & i’m not really seeing the new younger ones coming through - for some reason a lot of the lads that get released by Broncos seem to go to Coventry over Skolars which is strange - i understand some are midlands based, but a noticeable number are London based & prefer to go to Coventry. Change of directors/ceo/chairman this year make me wonder if departing ones know/worry more about rfl funding plans than has been made public. 5 years ago i thought Skolars we’re improving and things looked positive, but now as a genuine Skolars fan i’m actually concerned about their long term future and financial sustainability (This is not necessarily due to just Skolars themselves, but the whole prospects for lower league and the rfl.)

David Hughes deserves a knighthood for his services to rugby league in London. The guy must have lost a fortune over the years, but has kept the club running and the scholarship and academy system has produced results. Some young players that dont make the grade go to Skolars/Coventry, but the majority seem to stop completely after being released or go to union nat1/2/local teams which is a crying shame after the money that has been invested developing them. That said he quite clearly is reducing his financial commitments - the size and quality of the squad (& spend) has gone down and continues to. I actually think London punch above their weight over the last few years. London’s back room staff is small and do not have funds to sufficiently promote to make any noticeable difference. They again have someone delivering in primary schools, but it’s 1 person in a handful of primary schools., The recent pitshanger youth team start up is promising. Trailfinders is about the right size for where the club is now, but must cost a fortune to rent (it’s in London lol) and i don’t think Broncos get any bar takings. Talking of a new London  owned RL stadium is unrealistic and just not going to happen - basic 3 bedroom houses round here can be a million.pounds! Unless a new owner magically appears (or licensing introduced) who has a bottomless pit to burn I can see Broncos staying as a decent top level championship team - possibly moving to part time.

I really am not trying to put a negative spin on things, I’m hoping things get better across all London RL.

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8 hours ago, EssexRL said:

Indeed they are - when they played at New River in a CC game against Pilkerton a few years ago they bought an impressive following (probably more fans than we have!) People have commented though that expats aren't that interested in the English game though but I'm not sure how much that's been tested. I have a friend whose partner is from Australia and she always likes it when she comes along to see Skolars and "proper footy".

Who on earth are Pilkerton?

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Building from the top down, e.g building a ground, would be a hideous waste of money in London. The millions required, even with buy in from another sports team, a local council, grants or whoever, to build a stadium would be better spent elsewhere to build London Rugby League as a whole. 

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