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7 hours ago, Big Picture said:

In fact I am, I was born in England but came to Canada with my parents when I was 8 so I'm Canadian in all the ways which matter though I have family ties to Britain and I was back to visit twice many years ago now as a young man.  My roots aren't in the RL heartland though, my dad's family all come from Hampshire.

I am under no illusion whatever about the challenges facing RL in Britain, on the contrary the events of the past four years have shown me just how much the game's traditional basis and structure over there limits its options and hems it in.

Yes, Salford reached a Grand Final and have been unable to generate any major bounce from neighbouring Manchester as a result, because Salford is to all intents and purposes just a suburb of Manchester.  Thus to Mancunians who've become used to Manchester United (and now Manchester City too) routinely playing in multinational competition against the likes of Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona, Salford vs St Helens (which they'd probably see as just a suburb of Liverpool) is never going to interest them.  And yes that is a massive problem for the sport in the era when the younger generation are apparently only interested in big events.

So the question then becomes how can the game ever break through the dominance of soccer not only in Manchester but in other British cities too?  The more naive posters here think that an England win in the RL World Cup (however unlikely that may) could do it but let's be realistic.  RU despite all their establishment connections shot their bolt in regard to Manchester by having England play there during their World Cup yet did they gain any ground in Manchester from that?  It doesn't seem so.

Yes only an extremely small minority of Mancunians will pay attention when the GF of a small northern regional league played in smallish economically deprived towns is played there.  In their eyes that quite naturally pales in comparison to the exploits of Manchester United and now Manchester City year in and year out in the Champions League and Europa League and always will no matter how good the RL match might be.

Thus I say that the one and only way the game could break through in Manchester and other comparable British cities is via a league which would offer them an RL equivalent of the Champions League and Europa League, week in and week out every season.

You entertain me.

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Well I think a team had a plan (was it manchester rangers?) playing out of the modern man city campus, they also wanted to link in with the colkeges and university.. The RFL said no thanks.

Schools and Community clubs to begin with and that's hard work

Salford are working on that, there are some new clubs in the fold.

6 hours ago, Whippet13 said:

If RL can work in a football mad city like Newcastle, I believe it can work in Manchester but it needs the same type of long term development plan putting in place. Manchester Rangers were wanting to be the equivalent of Newcastle Thunder in that process but the local clubs cynically killed them off as they saw a potential threat. They would have all benefited long term but in classic British RL style the clubs completely lacked that understanding and vision.

Not sure if RL in Newcastle is working yet , though, in any sustainable,way, though it wouod be great if it were to happen.Manchester is surrounded by existing RL teams that although  not in the Manchester conurbation (as distinct from and smaller than Greater Manchester) are within 30 to 45 minutes travel time from the city centre. Wigan, Warrington, St Helens, Huddersfield, Bradford, Leeds, enough to attract fans from the City area.  Prior to the vast improvement in the areas road infrastructure, a trip from Swinton to watch George Parkinson get hammered by Dave Bolton was more like a day out than a quick trip through Westhoughton.

Another way to look at this is to measure things against Sheffield. How much has been spent over how many years since their clubs formation and with what outcome?  

Or Liverpool? Why no team there? How and why would Manchester be any different!

Four legs good - two legs bad

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3 hours ago, Big Picture said:

And so another indication that top-down works, bottom-up not so much.

Newcastle started in Gateshead and did not have a pro club to look up to, at the outset.

The development of the game in the North East began when Mike Hogan, the present day Chief Executive of the club began work as an RFL development officer, based in council offices in Gateshead.

His community work created the foundations for the game in the North West.

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4 minutes ago, fighting irish said:

Newcastle started in Gateshead and did not have a pro club to look up to, at the outset.

The development of the game in the North East began when Mike Hogan, the present day Chief Executive of the club began work as an RFL development officer, based in council offices in Gateshead.

His community work created the foundations for the game in the North West.

I'm well aware that Newcastle started in Gateshead, and in SL too.  Mike Hogan's community work was undoubtedly aided by the foundation which the original club put in place then.  It's another case of development happening on the back of a pro club existing in the area, that's why I described it as top-down.

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26 minutes ago, JohnM said:

Not sure if RL in Newcastle is working yet , though, in any sustainable,way, though it wouod be great if it were to happen. Manchester is surrounded by existing RL teams that although  not in the Manchester conurbation (as distinct from and smaller than Greater Manchester) are within 30 to 45 minutes travel time from the city centre. Wigan, Warrington, St Helens, Huddersfield, Bradford, Leeds, enough to attract fans from the City area.  Prior to the vast improvement in the areas road infrastructure, a trip from Swinton to watch George Parkinson get hammered by Dave Bolton was more like a day out than a quick trip through Westhoughton.

Another way to look at this is to measure things against Sheffield. How much has been spent over how many years since their clubs formation and with what outcome?  

Or Liverpool? Why no team there? How and why would Manchester be any different!

Infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure. It's all about having a proper base that isn't too big to make atmosphere impossible to create whilst having easy public transport links. For the last twenty years Eagles have played either around an athletics track in Don Valley, way too big Bramall Lane, Don Valley again, Doncaster and Wakefield. 

When Sheffield have their new stadium ready it will be the first time in 20 years they have a settled home for the next 20 years to build an identity, it's 15 minutes by Metro from the city centre so with good pricing and marketing they should be aiming to get 1000 home supporters in 2022, get a good challenge cup draw and grow from there. 

Sheffield (next season) York and Newcastle now all have what Manchester need. A city club with great public transport links. 

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6 minutes ago, Big Picture said:

I'm well aware that Newcastle started in Gateshead, and in SL too.  Mike Hogan's community work was undoubtedly aided by the foundation which the original club put in place then.  It's another case of development happening on the back of a pro club existing in the area, that's why I described it as top-down.

You can't claim it was top down, when it started before the ''top'' was created.

Now I don't want to nit-pick so I'll just say that what is happening in Newcastle is neither top down nor bottom up.

It is a deliberate and purposeful, well planned fully integrated, programme to embed the game in the community using a combination of high profile events (International matches, Magic weekends and lately, Championship pro' football) and a steady, commitment to long-term, troops-on-the-ground (many of them eager volunteers) development work designed to inculcate the game, in the minds of young (very young) people whilst still at school.

Then by bringing along their parents, broader family members and friends as they grow and identifying from amongst these groups, willing and capable volunteers, to establish community clubs to accommodate the growing numbers of participants each year.

Each round of development work (season) leads to higher playing standards, eventually (not yet) producing enough high quality players, spectators and backers to sustain a Super League club.

It's not simply ''top down'', it's hard bitten commitment to the nitty gritty ''work'' involving the highly skilled salesmanship required to create a '' RL culture'' in a new area which previously just didn't exist.

The trouble with your simplistic ideas, in my opinion and so many of the ideas of RL authorities over the years, is that you don't place any real value on volunteer involvement. You hardly ever acknowledge it (yet it accounts for 99% of all the development work that has ever been undertaken, the world over) let alone pay it any respect.

You think that all you need to do is plonk a shiny pro club in a new area and it will solve all the games problems.

That policy, has been tried time and time again during the history of RL in this country and in every single case, has proved to be insufficient to create a sustainable presence.

If you'd ever tried to do it, (create a culture in a new area) you'd have a much better appreciation of just what it takes and I hope, a little more respect for the people who are actually doing it. 

  

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38 minutes ago, ShropshireBull said:

Infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure. It's all about having a proper base that isn't too big to make atmosphere impossible to create whilst having easy public transport links. For the last twenty years Eagles have played either around an athletics track in Don Valley, way too big Bramall Lane, Don Valley again, Doncaster and Wakefield. 

When Sheffield have their new stadium ready it will be the first time in 20 years they have a settled home for the next 20 years to build an identity, it's 15 minutes by Metro from the city centre so with good pricing and marketing they should be aiming to get 1000 home supporters in 2022, get a good challenge cup draw and grow from there. 

Sheffield (next season) York and Newcastle now all have what Manchester need. A city club with great public transport links. 

What kind of development work is going on in Sheffield? 

There's room for a lot of community clubs in Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley

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53 minutes ago, JM2010 said:

What kind of development work is going on in Sheffield? 

There's room for a lot of community clubs in Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley

I wouldn't know tbh but again, having a fixed home where you can work with schools and clubs to exploit the facilities becomes possible once you get a proper home. 

Rotherham is an odd one, you can get a tram now from Rotherham to new Eagle home in about 30 mins and the Union team has basically evaporated as a force. Problem is, as always, finding a good place to play. I've already spent my Euromillions win several times over on which clubs I'd grow but if you could get hold of Millmoor and redevelop it to share with the other code that would have legs. 

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On 10/04/2021 at 10:45, Markos said:

I don’t disagree with this at all.

I’ve often read through threads (often the Toronto based chats) and not posted for fear of being labelled anti-expansionist. I’m not, but sometimes I look at how they try to do it, and think it’s a bit of a stretch when we haven’t successfully squeezed everything out of the UK and France

Super League with a Manchester, Newcastle and possibly even Liverpool (though probably unwise due to strong teams in the catchment) and Sheffield teams would look a bit more big time than it currently is. A bit more appealing to the casual fan?

All arguably doable with the right support from the powers that be 

I was all for Toronto and North America. I don’t think it’s one or the other, both can exist simultaneously. There’s plenty of areas in the UK that could be targeted and exploited though. 

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I gave to say that are is a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.   I must immediately add that the full quote mentions 'idiots'...  But that is not at all what I am suggesting.

But there is a lot of well meaning comments, but it's all confusion and the core issues being lost.

First of all, what is "Manchester"?  Manchester United are in Trafford.  Is not Manchester City in Tamside? In any event we are in danger of conflating Manchester with the Manchester region.

Salford and Oldham and Rochdale are independent council districts separate from what is a quite small Manchester city council.  Salford is a city in its own right.

These 3 RL playing districts and Swinton all have as much or as little connection to the name Manchester as United and City.  All 4 clubs seperately cannot draw from a Manchester "ethos", they dissipate (in many ways) the strength of the brand.  But if together then they could create something worthy.

Alternatively, as an example, Salford are as important a district as Manchester City district or Stockport, and there is no reason why it should not be as big a beacon as Wigan.  A name is not the issue...  it is the investment needed to light the fire of that beacon.

 But if the idea is that the "Manchester" name alone is going to be the magic bullet to shoot the game forward then everyone is off target.

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6 minutes ago, Rupert Prince said:

I gave to say that are is a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.   I must immediately add that the full quote mentions 'idiots'...  But that is not at all what I am suggesting.

But there is a lot of well meaning comments, but it's all confusion and the core issues being lost.

First of all, what is "Manchester"?  Manchester United are in Trafford.  Is not Manchester City in Tamside?

 

Yep City is 15 mins from city centre but as mentioned, close by tram to Ashton and other population centres of the Borough of Tameside's 200,000 plus population. 1% of the people within a 20 min tram ride of Velopark and you already have a top end championship attendance before you even get to sell Leeds vs Manchester or Salford vs Manchester on a Friday night under the cameras. I'd echo other comments that if a Manchester club were to emerge, then Sheffield vs Manchester friday night is another top game. 

If you got a club at Velopark, SL suddenly looks a totally different commercial and tv prospect. 

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12 minutes ago, Rupert Prince said:

I gave to say that are is a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.   I must immediately add that the full quote mentions 'idiots'...  But that is not at all what I am suggesting.

But there is a lot of well meaning comments, but it's all confusion and the core issues being lost.

First of all, what is "Manchester"?  Manchester United are in Trafford.  Is not Manchester City in Tamside?

 

I'm not opposed to Wigan becoming more "Manchester focussed".

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38 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

I'm not opposed to Wigan becoming more "Manchester focussed".

I think ... but it's only my opinion...   Wigan looks north I think for fans, more towards Lancashire, not east towards Salford and Manchester.  For young players we've seen they will have to compete as best they can against all the rest.

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1 minute ago, Rupert Prince said:

I think ... but it's only my opinion...   Wigan looks north I think for fans, more towards Lancashire, not east towards Salford and Manchester.  For young players we've seen they will have to compete as best they can against all the rest.

Indeed it may have done and still do, but the people and the potential fanbase are in the city

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3 hours ago, JohnM said:

Not sure if RL in Newcastle is working yet , though, in any sustainable,way, though it wouod be great if it were to happen.Manchester is surrounded by existing RL teams that although  not in the Manchester conurbation (as distinct from and smaller than Greater Manchester) are within 30 to 45 minutes travel time from the city centre. Wigan, Warrington, St Helens, Huddersfield, Bradford, Leeds, enough to attract fans from the City area.  Prior to the vast improvement in the areas road infrastructure, a trip from Swinton to watch George Parkinson get hammered by Dave Bolton was more like a day out than a quick trip through Westhoughton.

Another way to look at this is to measure things against Sheffield. How much has been spent over how many years since their clubs formation and with what outcome?  

Or Liverpool? Why no team there? How and why would Manchester be any different!

Agree with most of that, but tbf Sheffield was working, until the scandalous forced merger with Huddersfield (ie the closure of the Eagles for no reason). 

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2 hours ago, JM2010 said:

What kind of development work is going on in Sheffield? 

There's room for a lot of community clubs in Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley

There’s the Hawks (established club) and the Forgers (newer club). No idea about Rotherham or Barnsley. 

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59 minutes ago, Rupert Prince said:

I think ... but it's only my opinion...   Wigan looks north I think for fans, more towards Lancashire, not east towards Salford and Manchester.  For young players we've seen they will have to compete as best they can against all the rest.

Only 4 people out of thousands i realise but this is us: As season ticket holders at Central Park, I and my wife used to travel from Congleton, picking up two friends (yes, I know..strange but true) from nearby and drive to Wigan via the M6 J35. For big games, the traffic queue would stretch back along Poolstock Lane and Warrington Road. On moving to Holmfirth,  our route in was via M61, Aspull,  Scholes.  When the DW opened we modified that route, again busy. The best guide, though, might be the clubs analysis of season ticket holders locations to see where fans are drawn from.

Edited by JohnM
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Four legs good - two legs bad

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16 hours ago, Big Picture said:

So the question then becomes how can the game ever break through the dominance of soccer not only in Manchester but in other British cities too?  The more naive posters here think that an England win in the RL World Cup (however unlikely that may) could do it but let's be realistic.  RU despite all their establishment connections shot their bolt in regard to Manchester by having England play there during their World Cup yet did they gain any ground in Manchester from that?  It doesn't seem so.

The game in Manchester was against Uruguay, which they won 60-3 and this came about after England had already been knocked out in the group stages of their home World Cup. This was 6 years ago now with no real follow up - no England games played in the North.

After the 2003 World Cup in Union, my local rugby club had a ton of new youth players - I think it increased number of players by around 1/3. I have seen from experience and therefore believe that an England RLWC win will do a huge amount of the game at the community level and will increase the interest in the game. However, it will be down to the various clubs to capitalise on that interest if it happens. I don't think anyone has yet reached the naivety where they're suggesting that an England World Cup win is going to create a Super League franchise in Manchester like you're suggesting here.

However, it will definitely cause an uptick in interest if they win the competition. I wouldn't be surprised to hear of a 20-30% increase in community players in the 2 years after the RLWC if England win. Figures like doubling or trebling are somewhat misguided.

Circling back to my first paragraph - what's interesting is that England RU played one (throwaway) match in Manchester and that's considered "shooting their bolt." It's a similar mindset for RL these days - do one thing and hope for the best. The truth is that interest isn't created with a singular one-off, but by constantly reaffirming and building on initial successes. Newcastle remains a good example - the success isn't down to the money invested, or Magic weekend, or their excellent community programme. It's a combination of all of those things, done consistently over a relatively long period of time.

If Manchester is/was a strategic target, then hosting the Grand Final isn't enough, in my opinion. You need lots of additional development and marketing work to grow the whole game there.

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30 minutes ago, Eddie said:

Agree with most of that, but tbf Sheffield was working, until the scandalous forced merger with Huddersfield (ie the closure of the Eagles for no reason). 

I can understand that.  I used to travel to watch Wigan play Sheffield at the Don Valley and it did seem to be establishing itself.  Mark Aston was/is very driven. To me, it shows how difficult it is to build a club, even in an area where you'd expect it to do well. Look at the time, effort, money that went into MKDons and AFCWimbledon. ..and that's a sport with real investors. 

Four legs good - two legs bad

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1 hour ago, ShropshireBull said:

Yep City is 15 mins from city centre but as mentioned, close by tram to Ashton and other population centres of the Borough of Tameside's 200,000 plus population. 1% of the people within a 20 min tram ride of Velopark and you already have a top end championship attendance before you even get to sell Leeds vs Manchester or Salford vs Manchester on a Friday night under the cameras. I'd echo other comments that if a Manchester club were to emerge, then Sheffield vs Manchester friday night is another top game. 

If you got a club at Velopark, SL suddenly looks a totally different commercial and tv prospect. 

I really like that to happen, just as I'd ike to see Newcastle in Super League.  Sadly, though, it won't...but Newcastle just might, as it is a city all on it's own well away from the Lievrpool-Hull axis.  Its all "if", I'm afraid. Not going to happen, even if I won the Euro millions.  By the way, I think it's  not Velopark but Sports City and its in the Manchester City Council area. 

Four legs good - two legs bad

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1 hour ago, ShropshireBull said:

Yep City is 15 mins from city centre but as mentioned, close by tram to Ashton and other population centres of the Borough of Tameside's 200,000 plus population. 1% of the people within a 20 min tram ride of Velopark and you already have a top end championship attendance before you even get to sell Leeds vs Manchester or Salford vs Manchester on a Friday night under the cameras. I'd echo other comments that if a Manchester club were to emerge, then Sheffield vs Manchester friday night is another top game. 

If you got a club at Velopark, SL suddenly looks a totally different commercial and tv prospect. 

It'd be a great venue, really well connected. The logical thing would be to have some resurrection of Manchester Rangers playing in sky blue out of there. Try and geg in on the United (Salford Red Devils playing in red and black) and City (new Manchester Rangers playing in blue) rivalry, might get a few more people interested.

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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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10 minutes ago, JohnM said:

I really like that to happen, just as I'd ike to see Newcastle in Super League.  Sadly, though, it won't...but Newcastle just might, as it is a city all on it's own well away from the Lievrpool-Hull axis.  Its all "if", I'm afraid. Not going to happen, even if I won the Euro millions.  By the way, I think it's  not Velopark but Sports City and its in the Manchester City Council area. 

Off topic, but if you live in Holmfirth then do Underbank Rangers still play on that field at the top of the mountain, with a dry stone wall along one touchline? 

 

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2 hours ago, Rupert Prince said:

I think ... but it's only my opinion...   Wigan looks north I think for fans, more towards Lancashire, not east towards Salford and Manchester.  For young players we've seen they will have to compete as best they can against all the rest.

Indeed , in fact moving east from Wigan you first hit Leigh , then Salford 

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