Wigan & RU: Worth it so far, I'd say

Wigan & RU: Worth it so far, I'd say

Post by Dave Fish » Wed, 15 May 1996 04:00:00


When Wigan's involvement with RU was first mooted, the majority of
EXPRESSED opinion in this group seemed decidely against the whole affair.

How do things stand now?

I can't think of another week in which UK League has ever had such positive
coverage from the national media. Sure, there are still plenty of excuses about
unfamiliar running lines, professional fitness, and the union sides not really
trying, but as things stand today no-one in UK RU dare make the same silly
claims about RL that they made a week ago.

Apart from the ridiculous Nigel Starmer-Smith, I haven't heard any of them
still talking about 'fat northerners bumping into each other', or claiming that
their men can match League players for fitness, pace, and ball handling. RU
correspondents in The Times, The Independent, The Guardian and The
Telegraph have ALL been forced to consider the outside possibility of
Wigan actually beating Bath at their own game!

If such commited RU stalwarts are thinking this way, the less partisan general
sporting public, must at least have become more open to virtues of League.

I noticed the man with oscillating goats say that he didn't want such contests
to be repeated. Why not? I can't see what RL has to lose, and I've already
seen the new respect that Wigan have won for us. In fact, on a personal level
this if the first time I can honestly say that I've enjoyed being surrounded by
the ignorant RU bigots of Bristol University! (N.B. ordinary Bath fans and
players were always a BIT more open in their perception on League, but
even they have been searching for last summer's sunglasses!)

Dave

 
 
 

Wigan & RU: Worth it so far, I'd say

Post by Vibrating Bum-Faced Goa » Wed, 15 May 1996 04:00:00

: When Wigan's involvement with RU was first mooted, the majority of
: EXPRESSED opinion in this group seemed decidely against the whole affair.

: How do things stand now?

Same for me. I'm against it as a continual thing but as a one off I can
live with it.

: I can't think of another week in which UK League has ever had such positive
: coverage from the national media. Sure, there are still plenty of excuses about
: unfamiliar running lines, professional fitness, and the union sides not really
: trying, but as things stand today no-one in UK RU dare make the same silly
: claims about RL that they made a week ago.

That's a benefit, but unless there's some positive sucking up to the media
on the part of the RFL then I suspect it will be business as usual in a
few weeks. For example, if Bath beat Wigan at RU, and surely they must,
then can you really imagine the current positive media coverage
continuing? After all, to quote the Independant on Sunday's RU reporter,
Wigan are impressive but the game they play just isn't Rugby.

The thing about the Independant is it's the most RL friendly of all the
heavies and yet they can dredge up comments like that from such
RL-positive events. I wonder what the Sunday Times had to say about it...

: their men can match League players for fitness, pace, and ball handling. RU
: correspondents in The Times, The Independent, The Guardian and The
: Telegraph have ALL been forced to consider the outside possibility of
: Wigan actually beating Bath at their own game!

Every year, co-incidentally about this time of year when the Championship
race is usually being decided, someone RU journalist 'discovers' RL and
eschews it's virtues in the national press for a week. This was
particularly noticeable in 92-93 when Saints and Wigan finished up on the
same championship points and in 93-94 when Wigan, Wire and Bradford did
the same.

: If such commited RU stalwarts are thinking this way, the less partisan general
: sporting public, must at least have become more open to virtues of League.

But then when it comes to a sport with low media attention like RL, the
general sporting public rely solely on the media to form their own
opinions on the general virtues of League. I don't expect the current
media favour to last unless the RFL pursues it, and even then there's
probably only a slim chance of it and the RFL will give up the ghost too
easily.

: I noticed the man with oscillating goats say that he didn't want such contests
: to be repeated. Why not? I can't see what RL has to lose, and I've already

Ooh, that's me! A few reasons:

1) Should such a thing happen again, it will be at the bequest of the RFU
and all the little Leaguies will be chomping at the bit to get their
chance to play an RU team. Bradford and Leicester were having talks at one
stage earlier this year, prompting my one and only letter of complaint to
the Bulls (or Northern for that matter). It was pleasing to receive a
reply from Brian Smith within days that was actually longer than my
original letter answering every point I made and outlining, in full, why
they'd suggested it and why they weren't serious. 'What's good for the
goose is good for the gander' sums up the reply fairly well.

2) As in point 1, any chance of this thing happening again will be,
pending further developments between the RFU and their member clubs, as
and when the RFU desire it. The RFL will agree because TV rights are
assured so their's a way to make money. Do we want our clubs to have any
of their fixtures, real or imaginary, under the control of another
sporting body directly in competition with RL? I don't.

3) I'm prejudice personified when it comes to Rugby Union. I don't mind
admitting that the mere idea of RU and RL sides playing each other is
entirely abhorrent to me. I can watch the game, particularly Super-12, on
the TV and enjoy some of it but the people who run it I wouldn't want
within 5 miles of me.

4) Does it really prove anything? How many people will think it's just
because Wigan were playing? I can think of four SL sides that could
*easily* put a ton past Bath at the drop of a hat. I can't think one that
would lose to them. Christ, even South Wales took them apart and they're a
mid-Division 2 side who've been playing together for less than three
months! Part-timers too.

Remember that western High Plains Drifter? A gang dominate an old, civilised
town for ages before being driven out and eventually into prison. After their
release, they return to the same town try to do the same. Clint Eastwood
has been preparing the town for their return but, as payment, he gets the
run of the town and has the citizens of that town eating out of his hand.

The point is, our clubs dominated RU and were exiled. Thanks to the high
and mighty powers that be we've been 'allowed' another sniff and have so
far dominated again. My fear is that if, like the gang, we stick around too
long, Murdoch will be there Eastwood-like ready to slap both sides on the
arse with a bull whip in order to get them to kiss and make up.

Personally I can't think of a worse fate.
--
Bradford Bulls RLFC      | Rugby League Home Page:
Wembley Finalists 1996   | http://www.brad.ac.uk/~cgrussel/
British Beef - You won't | Full club-by-club guide to the 1996
get better!              | European Super League season

 
 
 

Wigan & RU: Worth it so far, I'd say

Post by Dave Fish » Wed, 15 May 1996 04:00:00


Quote:

>: When Wigan's involvement with RU was first mooted, the majority of
>: EXPRESSED opinion in this group seemed decidely against the whole affair.

>: How do things stand now?

>Same for me. I'm against it as a continual thing but as a one off I can
>live with it.

>: I can't think of another week in which UK League has ever had such positive
>: coverage from the national media. Sure, there are still plenty of excuses about
>: unfamiliar running lines, professional fitness, and the union sides not really
>: trying, but as things stand today no-one in UK RU dare make the same silly
>: claims about RL that they made a week ago.

>That's a benefit, but unless there's some positive sucking up to the media
>on the part of the RFL then I suspect it will be business as usual in a
>few weeks. For example, if Bath beat Wigan at RU, and surely they must,
>then can you really imagine the current positive media coverage
>continuing? After all, to quote the Independant on Sunday's RU reporter,
>Wigan are impressive but the game they play just isn't Rugby.

I take you point, but isn't this a reason for reminding them regularly on
the park? I don't see how the RFL would have the resources to do a job
on te media, even if they knew how.

- Show quoted text -

Quote:
>The thing about the Independant is it's the most RL friendly of all the
>heavies and yet they can dredge up comments like that from such
>RL-positive events. I wonder what the Sunday Times had to say about it...

>: their men can match League players for fitness, pace, and ball handling. RU
>: correspondents in The Times, The Independent, The Guardian and The
>: Telegraph have ALL been forced to consider the outside possibility of
>: Wigan actually beating Bath at their own game!

>Every year, co-incidentally about this time of year when the Championship
>race is usually being decided, someone RU journalist 'discovers' RL and
>eschews it's virtues in the national press for a week. This was
>particularly noticeable in 92-93 when Saints and Wigan finished up on the
>same championship points and in 93-94 when Wigan, Wire and Bradford did
>the same.

>: If such commited RU stalwarts are thinking this way, the less partisan general
>: sporting public, must at least have become more open to virtues of League.

>But then when it comes to a sport with low media attention like RL, the
>general sporting public rely solely on the media to form their own
>opinions on the general virtues of League. I don't expect the current
>media favour to last unless the RFL pursues it, and even then there's
>probably only a slim chance of it and the RFL will give up the ghost too
>easily.

As above, I can't see the RFL being able to make a direct impact on the
London-based media. OTOH, a game with serious competitors in most
major UK cities and some continental ones couldn't be ignored so easily.
Until that happens (like 'ell :-), we are going to have to speak to the general
public through the language of RU. Whilst I agree with all your qualifications,
there is no question that we have got through to quite a few people this
week. Why not keep it up?

Quote:
>: I noticed the man with oscillating goats say that he didn't want such contests
>: to be repeated. Why not? I can't see what RL has to lose, and I've already

>Ooh, that's me! A few reasons:

>1) Should such a thing happen again, it will be at the bequest of the RFU
>and all the little Leaguies will be chomping at the bit to get their
>chance to play an RU team. Bradford and Leicester were having talks at one
>stage earlier this year, prompting my one and only letter of complaint to
>the Bulls (or Northern for that matter). It was pleasing to receive a
>reply from Brian Smith within days that was actually longer than my
>original letter answering every point I made and outlining, in full, why
>they'd suggested it and why they weren't serious. 'What's good for the
>goose is good for the gander' sums up the reply fairly well.

With genuine respect, this doesn't sound like much of a 'reason'. Perhaps
you could explain it to me so my rather decrepit brain can understand it?

Quote:
>2) As in point 1, any chance of this thing happening again will be,
>pending further developments between the RFU and their member clubs, as
>and when the RFU desire it. The RFL will agree because TV rights are
>assured so their's a way to make money. Do we want our clubs to have any
>of their fixtures, real or imaginary, under the control of another
>sporting body directly in competition with RL? I don't.

I empathise with the fear, but even if RU had the initiative, the RFL would
still have veto power over silly or reckless proposals which might damage
the game (e.g. like insisting that Wigan put out a full-strength side at the
Middlesex Sevens)

Quote:
>3) I'm prejudice personified when it comes to Rugby Union. I don't mind
>admitting that the mere idea of RU and RL sides playing each other is
>entirely abhorrent to me. I can watch the game, particularly Super-12, on
>the TV and enjoy some of it but the people who run it I wouldn't want
>within 5 miles of me.

Aha! Now we have it! Actually despite my liking for Super-12s, you'd be
hard-put to match my loathing for the hypocrits and hangers-on amongst
the RFU's elite. After all, I have to make a living amongst some of
their most pusilanimous, self-important, and deeply ignorant offspring!
Uuuugggh! I can't think of any better way of making our points than by
sticking it to them on the park. You should see the amount of humble pie
that's been eaten around here of late!

Quote:
>4) Does it really prove anything? How many people will think it's just
>because Wigan were playing? I can think of four SL sides that could
>*easily* put a ton past Bath at the drop of a hat. I can't think one that
>would lose to them. Christ, even South Wales took them apart and they're a
>mid-Division 2 side who've been playing together for less than three
>months! Part-timers too.

I can think of more than 4! All the more reason to do it.

Quote:
>Remember that western High Plains Drifter? A gang dominate an old, civilised
>town for ages before being driven out and eventually into prison. After their
>release, they return to the same town try to do the same. Clint Eastwood
>has been preparing the town for their return but, as payment, he gets the
>run of the town and has the citizens of that town eating out of his hand.

>The point is, our clubs dominated RU and were exiled. Thanks to the high
>and mighty powers that be we've been 'allowed' another sniff and have so
>far dominated again. My fear is that if, like the gang, we stick around too
>long, Murdoch will be there Eastwood-like ready to slap both sides on the
>arse with a bull whip in order to get them to kiss and make up.

>Personally I can't think of a worse fate.

I wish I couldn't, but I can: a bankrupt RL on the verge of extinction.
We came pretty close in the 1960s, and it could happen again.

There's probably a good PhD to be had from an analysis of the 1960s, but
my working hypothesis is that RL (along with soccer and similar sports) was
suffering from a sociological crisis of 'modernisation', i.e. as social identity
based on the unity of place-class-language-belief declined, survival depended
on appealling to 'secular' entertainment values. The limited tackle rule, and
similar innovations enabled RL to hold on to sufficient public attention in its
traditional areas in order to survive, but it remains desperately weak. As time
goes by, the vestiges of traditional community identities are ever more
deeply penetrated by global consumer values and, therefore, ever more vulnerable
to dramatic shifts in fashion. All the might of the RFL isn't going to change
this fact, so the game had better wake up to the reality of having to compete
for every single spectator, all of the time, and with whatever 'gimmicks' it
can lay its hands on.

Personally, I have no love for this kind of reality, but I'd rather live in it than
the fairyland of an imagined golden age.

Dave

 
 
 

Wigan & RU: Worth it so far, I'd say

Post by Martin Gre » Wed, 15 May 1996 04:00:00


Quote:
> Apart from the ridiculous Nigel Starmer-Smith, I haven't heard any of them
> still talking about 'fat northerners bumping into each other', or claiming that
> their men can match League players for fitness, pace, and ball handling. RU
> correspondents in The Times, The Independent, The Guardian and The
> Telegraph have ALL been forced to consider the outside possibility of
> Wigan actually beating Bath at their own game!

Bath are very keen to learn the virtues League play may offer to their own play,
if their pride does not get in the way they will carry on playing an open game,
which will suit Wigan quite nicely. Though Bath hate losing just as much as
Wigan do, when things do not run to nicely for Bath they tend to play tight ball
up the jumper rugby.

Quote:
> If such commited RU stalwarts are thinking this way, the less partisan general
> sporting public, must at least have become more open to virtues of League.

> I noticed the man with oscillating goats say that he didn't want such contests
> to be repeated. Why not? I can't see what RL has to lose, and I've already
> seen the new respect that Wigan have won for us. In fact, on a personal level
> this if the first time I can honestly say that I've enjoyed being surrounded by
> the ignorant RU bigots of Bristol University! (N.B. ordinary Bath fans and

That is Bristol for you.

PeaCE,

MART.

 
 
 

Wigan & RU: Worth it so far, I'd say

Post by Vibrating Bum-Faced Goa » Wed, 15 May 1996 04:00:00

<SNIP Positive Media Coverage>

Quote:
>>That's a benefit, but unless there's some positive sucking up to the media
>>on the part of the RFL then I suspect it will be business as usual in a
>>few weeks. For example, if Bath beat Wigan at RU, and surely they must,
>>then can you really imagine the current positive media coverage
>>continuing? After all, to quote the Independant on Sunday's RU reporter,
>>Wigan are impressive but the game they play just isn't Rugby.
>I take you point, but isn't this a reason for reminding them regularly on
>the park? I don't see how the RFL would have the resources to do a job
>on te media, even if they knew how.

But they do have the resources. They have the second largest media
organisation in the world behind them. They have to start taking
advantage of it. The trouble is though that, and this is one of the
things that makes me so wary of *any* involvement with RU, the most
vocal anti-RL portions of the media are Murdoch papers, i.e. The Times
and Sunday Times. What does Murdoch do, tell them to stop slagging one
of his products? Nah...

Their entire RU output would be cut in half if they did that. Despite
RL getting larger crowds on a week in week out basis, RU sells more
papers. A fair proportion who support that game do so because its
showpiece occasions are sold as major events. By being club members
and going to Twickers they get to feel part of the event in a major
way. A bit like the recent scramble to buy the bog seat lid of Jackie
Onassis at Sotherby's in New York noe I come to think of it.

I've outlined my ideas towards making RL an event of similar and
greater proportions below.

Quote:
>>Ooh, that's me! A few reasons:

>>1) Should such a thing happen again, it will be at the bequest of the RFU
>>and all the little Leaguies will be chomping at the bit to get their
>>chance to play an RU team. Bradford and Leicester were having talks at one
>>stage earlier this year, prompting my one and only letter of complaint to
>>the Bulls (or Northern for that matter). It was pleasing to receive a
>>reply from Brian Smith within days that was actually longer than my
>>original letter answering every point I made and outlining, in full, why
>>they'd suggested it and why they weren't serious. 'What's good for the
>>goose is good for the gander' sums up the reply fairly well.
>With genuine respect, this doesn't sound like much of a 'reason'. Perhaps
>you could explain it to me so my rather decrepit brain can understand it?

It's more me name dropping than anything else. :) I knew what I meant
when I started it but I went off at a tangent and the point I was
building up to is actually no 2 below.

Quote:
>>2) As in point 1, any chance of this thing happening again will be,
>>pending further developments between the RFU and their member clubs, as
>>and when the RFU desire it. The RFL will agree because TV rights are
>>assured so their's a way to make money. Do we want our clubs to have any
>>of their fixtures, real or imaginary, under the control of another
>>sporting body directly in competition with RL? I don't.
>I empathise with the fear, but even if RU had the initiative, the RFL would
>still have veto power over silly or reckless proposals which might damage
>the game (e.g. like insisting that Wigan put out a full-strength side at the
>Middlesex Sevens)

Do they though? Again, both are in the control of Murdoch and the
events in question are on Murdoch channels. Surely News Ltd wouldn't
want advertising revenue damaged by a silly 100 years of prejudice
from both sides.

Quote:
>>3) I'm prejudice personified when it comes to Rugby Union. I don't mind
>>admitting that the mere idea of RU and RL sides playing each other is
>>entirely abhorrent to me. I can watch the game, particularly Super-12, on
>>the TV and enjoy some of it but the people who run it I wouldn't want
>>within 5 miles of me.
>Aha! Now we have it! Actually despite my liking for Super-12s, you'd be

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Yep. I make no bones about it.

Quote:
>hard-put to match my loathing for the hypocrits and hangers-on amongst
>the RFU's elite. After all, I have to make a living amongst some of
>their most pusilanimous, self-important, and deeply ignorant offspring!
>Uuuugggh! I can't think of any better way of making our points than by
>sticking it to them on the park. You should see the amount of humble pie
>that's been eaten around here of late!

In principle I could be persuaded to agree. It's the consequences I
find worrying. The closer ties and learinging from each other business
that Tholian and one or two others elsewhere have advocated sounds
tempting at first for both sides but, to be honest, where do you stop.
"If we've gone this far then surely just this little bit extra won't
hurt".

Quote:
>>Remember that western High Plains Drifter? A gang dominate an old, civilised
>>town for ages before being driven out and eventually into prison. After their
>>release, they return to the same town try to do the same. Clint Eastwood
>>has been preparing the town for their return but, as payment, he gets the
>>run of the town and has the citizens of that town eating out of his hand.

>>The point is, our clubs dominated RU and were exiled. Thanks to the high
>>and mighty powers that be we've been 'allowed' another sniff and have so
>>far dominated again. My fear is that if, like the gang, we stick around too
>>long, Murdoch will be there Eastwood-like ready to slap both sides on the
>>arse with a bull whip in order to get them to kiss and make up.

>>Personally I can't think of a worse fate.
>I wish I couldn't, but I can: a bankrupt RL on the verge of extinction.
>We came pretty close in the 1960s, and it could happen again.

It could, if we carry on the way we have been doing in the not too
distant past. I *strongly* believe in the way things are going,
barring RU involvment, at the moment though. For example, Bradford,
St.Helens, Keighley and Salford are drawing the crowds in with their
positive approach. Granted these sides have had varying degrees of
success recently but lets just take Bradford as an example. Some clubs
supporters are notoriously fickle, Bradford's are just plain
indifferent. When was the last time you heard an atmosphere at Odsal?
Exactly! But there's one now and I'm convinced it's more to do with
the general aura the surrounds the Bulls rather than any on field
success. An example would be the 93-94 season when they led the table
for most of the season - that year they averaged a crowd of 5,000 or
so. So far this year it's double that and we're mid table.

There's been a lot of talk about closer involvement with RU being the
only way forward for RL, but my vision for the future is this:

1) The Super League becomes a summer representative tournament.
Current clubs continue to exist but they play a short winter second
fiddle to the main event. Come the summer, regional and big city rep'
sides play out in the Super League. That way Fev, Cas' etc continue to
exist but come summer a club's players are eligible for their local
Super League rep' side.

Suggestions for rep' sides could be:

1) Barcelona
2) Birmingham
3) Dublin
4) Humberside
5) Liverpool
6) London (possibly two of...)
7) Lyon
8) Manchester
9) Paris
10) South Wales
11) South West
12) South Yorkshire
13) Strathclyde
14) West Yorkshire

Expansion could go anywhere from Moscow to Madrid to Milan.

These rep' sides negotiate contracts for players seperate from their
current club contracts whilst club contracts are solely arbitrated by
the European Rugby Football League (ERFL) to keep transfer fees low
and so that players aren't tied to their local SL side. For example,
should Barcelona wish to sign Gary Connolly they won't be restricted
from doing so just because Manchester is his nearest rep' side. Come
to think of it, these aren't actually rep' sides but you get the idea.

Now, the areas I've listed above all have populations in excess of 2
million, a possible exception being South West. In a few cases it's
between 5 and 10 million. A competition broadcast worldwide over News
Ltd. networks with local catchment areas of that size. BTEC National
Certificate Business Studies students could sell major sponsorship
deals for that lot.

One of the benefits of large clubs like this is it mirrors the way the
television and mass communications industry is going. There'll be
large networks for many years to come but the emphasis is shifting
towards localised, to an extent, multi-communications networks as part
of global communications corporations. For example, NYNEX is the cable
TV supplier for Plymouth, Pompy and Southampton. NYNEX stands for New
York Network Exchange (I think). Other UK cable companies, all local
franchises with a similar situation in France, are owned by the Baby
Bells and Japanese Banks.

2) A truly pan-European competition. By that I don't neccessarily mean
Italian and Spanish clubs but a merger between the Federation de Rugby
a Treize and the RFL. In this way the ridiculous situation of PSG
players playing 3 and sometimes 4 games in a week for their FRT sides
and PSG is removed. What was the FRT can govern France and Spain
(Catalan at least, with its cultursal ties to the RL areas of France)
as a regional division of the European Rugby League whilst the RFL
takes care of the UK and RoI. The RFL and FRT are, in the main, small
players compared to their parent body, the ERFL. Their major role is
to administrate the (very) short winter competitions which continue to
exist in France and GB whilst pro-actively incouraging local
development at a Junior playing level and in terms of product
awareness (horrible term but a fitting one).

The consequences of all this of course would mean the clubs we have
now becoming nothing more than feeder clubs for the SL sides. The
point is though, it's a bridge ...

read more »

 
 
 

Wigan & RU: Worth it so far, I'd say

Post by Dave Fish » Wed, 15 May 1996 04:00:00


<BIG SNIP>

A more considered reply will follow, but these are my immediate reactions:

Quote:
>There's been a lot of talk about closer involvement with RU being the
>only way forward for RL, but my vision for the future is this:

>1) The Super League becomes a summer representative tournament.
>Current clubs continue to exist but they play a short winter second
>fiddle to the main event. Come the summer, regional and big city rep'
>sides play out in the Super League. That way Fev, Cas' etc continue to
>exist but come summer a club's players are eligible for their local
>Super League rep' side.

>Suggestions for rep' sides could be:

>1) Barcelona
>2) Birmingham
>3) Dublin
>4) Humberside
>5) Liverpool
>6) London (possibly two of...)
>7) Lyon
>8) Manchester
>9) Paris
>10) South Wales
>11) South West
>12) South Yorkshire
>13) Strathclyde
>14) West Yorkshire

Merging villages is one thing, but Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Huddersfield
and York !!!?

- Show quoted text -

Quote:
>Expansion could go anywhere from Moscow to Madrid to Milan.

>These rep' sides negotiate contracts for players seperate from their
>current club contracts whilst club contracts are solely arbitrated by
>the European Rugby Football League (ERFL) to keep transfer fees low
>and so that players aren't tied to their local SL side. For example,
>should Barcelona wish to sign Gary Connolly they won't be restricted
>from doing so just because Manchester is his nearest rep' side. Come
>to think of it, these aren't actually rep' sides but you get the idea.

>Now, the areas I've listed above all have populations in excess of 2
>million, a possible exception being South West. In a few cases it's
>between 5 and 10 million. A competition broadcast worldwide over News
>Ltd. networks with local catchment areas of that size. BTEC National
>Certificate Business Studies students could sell major sponsorship
>deals for that lot.

>One of the benefits of large clubs like this is it mirrors the way the
>television and mass communications industry is going. There'll be
>large networks for many years to come but the emphasis is shifting
>towards localised, to an extent, multi-communications networks as part
>of global communications corporations. For example, NYNEX is the cable
>TV supplier for Plymouth, Pompy and Southampton. NYNEX stands for New
>York Network Exchange (I think). Other UK cable companies, all local
>franchises with a similar situation in France, are owned by the Baby
>Bells and Japanese Banks.

>2) A truly pan-European competition. By that I don't neccessarily mean
>Italian and Spanish clubs but a merger between the Federation de Rugby
>a Treize and the RFL. In this way the ridiculous situation of PSG
>players playing 3 and sometimes 4 games in a week for their FRT sides
>and PSG is removed. What was the FRT can govern France and Spain
>(Catalan at least, with its cultursal ties to the RL areas of France)
>as a regional division of the European Rugby League whilst the RFL
>takes care of the UK and RoI. The RFL and FRT are, in the main, small
>players compared to their parent body, the ERFL. Their major role is
>to administrate the (very) short winter competitions which continue to
>exist in France and GB whilst pro-actively incouraging local
>development at a Junior playing level and in terms of product
>awareness (horrible term but a fitting one).

>The consequences of all this of course would mean the clubs we have
>now becoming nothing more than feeder clubs for the SL sides. The
>point is though, it's a bridge between what exists now and the Brave
>New World. Those people who cling sentimentally to their local club,
>and who can blame them, can continue to do so. Given a few years
>though, I'd bet my generative member that they're fully behind their
>nearest SL side whilst in the back of their minds the likes of
>Bradford, Wigan and St.Helens have assumed the importance of Dudley
>Hill, Wigan St.Patricks and Thatto Heath.

>If you'll pardon the expression, such a system to my mind would***
>all over the merest mention of involvment with RU. Attractive as it
>can be made to sound, their are always alternatives.

It would be a nicer 'alternative', but I'm more than a little sceptical about
anything of this scope getting off the ground. OTOH, something a little less
ambitious, but along similiar lines might well be a go-er.

Dave

 
 
 

Wigan & RU: Worth it so far, I'd say

Post by Vibrating Bum-Faced Goa » Thu, 16 May 1996 04:00:00


: <BIG SNIP>

: A more considered reply will follow, but these are my immediate reactions:

: >Suggestions for rep' sides could be:
: >
: >1) Barcelona
: >2) Birmingham
: >3) Dublin
: >4) Humberside
: >5) Liverpool
: >6) London (possibly two of...)
: >7) Lyon
: >8) Manchester
: >9) Paris
: >10) South Wales
: >11) South West
: >12) South Yorkshire
: >13) Strathclyde
: >14) West Yorkshire

: Merging villages is one thing, but Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Huddersfield
: and York !!!?

Ahh, but they aren't mergers. These are new clubs that represent general
areas and who can sign their players from *any* of the existing clubs, be
they RFL member clubs or FRT clubs. Those old clubs continue to exist but
take a very definite back seat. I can't think of a better analogy than the
relative status of the BARLA clubs that surround, say, Bradford.

: >If you'll pardon the expression, such a system to my mind would***
: >all over the merest mention of involvment with RU. Attractive as it
: >can be made to sound, their are always alternatives.

: It would be a nicer 'alternative', but I'm more than a little sceptical about
: anything of this scope getting off the ground. OTOH, something a little less
: ambitious, but along similiar lines might well be a go-er.

But how ambitious is it? How much does it take to set up a new club of
this scale? I'm no economist but maybe earmark 2 million for an initial
awareness campaign amongst the local population, 2 million for club
structure and admin and the same for players. 6 million quid. Extrapolate
that out to 14 clubs and you get 84 million. Clan Murdoch***that against
the wall when they go down the pub on a Saturday night.

Of the list I've drawn up, the following *don't* have a massive soccer club
with ambitions to become a multi-sports club in the model of PSG or
Barcelona:

Dublin
South West
Lyon(?)
Humberside.

Maybe Leeds Utd and the Sheffield clubs could be in that list as well but
then they and Humberside are very much in RL's traditional heartland.

The South West I threw in to make up the numbers but the others have all
been touted as regions with a market for top class sport and they all have
the stadia to fulfill it. Dublin in particular, there is no professional
sport in the Irish Republic.

I can't think of a reason why the FRT wouldn't want to be merged either.
Under the old RLIB they voted the way the RFL told them anyway. Under this
system their players get truly top class competition whilst the board
members stay in a similar situation as before.

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Wigan & RU: Worth it so far, I'd say

Post by Ich_Bin_Ein-Donu » Thu, 16 May 1996 04:00:00




|> : <BIG SNIP>
|>
|> : A more considered reply will follow, but these are my immediate reactions:
|>
|> : >Suggestions for rep' sides could be:
|> : >
|> : >1) Barcelona
|> : >2) Birmingham
|> : >3) Dublin
|> : >4) Humberside
|> : >5) Liverpool
|> : >6) London (possibly two of...)
|> : >7) Lyon
|> : >8) Manchester
|> : >9) Paris
|> : >10) South Wales
|> : >11) South West
|> : >12) South Yorkshire
|> : >13) Strathclyde
|> : >14) West Yorkshire

        Oi!  What about Stuttgart?!


 
 
 

Wigan & RU: Worth it so far, I'd say

Post by Dave Fish » Thu, 16 May 1996 04:00:00


<SNIP>

Quote:
>: Merging villages is one thing, but Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Huddersfield
>: and York !!!?

>Ahh, but they aren't mergers. These are new clubs that represent general
>areas and who can sign their players from *any* of the existing clubs, be
>they RFL member clubs or FRT clubs. Those old clubs continue to exist but
>take a very definite back seat. I can't think of a better analogy than the
>relative status of the BARLA clubs that surround, say, Bradford.

I take your point, pardon me for expressing myself badly. What I meant to
say was teams like those you propose would be better able to market
themselves if they were based in one metropolitan centre rather than trying
to identify themselves with extremely large and socially nebulous geographical
areas. This is where you Bradford BARLA & RFL analogue breaks down. Most
of the smaller clubs in this area represent suburbs or satelites of the city
(even if some are quite a way out of it), or at least have Bradford as their
nearest major communications hub. Its not exactly the same as asking
RL supporters in competing cities to identify with the same team, whose
own identity would have to be organised around a geographical space which
as little tangible meaning in the rest of their lives. (e.g. I didn't notice many
people mourning the passing of West Yorkshire Met, and most people didn't
develop a liking for the West Riding until well after its burial)

<SNIP>

Quote:
>: It would be a nicer 'alternative', but I'm more than a little sceptical about
>: anything of this scope getting off the ground. OTOH, something a little less
>: ambitious, but along similiar lines might well be a go-er.

>But how ambitious is it? How much does it take to set up a new club of
>this scale? I'm no economist but maybe earmark 2 million for an initial
>awareness campaign amongst the local population, 2 million for club
>structure and admin and the same for players. 6 million quid. Extrapolate
>that out to 14 clubs and you get 84 million. Clan Murdoch***that against
>the wall when they go down the pub on a Saturday night.

Yeah, but will they spend it on RL? I doubt it, and I can't see any other
obvious source for that kind of money either.

Quote:
>Of the list I've drawn up, the following *don't* have a massive soccer club
>with ambitions to become a multi-sports club in the model of PSG or
>Barcelona:

>Dublin
>South West
>Lyon(?)
>Humberside.

>Maybe Leeds Utd and the Sheffield clubs could be in that list as well but
>then they and Humberside are very much in RL's traditional heartland.

Don't try to kid me ;-) I used to go to Tatters Field when Donny were the
only 'club' in S.Yorks. Even if we give the Hetheringtons all the credit they
deserve not even they would claim to have conquered Sheff, still
less the rest of the county. I'm pretty sure most folk in Barnsley and Rotheram
would be hard pressed to tell the difference between the two Rugby codes
and American Football.

Quote:
>The South West I threw in to make up the numbers but the others have all
>been touted as regions with a market for top class sport and they all have
>the stadia to fulfill it. Dublin in particular, there is no professional
>sport in the Irish Republic.

Actually, I think the SW might be a go-er with the right backing. Most ordinary
folk around here are quite open to RL, and the region is hardly famous for
towering achievements in Soccer. I agree about Dublin.

Quote:
>I can't think of a reason why the FRT wouldn't want to be merged either.
>Under the old RLIB they voted the way the RFL told them anyway. Under this
>system their players get truly top class competition whilst the board
>members stay in a similar situation as before.

Me niether, so the reason for our dispute is my doubt about:
a) RL's ability to garner the cash (without giving the media the merged code
they'd all like to see until they moved on to the next fashion)
b) The social basis for regional clubs - the only UK precedent for these are
the cricket counties, which are in dire straits themselves, and at least have
the 'virtue' of appealing to English nostalgia)

Dave

 
 
 

Wigan & RU: Worth it so far, I'd say

Post by WiganRLf » Fri, 17 May 1996 04:00:00


Quote:
Fisher) writes:
> I'm pretty sure most folk in Barnsley and Rotheram
>would be hard pressed to tell the difference between the two Rugby codes
>and American Football.

My wife is a Barnsley lass and used to watch soccer until I introduced her
to RL.  This was when the Iro bros were at Wigan and for some reason she
thought they were quite nice blokes to watch running around.

Anyway shes one from Barnsley who knows a bit  about RL, and like all sane
people new to  the sport chose to support Wigan (under no influence from
me of course).

Dave  
Wigan RLFC - Simply the Best

Shaun Edwards for Prime Minister

 
 
 

Wigan & RU: Worth it so far, I'd say

Post by Tony » Fri, 17 May 1996 04:00:00

I haven't heard any mention of the inter code challenge
matches that were played in the early days of RL.

On a few occaisions an RL team played an RU team,
(possibly representative sides from each code).
The game was usually Union rules, and the RL team
often won.

This was when RL players only played "part time"-
(as most did for 99 years), so the victories were
down to skill only, fitness wasn't really an
advantage, like in Wigan v RU.

I remember hearing something about the codes coming
together during the war, but the details escape me.

Perhaps the current games aren't as groundbreaking
as some very rich men would have us believe?

Tony.

--

 
 
 

Wigan & RU: Worth it so far, I'd say

Post by Dave Fish » Sat, 18 May 1996 04:00:00


Quote:
>I haven't heard any mention of the inter code challenge
>matches that were played in the early days of RL.

>On a few occaisions an RL team played an RU team,
>(possibly representative sides from each code).
>The game was usually Union rules, and the RL team
>often won.

If anyone has any definite info on these supposed encounters, I'd really like
to hear the. As far as I was aware, there was no contact at all in the UK until
1943 & 44 when two representative British Army XIV's met under union
rule. Obviously, the chaps who originated in League won both games
comfortably.

From memory (admitedly a poor source), I think the Northern Union and their
RL successors regularlarly issued challenges to the RFU, all of which were
met by a spectacular silence. Apart from the circumstances of war-time
emergency, the RFU maintained that any contact with RL would involve
'professionalising' their players. For this reason, even amateur and schoolboy
players of RL were deemed to be professionals !

Quote:
>I remember hearing something about the codes coming
>together during the war, but the details escape me.

>Perhaps the current games aren't as groundbreaking
>as some very rich men would have us believe?

>Tony.

>--

 
 
 

Wigan & RU: Worth it so far, I'd say

Post by Vibrating Bum-Faced Goa » Sat, 18 May 1996 04:00:00

: From memory (admitedly a poor source), I think the Northern Union and their
: RL successors regularlarly issued challenges to the RFU, all of which were
: met by a spectacular silence.

It happened quite a lot pre-war and was part of the reasoning behind the
post-war cross-code challenges. Since the advent of Children in Need, the
RFL started up again offering charity matches between representative
sides.

BTW, Robert Gate has had an excellent review of the two cross code matches
at Headingley and Odsal in League Express recently and I think he also
has a book coming out on the subject as well.

--
Bradford Bulls RLFC      | Rugby League Home Page:
Wembley Finalists 1996   | http://www.brad.ac.uk/~cgrussel/
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Wigan & RU: Worth it so far, I'd say

Post by Dave Fish » Sat, 18 May 1996 04:00:00


Quote:

>: From memory (admitedly a poor source), I think the Northern Union and their
>: RL successors regularlarly issued challenges to the RFU, all of which were
>: met by a spectacular silence.

>It happened quite a lot pre-war and was part of the reasoning behind the
>post-war cross-code challenges. Since the advent of Children in Need, the
>RFL started up again offering charity matches between representative
>sides.

Does this mean there were or were not actual cross-code games PLAYED
before the war. Any specific details would be appreciated.

Dave

 
 
 

Wigan & RU: Worth it so far, I'd say

Post by Vibrating Bum-Faced Goa » Sat, 18 May 1996 04:00:00



: >
: >: From memory (admitedly a poor source), I think the Northern Union and their
: >: RL successors regularlarly issued challenges to the RFU, all of which were
: >: met by a spectacular silence.
: >
: >It happened quite a lot pre-war and was part of the reasoning behind the
: >post-war cross-code challenges. Since the advent of Children in Need, the
: >RFL started up again offering charity matches between representative
: >sides.

: Does this mean there were or were not actual cross-code games PLAYED
: before the war. Any specific details would be appreciated.

Those two services games were certainly the first to be officially
sanctioned by the RFU but there may have been others. Leeds RLFC and
Headingly (now Leeds RFU) for example have always had good relationships
with each other. It may be that these extended to the playing fields as
well as an unwritten agreement to avoid treading on each others toes.

I have more details on code relationships at home, I'll dig out what I
can. If you're interested though, the following books are worth a read:

Gary Schofield's Rugby League Masterpieces by Neil Hanson (Cod Eyes is on
the cover, that seems to be the only reason his name is in the title).
Lots of extracts from books and newspapers from pre-1895 to present day.

Gone North I & II by Robert Gate. Mainly about Welsh players Oop t'North
but quite a bit about the relationship between the RFL and WRFU.

Rugby Disunion I & II by Trevor Delaney. Documents the split and
subsequent developments.

Code War by ??. I can't remember the author now but this is a damned good
book. Much of it documents the way soccer overcame RU and RL as the
*** football code in towns like Newcastle and Liverpool but there's a
hell of a lot on the various public wars of words between the two Rugby
codes from pre-split to more-or-less present day.

--
Bradford Bulls RLFC      | Rugby League Home Page:
Wembley Finalists 1996   | http://SportToday.org/~cgrussel/
British Beef - You won't | Full club-by-club guide to the 1996
get better!              | European Super League season