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120 points against London teams


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This statement was made 9 years ago now. What happened to this London plan and strategy? What happened to the RFL saying its not one person's problem it's our problem? Are the RFL going to take ownership for their failings this?

There was obviously a recognition 9 years ago that there were serious failings yet despite this pledge things have been allowed to deteriorate even more. This all despite a record TV deal in this period:

The chief executive of the Rugby Football League says the governing body needs to improve its strategy in London.

The capital has had a representative in Super League since its inception in 1996 but London's side has never won the league title or the Challenge Cup.

"London is a unique opportunity," Nigel Wood told BBC London 94.9.

"It is almost inconceivable to consider yourself a national sport without having a strong presence in the capital. We just have to make sure that we get that presence right.

"It is probably not right as it is and we need to work with all the stakeholders to improve that.

"It is extremely important that we 'do London' and 'do London' well in terms of rugby league."

London Broncos are England's sole Super League side south of Widnes while Hemel Stags, on the outskirts of London, have recently joined London Skolars among the semi-professional ranks.

The numbers of people playing the game in London and the south have grown since the advent of Super League, but Sport England cut rugby league's funding by £10.1 million in December.

Wood is keen that the sport continues to progress in the south of the country.

"First and foremost, there needs to be a very easily understood plan," Wood added.

"I think it is important we pull all the strands together to come up with a credible plan that the whole of the rugby league community in London can get behind and buy into.

"Once we find that then I think the game has a chance to go from strength to strength.

"It's not any one person's problem. It's our problem.

"We will try and work with all of the key decision-makers within London rugby league and its environs to come up with a strategy that works."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-league/21634020

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Sad times. 

I agree with @Tommygilfon the two clubs being in competition and therefore weakening both set-ups.

That interview from Wood reflects rather badly on the RFL and their management of the game in London.

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Its a fact that amateur RU teams can pay a much higher match day fee for PT players than RL clubs in London.  If the RFL wants to have a presence in London, then it will need investment and significent investment at that. Does not have to go to clubs per say, but considering the RFL has very little to no money, they will have to accept that League will just be a small regional sport confined to 3 area's in the north of england.

Even sports like Netball, Basketball and Ice Hockey have better International presence than League does right now

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15 minutes ago, Damien said:

This statement was made 9 years ago now. What happened to this London plan and strategy? What happened to the RFL saying its not one person's problem it's our problem? Are the RFL going to take ownership for their failings this? There was obviously a recognition 9 years ago that there were serious failings yet despite this pledge things have been allowed to deteriorate even more.

The statement was the usual wishful thinking Bull, and the reality always was Rugby Union was king in London.  Having said that Rugby Union participation has bombed this last five years and League has taken a massive hit as well.

McDermott said years ago when he was at Bronco's he could not get players to come south to sign for Broncos and bolster their efforts to establish a regular SL team. McNeil has now walked away from Skolars and Hughes has set his own personal budget for the continuance of the Broncos, for his own personal amusement NOT ours. I suggest if anyone wants to see more money invested in London they put it in themselves and find out what a waste of money that would now be.

The idea London clubs give the game a more "national feeling" may have something in it but certainly nothing of any value whatsoever.  I take solace in the fact that top class Rugby League stretchers all the way from Leeds and Wigan down to Toulouse and Perpignan. People can hope for Skolars against Broncos one day, but I'm more excited about the return of competitive games between France and England, which is the "plan and strategy" we should all be hoping for........

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It would be interesting to see if and how the Our League Active participant membership scheme is impacting upon teams' ability to get a team out in the South East.

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28 minutes ago, zylya said:

It would be interesting to see if and how the Our League Active participant membership scheme is impacting upon teams' ability to get a team out in the South East.

Its effect will be the square root of F.A.

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1 hour ago, steve oates said:

The statement was the usual wishful thinking Bull, and the reality always was Rugby Union was king in London.  Having said that Rugby Union participation has bombed this last five years and League has taken a massive hit as well.

But the statement was made by the Chief Executive of the RFL and they took ownership for the game in London and took responsibility for developing a cohesive plan and strategy. When nothing was done and the game has declined then people should be held to account, it certainly shouldn't just be glossed over as wishful thinking.

I'm not getting into the Rugby Union is king in London debate because it clearly isn't, vast swathes of London really aren't that interested and everything plays second fiddle to Football. Its also irrelevant to the discussion. It also ignores the fact that RL in London was doing rather well when the game concentrated in developing the sport there and had more development officers in the capital. Its incredibly simplistic to just write off RL without looking at why RL is where it is now and make out that it cannot be done.

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32 minutes ago, Damien said:

But the statement was made by the Chief Executive of the RFL and they took ownership for the game in London and took responsibility for developing a cohesive plan and strategy. When nothing was done and the game has declined then people should be held to account, it certainly shouldn't just be glossed over as wishful thinking.

I'm not getting into the Rugby Union is king in London debate because it clearly isn't, vast swathes of London really aren't that interested and everything plays second fiddle to Football. Its also irrelevant to the discussion. It also ignores the fact that RL in London was doing rather well when the game concentrated in developing the sport there and had more development officers in the capital. Its incredibly simplistic to just write off RL without looking at why RL is where it is now and make out that it cannot be done.

I think the comment about "the rugby league community" in London is interesting. As far as I know there has been no attempt made to bring people together in London to discuss how to stabilise/grow the sport. The poor state of the game in the capital also means that community is getting smaller and smaller. Despite my regular posting on here I am struggling TBH to retain an interest in the game. I have not gone to a game yet.

Steve - just for the record Hector didn't walk away. I happen to know he was put a lot of his own money into the club over the last twenty years and he ensured that the board was viable before stepping down. He still supports and helps the club.

Mind you, as someone who has put a few £000s of his own money into RL down here I do realise you do it out of love, with zero expectation of return.

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1 hour ago, steve oates said:

the reality always was Rugby Union was king in London

There is a tiny corner of leafy Richmond-upon-Thames where this is true: where you find Barnes, Rosslyn Park, London Welsh, Richmond, Harlequins but no significant football teams in the way. Even there, I suspect the majority of people are more interested in Chelsea, Brentford, Fulham and the rest.

There won't be any future for rugby league anywhere if we persist in this belief that everything we do has to be set against/with/in contrast to rugby union.

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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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51 minutes ago, Damien said:

But the statement was made by the Chief Executive of the RFL and they took ownership for the game in London and took responsibility for developing a cohesive plan and strategy. When nothing was done and the game has declined then people should be held to account, it certainly shouldn't just be glossed over as wishful thinking.

I'm not getting into the Rugby Union is king in London debate because it clearly isn't, vast swathes of London really aren't that interested and everything plays second fiddle to Football. Its also irrelevant to the discussion. It also ignores the fact that RL in London was doing rather well when the game concentrated in developing the sport there and had more development officers in the capital. Its incredibly simplistic to just write off RL without looking at why RL is where it is now and make out that it cannot be done.

It's possibly quite useful for the RFL that their website is so awful because it makes it basically impossible to follow how/if any of these things ever develop.

This is one example of an announcement but there are loads.

Did this happen, for example? https://www.rugby-league.com/article/54079/rugby-football-league-launches-rlt (I'm not saying it didn't - I'm just saying that there is no obvious way of tracking the development)

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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4 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

There is a tiny corner of leafy Richmond-upon-Thames where this is true: where you find Barnes, Rosslyn Park, London Welsh, Richmond, Harlequins but no significant football teams in the way. Even there, I suspect the majority of people are more interested in Chelsea, Brentford, Fulham and the rest.

There won't be any future for rugby league anywhere if we persist in this belief that everything we do has to be set against/with/in contrast to rugby union.

Certainly in my bit of east London RU has very little profile and I completely agree RL is a different sport with a lot (potentially) going for it.

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4 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

It's possibly quite useful for the RFL that their website is so awful because it makes it basically impossible to follow how/if any of these things ever develop.

This is one example of an announcement but there are loads.

Did this happen, for example? https://www.rugby-league.com/article/54079/rugby-football-league-launches-rlt (I'm not saying it didn't - I'm just saying that there is no obvious way of tracking the development)

I sometimes wonder whether the RFL think making announcements make things happen, as if by magic. It certainly felt like that when Oxford et al, were bought into L1 with frankly very little thought about how they would be sustainable or competitive.

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On 24/04/2022 at 17:45, Jughead said:

Broncos actions over the course of the winter have put serious jeopardy on Rugby League in London and the South East in its entirety. 

Let’s be specific and say it’s the actions of David Hughes that have put RL in London up the creek……

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On 25/04/2022 at 10:31, crashmon said:

I think Skolars will be ok TBH

I am expecting Broncos to fold sometime in the summer when a potential loss to Dewsbury + <500 for the Newcastle game (Fri night in London is not conductive for a evening game), will probably finally convince Hughes to pull the plug.  Most of the Broncos players will then go back to Skolars probably

That could make Skolars more competitive in L1

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7 hours ago, steve oates said:

The statement was the usual wishful thinking Bull, and the reality always was Rugby Union was king in London.  Having said that Rugby Union participation has bombed this last five years and League has taken a massive hit as well.

McDermott said years ago when he was at Bronco's he could not get players to come south to sign for Broncos and bolster their efforts to establish a regular SL team. McNeil has now walked away from Skolars and Hughes has set his own personal budget for the continuance of the Broncos, for his own personal amusement NOT ours. I suggest if anyone wants to see more money invested in London they put it in themselves and find out what a waste of money that would now be.

The idea London clubs give the game a more "national feeling" may have something in it but certainly nothing of any value whatsoever.  I take solace in the fact that top class Rugby League stretchers all the way from Leeds and Wigan down to Toulouse and Perpignan. People can hope for Skolars against Broncos one day, but I'm more excited about the return of competitive games between France and England, which is the "plan and strategy" we should all be hoping for........

When I hoped for Skolars v Broncos I’d hoped it would be in the Championship………..

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I've always felt cracking the London sports market was a big ask for a low profile sport that RL in the UK is. Football is an obsession and every other sport has to find a niche where it can survive and maybe prosper. RL in London hasn't found that niche and the nomadic existence of the code's flagship club in that city has only added to that failure. 

My blog: https://rugbyl.blogspot.co.nz/

It takes wisdom to know when a discussion has run its course.

It takes reasonableness to end that discussion. 

 

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17 hours ago, EssexRL said:

I sometimes wonder whether the RFL think making announcements make things happen, as if by magic. It certainly felt like that when Oxford et al, were bought into L1 with frankly very little thought about how they would be sustainable or competitive.

It's fairly common to see organisations do this these days, as if saying something out loud means you've addressed the problem and no follow-up work is required.

But there's a bigger issue with the RFL, in that ever since Richard Lewis left there's been a deliberate policy of being almost completely hands off and allowing the clubs to operate with minimal direction from the governing body. "We can't force the clubs to do anything, they have to run themselves" is one of Ralph Rimmer's favourite soundbites. The truth is they just plain don't want to get involved. It's far easier, and safer for first Wood and now Rimmer, to steer clear and keep their heads down. That way, when things do wrong, they can't be blamed.

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4 hours ago, RayCee said:

I've always felt cracking the London sports market was a big ask for a low profile sport that RL in the UK is. Football is an obsession and every other sport has to find a niche where it can survive and maybe prosper. RL in London hasn't found that niche and the nomadic existence of the code's flagship club in that city has only added to that failure. 

In one important respect RL has 'cracked' London: over the past couple of decades many thousands of people have experienced the sport first hand, from junior/school player and their parents, to Open Age, and Broncos/CC Final/Test attendees. Then there are Sky viewers and even ex pat northerners.

Imo, this is a resource that has been wasted through the ineptitude of the Broncos and the RFL.

I can go through my FB friends and identify fifty or so who are lapsed RLers living in London and the SE. Sure, some are gone to RL, life moves on. But some are dormant. 

 

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25 minutes ago, Number 16 said:

In one important respect RL has 'cracked' London: over the past couple of decades many thousands of people have experienced the sport first hand, from junior/school player and their parents, to Open Age, and Broncos/CC Final/Test attendees. Then there are Sky viewers and even ex pat northerners.

Imo, this is a resource that has been wasted through the ineptitude of the Broncos and the RFL.

I can go through my FB friends and identify fifty or so who are lapsed RLers living in London and the SE. Sure, some are gone to RL, life moves on. But some are dormant. 

 

I understand where you're coming from but having some people who have experienced the game and were at some point supporters wasn't the success I was referring to. The dormant ones can come back but to what? I see more hope for the Skolars than the Broncos and if they become the club some London fans can focus on, well maybe something can come from that. 

My blog: https://rugbyl.blogspot.co.nz/

It takes wisdom to know when a discussion has run its course.

It takes reasonableness to end that discussion. 

 

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21 hours ago, Damien said:

But the statement was made by the Chief Executive of the RFL and they took ownership for the game in London and took responsibility for developing a cohesive plan and strategy. When nothing was done and the game has declined then people should be held to account, it certainly shouldn't just be glossed over as wishful thinking.

I'm not getting into the Rugby Union is king in London debate because it clearly isn't, vast swathes of London really aren't that interested and everything plays second fiddle to Football. Its also irrelevant to the discussion. It also ignores the fact that RL in London was doing rather well when the game concentrated in developing the sport there and had more development officers in the capital. Its incredibly simplistic to just write off RL without looking at why RL is where it is now and make out that it cannot be done.

The RFL can make statements all day, but we should remember how the RFL was decimated a few years back when redundancies were made in heavy numbers, and they cleared out of Red Hall. Development officers are also a thing of the past due to the lack of funding so sadly - very sadly - the reality is that London "cannot be done"

Football doesn't come into it, the battle has always been between Rugby Union (which is king of Rugby in London) and Rugby League. I can remember back in the 1990's there was a stand alone Southern ARL and there is one now that appears to contain Hammersmith, Brixton and the London Chargers? 

Nothing is being done because there is nobody to do it, and no money to do it with, and even if there was some development money available  would you spend that on London or would you spend that along the M62??.

Which would you do?

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21 hours ago, gingerjon said:

There won't be any future for rugby league anywhere if we persist in this belief that everything we do has to be set against/with/in contrast to rugby union.

There will be no future for Rugby League if all of our very limited development funds are not spent on shoring up the game in the north. Sale RU went professional and Leeds RU went professional as well. 

Many schools across the M62 don't play league they play union. Union clubs along the M62 also run junior sides.

There's a tough battle going on every week between Union and league across the M62 which you with, respect, seem to miss completely. Imagine if we spent all the development money we had on London what would happen to the game in Yorkshire and Lancashire?

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On the delicate balance between league and union, it is a reality that our LJL teams (or maybe I just speak for my club) are made up of something like: 

90% union first, league second

5% league first, union second

5% league only

By far the easiest way of recruiting is word of mouth among union lads. But this gives us the imbalance we have above which causes availability issues. For obvious reasons, we need to bolster the league first/only share. 

But I don't agree with the conclusion that this means development money would be wasted. Increasing the presence of RL in schools would provide the biggest boost as that is where our league only lads have arrived from. Turning union first lads into leaguies is more of a very slow burn - but achievable if there's a thriving club, a good comp and a talent pathway. 

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