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League One - What is the Future?


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4 hours ago, wiganermike said:

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.

1. Does the designation of "amateur" still exist in RL?

2. I expect that there would be significant difficulties in player contracts of what you suggest were examined closely.

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

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1 hour ago, Blind side johnny said:

1. Does the designation of "amateur" still exist in RL?

2. I expect that there would be significant difficulties in player contracts of what you suggest were examined closely.

1. The use or not of the term amateur is semantics really. Our sport chose a few years ago to call the BARLA clubs 'community clubs' rather than amateur. Back in the decades after 1895 such clubs were called junior clubs, I think when Fev and Castleford joined the league back in the 1920s they were still described as junior clubs before stepping up (but enough of that tangent). There is nothing to stop a club that pays its playing roster styling itself as a community club so I use the term amateur in order to distinguish between those clubs paying players and those not.

2. Would a player not being paid to play have a contract? They would be registered to play for a particular club to prevent constant switching but I wouldn't expect much else. In such a scenario a club would be wholly amateur (not a mix with some players being paid and some not). Given the disparity between the top and bottom of League 1 as it stands now I don't imagine things would change much with regard to fitness and playing standards across the league when comparing top of the table to the bottom end. Instances of League 1 clubs losing to amateur (community) clubs have been much more common than they used to be, and this has not only happened to expansion clubs.

Finally, as I am a fan of a SL club and can make such suggestions with a certain degree of detachment... 

An open question to fans of current League 1 clubs, or of clubs faced with a possibility of being in League 1 post-restructure. If funding/support was withdrawn from League 1 as many fear and it meant the continued existence of your club as opposed to its demise, would you rather see your club become amateur and continue to play in League 1 or to see them fold and disappear altogether?

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After last week's poor home performance against the Hurricanes,I saw a couple of posts on Facebook suggesting Hunslet should call it a day.

As a supporter for over 50 years(do I get a Medal!),I sincerely hope there is a future for League 1 clubs. Indeed,we have a meeting next week at the stadium where the future possibilities are being discussed,so we shall see.

If it is decided we are no longer wanted,I feel inclined to call time on rugby league and pursue my other interests.This would include my annual trip to Wembley(other grounds are available)for the cup final.

Sad,but that's how I feel.

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47 minutes ago, wiganermike said:

1. The use or not of the term amateur is semantics really. Our sport chose a few years ago to call the BARLA clubs 'community clubs' rather than amateur. Back in the decades after 1895 such clubs were called junior clubs, I think when Fev and Castleford joined the league back in the 1920s they were still described as junior clubs before stepping up (but enough of that tangent). There is nothing to stop a club that pays its playing roster styling itself as a community club so I use the term amateur in order to distinguish between those clubs paying players and those not.

2. Would a player not being paid to play have a contract? They would be registered to play for a particular club to prevent constant switching but I wouldn't expect much else. In such a scenario a club would be wholly amateur (not a mix with some players being paid and some not). Given the disparity between the top and bottom of League 1 as it stands now I don't imagine things would change much with regard to fitness and playing standards across the league when comparing top of the table to the bottom end. Instances of League 1 clubs losing to amateur (community) clubs have been much more common than they used to be, and this has not only happened to expansion clubs.

Finally, as I am a fan of a SL club and can make such suggestions with a certain degree of detachment... 

An open question to fans of current League 1 clubs, or of clubs faced with a possibility of being in League 1 post-restructure. If funding/support was withdrawn from League 1 as many fear and it meant the continued existence of your club as opposed to its demise, would you rather see your club become amateur and continue to play in League 1 or to see them fold and disappear altogether?

For those clubs that own their own grounds, like mine, the first option would not be feasible. Maintaining a ground is impossible below a certain financial critical mass, which would be the case if it were to switch to amateur without any central funding or a benevolent owner.

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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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29 minutes ago, JF1 said:

After last week's poor home performance against the Hurricanes,I saw a couple of posts on Facebook suggesting Hunslet should call it a day.

As a supporter for over 50 years(do I get a Medal!),I sincerely hope there is a future for League 1 clubs. Indeed,we have a meeting next week at the stadium where the future possibilities are being discussed,so we shall see.

If it is decided we are no longer wanted,I feel inclined to call time on rugby league and pursue my other interests.This would include my annual trip to Wembley(other grounds are available)for the cup final.

Sad,but that's how I feel.

Lot of us up here in Workington who also qualify for same said medal. 

regarding Central funding and Ignoring championship for a moment because i dont think anybody really knows what each team is on?

When you look at the basics - It is all based on Pure Greed.

Why not Give the L1 teams £100,000  [100K] each per team - that still allows the SuperGreed teams £1.700000 [1.7 Million] each - which would still be £1.69 million more].

How can anyone say they are looking after the whole game and have such a ridiculous disparity

but instead they want L1 to have 0 [Zero] so they can have 1.8 million each.

Pure Greed

If IMG do manage to bring some more money in to the game SG will try and claim it all.

If we want whats best for the whole game it will probably be SKY stopping all the funding then that will take the greed out of the game at least.

 

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49 minutes ago, JF1 said:

After last week's poor home performance against the Hurricanes,I saw a couple of posts on Facebook suggesting Hunslet should call it a day.

As a supporter for over 50 years(do I get a Medal!),I sincerely hope there is a future for League 1 clubs. Indeed,we have a meeting next week at the stadium where the future possibilities are being discussed,so we shall see.

If it is decided we are no longer wanted,I feel inclined to call time on rugby league and pursue my other interests.This would include my annual trip to Wembley(other grounds are available)for the cup final.

Sad,but that's how I feel.

Having followed a club which found itself dissolved - pretty much the only long standing 'heartland' club to have folded and not be replaced by a semi-pro phoenix club - my advice to the supporters of any of these clubs is to fight for them until the last.

You'll miss it once it's gone.

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1 hour ago, Barley Mow said:

Having followed a club which found itself dissolved - pretty much the only long standing 'heartland' club to have folded and not be replaced by a semi-pro phoenix club - my advice to the supporters of any of these clubs is to fight for them until the last.

You'll miss it once it's gone.

Who?

Bramley?

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Enjoyed our matches down at Mclaren field .

One night 7.30pm kick off - we didn't leave the bar under the grandstand till about 11pm with a long journey to Workington to follow 3 hours.

Still have the program

Edited by Derwent Parker
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35 minutes ago, Derwent Parker said:

Enjoyed our matches down at Mclaren field .

One night 7.30pm kick off - we didn't leave the bar under the grandstand till about 11pm with a long journey to Workington to follow 3 hours.

Still have the program

Back to the early 1970s Bramley were a top division team and one that competed with the best.  

Always a great day out.

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10 hours ago, Blind side johnny said:

1. Does the designation of "amateur" still exist in RL?

2. I expect that there would be significant difficulties in player contracts of what you suggest were examined closely.

Exactly.  Seems absolutely bizarre if it does. 

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I think the key to league 1 is it's ability to uncover talent that at the moment, superleague doesn't value. If IMG can open superleague's eyes to the players that league 1 can provide then it has a future.

Super league has a reserve grade and an academy where the quality is patchy and games difficult to fulfil. super League has admitted it cannot stand alone in developing talent or commercially hence why it is merging with the RFL,

SL is not the answer so IMG have to look at a whole game solution to provide late developers as well as lower quality/ younger players an opportunity to grow themselves and the game in a semi professional League. 

So I say scrap SL reserve grade and scrap SL academies, create a minimum wage for fully professional players and have a maximum number of players that SL can register. This will stop wholesale signing of talent/ kids that might be offloaded after a year or so.

Provide funding to part time clubs to reach out and develop talent and have the loan system working the other way. This funding should be regional so if there are a couple of clubs in a catchment they merge their operations while running separate league teams if they wish.

If we think of this as a talent pyramid, we have a chance.

FWIW I met Stephen Lloyd, director at Doncaster RU recently (he's a very wealthy guy) who said the basis of a good business is the strength of the base of the pyramid.  I get what he means and was using it as an argument against the Premiership going it alone.

SL has proven it cannot work alone as it does not own the talent and is not capable of developing enough of its own.

Face facts, we need League 1 more than ever.

Finally my daughter plays for an U10's side in the North East and we went to a festival where the U10's Shaw Cross side were phenomenal. Lots to learn from for us and not a Super League penny spent on making it happen.

 

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The 11 current league 1 teams, plus Batley, Dewsbury, Barrow, Workington, Whitehaven in a 16 team self sustaining semi pro league could happen regardless of what happens at the top of the game. 

The difficulty will come when deciding who, if any, of the rest (including current super league teams) will be asked to join them with an eye on the commercial benefits to the sport as a whole.

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18 minutes ago, Ackroman said:

I think the key to league 1 is it's ability to uncover talent that at the moment, superleague doesn't value. If IMG can open superleague's eyes to the players that league 1 can provide then it has a future.

Super league has a reserve grade and an academy where the quality is patchy and games difficult to fulfil. super League has admitted it cannot stand alone in developing talent or commercially hence why it is merging with the RFL,

SL is not the answer so IMG have to look at a whole game solution to provide late developers as well as lower quality/ younger players an opportunity to grow themselves and the game in a semi professional League. 

So I say scrap SL reserve grade and scrap SL academies, create a minimum wage for fully professional players and have a maximum number of players that SL can register. This will stop wholesale signing of talent/ kids that might be offloaded after a year or so.

Provide funding to part time clubs to reach out and develop talent and have the loan system working the other way. This funding should be regional so if there are a couple of clubs in a catchment they merge their operations while running separate league teams if they wish.

If we think of this as a talent pyramid, we have a chance.

FWIW I met Stephen Lloyd, director at Doncaster RU recently (he's a very wealthy guy) who said the basis of a good business is the strength of the base of the pyramid.  I get what he means and was using it as an argument against the Premiership going it alone.

SL has proven it cannot work alone as it does not own the talent and is not capable of developing enough of its own.

Face facts, we need League 1 more than ever.

Finally my daughter plays for an U10's side in the North East and we went to a festival where the U10's Shaw Cross side were phenomenal. Lots to learn from for us and not a Super League penny spent on making it happen.

 

Interesting post with some interesting ideas. 

I don't think anyone at Superleague level would deny the value of junior programmes at teams like Shaw Cross - they know full well that that's where all domestic players start their journeys. 

But that's a very different question to what is the purpose of L1. Indeed, there's an argument that all the time, money and emotion spent worry about L1 would be better spent thinking about the community game. 

Clearly there needs to be a tier of rugby below SL for late bloomers and never-quite-made-it players, but I don't think there's value in scrapping academies at all - every sport in the world uses them to make players the best they can be. 

Reserves is more interesting, but ask the coaches why they wanted the reserve league back, and it was so there would be consistency on coaching rather than players being loaned out into who knows what environments. 

An obvious compromise would be for some L1 clubs to more officially become development clubs for SL teams, like NSW/QRL teams are for NRL. 

But as long as L1 teams still dream they can rise to the top in an open pyramid, that's not going to happen. 

L1's biggest problem is that it's (at least) three leagues in one and that obscures its purpose. And its future can't be considered on its own, but as part of a rewriting of what every tier does, including the amateur tiers. 

Keighley, Oldham, Cornwall and Skolars each have very different needs as clubs, and a one size fits all L1 isn't necessarily the right structure for any of them, it's just a bodge job where we chuck everyone that's left.

We can do better than just keeping L1 going as a zombie league in its current format. 

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1 hour ago, Toby Chopra said:

 

An obvious compromise would be for some L1 clubs to more officially become development clubs for SL teams, like NSW/QRL teams are for NRL. 

 

The NRL is reverting to a reserve grade structure (including the Warriors) so the role of these NSW clubs as feeder sides will be greatly diminished from next year. 

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2 hours ago, Programme Guy said:

The NRL is reverting to a reserve grade structure (including the Warriors) so the role of these NSW clubs as feeder sides will be greatly diminished from next year. 

Interesting, why are they doing that? Cost? Greater control of the players and the coaching they will receive? 

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4 hours ago, Ackroman said:

I think the key to league 1 is it's ability to uncover talent that at the moment, superleague doesn't value. If IMG can open superleague's eyes to the players that league 1 can provide then it has a future.

Super league has a reserve grade and an academy where the quality is patchy and games difficult to fulfil. super League has admitted it cannot stand alone in developing talent or commercially hence why it is merging with the RFL,

SL is not the answer so IMG have to look at a whole game solution to provide late developers as well as lower quality/ younger players an opportunity to grow themselves and the game in a semi professional League. 

So I say scrap SL reserve grade and scrap SL academies, create a minimum wage for fully professional players and have a maximum number of players that SL can register. This will stop wholesale signing of talent/ kids that might be offloaded after a year or so.

Provide funding to part time clubs to reach out and develop talent and have the loan system working the other way. This funding should be regional so if there are a couple of clubs in a catchment they merge their operations while running separate league teams if they wish.

If we think of this as a talent pyramid, we have a chance.

FWIW I met Stephen Lloyd, director at Doncaster RU recently (he's a very wealthy guy) who said the basis of a good business is the strength of the base of the pyramid.  I get what he means and was using it as an argument against the Premiership going it alone.

SL has proven it cannot work alone as it does not own the talent and is not capable of developing enough of its own.

Face facts, we need League 1 more than ever.

Finally my daughter plays for an U10's side in the North East and we went to a festival where the U10's Shaw Cross side were phenomenal. Lots to learn from for us and not a Super League penny spent on making it happen.

 

As i have said many times Greed is not the answer - but it is what's happening in UK

In the USA the NFL one of the richest and well known /well followed sports in the world they try to make the game more level/even matched.

They have the draft system where the Lowest teams [worst record] get the first choice of all the new players to try and level things out. the best team gets the last choice etc

In RFL the Super Greed just get all the money and want more and happily take the remaining scraps that L1 get and they  also hoover up all the promising new players which is only increasing the gap between top and bottom. And will lead to us eventually losing clubs.

NFL USA - the Best get Last choice the Lowest get Help - Fair

RFL UK - the richest get MORE the poorest get LESS - Disgraceful

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19 minutes ago, Toby Chopra said:

Interesting, why are they doing that? Cost? Greater control of the players and the coaching they will receive? 

Am not sure. I was chatting to one of the World Cup coaches last week, and he said that more teams now want a reserve grade, rather than using these feeder clubs.

 

He actually said that they ALSO intend to run full Toyota Cup as well as réservé grade.

I was a little surprised due to the costs involved, but he said it is a goer.

He mentioned a shorter academy/U18 comp as well, but those fixtures will not be aligned to the NRL games. (I think this is the situation at present, so no change). 

 

 

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