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Long lost defunct semi-professional RL clubs


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4 minutes ago, EssexRL said:

Off topic but think Kent could have sustained a league club. 

I agree

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How about Bradford ?

Why would they not?

Bramley, led down the garden path by the RFL and dropped like a hot stone once the NCL moved to summer.

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5 minutes ago, The Frying Scotsman said:

If I remember right, the average gate was around 731 ish. 

The problem was that expansion at that time was often driven by soccer club chairmen looking to use RL revenue to share the stadium expenses for the soccer club, then eventually for RL to turn a profit to subsidize the soccer. Of course putting a competitive team on the field cost money, since players either had to be brought down from the heartlands or brought over from down under, you might have the odd local (Frank Feighan, a character at Kent and Fulham), but realistically player cost usually ate up all the gate revenue so the soccer clubs lose patience and evict their RL tenants. A key reason that with any expansion venture the need for patience is almost as important as finance.

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In my opinion Kent could easily support a Coventry Bears type set up, but they need patient backers who know how finances work at L1 level and a stable, long term home. At this time I see neither.

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8 hours ago, Oldbear said:

The problem was that expansion at that time was often driven by soccer club chairmen looking to use RL revenue to share the stadium expenses for the soccer club, then eventually for RL to turn a profit to subsidize the soccer. Of course putting a competitive team on the field cost money, since players either had to be brought down from the heartlands or brought over from down under, you might have the odd local (Frank Feighan, a character at Kent and Fulham), but realistically player cost usually ate up all the gate revenue so the soccer clubs lose patience and evict their RL tenants. A key reason that with any expansion venture the need for patience is almost as important as finance.

What happened was that the chairman of the soccer club was also the chairman of the RL side. His fellow directors of the FC thought that he was spending too much time with RL and told him that he had to choose which he wanted to be involved in, at which he said <expletive deleted> RL (this was mid-season). The club then passed into the hands of Paul Faires and it might be best to draw a veil over all that happed thereafter!

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Football is as endemic in Kent as it is in Liverpool - a place which we often get told to completely ignore. I've no idea where this belief that a League 1 operation could be set up and survive there is coming from.

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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12 hours ago, Gooleboy said:

Correct, The Spaniard was a Mansfield Brewery Managed House. We used to goin there after going in The Graziers and the Black Rock first!

Which Graziers ?

There were three.

"We'll sell you a seat .... but you'll only need the edge of it!"

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8 hours ago, Chronicler of Chiswick said:

What happened was that the chairman of the soccer club was also the chairman of the RL side. His fellow directors of the FC thought that he was spending too much time with RL and told him that he had to choose which he wanted to be involved in, at which he said <expletive deleted> RL (this was mid-season). The club then passed into the hands of Paul Faires and it might be best to draw a veil over all that happed thereafter!

Sorry C of C that is not correct.

Maidstone United gobbled up most of the initial cash available that was earmarked for the RL with promises that the directors of the football club would invest heavily (At 4 times the amount in the RL club) Sadly the directors of the football club had no interest in rugby only football and the promised monies were not forthcoming.

Start up clubs 40 years ago had a huge outlay in transfer fees to kick things off since Bosman this is not the case anymore otherwise I doubt if some of the newer clubs would have ever got of the ground.

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2 hours ago, Gooleboy said:

Market Street near the Bingo. Landlady moved there from the Jolly Sailor on the Wharf.

I think I may know her - Beryl ?

"We'll sell you a seat .... but you'll only need the edge of it!"

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2 hours ago, Griff said:

I think I may know her - Beryl ?

I thought it was Madge... guy called Harold then took it over and later moved to a nightclub type place 'arolds' down on thornes wharfe area.

Any way back in the day a good tetley pub.

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By the way, think graziers has now been converted to flats and bed sits. 

So getting back on to the thread, it has more chance of becoming a pub again before any of the old defunct clubs.

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On 05/04/2021 at 15:49, Eddie said:

100% if there were three or four more clubs like Newcastle the game would be in a good place, but you need people prepared to spend a lot of money to do that, and they are understandably thin on the ground. If I ever won Euromillions I’d do it in Norfolk though. 

To do the professional side of it would cost a lot of money. Recreating some of the grassroots stuff they've done wouldn't cost anywhere near as much - that would be more about assessing the demand, generating some interest and setting up with a long-term structure in mind (e.g. you need 4-6 junior clubs to run a local league etc). I also think that if "the game" (I use the term loosely, it could be RFL-driven or just randomly pop up based on keen volunteers) developed more areas in this way, we'd see longer-term growth in the pro game as well - it would hopefully generate new supporters as well as players.

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4 hours ago, ATLANTISMAN said:

Sorry C of C that is not correct.

Maidstone United gobbled up most of the initial cash available that was earmarked for the RL with promises that the directors of the football club would invest heavily (At 4 times the amount in the RL club) Sadly the directors of the football club had no interest in rugby only football and the promised monies were not forthcoming.

That was what I was led to believe too, just never understood why they went to Southend, it always seemed the last place to try to introduce a new sport.

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1 hour ago, zylya said:

To do the professional side of it would cost a lot of money. Recreating some of the grassroots stuff they've done wouldn't cost anywhere near as much - that would be more about assessing the demand, generating some interest and setting up with a long-term structure in mind (e.g. you need 4-6 junior clubs to run a local league etc). I also think that if "the game" (I use the term loosely, it could be RFL-driven or just randomly pop up based on keen volunteers) developed more areas in this way, we'd see longer-term growth in the pro game as well - it would hopefully generate new supporters as well as players.

As well as money, patience is the key, we don’t seem to stick with anything for a long term in RL. Maybe that’s why Newcastle, and Coventry, are seen as successes as they are rare examples of RL club owners showing patience.

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8 hours ago, Usera said:

Article from a local history site, Bygone Kent, fondly remembering Kent Invicta:

Kent Invicta: Rugby League Pioneers

Great read, I remember Tony Cooper ending up at Fulham along with Frank Feighan. Those guys must truly have loved RL, given the number of times their actual pay checks must have been in doubt. I recall one story when it looked like Fulham were about to get their last rights and possibly fold. They had a game at Huddersfield I think, up at Fartown and I’m sure it was Frank Feighan who said he would have walked up there so determined he was to play. Now those were some real dark days but the club survived (like CoC said best draw a veil over the Fulham Bears episode), 2 years later my work brought me back to the North East, where I learned the true roller coaster ride of following an expansion club (first Carlisle, then Gateshead). I have never had the joy of following a winning team (except for one short lived Gateshead promotion under the charismatic Dave Woods), joy for me was would I have a team next season. This is why it’s so important for any expansion side to have

1. Money, obviously, and always expect the unexpected

2. Time and patience, don’t pull the plug partway through year 2

3. A stable home. I had forgotten about Kent Invictas pitch issues.

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13 hours ago, Agbrigg said:

I thought it was Madge... guy called Harold then took it over and later moved to a nightclub type place 'arolds' down on thornes wharfe area.

Any way back in the day a good tetley pub.

You're getting confused with Neighbours.🤣

"We'll sell you a seat .... but you'll only need the edge of it!"

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10 hours ago, Oldbear said:

Great read, I remember Tony Cooper ending up at Fulham along with Frank Feighan. Those guys must truly have loved RL, given the number of times their actual pay checks must have been in doubt. I recall one story when it looked like Fulham were about to get their last rights and possibly fold. They had a game at Huddersfield I think, up at Fartown and I’m sure it was Frank Feighan who said he would have walked up there so determined he was to play. Now those were some real dark days but the club survived (like CoC said best draw a veil over the Fulham Bears episode), 2 years later my work brought me back to the North East, where I learned the true roller coaster ride of following an expansion club (first Carlisle, then Gateshead). I have never had the joy of following a winning team (except for one short lived Gateshead promotion under the charismatic Dave Woods), joy for me was would I have a team next season. This is why it’s so important for any expansion side to have

1. Money, obviously, and always expect the unexpected

2. Time and patience, don’t pull the plug partway through year 2

3. A stable home. I had forgotten about Kent Invictas pitch issues.

That was the famous game where the players agreed to 'play for nothing'. Um. As far as the demise of Kent Invicta's concerned mine was the version I had from the then Fulham club secretary, although Atlantisman's version sounds more plausible! There are always problems in reporting these things, some of them with potential legal implications as JD and Martin Sadler are, I imagine, well aware of. I remember the time it took making sure that the version of events in my piece on the Fulham Maintenance Crew in 'From Fulham to Wembley' agreed with the officially released story!!

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With regards to the Kent experiment, Invicta is the County Motto of Kent, so moving the team to Southend, and retaining the Invicta name was always going to be suicide.

Where were you last Thursday?

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Just reading all this Kent stuff and looking at the demographics, it certainly looks possible. 

In the three hubs of Medway  (Chatham,Gillingham, Rochester) you have 250000 people.  Good public transport links and Chatham have a 3G pitch. Need less than 1% for a viable club. 

Guess you would need to buy  (not rent) a stake in Chatham's ground and hey presto, a team in its own catchment area with no competition is possible. 

Problem is you are miles from every other team but it is certainly scaleable.  

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4 hours ago, Bleep1673 said:

With regards to the Kent experiment, Invicta is the County Motto of Kent, so moving the team to Southend, and retaining the Invicta name was always going to be suicide.

At the time, Southend United were in dire straits too - we nearly went to the wall ourselves at the time - and support for the RL venture was even less than the bare minimum. Hardly a mention in matchday programmes, the local paper gave up reporting soon enough - too few people cared.

I'm not saying it would work now - although SUFC are, once again, in an awful position - but the conditions for success were certainly not there in 1984/85.

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23 minutes ago, Dr Tim Whatley said:

At the time, Southend United were in dire straits too - we nearly went to the wall ourselves at the time - and support for the RL venture was even less than the bare minimum. Hardly a mention in matchday programmes, the local paper gave up reporting soon enough - too few people cared.

I'm not saying it would work now - although SUFC are, once again, in an awful position - but the conditions for success were certainly not there in 1984/85.

Southend's demise had a smell of fish about it as well. They were officially dumped for not preparing a team. However according to their then coach, Bill Goodwin (who later coached us at Fulham) at the last training session there were 21 players plus 2 on pre-arranged holidays and one with a long term injury. Don't suppose we'll ever know what went on, though.

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46 minutes ago, Chronicler of Chiswick said:

Southend's demise had a smell of fish about it as well. They were officially dumped for not preparing a team. However according to their then coach, Bill Goodwin (who later coached us at Fulham) at the last training session there were 21 players plus 2 on pre-arranged holidays and one with a long term injury. Don't suppose we'll ever know what went on, though.

Jim Thompson (The late chairman of Maidstone United) promised that the board would inject a considerable amount of cash into Kent Invicta (In return for investment a year earlier in Maidstone United)

The cash from Maidstone United was never forthcoming costing the main shareholders a fortune and leaving JT to hijack the taking over of the club and then selling it for a six figure sum to Southend United.

These funds were partly used to fund Maidstone United into the football league the ground was then sold off to B and Q and they moved to Dartford and then went bust a few months later.

Before going bust JT sold the club to some business associates in Newcastle to relocate the club there under the name of Newcastle Blue Star (White Star) I forget however they immediately put the club into liquidation.

The problem is these situations are all based on rumours and second hand evidence the above is what actually happened.

 

 

Edited by ATLANTISMAN
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