(ENG) Financial Matters Concerning The AD Clubs

(ENG) Financial Matters Concerning The AD Clubs

Post by Anthony Walt » Mon, 25 Aug 1997 04:00:00


I had this email to me by Liz Goldenberg, thought I would post it here
for discussion. It seems that the Welsh Clubs are not the only ones
with financial problems, the English clubs are just better at hiding
it.

Success or bust for game's big players

Last Friday, the board of English Rugby Partnership (ERP), two
accountants from Deloitte & Touche, representatives of the Rugby
Football Union and the senior clubs filed into a meeting at a hotel
conference room in Maidenhead.

On the agenda was the long-term viability of domestic rugby in Great
Britain and the development of a strategy for the future. The decision
to meet followed the disclosure that the 12 teams in the Courage Clubs
Championship first division last year, the first of the professional
era,  collectively had lost more than ?10 million.

The audited accounts for 1995-96 and the management accounts for last
season give the most accurate picture available of the financial
health of clubs. They do not make pleasant reading. That the game
would haemorrhage money because of enormous start-up costs, chief
among them player salaries and improved facilities, had been
understood and accepted; but the consensus agreed was that the sheer
scale of the losses is unsustainable

Kim Deshayes, the chief executive of ERP, said: "Clubs will have to
look long and hard at the commercial realities of life and, by the end
of next season, see if the kind of investment they are making in terms
of players' wages is sustainable in terms of their income. We are in a
situation where television income is flat for the next four years and
that is always going to be the No 1 source of income."

Deshayes added that it had been "prudent" to take a strategic look at
the feasibility of the club game. He said: "Overall we are very
optimistic but we are not complacent. Not one first division club made
money and they would not have expected to. But it is not a situation
we would want to see continue. We are not here to bail clubs out. That
is to no one's benefit. We are working on behalf of the clubs
collectively to maximise revenue and to assist them but it is down to
them to make sure the books balance."

Guaranteed income primarily from television and sponsorship will top
?10 million this season for the top 24 clubs, whose collective
turnover was more than ?40 million last year. Each second division
club receives ?250,000 and each in the first division ?500,000 with
more for those successful in Europe. However, those amounts do not
begin to cover wage bills which spiralled to ?934,000 for London
Irish, who lost ?500,000 last season, and well over ?1 million for
Harlequins. The average wage bill per first division club is estimated
to be ?1.5 million. That is why good management and commercial acumen
is vital to clubs, some of whom may well struggle to survive. It is
also why individual owner investors, such as Ashley Levett at
Richmond, are crucial in keeping their clubs afloat, at least in the
short term.

Levett has already poured ?5 million into Richmond whose chief
executive, Symon Elliott, has said that salary bills are too high and
that excessive transfer fees are a recipe for disaster. Levett said:
"I think every owner will say that their investment has been bigger
than first anticipated.

"Everyone has a level. No one can just leave an open tap on. But
everyone is looking at this on a three-to-five-year plan. If I am
wrong then in three years time that will be the end. I am not a
bottomless pit. But I am investing for the long term and having talked
a lot to other owners we believe that in two or three years the club
game will be worth much more. In five years' time we will be one of
the top clubs in Europe. My ambition is to build a superclub and I am
confident we can do that."

Richard Baldwin, a tax partner at Deloitte & Touche, who helped
produce the company's report on football finance and who has been
running the rule over rugby with partner, Gerry Boone, is optimistic
the sport can avoid the pitfalls which have befallen others.

"It is obvious that clubs are spending more than they earn and that
gap needs to be bridged. But it is encouraging that they are taking
the initiative and not waiting like some sports until the writing is
on the wall.

"It is not all gloom and doom but clubs can't go on spending the way
they are. The trick for rugby union as a sport is to build a
successful model ? along the lines of the FA Premiership ? but it is
up to the clubs to decide how they spend their money. We can only be
guide them with the right framework."

Ultimately what is needed are more customers and more expenditure by
spectators once inside grounds. Chris Butcher, a leisure analyst for
Mintel International, said: "They have got to generate more secondary
revenue ? the 'dwell time' inside the stadiums ? and get fans in
earlier. Commercially they are not as geared up as football clubs.
That is inevitable ? but there are a lot of opportunities and if they
can grasp them there is hope."

Butcher, the author of a report entitled The Rugby Business earlier
this year, is certain that there will be some consolidation. He
foresees the growth of superclubs and a resulting gulf between the
haves and have-nots.

Anthony
Pontypridd RFC .. Welsh Champions 1996/97 Season

*******************************************************
"I measured 95dB for a Starfleet Cruiser, which struck
me as pretty loud for a space vacuum"
John Wilkinson. Environmental Health Officer bemoans
loud film trailers. New Scientist. 9th August 1997
*******************************************************

 
 
 

(ENG) Financial Matters Concerning The AD Clubs

Post by Mike Parke » Tue, 26 Aug 1997 04:00:00



Quote:

>Walton) wrote on behalf of Liz:
< snipped >

>>Ultimately what is needed are more customers and more expenditure by
>>spectators once inside grounds. Chris Butcher, a leisure analyst for
>>Mintel International, said: "They have got to generate more secondary
>>revenue ? the 'dwell time' inside the stadiums ? and get fans in
>>earlier. Commercially they are not as geared up as football clubs.
>>That is inevitable ? but there are a lot of opportunities and if they
>>can grasp them there is hope."
>>More customers etc is exactly what rugby won't get in my opinion. Sure
>>crowds might go up a little, but it will be incredibly difficult to
>>have a consistent growth in membership. My feeble understanding of
>>economics suggests that is what investors will need to turn a profit.

< snipped >

I think what he's saying is that clubs need to flog more merchandise (
Have Tiger's shirts changed again this season? ), get the punters in
earlier so they buy more food and drink at the club [ I presume most
clubs won't let you leave and re-enter after you've entered without
coughing up again ]. Equally as we saw last season at Leicester several
supporters watched away games on a big screen at the ground rather than
travelling. Yet more income, and profit for the club!

I agree that there's a limit to how many supporters the game can
attract. If nothing else ground capacity is a constraint.

Quote:
>Thanks Liz for posting something to support what I have felt is the
>situation. With luck this will ease some of the worries of NZers that
>the ABs will be bought up wholesale :-).

I'm not convinced about this. I agree that the current situation of
large transfer fees and pay in England is likely to be unsustainable in
the long term unless mega loads of dosh appears, Murdoch in NH buy up?,
but before the bubble bursts an awful lot of damage can be caused.

--
Mike Parker

 
 
 

(ENG) Financial Matters Concerning The AD Clubs

Post by bri.. » Tue, 26 Aug 1997 04:00:00

Folks-

If the rugby people read "Lords of the Realm" by John Helyar about the
the US baseball labor/salary troubles, they will see their future in
print.  The US pro sports have been through this all before.  Why do you
think there are salary caps?  As Ben Franklin said: "If we don't hang
together, we will surely hang alone."

The owners should have sat down last spring, worked out a reasonable
salary cap and started fresh this fall.  They're still thinking about
their individual pieces and not looking at the "Big Picture."

The TV piece is key and letting the RFU negoiate that portion without any
representation by EPRUC is crazy.  As long as Twickenham has their hands
on the TV purse strings, the EPRUC owners are in a noose.

Thanks,

Brian



Quote:

> I had this email to me by Liz Goldenberg, thought I would post it here
> for discussion. It seems that the Welsh Clubs are not the only ones
> with financial problems, the English clubs are just better at hiding
> it.

> Success or bust for game's big players

> Last Friday, the board of English Rugby Partnership (ERP), two
> accountants from Deloitte & Touche, representatives of the Rugby
> Football Union and the senior clubs filed into a meeting at a hotel
> conference room in Maidenhead.

> On the agenda was the long-term viability of domestic rugby in Great
> Britain and the development of a strategy for the future. The decision
> to meet followed the disclosure that the 12 teams in the Courage Clubs
> Championship first division last year, the first of the professional
> era,  collectively had lost more than ?10 million.

> The audited accounts for 1995-96 and the management accounts for last
> season give the most accurate picture available of the financial
> health of clubs. They do not make pleasant reading. That the game
> would haemorrhage money because of enormous start-up costs, chief
> among them player salaries and improved facilities, had been
> understood and accepted; but the consensus agreed was that the sheer
> scale of the losses is unsustainable

> Kim Deshayes, the chief executive of ERP, said: "Clubs will have to
> look long and hard at the commercial realities of life and, by the end
> of next season, see if the kind of investment they are making in terms
> of players' wages is sustainable in terms of their income. We are in a
> situation where television income is flat for the next four years and
> that is always going to be the No 1 source of income."

> Deshayes added that it had been "prudent" to take a strategic look at
> the feasibility of the club game. He said: "Overall we are very
> optimistic but we are not complacent. Not one first division club made
> money and they would not have expected to. But it is not a situation
> we would want to see continue. We are not here to bail clubs out. That
> is to no one's benefit. We are working on behalf of the clubs
> collectively to maximise revenue and to assist them but it is down to
> them to make sure the books balance."

> Guaranteed income primarily from television and sponsorship will top
> ?10 million this season for the top 24 clubs, whose collective
> turnover was more than ?40 million last year. Each second division
> club receives ?250,000 and each in the first division ?500,000 with
> more for those successful in Europe. However, those amounts do not
> begin to cover wage bills which spiralled to ?934,000 for London
> Irish, who lost ?500,000 last season, and well over ?1 million for
> Harlequins. The average wage bill per first division club is estimated
> to be ?1.5 million. That is why good management and commercial acumen
> is vital to clubs, some of whom may well struggle to survive. It is
> also why individual owner investors, such as Ashley Levett at
> Richmond, are crucial in keeping their clubs afloat, at least in the
> short term.

> Levett has already poured ?5 million into Richmond whose chief
> executive, Symon Elliott, has said that salary bills are too high and
> that excessive transfer fees are a recipe for disaster. Levett said:
> "I think every owner will say that their investment has been bigger
> than first anticipated.

> "Everyone has a level. No one can just leave an open tap on. But
> everyone is looking at this on a three-to-five-year plan. If I am
> wrong then in three years time that will be the end. I am not a
> bottomless pit. But I am investing for the long term and having talked
> a lot to other owners we believe that in two or three years the club
> game will be worth much more. In five years' time we will be one of
> the top clubs in Europe. My ambition is to build a superclub and I am
> confident we can do that."

> Richard Baldwin, a tax partner at Deloitte & Touche, who helped
> produce the company's report on football finance and who has been
> running the rule over rugby with partner, Gerry Boone, is optimistic
> the sport can avoid the pitfalls which have befallen others.

> "It is obvious that clubs are spending more than they earn and that
> gap needs to be bridged. But it is encouraging that they are taking
> the initiative and not waiting like some sports until the writing is
> on the wall.

> "It is not all gloom and doom but clubs can't go on spending the way
> they are. The trick for rugby union as a sport is to build a
> successful model ? along the lines of the FA Premiership ? but it is
> up to the clubs to decide how they spend their money. We can only be
> guide them with the right framework."

> Ultimately what is needed are more customers and more expenditure by
> spectators once inside grounds. Chris Butcher, a leisure analyst for
> Mintel International, said: "They have got to generate more secondary
> revenue ? the 'dwell time' inside the stadiums ? and get fans in
> earlier. Commercially they are not as geared up as football clubs.
> That is inevitable ? but there are a lot of opportunities and if they
> can grasp them there is hope."

> Butcher, the author of a report entitled The Rugby Business earlier
> this year, is certain that there will be some consolidation. He
> foresees the growth of superclubs and a resulting gulf between the
> haves and have-nots.

> Anthony
> Pontypridd RFC .. Welsh Champions 1996/97 Season

> *******************************************************
> "I measured 95dB for a Starfleet Cruiser, which struck
> me as pretty loud for a space vacuum"
> John Wilkinson. Environmental Health Officer bemoans
> loud film trailers. New Scientist. 9th August 1997
> *******************************************************

-------------------==== Posted via Deja News ====-----------------------
      http://www.dejanews.com/     Search, Read, Post to Usenet

 
 
 

(ENG) Financial Matters Concerning The AD Clubs

Post by Bill Tayl » Thu, 28 Aug 1997 04:00:00

|> Last Friday, the board of English Rugby Partnership (ERP), two
|> accountants from Deloitte & Touche,
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Just my *** mind showing itself.  But when I first glanced at the above, it
seemed to read "Toilet & Douche".  Though, not such a bad name for accountants!

Still, there's no knowing what my subconscious will come up with, at any time.

|> conference room in Maidenhead.

HMMMMMMMmmmmmmmm....

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
         A Freudian slip is when you say one thing, but mean a mother.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
 
 

(ENG) Financial Matters Concerning The AD Clubs

Post by CMan » Thu, 28 Aug 1997 04:00:00



Quote:


> Typical figures pumped in by owners are something like
> 2 to 3 million pounds. That's quite a few years' TV revenue.

I take it they expect something back in the not TOO distant future.

Quote:

> Gloucester 12,000
> Bath        7,000
> Saints      6,500
> Richmond    5,000
> Sale        3,000 [low because of building in progress]

> [Figures from Electronic Telegraph.]

12,000 sounds good, I guess some clubs would need to increase capacity (or
move)
to get anywhere near that. Didn't Leicester get 17,000 in the European Cup
last year.

Quote:

> Out of idle curiosity, did you get Sky for the sports coverage? I'm
> sure a very few people have got Sky principally for the rugby, but I
> know of many more people who got it for soccer or cricket.

I got Sky because of American Football. I do watch a lot of soccer but
would not pay
the subscription just for that. I watch League if London Broncos are on,
but have no
idea what cricket is all about. I am a bit disappointed that there is only
one live Allied
Dunbar game a week compared with 5? 6? 7? soccer games (not counting
Eurosport,
ITV, C4, foreign channels etc).

Quote:
> The BBC coverage has nosedived for the coming season. No Rugby
> Special. No league or cup games. No England home games. Traditionally
> it is International rugby that has attracted the TV viewers, not club
> rugby. That is one reason why so many people are angry that the RFU
> gave Twickenham games to Sky - no England home games live.

5 Days coverage a year was never really going to be enough to get me or
many others into rugby. I bet most people who watch 5N have little idea of
who most of the players are or
what is going on. It seems to be more about National pride than sport.

Why was Rugby Special dropped? Was it spite?

Quote:
> I hazard a guess rugby coverage costs Sky more than it gains in
> subscription due to the coverage. Maybe Barry has some idea about the
> likely advertising revenue Sky would pull in through rugby? - he's a
> meejah type :-).

Maybe not many people take out subscriptions because of rugby,  but I am
sure that it is a
reason why many people do not cancel.

Quote:
> >Getting fans in earlier and giving them something to spend their money
is a
> >big part of generating revenue.

> Sure. I've paid a 275% price rise for my membership this season
> already. I don't exactly have a big wedge burning a hole in my pocket
> every time I go to a game :-).

No, but people have to eat and drink. Better they spend that money at the
club than elsewhere. The longer they are in the ground the more they are
likely to spend.
Rather than sprinting across the road at ten to three more people could be
drinking in
the ground, even watching the first half of the Sky live match.

Quote:

> Let me know the first time an English league game gets a gate of
> 25,000 - let alone 38,000. I expect I'll be a very old man.

How old are you now?

How many went to the Pilkington Cup Final?

Bath at Wasps on the last day of the season? They ought to start marketing
it
now. Even the London Monarchs could get 15-20000 paying customers in their
second
season, and they only won one home game. They still get more than most top
rugby clubs.

Quote:
> Maybe you are right and rugby can approach the sort of support soccer
> now has, or at least expand greatly, but I very much doubt it
> personally.

I don't see any rugby clubs out earning Man U but I think there is room for
growth.
As I said before. A lot of people would enjoy rugby if it was sold to them
properly.

Quote:
> A very nice idea, but the season is running from 23rd August till 16th
> May as it is. With a break mid-way there would have to be a reduction
> in the size of the leagues. Whilst I think that would be a good idea,
> that would mean fewer games and less revenue.

True, but some players seem to be playing 11 months of the year. How can
half the Bath team be injured before a ball is kicked.

Quote:
> I think the more valuable lesson from rugby league is the very big
> mess the major club has got into in an incredibly short space of time.

All it takes is a sugar daddy to pack up his cheque book and go home.
Funny how they often talk about merging with soccer clubs though.

If the players are not too knackered to perform it could be a good season
despite the poor start.

CMan.

 
 
 

(ENG) Financial Matters Concerning The AD Clubs

Post by Martin Rylan » Fri, 29 Aug 1997 04:00:00



Quote:
>Cman wrote in reply to John Williams

>> > Gloucester 12,000
>> > Bath        7,000
>> > Saints      6,500
>> > Richmond    5,000
>> > Sale        3,000 [low because of building in progress]

>> > [Figures from Electronic Telegraph.]

>> 12,000 sounds good,

>Kingsholm was packed to the rafters.  It was  a very sticky afternoon so
>it must have been *** in the Shed - how was it martin?  (I was in the
>relative cool of the stand).  There were also a lot of Bristol fans
>there so it was always likely to be a good gate with such a  local
>derby.  It'll be interesting to see how full it'll be against Padova in
>ten days time in the European Conference.  Interesting, 'cos

>1) the European conference is hardly high profile (as yet anyway.  The
>lack of any English teams doing anything in it last year won't have
>heightened it's perception either).

>2) Gloucester can hardly expect any large amounts of Padova supporters
>travelling

>3) ... but Campese is playing for Padova this year!!

I'd been in the new member's bar, which was wonderfully cool, before
going into the Shed, so it wasn't as bad as I expected.  Besides, in the
first half, I was too depressed to worry about the heat and in the
second half, too busy cheering :-)  How many Bristol fans were there?
For some reason, there weren't many in the Shed :~)

Another reason for the biggest crowd I've seen at Kingsholm, apart from
cup semi-finals, was that people wanted to see the new backs, especially
Philippe Saint-Andre.  Hopefully, they'll come back - I know some
friends of mine who'd never been before will, they loved the atmosphere.

I don't know how many supporters Padova will bring, but some Gloucester
Italians might go along that don't normally.

Regards

Martin Ryland
--
You had to hear it to believe it, as the jam-packed residents of the renownedly
raucous and one-eyed Shed at Gloucester's Kingsholm fortress serenaded a
Frenchman with La Marseillaise.

Frank Keating, the Guardian, 25/08/97 on Philippe Saint-Andre's Kingsholm debut.

 
 
 

(ENG) Financial Matters Concerning The AD Clubs

Post by CMan » Fri, 29 Aug 1997 04:00:00

Quote:
> Not a league game, and I would hazrad there were many at the final that

> 1) weren't Sale or Bath supporters, merely supporters with tickets.
> 2) corporate guests out for their free grog-n-grope
> 3) fair weather fans just there because "Oh, look, our local club that
> I've never been to is in the final and Uncle Harry's got a spare ticket"

If you can only attract supporters of the two sides gates will always be
low.
What about the people who just want to see a game of rugby, or just want a
day out. If you want to increase crowds surely it is the people who have
never
been to a game or don't yet suppport a team that you are looking for.

Quote:
> I feel that this is more to do with socialogical reasons than anything
> else.  Rugby needs to shed it's image (rightly or wrongly) as a toffee
> nosed middle class sport.

This will only change if the game reaches a wider audience. People need to
be encouraged to go along to their nearest club, or at least be informed
that
something is going on.

Quote:
> IMO American football is frequented by those
> that for whatever reason reject soccer, and have no other "suitable"
> sport to turn to.  Cman virtually says as much himself (herself?) by
> saying the onmly rugby (s)he ever saw before was a few internationals a
> year 'cos it was on Grandstand and was a Nationality thing.  

You must have missed my previous post or you may have guessed that I am an
Arsenal fan. The main attraction of Live American Football is that it is a
great day out.
A point that is missed by the majority on English fans who will not watch
the Monarchs
because they are not NFL. The Monarchs got 63000 for the 91 World Bowl. How
many
really knew what was going is anyones guess but I bet they all enjoyed it.

Quote:
> I agree with John 100%, although yes, if "marketed" larger gates and a
> larger support base could occur.  The biggest problem I see however, is
> selling the game to a strata of society that has henceto regarded it as
> a game for the middle classes.

I think the professional era will help change perceptions. Players will be
seen more as
"proper athletes" not "posh blokes with jobs in the City".

It was amazing how much respect rugby gained in my neck of the woods when
Jason Leonard was interviewed as England captain, even though the team did
nothing.

Give em a few close ups of Scott Gibbs running over Os Du Rand and all the
blokes
down the pub will be watching it.

Shave the heads of all front row forwards and anyone else over 14 stone.
Ban any
hint of a Gomersal or De Glanville hair style.

More pictures of Tuigamala grinning into the camera.

No England coaches with other business commitments, unless they are chirpy
***ney
chappies.

CMan (Male)

 
 
 

(ENG) Financial Matters Concerning The AD Clubs

Post by Barry Simpso » Sat, 30 Aug 1997 04:00:00



Quote:
>On Thu, 28 Aug 1997 11:54:12 +0100, Ian Diddams


>>> How many went to the Pilkington Cup Final?

It was almost full -- probably 75,000, though the touts got stuck with
quite a few tickets.

Quote:

>>Not a league game, and I would hazrad there were many at the final that

>>1) weren't Sale or Bath supporters, merely supporters with tickets.
>Dead right there Didds :-).

True. I got taken by a mate with a corporate debenture. ***game.
--
barry simpson
 
 
 

(ENG) Financial Matters Concerning The AD Clubs

Post by Barry Simpso » Sat, 30 Aug 1997 04:00:00



Quote:



>> Hope springs eternal....  I read yesterday (ET?) that apparently
>> Chrysalis have bought the secondary terrestrial rights (huh?) from Sky
>> for the AD & RFU KO cup matches.  

>Wasps TV?

I would expect that, within three or four years every AD and major
international will be available "on demand". Digital TV is reducing
production and distribution costs dramatically and it will not make
sense for Chrysalis (or whoever) to junk most of their coverage and just
show highlights.  

What will probably happen is that the whole of every match, and
potentially all camera angles, will be stored on servers and
downloadable by anyone who wants to see any game.  Indeed, this could
extend to any game anywhere in the world where cameras are present. In
the longer term remotely operated digital cameras are likely to be built
into the fabric of stadia.

If I was the RFU or ERP I would be looking at establishing a rugby
channel in partnership with other national unions/rights holders.

The PPV-VoD revenue for soccer in the UK is reckoned to be worth over
one billion pounds a year by the millenium.

--
barry simpson

 
 
 

(ENG) Financial Matters Concerning The AD Clubs

Post by Barry Simpso » Sat, 30 Aug 1997 04:00:00



Quote:

> Barry Simpson wrote in article ...




>>What will probably happen is that the whole of every match, and
>>potentially all camera angles, will be stored on servers and
>>downloadable by anyone who wants to see any game.  Indeed, this could
>>extend to any game anywhere in the world where cameras are present. In
>>the longer term remotely operated digital cameras are likely to be built
>>into the fabric of stadia.

>But where will the bandwidth come from?

Even with current levels of digital compression you can fit several
digital channels onto the satellite bandwidth required for a single
analogue channel, and the technology will continue to improve.

So there will be no shortage of bandwidth for point to point delivery to
the servers where digitised recordings will be stored for retrieval. The
*** medium for VoD will be cable, which is now outstripping dish
connections in the UK by two to one and will continue to grow, and there
certainly won't be any shortage of capacity on cable.
--
barry simpson

 
 
 

(ENG) Financial Matters Concerning The AD Clubs

Post by Duncan Keen » Sat, 30 Aug 1997 04:00:00

Quote:



> >On Thu, 28 Aug 1997 11:54:12 +0100, Ian Diddams


> >>> How many went to the Pilkington Cup Final?

> It was almost full -- probably 75,000, though the touts got stuck with
> quite a few tickets.

> >>Not a league game, and I would hazrad there were many at the final that

> >>1) weren't Sale or Bath supporters, merely supporters with tickets.O.k ignoring the fact that ticket allocation is only 15,000 per finalist

the ground was full and could have had many more. If you don't believe me
then look at the European cup final. Brive must have brought around 5,000
fans with them and the attendance was 50,000. That leaves 45,000. I
wouldn't have thought more than 10,000 weren't Tigers fans so it just
shows how many fans you can take to a game 3 1/2 hrs away. Remember
Leicester City were playing at home that day in front of 16,800 fans the
majority of whom would probably go to a game like the euro final so long
as city didn't have a game just to support their home town. If another
team brought support like Tigers did for arguments sake say Gloucester
then you could have an attendance of over 80,000.

Duncan Keene

 
 
 

(ENG) Financial Matters Concerning The AD Clubs

Post by Gerald Cop » Fri, 05 Sep 1997 04:00:00

Quote:

> Rugby in England is a growing spectator sport almost
> entirely as a result of the success of the national side in the last
>10-15 year - I can remember when 5 Nations internationals at the old
>Twickenham didn't always sell out ...

I wouldn't put too much reliance on your memory, Meredydd: 10 years ago,
1987, England were doing nothing [lost twice to Wales in the same year]
and 15 years ago, 1982, they were worse, if that's possible.  It's only
since 1991 that they've achieved partial respectability.  Mind you,
the past six years have seemed like a decade!

Quote:
>One thing the WRU has got right is protecting the normal TV fan - can't
>believe how far english fans have been shafted by the RFU.

Hwyl fawr,
Gerald Copp