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Your teams ambitions and would it affect your support


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I got thinking about this when I posted a reply on the Broncos ground thread, so I’m opening it up a bit.

If your club was in the Championship and you had a good set up, won the majority of games, produced local youngsters and were stable, would you be happy with that as your future, accepting that each year your best talent is picked off by SL. Or would you lose interest, maybe not attend so often, feeling let down by the apparent lack of ambition, even though you know in your own heart that to go for broke and the top level, could literally mean that. In other words a club like Batley seems to have accepted its lot, but is unlikely to run into financial issues, would that suffice for you if it meant your club would be there every week, or is it no ambition, no support?

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I think that's a hard question to answer if you haven't experienced your team in that position. I've always said for me that if Hull FC were to go out of business I'd just become a regular at my amateur teams because I am first and foremost a rugby league fan so I suppose what I'm saying is if Hull were in a Batley like situation then my support would not fall away, I would keep going to every game because I am going to watch a game of rugby league, not going just to see success, hence why I would become a regular at my amateur teams, because it is a game of rugby league and that's all that matters. 

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36 minutes ago, The Hallucinating Goose said:

I think that's a hard question to answer if you haven't experienced your team in that position. I've always said for me that if Hull FC were to go out of business I'd just become a regular at my amateur teams because I am first and foremost a rugby league fan so I suppose what I'm saying is if Hull were in a Batley like situation then my support would not fall away, I would keep going to every game because I am going to watch a game of rugby league, not going just to see success, hence why I would become a regular at my amateur teams, because it is a game of rugby league and that's all that matters. 

So why not go to HKR ?

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36 minutes ago, The Hallucinating Goose said:

I think that's a hard question to answer if you haven't experienced your team in that position. I've always said for me that if Hull FC were to go out of business I'd just become a regular at my amateur teams because I am first and foremost a rugby league fan so I suppose what I'm saying is if Hull were in a Batley like situation then my support would not fall away, I would keep going to every game because I am going to watch a game of rugby league, not going just to see success, hence why I would become a regular at my amateur teams, because it is a game of rugby league and that's all that matters. 

Just about sums it up for me as well. 👍

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As said above, difficult question  , I believe all clubs at what ever level have ambition , personally I feel achievement is secondary to belief and entertainment , my club ( York ) fulfill those requirements .

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I tried to answer my own question (of course assuming I was back in the UK), but the reality is I’m the worst person to try to, given that in my RL supporting life I have had the unpleasant experience of seeing London almost go under (Roy and Barbara Close, then Paul Faires both keeping things alive for a while), Carlisle disappear, Gateshead disappear, then reincarnating itself in different versions. Experience like that just makes you thankful there’s a game to watch, now in Western Canada, there isn’t, except for TV and You Tube.

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What got me thinking about all this, and starting the thread, was the whole London Broncos ground situation. If Broncos, going forward were never more than a very competitive Championship team, finishing in the top 4 every year, but never making the big investment to put them up into SL, what would they average crowd wise? If they did go for broke, what would they pull in for SL? Well I guess that question depends upon how well they did on promotion, but the reality is that promoted teams will struggle, primarily because they need to strengthen and have to pick up the cast offs. Therefore a London team at the bottom of SL could find itself with extra ground rental costs (Trailfinders is not getting back into SL), extra player wages, but not enough extra revenue from games to offset those costs, because it’s difficult to attract new fans or lapsed fans to a team getting battered every week, hence do you rein in the ambition, and if so does your core of fans stay with you?

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It would certainly deeply sadden and upset me to see Saints regress to that level, having been lucky and grown up in the 90’s/00’s, a period of huge success for the club, it’s a bit hard to imagine. That said, I’ve not been in it for the trophies, as an adult now, I look back on the days of being lifted over the turnstile at Knowsley Road, being plonked on the wall to watch a game and then latterly standing with my Dad and Grandad, swigging from my Grandad’s beer when he wasn’t looking to now going with just my Dad as bonding events and great memories and the Rugby League is secondary and the subsequent success a nice by product of attending. 

I support a football club that has flitted between the fifth and sixth tiers of English football for the past twenty plus years, so it wouldn’t change how I felt about Saints. It would almost certainly change the way I supported them, though. With all but about eight Championship games televised and with me not living in St Helens anymore, I wouldn’t have the luxury of watching games on Sky. That said, the majority of the Championship games are Sunday’s so I’d most likely attend a lot more games. 

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13 minutes ago, GUBRATS said:

It's just a game of RL 

Yeah but someone might see me and then I would have to kill myself and all my family because I would have brought shame on all the geese. 

While I go to RL to watch RL doesn't mean I can't be loyal to a certain team. Like most people, I started going down my local team because I wanted to watch RL and it was the quickest and easiest place to get to, makes sense, and then after years of going to the same place it becomes such a part of your identity that every little bit of its culture and meaning matters, such as hating the enemy across the river. Its only like going to the same supermarket all the time or the same pub, you are going to those places to utilise their services but you particularly like the services they offer so you keep returning. You go to the pub to get a drink but you keep going to the same pub because you like everything else that surrounds getting that drink. I go to Hull FC to watch a game of RL but I particularly like the way that game of RL is offered to me there and so I keep returning. Ultimately though I am going to watch a game of RL and I can get that at West Hull or Beverley as well. Sure, there is a game of RL offered East of the river but the brand of RL I have grown up with which I return to because I love has told me to hate the game offered over that side, that is part of my RL identity and that identity is a very big part of me. 

...and I have dignity. 

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On 23/01/2021 at 20:37, Oldbear said:

I got thinking about this when I posted a reply on the Broncos ground thread, so I’m opening it up a bit.

If your club was in the Championship and you had a good set up, won the majority of games, produced local youngsters and were stable, would you be happy with that as your future, accepting that each year your best talent is picked off by SL. Or would you lose interest, maybe not attend so often, feeling let down by the apparent lack of ambition, even though you know in your own heart that to go for broke and the top level, could literally mean that. In other words a club like Batley seems to have accepted its lot, but is unlikely to run into financial issues, would that suffice for you if it meant your club would be there every week, or is it no ambition, no support?

It would depend on the situation I think I would be disappointed if my club had the opportunity but did not want to take it rather than been in a situation where they couldn’t be promoted such as licensing.

 

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21 hours ago, The Hallucinating Goose said:

Because I have at least a little bit of self respect. 

I'd switch to Skolars if it happened to us

Not really comparable though as I go to a few of thier games anyway and generally wish them well

Would love them to kick on create a proper rivalry with us.... Would love to hate Skolars 😁

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27 minutes ago, Bedfordshire Bronco said:

Come on... Genuine question would you? 

Not saying you'd be chanting about Robins bobbing but you'd go right? 

No, I really would not go. It's a horrible place to get to, 2 buses from where I live, about an hour travel time at least and that's if the traffic isn't too bad around Mount Pleasant and Holderness Road, an absolute hole when you get there, located deep in the heart of mordor and a lifetime of supporting Hull FC means I hate that lot over there. You can't undo a lifetime of hate. We are talking about one of the most powerful sporting rivalries on this planet. I would go to West Hull which isn't too far from KCOM or Beverley when I'm visiting my mother there. I've even been to amateur away games before now so I think I've shown I could commit to them easily enough. 

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For clarity, I say this as someone who has in their (comparatively short) lifetime seen in person their football team going from Champions League semi finals to League 1 to championship mediocrity and stuck with them throughout that.

I think ambition is a huge part of some teams' support and identity. To take my own club, I'd support them at any level but fundamentally I'd be wanting them to be trying to be the best team in the country. For several Leigh fans for example, that expectation of ambition might be super league status. For Batley fans, I imagine the whole experience is different again, as is London Skolars for example. Part of that must be a maturity thing, accepting one's place in the world and managing expectations down does tend to be like that.

Back to my own club, if we were dawdling along happy to finish mid table every year playing in a "don't get relegated" style, I think that would in the short term turn a lot of fans off. Ambition brings in excitement and hopefully therefore fans, but it is naturally a growing affair. A fanbase who were happy to stay up one year won't be happy with that as a goal in 5 years time - progress needs to be made to avoid stagnation and decline.

Like I said that isn't all teams, and perhaps those without that dependency on ambition in their fanbase are actually the best served in the long term in some ways, but I would still maintain that ambition at whatever level is a major factor in fandom.

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56 minutes ago, The Hallucinating Goose said:

No, I really would not go. It's a horrible place to get to, 2 buses from where I live, about an hour travel time at least and that's if the traffic isn't too bad around Mount Pleasant and Holderness Road, an absolute hole when you get there, located deep in the heart of mordor and a lifetime of supporting Hull FC means I hate that lot over there. You can't undo a lifetime of hate. We are talking about one of the most powerful sporting rivalries on this planet. I would go to West Hull which isn't too far from KCOM or Beverley when I'm visiting my mother there. I've even been to amateur away games before now so I think I've shown I could commit to them easily enough. 

Thats a maybe then

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20 hours ago, Tommygilf said:

 

Back to my own club, if we were dawdling along happy to finish mid table every year playing in a "don't get relegated" style, I think that would in the short term turn a lot of fans off. 

That’s not necessarily what I was driving at, although that does sound much like the Batley scenario. What I was thinking was a situation where you have a good team, is up around the top 3-4 every year but fails to go up because of insufficient investment to take the next step, now where the club does not make that additional investment because they just can’t afford it, that one scenario However if the lack of additional investment has been decided upon because of the additional potential financial risk ( the what if we bring in extra players, we go up, then the following year are bottom in the higher division so we don’t get a real benefit through the gate scenario), then I agree that could easily be off putting as it screams lack of ambition. However what if showing that ambition puts the entire clubs future at risk?

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50 minutes ago, Oldbear said:

That’s not necessarily what I was driving at, although that does sound much like the Batley scenario. What I was thinking was a situation where you have a good team, is up around the top 3-4 every year but fails to go up because of insufficient investment to take the next step, now where the club does not make that additional investment because they just can’t afford it, that one scenario However if the lack of additional investment has been decided upon because of the additional potential financial risk ( the what if we bring in extra players, we go up, then the following year are bottom in the higher division so we don’t get a real benefit through the gate scenario), then I agree that could easily be off putting as it screams lack of ambition. However what if showing that ambition puts the entire clubs future at risk?

Its about relativity though and ambition grows with that. 

Equally, the hypothetical scenario you state is at best unlikely. Being at the top eschelon of the Championship so consistently is going to present challenges that either make it a real achievement to be there (say York) or a fundamentally underachieving club (say Toulouse). In the first case the ambition has effectively been reached and in the latter it is being undeserved. That's before acknowledging any other clubs rising or falling to push the hypothetical club down.

If a team ever were so consistently at the top of the championship then they would naturally start to outgrow that as an ambition. 

Lack of ambition also seeps into all layers of a club - which is dangerous when standing still as your hypothesis does still requires investment!

Edit: I will just add, for some owners one of the biggest things they can do is accept their own limitations and how far they can take a club, regardless of their ambitions. Being able to let a club go to another owner who can fund the team further is an incredibly emotive but mature decision that is a critical aspect of this.

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I support Oldham and always will do. If they went bump I'd just watch more of the local amateur game. I already follow Saddleworth Rangers. The game is more important than an individual club in my view. I love the game of Rugby football league. 

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I think after spending so much time in almost permanent lockdown I just want to be able to enjoy some live sport at a nice setup.

For me I’ll probably pick and choose between Swinton, St Helens, Leigh and England World Cup matches.

I’m less bothered about world domination for any of them, but I want to see close sporting encounters rather than one sided games.

At the moment I probably prefer Swinton’s set up at Sale for overall ease.

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It's a tough one. Depends what your history of watching that club was and how philosophical you were/are I suppose.

For fans of clubs like Widnes and Halifax being 45+ it was a different world being a young fan 

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As a Widnes fan who has mostly seen Widnes in the Championship or equivalent (National League 1, Northern Ford Premiership), with maybe 10 years of Super League in two stints thrown in there, it's business as usual being where we are for me.

At present the long term aspiration would be Super League again, however being near the top of the table in a strong and vibrant Championship would be no great disappointment.

When the 2x10 Super League was first mentioned I saw Widnes as being a team in the play off places of that second division, because I think that's the size of the club. My reason for wanting Widnes to be in the current 12 team Super League is not because I think we're a club the size of Leeds or Wigan but because I don't see any real difference between the bottom quarter of that division and us other than funding.

For me being in the top league isn't the end in of itself, I want to see a full time professional Widnes team, playing in front of 6/7k and being on TV now and again. If the Championship became strong enough for that to happen I'd be happy with the Championship but I don't see it happening without some serious money coming into the game. Until then the goal will probably always be SL because that's what gets Widnes to the potential I think we have. 

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I was born to run a club like this. Number 1, I do not spook easily, and those who think I do, are wasting their time, with their surprise attacks.

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4 hours ago, DI Keith Fowler said:

As a Widnes fan who has mostly seen Widnes in the Championship or equivalent (National League 1, Northern Ford Premiership), with maybe 10 years of Super League in two stints thrown in there, it's business as usual being where we are for me.

At present the long term aspiration would be Super League again, however being near the top of the table in a strong and vibrant Championship would be no great disappointment.

When the 2x10 Super League was first mentioned I saw Widnes as being a team in the play off places of that second division, because I think that's the size of the club. My reason for wanting Widnes to be in the current 12 team Super League is not because I think we're a club the size of Leeds or Wigan but because I don't see any real difference between the bottom quarter of that division and us other than funding.

For me being in the top league isn't the end in of itself, I want to see a full time professional Widnes team, playing in front of 6/7k and being on TV now and again. If the Championship became strong enough for that to happen I'd be happy with the Championship but I don't see it happening without some serious money coming into the game. Until then the goal will probably always be SL because that's what gets Widnes to the potential I think we have. 

Hi Keith, and if a closed shop was reinstated and Widnes were on the outside would it affect your thinking?

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