<SNIP Positive Media Coverage>
>>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.
>>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.
>>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
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.
>>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.
>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
>>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:
6) London (possibly two of...)
10) South Wales
11) South West
12) South Yorkshire
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
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