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League One - What is the Future?


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On 03/08/2022 at 16:20, The Lad said:

The trouble with League 1 is that it has no identity I don't think anyone knows what it is. One of the reasons for this is because there are two leagues in one, the heartland clubs and the expansion ones. The expansion experiment has for the most part failed  Hemel, Gloucestershire and Oxford have all left the league, Coventry and West Wales have gone through name changes. No expansion club has had consistent years in the top half of the league only managing to win one or two games against the Heartland clubs between them. It's easy to dismiss league 1 because its the bottom of the pile, it seems like the powers that be always view it as an after thought rather than something that should be pushed and have a market for.

I think that in the end there will be two leagues. Leigh Centurions, Featherstone Rovers, Bradford Bulls, London Broncos and Newcastle Thunder will go into Super league along with all the clubs that are there now. All other clubs will be in a bigger second league.

 

You mention Newcastle within that group. A club that only (technicalities included 🙂) have three years more in the league structure than Skolars and only ten than the first installment of WWR. Again hanging them out to dry will be a travesty. Plus why allow Cornwall to enter then pull the plug after a year or so.

Edited by Mumby Magic

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18 hours ago, ShropshireBull said:

I didnt say ten; You did .

Yes I understand teams will fold   WWR probably and Skolars to a southern conference but what is the point in putting limited funds into places that arent generating a roi? Hunslet with their sub 400 crowds could be gone too. Tough choices need to be made. 

Challenger teams I would say our teams who have the infrastructure and ambition to break into SL and need to be given a chance to see if they can grow. Currently would say Fev York Newcastle and even Keighley with their New stand to put pressure on the weaker teams in SL.

Cornwall are getting a 1000 plus at the bottom of League 1.

Hunslet is a good point. We are quick to dismiss Skolars, a club that has been in the system 20 years. A club of which I know, due to working at a semi-pro club as a volunteer, were classed as a better run club than some SL clubs. They have provided players to SL clubs inadvertently.

Yet we never consider (I believe we shouldn't cull ANY club btw) cutting ties with Hunslet for example. 

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On 01/08/2022 at 19:24, Derwent Parker said:

Whatever happens the RFL have to make the fixture list bigger 20  matches is not enough.

If loop fixtures are good enough for Super Greed then they should be good enough for L1.

 

Are the clubs complaining ?  Would they want to play in February ?  Do game days make a profit ?  Who funds the not inconsiderable travel costs ?

This is all amongst the information you'd need to form an opinion on whether 20 games is enough.

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2 hours ago, OriginalMrC said:

These threads are always so tiring. How many people commenting actually support a league 1 club? There doesn't need to be radical solutions at all. The league could do with being 12 teams. It could also do with more financial support. That's all it needs thank you. 

I do. When I started this reply, I wasn't sure where it was going to go - but this is how it turned out. I've supported my club for 50 years and we're currently in League 1.

It's hard to have faith/believe in the competition when the RFL patently don't. It's a hard comp to enjoy: no real rhythm, too many breaks/weekends off. Apart from WWR - who were frankly awful - the other 'development' clubs have been competitive in spells. Skolars are struggling a bit, but can clearly play; Cornwall are having a good enough first year (I went down there and, yes, there was 1,000 on the ground); Midlands Hurricanes look the club most likely to break into the top half (they look the part and they beat/nilled Hunslet last week). The top half of the league (bar Keighley, who are spending cash like a drunken sailor), is tight, competitive and of a decent standard. But there's not enough of it. 10 home games isn't enough to to keep revenue ticking over or build any real critical mass.

The clubs in the lower reaches of the Championship are much closer to League 1 standard than they are to the top half of the Championship, so that would make a natural 'transition point' for recutting the leagues if required (Workington looking in all sorts of trouble ATM and look like they could use a couple of consolidatory seasons at a lower level to stabilise and rebuild.

The risk in League 1 is that the RFL will just pull the plug/the ladder up and leave the teams in there to wither. Running a RL side on £20k and whatever sponsor/benefactor funding you can beg, steal or borrow, is a thanklessly difficult task - but, in doing so, the clubs in there continue to give Rugby League a presence in some key areas and at a good level on the talent pathway.  The RFL should be thankful that they continue to fly the flag for their/our sport under incredibly challenging conditions and at minimal cost to them. And I believe that they should show their gratitude by supporting their efforts more enthusiastically.
 

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2 hours ago, Mumby Magic said:

Hunslet is a good point. We are quick to dismiss Skolars, a club that has been in the system 20 years. A club of which I know, due to working at a semi-pro club as a volunteer, were classed as a better run club than some SL clubs. They have provided players to SL clubs inadvertently.

Yet we never consider (I believe we shouldn't cull ANY club btw) cutting ties with Hunslet for example. 

Guess fact I am not from heartlands means for me the criteria is pretty much objective. Bulls wouldn´t get near any SL franchise astm because of our dump, hard to justify a place to Hunslet with crowds not even half the size of Cornwall. Would love for them to grow like any club but again, tough decisions need to be made. 

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Not a fan of hunslet but do sympathise with them. Crowds have been dwindling since they were denied access to the promised land

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sometimes you have to take a step backwards to move forward

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I wish folks would stop picking on Hunslet….they are as important to keep in the league structure as any other team.

There are plenty of teams in the championship who have gone through their struggles but come out stronger. 

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23 minutes ago, Anita Bath said:

I wish folks would stop picking on Hunslet….they are as important to keep in the league structure as any other team.

There are plenty of teams in the championship who have gone through their struggles but come out stronger. 

Nobody is picking on them. Point inadvertently why a supposed non heartland club should be considered for culling and not a heartland. It's the random mindset of M62ers. 

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4 hours ago, steve oates said:

What has been tiring over the decades is the constant cheering on of "expansion" which involves dreamers coming into the game and throwing massive wads of cash away on so called expansion teams under our noses. As for "more financial support" for these dreamers, that's just throwing more good money after bad.

But you knew this anyway😉

And the point you make here is exactly why threads like this are so tiring. 

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11 minutes ago, OriginalMrC said:

And the point you make here is exactly why threads like this are so tiring. 

And why do you believe Hurricanes are at financial risk? 

If a club has survived a distribution cut from 80k to 18k why should they fold now? 

It's far easier to plug a 20k gap than a 100k gap. 18k from the RFL is to a great extent irrelevant as it is not enough one person the minimum wage for 40 hours a week for a year

As has been said let's see how the Super Greed clubs do without their 1.8 million. I suspect they will survive as someone at each club will plug the gap, just as someone at league one, or at championship level would n

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18 minutes ago, Hemi4561 said:

And why do you believe Hurricanes are at financial risk? 

If a club has survived a distribution cut from 80k to 18k why should they fold now? 

It's far easier to plug a 20k gap than a 100k gap. 18k from the RFL is to a great extent irrelevant as it is not enough one person the minimum wage for 40 hours a week for a year

As has been said let's see how the Super Greed clubs do without their 1.8 million. I suspect they will survive as someone at each club will plug the gap, just as someone at league one, or at championship level would n

I never said they were. It's quite the opposite, the club has good financial backing and with a move to Birmingham next year has a great chance to grow as a club. 

I was responding to the jibe about throwing good money after bad at 'expansion clubs' 

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I think the idea of opening up promotion to league one and relegation to the Conference is a good one. My only concern would be financially could Conference clubs survive higher up the league. 

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50 minutes ago, Phil W said:

I think the idea of opening up promotion to league one and relegation to the Conference is a good one. My only concern would be financially could Conference clubs survive higher up the league. 

I think it's terrible. Almost no amateur clubs want to be professional and the vast majority are in towns with professional clubs. Their entire reason for existing is completely different to a professional club.

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55 minutes ago, Phil W said:

I think the idea of opening up promotion to league one and relegation to the Conference is a good one. My only concern would be financially could Conference clubs survive higher up the league. 

The RFL could just put some (solvency) criteria in place for any club that is to be promoted.  If you can tick a couple of boxes re bank balance/income streams, then you are in. 

For me, it is an absolute must, as it incentivises clubs to develop and grow. 

Plus, there must be a few clubs out there who can at least hold their own financially, unlike Workington for example who are scrapping about with gofundme pages and threads on here asking for people to save them. There is so much dead wood in League 1, that has survived for generations due to zero threat from below. If League 1 became the top of the pyramid (with only only 1 criteria-based promotion spot from there into Super League 2) then I think we would see improvement from a lot of the existing clubs who would have to get their house in order.

Since Scottish football adopted a promotion/relegation pyramid model into their League 2 a few seasons ago, none of the 'promoted' clubs have remained in League 2, they are all now playing higher!

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A true pyramid sounds nice but it’s a terrible idea, in reality. Most (if not all) amateur clubs in the NCL structure don’t want to get promoted (those in the southern conference appear light years away) and losing clubs in their infancy in new areas for competitions sake is tantamount to a death sentence, which is simply ridiculous. 

 

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9 hours ago, OriginalMrC said:

I never said they were. It's quite the opposite, the club has good financial backing and with a move to Birmingham next year has a great chance to grow as a club. 

I was responding to the jibe about throwing good money after bad at 'expansion clubs' 

Sorry MrC my bad, I quoted the wrong post. It was a question for Steve Oates who had said 7 clubs were in danger and included Hurricanes as one of them. 

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18 hours ago, Billy King's Boots said:

When I started this reply, I wasn't sure where it was going to go - but this is how it turned out. I've supported my club for 50 years and we're currently in League 1.

It's hard to have faith/believe in the competition when the RFL patently don't.

The risk in League 1 is that the RFL will just pull the plug/the ladder up and leave the teams in there to wither. Running a RL side on £20k and whatever sponsor/benefactor funding you can beg, steal or borrow, is a thanklessly difficult task - but, in doing so, the clubs in there continue to give Rugby League a presence in some key areas and at a good level on the talent pathway.  The RFL should be thankful that they continue to fly the flag for their/our sport under incredibly challenging conditions and at minimal cost to them. And I believe that they should show their gratitude by supporting their efforts more enthusiastically.
 

Another excellent post.

Looking back to 1996 there were three divisions and about 36 clubs , and today it's pretty much the same.  It seems that when the funding was withdrawn from the lower divisions and Superleague took it all (was this around 2002), this did not deter most if not all of the small clubs from simply carrying on.

The risk as I see it is not really "The RFL" but the Superleague clubs who now have all the power, and are hinting at something like SL1 and SL2  with 12 teams each. There seems to be no answer to "What about the rest" or "is there to be an SL3"???

The rest (13 clubs)  would easily make a decent SL3 in theory, but I have always assumed pulling the TV money will collapse most of these clubs.  That assumption may be wrong based on that last time that TV funding was cut.

So we shall see how it goes, but if at the end of the day RFL & SL have really unified, the question is why has a future been mapped out for only 24 of 37 clubs.

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On 01/08/2022 at 22:03, NW10LDN said:

They still have to largely fund themselves though. And it doesn't matter unless you have a strong Super League generating revenue.

they dont have to generate much to pay £16k a year, thats less than £1k a game. 

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21 hours ago, Phil W said:

I think the idea of opening up promotion to league one and relegation to the Conference is a good one. My only concern would be financially could Conference clubs survive higher up the league. 

if amateur teams wanted to join the pro ranks they would apply now. they dont want to so this doesnt work. last team to apply was London Skolars who played for 4 years in the NCL

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21 hours ago, Damien said:

I think it's terrible. Almost no amateur clubs want to be professional and the vast majority are in towns with professional clubs. Their entire reason for existing is completely different to a professional club.

Correct. So few people seem to realise that most players at these community clubs prefer to play there, in their leagues, and wouldn't like the "opportunity" to be promoted. The commitment required and the potential downsides are significant and the organisational requirements are daunting. Leave the amateur leagues alone, please.

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Sport, amongst other things, is a dream-world offering escape from harsh reality and the disturbing prospect of change.

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41 minutes ago, Blind side johnny said:

Correct. So few people seem to realise that most players at these community clubs prefer to play there, in their leagues, and wouldn't like the "opportunity" to be promoted. The commitment required and the potential downsides are significant and the organisational requirements are daunting. Leave the amateur leagues alone, please.

Could IMG over the next few years gather bids and proposals from new and existing clubs.

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23 hours ago, Damien said:

I think it's terrible. Almost no amateur clubs want to be professional and the vast majority are in towns with professional clubs. Their entire reason for existing is completely different to a professional club.

I love the way you refer to the likes of Hunslet, Workington and Oldham etc as "professional".

They are nowhere NEAR being professional, and never will be. No stadium, tiny budgets, players not even on contracts,gofundme pages to raise 10 grand to save the club.... 

Glorified pub sides!! 😂

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1 minute ago, Programme Guy said:

I love the way you refer to the likes of Hunslet, Workington and Oldham etc as "professional".

They are nowhere NEAR being professional, and never will be. No stadium, tiny budgets, players not even on contracts,gofundme pages to raise 10 grand to save the club.... 

Glorified pub sides!! 😂

Well I didn't as I didn't refer to any of those clubs. What a weird post. Again.

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4 minutes ago, Damien said:

Well I didn't as I didn't refer to any of those clubs. What a weird post. Again.

The discussion was about amateur clubs replacing existing league clubs within a pyramid structure, and we are talking about League 1. So logically you would be referring to League 1 clubs as "professional".

If you didn't mean them, then: my bad. 

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15 hours ago, IM2 said:

if amateur teams wanted to join the pro ranks they would apply now. they dont want to so this doesnt work. last team to apply was London Skolars who played for 4 years in the NCL

Though I broadly agree with your point, Coventry Bears were the last pre-existing amateur/community club to apply and join League 1 with Hemel Stags (who subsequently returned to being a community club when it didn't work out) also stepping up after being a long established community club in between Skolars and Coventry entering League 1. WWR were also a pre-established community club before they bought the South Wales Ironmen club to take their place though that wasn't a step up in the same sense as Skolars, Coventry and Hemel.

The NCL clubs do appear to have no interest in stepping up (even though many could outperform the bottom half of League 1) though community clubs established outside the heartlands do sometimes state a desire to eventually make the step up to League 1. So a full pyramid as seen in association football would neither be desirable (as the NCL is seen as the pinnacle of the community game) or produce any change as most clubs earning promotion would decline the promotion.

As for the future of League 1 (i.e those clubs left out of the upcoming restructure at SL/Championship level) it may be necessary if the number of clubs within it is to be maintained that a relaxation of rules is made to allow some clubs to become amateur whilst still competing in League 1 so that any capable of funding a semi-professional existence can do so but that any that cannot do so are not expelled from the competition.

Edited by wiganermike
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