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Serious Question: Do some of you even like Rugby League?


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Do you even want Rugby League to do well? Do you want the sport exposed to millions of people with a vibrant grass roots section?

I have to ask these questions because I do think there's a very vocal group of posters on this site and on social media that are very opinionated about not wanting the sport to be played or watched by broader audiences. They want to keep Rugby League as a sport played in the same 'heartland' communities as it has done for over 100 years and these people tend to express negative views on anything that could lead to more people playing, watching or even investing, that's because they see Rugby League as something that belongs to them and their communities and it's not to be shared with any new audiences.

Bearing in mind, this is all against a backdrop of declining TV revenue, crowd declines and a real lack of blue chip multinational sponsorship. Does that not concern these folk?

I read some of the comments on here and it's clear that some posters are taking great joy when efforts to broaden the appeal of RL fails, even after watching an exciting test match yesterday France v England on a Saturday afternoon on the BBC where France debuted a number of young players and despite defeat managed their best result against England for a number of years, there are the same posters that come on here pushing the same narratives, 'Oh the game was terrible', 'Both teams will get thrashed by Aus, NZ', 'France were terrible, there's no point in playing this game'. They loved it when Toronto was booted out of SL, they were overjoyed when Ottawa packed it in, they wanted Toulouse to fail in promotion and Featherstone promoted instead, they wanted England to paste France by 50-60 points so they can say I told you so. 

Also, it's not just foreign clubs that are the target of the small mindedness (coz the argument they use now is that the UK league should only be for UK clubs) several years ago London Broncos copped a lot of negativity because many didn't want them in SL league either and I can already see that now Newcastle have turned full time and showing some ambition negativity is being turned towards them. 

I do think now that people like this don't even like Rugby League and for them it's become political and the behaviours around this are partisan in nature, for a lot of Canadians I know who got involved with the sport and wanted to promote it they found this culture to be very toxic and off putting.

Is this how we want RL to be seen by new volunteers and audiences?

Edited by The Daddy
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I must admit I started to read the England v France thread yesterday before the KO and found all the comments about poor attendance really depressing. Luckily the attendance was fine and (both) games very good.

It does seem that there are a number of posters on here whose default is negatively. 

On the broader point about attitudes towards expansion I think it’s more nuanced. I’m 100% expansion but I can see the “Heartlands First” argument can make sense, particularly in the context of some of the moves to actually expand the game and the limited finances we have. I’d argue though the negativity around this is more about a closed mindset than not liking the sport (I’m talking psychological personality types here). I think some people struggle to accept change and alternatives. Comfort comes from continuity This is not always a bad thing. I’m very open minded which can cloud your judgement (a couple of years ago I seriously believed I’d be watching Skolars play in Ottawa and New York. Lol)

The amount of negative posting, to be honest, can be very tiring and depressing to read. 
 

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As southerners we should be moaning the most about the state of our position...but I often find we are more positive generally 

I agree the pessimism from some ***heads about the game yesterday morning annoyed me. It ended up being an exciting second half and the crowd was decent 

I enjoyed sticking a comment back to Sir Kev towards the end

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The potential problem is we are all probably too passionate, but we watch our clubs 20-30 times a year and England/GB 2/3 times every few years.

We must have a logical set of goals to judge success on - but that would mean our over paid leaders become accountable and thats where our frustration lies as we contract and not expand

My basic goals would be simple:

1. To expand RL income from a secure base, focus on North England plus London, and South France

2. To grow the FT player pool, and double schools competition

3. To continually grow the FT clubs in UK and France by going to 2x10 initially with bonds to be a member, reviewed every 2/3 years as clubs struggle or become ready

4. To win a World Cup - if the above are achieved this creates the opportunity for non heartland expansion

 

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2 minutes ago, Bedfordshire Bronco said:

As southerners we should be moaning the most about the state of our position...but I often find we are more positive generally 

 

Keeping my academic head on I’d suggest we’ve either got optimism bias or are suffering from sunk cost fallacy or both! 

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You’re conflating realism with dislike. 
 

I’ve watched rugby league all my life and I’ve no doubt that my love for the game runs as deeply as yours. 
 

I would like nothing more than to see RL overtake RU as the dominant worldwide sport, played to a decent level in such diverse places as South Africa, South America, across the caucuses. But, this seems to be the thing that, to some, identifies me as a Luddite, a hater of the game, I honestly believe that it’s an unrealistic ambition. The sport has been badly managed for much of my lifetime and is, in my opinion of course, more badly managed now than ever. 
 

the direction of the sport is driven by a minority, the owners of some SL clubs, and that seems to be self interest. 
 

personally, pessimistic though it is, I think demise more likely than growth. Recent history suggests it. 

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2 minutes ago, Tubby said:

You’re conflating realism with dislike. 
 

I’ve watched rugby league all my life and I’ve no doubt that my love for the game runs as deeply as yours. 
 

I would like nothing more than to see RL overtake RU as the dominant worldwide sport, played to a decent level in such diverse places as South Africa, South America, across the caucuses. But, this seems to be the thing that, to some, identifies me as a Luddite, a hater of the game, I honestly believe that it’s an unrealistic ambition. The sport has been badly managed for much of my lifetime and is, in my opinion of course, more badly managed now than ever. 
 

the direction of the sport is driven by a minority, the owners of some SL clubs, and that seems to be self interest. 
 

personally, pessimistic though it is, I think demise more likely than growth. Recent history suggests it. 

The problem is that I bet you any money, many people were saying that 100/50 years ago and you can talk yourself into believing something that isn’t necessarily true. To wit: that RL is for a select bunch of northerners and nobody else will really ‘get it’.
But there is absolutely no genetic reason why a kid in Borehamwood wouldn’t like RL as much as one from St Helens…..it’s just a question of exposure.

I personally share your pessimism about the future as I think RL left expansion (done properly) too late. But we are where we are and the best thing is to ignore the negativity (as with anything in life) and take the bits you enjoy.

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10 minutes ago, Johnoco said:

The problem is that I bet you any money, many people were saying that 100/50 years ago and you can talk yourself into believing something that isn’t necessarily true. To wit: that RL is for a select bunch of northerners and nobody else will really ‘get it’.
But there is absolutely no genetic reason why a kid in Borehamwood wouldn’t like RL as much as one from St Helens…..it’s just a question of exposure.

I personally share your pessimism about the future as I think RL left expansion (done properly) too late. But we are where we are and the best thing is to ignore the negativity (as with anything in life) and take the bits you enjoy.

I don’t think for a minute that it’s for ‘a select bunch of northerners’, but we have been trying to expand the game (again) all my life, Fulham, Scarborough pirates, Mansfield marksmen, the list is enormous. Which ones have genuinely worked?  90% of the traditional clubs struggle year after year and that’s in the heartlands with generations of supporters. What chance a Kent Invicta?

I call it pessimism, but if I’m honest, I see it as realism. 
What can we genuinely offer that Union can’t?  And don’t spin the kick and clap nonsense, union has become more of a running game over the past 10-15 years and I think that is making it even harder to establish RL in new areas. 

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Or the alternative point of view is that some people are so obsessed with  expansionism that they can’t see the problems the game is having in the heartlands.

 I was involved with rugby for a lot of years as an amateur player, club secretary and a development officer as well as a fan. Back in those days I played on Sunday morning before going to a game in the afternoon. In those days I played in the West Yorkshire Sunday league which had around 8 or 9 divisions of 10 teams, that league now no longer exists that’s 80 to 90 teams gone. The Yorkshire league used to be 8 division’s last time I looked it was about 3 says to me the amateur game is going to be dead soon then will the players come from?

That said I am not totally against expansion the argument is how that looks some people on here think there is only expansion of that club is in SL where I think it’s more about creating a good junior and amateur set up to feed into a professional club in which ever division and grow the game from the grassroots up because without roots it will die and that’s what’s happening in parts of Yorkshire.

Edited by Cardypaul
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1 minute ago, Cardypaul said:

Or the alternative point of view is that some people are so obsessed with  expansionism that they can’t see the problems the game is having in the heartlands.

 I was involved with rugby for a lot of years as an amateur player, club secretary and a development officer as well as a fan. Back in those days I played on Sunday morning before going to a game in the afternoon. In those days I played in the West Yorkshire Sunday league which had around 8 or 9 divisions of 10 teams, that league now no longer exists that’s 80 to 90 teams gone. The Yorkshire league used to be 8 division’s last time I looked it was about 3 says to me the amateur game is going to be dead soon then will the players come from?

That said I am not totally against expansion the argument is how that looks some people on here think there is only expansion of that club is in SL where I think it’s more about creating a good junior and amateur set up to feed into a professional club and grow the game from the grassroots up because without roots it will die and that’s what’s happening in parts of Yorkshire.

And I'd argue that it is because of this reliance on such a small pool of people, that was inevitable. 

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Everyone on here likes rugby league and wants what is best for it according to their own perspective and prejudice.

I think where people differ is how they analyse what is a threat and what is an opportunity.

It would be a very boring world if everyone thought the same.

 

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27 minutes ago, Tubby said:

You’re conflating realism with dislike. 
 

I’ve watched rugby league all my life and I’ve no doubt that my love for the game runs as deeply as yours. 
 

I would like nothing more than to see RL overtake RU as the dominant worldwide sport, played to a decent level in such diverse places as South Africa, South America, across the caucuses. But, this seems to be the thing that, to some, identifies me as a Luddite, a hater of the game, I honestly believe that it’s an unrealistic ambition. The sport has been badly managed for much of my lifetime and is, in my opinion of course, more badly managed now than ever. 
 

the direction of the sport is driven by a minority, the owners of some SL clubs, and that seems to be self interest. 
 

personally, pessimistic though it is, I think demise more likely than growth. Recent history suggests it. 

That's not the mentality that (I think) the OP was addressing. Your outlook is very different from the almost ghoulish glee that some appear to feel every time there's bad news to eagerly wallow in or good news to scoff at and dismiss.

As for how the game is run, the clubs have always held the whip hand over the game as a whole. The original RWC was won by an odd hodge-podge of a GB selection, because many clubs were unwilling to release their star players.

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"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

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Just now, Futtocks said:

That's not the mentality that (I think) the OP was addressing. Your outlook is very different from the almost ghoulish glee that some appear to feel every time there's bad news to eagerly wallow in or good news to scoff at and dismiss.

As for how the game is run, the clubs have always held the whip hand over the game as a whole. The original RWC was won by an odd hodge-podge of a GB selection, because many clubs were unwilling to release their star players.

The OP had previously suggested that fora are not for the likes of me, but I should go to Facebook for ‘banter’. 
 

My interpretation of the OPs post is the same as that of Mark Las Palmas. Dismissive of anyone who disagrees. 
 

Your point about the game always being run by a select number of club owners, I agree with entirely. And that is largely responsible for our never-ending failures. 

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I think the majority of us can see the benefits of both sensible expansion and helping the heartlands.

What we have, though, is a small minority who seem more numerous because they are so relentless (and repetitive).

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"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

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9 minutes ago, Futtocks said:

I think the majority of us can see the benefits of both sensible expansion and helping the heartlands.

What we have, though, is a small minority who seem more numerous because they are so relentless (and repetitive).

On which extreme of the subject?

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1 minute ago, Tubby said:

On which extreme of the subject?

On the extreme of always seeing (and/or hoping for) the worst in everything and everyone.

As an example, before any big match, you'll get the first pessimistic crowd estimate, then it'll get competitive and other posters will chip in with even lower figures. It's very boring, because you knew they would do that, from the moment the fixture was announced.

"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

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21 minutes ago, Cardypaul said:

Or because people think they are not wanted

How does that make sense? It's the outsiders who probably felt not wanted. People who tried to start teams but either got no help or were told they didn't belong in RL. 

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The basic premise that people who watch rugby league , go to rugby league , pile money into rugby league and spend large amounts of time talking about rugby league don’t really like it , arent really fans and don’t want it to grow bemuses me to begin with . A fair few of those are probably involved in the ‘ grass roots ‘ and play a part in keeping the game going . Everyone has and is entitled to their own opinions from their own perspective . Doesnt mean everything can be turned into a sweeping generalisation 

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7 minutes ago, Futtocks said:

On the extreme of always seeing (and/or hoping for) the worst in everything and everyone.

As an example, before any big match, you'll get the first pessimistic crowd estimate, then it'll get competitive and other posters will chip in with even lower figures. It's very boring, because you knew they would do that, from the moment the fixture was announced.

And the Birmingham thread is a prime example of the other end of the scale. 

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