ERU Divisional Rugby

ERU Divisional Rugby

Post by Karl Nixo » Fri, 10 Oct 1997 04:00:00


From the Sunday Times....

"The desire by the RFU to maintain divisional rugby keeps it at odds with
the clubs. What they want, and need, is more money to fund a professional
game that is bleeding many dry."

Why does the ERU persist with the Divisional rugby concept.... when I was
living in London nobody gave a toss about the County championship. Have
things changed???

--
Karl (Oz_Stomper)

Please remove NOSPAM from email address

 
 
 

ERU Divisional Rugby

Post by Barry Simpso » Sat, 11 Oct 1997 04:00:00



Quote:
>From the Sunday Times....

>"The desire by the RFU to maintain divisional rugby keeps it at odds with
>the clubs. What they want, and need, is more money to fund a professional
>game that is bleeding many dry."

>Why does the ERU persist with the Divisional rugby concept.... when I was
>living in London nobody gave a toss about the County championship. Have
>things changed???

No. Tis mysterious indeed.

--
barry simpson

 
 
 

ERU Divisional Rugby

Post by bri.. » Sat, 11 Oct 1997 04:00:00



Quote:

> From the Sunday Times....

> "The desire by the RFU to maintain divisional rugby keeps it at odds with
> the clubs. What they want, and need, is more money to fund a professional
> game that is bleeding many dry."

> Why does the ERU persist with the Divisional rugby concept.... when I was
> living in London nobody gave a toss about the County championship. Have
> things changed???

> --
> Karl (Oz_Stomper)

> Please remove NOSPAM from email address

Karl-

The RFU wants Divisional Rugby so the RFU can keep all the money. Not
county rugby, divisional.  The old North, Midlands, Southwest and London
set-up.

The bulk of the TV money still stays in Twickenham and the RFU like it
that way.

The RFU would just love to enter the London Lions, Bath Battlers,
Midlands Maulers and Northern Nockers in the European Cup and tell the
clubs to get stuffed.  The RFU will be looking to run a set-up similar to
the NZRFU wher players sign an RFU contact and are assigned to a team for
a season.

Watch Cotton and Beaumont try this power play...soon.  The fall
internationals failures will give the boys the lane to try and push it
through.

Thanks,

Brian Gildea
NorCal Referees Society

Thanks,

Brian

The bul

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ERU Divisional Rugby

Post by Ben Cle » Sat, 11 Oct 1997 04:00:00

Quote:



>> From the Sunday Times....

>> "The desire by the RFU to maintain divisional rugby keeps it at odds with
>> the clubs. What they want, and need, is more money to fund a professional
>> game that is bleeding many dry."

>> Why does the ERU persist with the Divisional rugby concept.... when I was
>> living in London nobody gave a toss about the County championship. Have
>> things changed???

>The RFU wants Divisional Rugby so the RFU can keep all the money. Not
>county rugby, divisional.  The old North, Midlands, Southwest and London
>set-up.

>The bulk of the TV money still stays in Twickenham and the RFU like it
>that way.

>The RFU would just love to enter the London Lions, Bath Battlers,
>Midlands Maulers and Northern Nockers in the European Cup and tell the
>clubs to get stuffed.  The RFU will be looking to run a set-up similar to
>the NZRFU wher players sign an RFU contact and are assigned to a team for
>a season.

>Watch Cotton and Beaumont try this power play...soon.  The fall
>internationals failures will give the boys the lane to try and push it
>through.

The RFU wants divisional rugby so they can see English players playing in
the combinations and positions that the English selectors might want, so
that they can examine players from outside the small number of "elite"
clubs in major fixtures, so that they can get as many English players
exposure to playing major teams as possible, and so that a great deal of
money isn't wasted on paying inflated salaries to players who in the bigger
picture will add little to English rugby.

The big English clubs are primarily interested in one thing, THEMSELVES --
witness Sir John Hall's comments about the Lions tour getting in the way of
Newcastle's preparations for the coming season -- while at the same time
these same clubs are losing money hand over***[I think I heard an
estimate suggested the 12 first division clubs lost 15 million between
them last year].

England now has a club game that cannot sustain itself, and these clubs
will expect the RFU to come up with the money to bail them out [and we are
not just talking about bankrolling a handful of players who play for one of
four divisional sides, but hundreds of players, grounds, facilities and
administrators]. The bulk of the TV money is generated by the games played
by the English national side [and even that which is not directly certainly
owes some debt to the national structure], and quite rightly the RFU are
trying to make sure that this money is used in the best interests of rugby
in England, not simply so Newcastle can spend a million buying and paying
Tuiagamala, or Harlequins pay Zinzan Brooke half a million and then have
the gall to suggest a salary cap might be neccessary.

There is, and of course should be, a place for the clubs in the scheme of
things. But this place should be determined by the fact that they attract
crowds of a few thousand and small amounts of money. Clubs should be one
step in process. Their place should not be determined by the fact that a
whole bunch of people [many who care little or nothing about the game] see
rugby as maybe having the potential to generate them personal money and
power and that they can easily gain control of a major club. When England
lack not only a structure to identify and groom their future coach, but are
also unable to get the ones involved in English game even if they want them
to do the job then surely that should scream out that something is wrong.
Clubs want the money, the power, and at the end of the day are even
prepared to undermine the national game if it does not suit their side
personally. How can they have the wider interests of the game at heart when
their existence as a major factor depends on their individual success?

As the clubs are quick to point out, things have changed. The fact that
divisional rugby used to be unloved in its former incarnation is
irrelevant. Teams like Richmond and Newcastle used to be relatively
unimportant also. With marketing and promotion backing up significant
fixtures divisional rugby could take off in just the same way that clubs
are doing, certainly their long term prospects would be better.

      Cheers,

               Ben

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ERU Divisional Rugby

Post by Neal1 » Sun, 12 Oct 1997 04:00:00

Quote:
> With marketing and promotion backing up significant
>fixtures divisional rugby could take off in just the same way that clubs
>are doing, certainly their long term prospects would be better.

>      Cheers,

They tried this before and it did not work. Nobody came to watch and it died a
 death.
Of course Clubs are interested in themselves. No one outside the Top Clubs seem
 to give a damn  about us anymore. We have to look after ourselves. You do have
 a point about who own the clubs and their self  interest but it was the RFU
 who sent us down the slippery road of professionalism.
 
 
 

ERU Divisional Rugby

Post by John Willia » Tue, 14 Oct 1997 04:00:00


Quote:

>The RFU wants divisional rugby so they can see English players playing in
>the combinations and positions that the English selectors might want, so
>that they can examine players from outside the small number of "elite"
>clubs in major fixtures, so that they can get as many English players
>exposure to playing major teams as possible, and so that a great deal of
>money isn't wasted on paying inflated salaries to players who in the bigger
>picture will add little to English rugby.

And do you think such games would be successful? No-one paid any
attention to the Divisional competition in its last few years from
what I remember. About the only thing I remember about it is it threw
up the name Alex King for the first time.

Another point: where could such a competition be fitted in the
calendar?

[.... Ben's anti club speech snipped]

Quote:
>There is, and of course should be, a place for the clubs in the scheme of
>things.

Thank heavens for that! After all, it is the clubs that are bringing
about the improvements in English rugby standards, not the RFU, who
even fought against English clubs playing in a European competition.

Quote:
>But this place should be determined by the fact that they attract
>crowds of a few thousand and small amounts of money. Clubs should be one
>step in process. Their place should not be determined by the fact that a
>whole bunch of people [many who care little or nothing about the game] see
>rugby as maybe having the potential to generate them personal money and
>power and that they can easily gain control of a major club.

The English press is full of examples that show the "Suger Daddies"
have got very cold feet. Bedford are "letting go" eight players for
financial reasons, and Bath have put Sleightholme on the market for an
optimistic 100,000 pounds. Quins' big backer has sold out to someone
else, and Nigel Wray is making ***d wallet noises. Stuart Barnes
might for once be right when he writes that it may be a financial
decision. God knows Bath need more than two healthy wingers.

One thing everyone is agreed upon is that the season is poorly
structured at the moment, though sometimes the reasons for being
unhappy with the current set-up are pretty different.

Quote:
>When England
>lack not only a structure to identify and groom their future coach, but are
>also unable to get the ones involved in English game even if they want them
>to do the job then surely that should scream out that something is wrong.

Y'what? I would have thought the England coach business shows the ERFU
[presumably Cotton and Beaumont] have very disjointed thought
processes. A lack of suitable coaching candidates points to the
backwardness of the RFU's coaching policy rather than anything else.
What's more, the problem has been around for a long time, not just
since professionalisation. What on earth has it to do with the clubs
or divisional championships?

Quote:
>Clubs want the money, the power, and at the end of the day are even
>prepared to undermine the national game if it does not suit their side
>personally. How can they have the wider interests of the game at heart when
>their existence as a major factor depends on their individual success?

I thought the point of this thread was the discussion of a divisional
competition, Ben. You seem to be all hot and bothered about the clubs
again....

Quote:
>As the clubs are quick to point out, things have changed. The fact that
>divisional rugby used to be unloved in its former incarnation is
>irrelevant. Teams like Richmond and Newcastle used to be relatively
>unimportant also. With marketing and promotion backing up significant
>fixtures divisional rugby could take off in just the same way that clubs
>are doing, certainly their long term prospects would be better.

Divisional contests are never going to make money, Ben. As you have
already said, the clubs are making a massive loss at the moment, with
typically 5,000 gates. Marketing and promotion has NOT led to an
increase in bums on seats from what I can tell.

Aren't you now arguing for Divisional rugby on financial grounds,
rather than for the express benefit of the England national side? If
so you are on a loser in my view.

There might well be a case for a trial or short series of trials for
the England side, and a showcase for young talent would be a good
idea, but the old style divisional championship is dead and buried.

All the best

John Williams.

 
 
 

ERU Divisional Rugby

Post by Ben Cle » Tue, 14 Oct 1997 04:00:00


<<stuff deleted>>

Quote:
>>The RFU wants divisional rugby so they can see English players playing in
>>the combinations and positions that the English selectors might want, so
>>that they can examine players from outside the small number of "elite"
>>clubs in major fixtures, so that they can get as many English players
>>exposure to playing major teams as possible, and so that a great deal of
>>money isn't wasted on paying inflated salaries to players who in the bigger
>>picture will add little to English rugby.

>And do you think such games would be successful? No-one paid any
>attention to the Divisional competition in its last few years from
>what I remember.

And how many were paying any attention to Richmond, Newcastle or the like?
How many Saracens fans do you think there were in Watford last year? The
divisional competition was a victim of the era and the circumstances, the
first has changed and the second could easily be changed.

I'm not saying that the divisional competition didn't have huge problems in
the past, not least being a lack of both identity and status [at the point
where England players started announcing they couldn't be bothered to play
in the competition the writing was on the wall]. But that was then, now
with professional rugby it is possible to establish divisional rugby.
Indeed there is a template out there with New Zealand's Super 12 teams.

Quote:
>Another point: where could such a competition be fitted in the
>calendar?

Well I think the first thing to do is to decide what structure suits
English rugby best, of course scheduling will be a problem -- although if
they start by tearing up the current mess and beginning again from scratch
things could hardly turn out worse. Part of the current problems is that
clubs need to play every week in order to just bring in money. But there
isn't enough money to support that many teams, and especially that number
of players being paid that much money. If clubs were not the top of the
hierarchy then their budgets could be far lower, and they could play a
reduced number of fixtures (or at least play fixtures without their big
name players which might not draw such crowds).

Quote:
>[.... Ben's anti club speech snipped]

>>There is, and of course should be, a place for the clubs in the scheme of
>>things.

>Thank heavens for that! After all, it is the clubs that are bringing
>about the improvements in English rugby standards, not the RFU, who
>even fought against English clubs playing in a European competition.

Hardly surprising that the RFU didn't have a coherent plan when they were
in such turmoil themselves. It was natural that the clubs stepped into the
void and moved things forward, but I don't think the past failures of the
divisional competition or the current status of the clubs are any reason
not to think about changes.

In large part the resistance of the RFU to English clubs entering the
European competition comes down simply to the fact that the RFU had little
say or influence over the competition and as such were once again being
asked to trust the future of English rugby in the hands of the clubs. As I
said, I think there are reasons to distrust clubs with the future of the
game since their best interests are served [at least in the short-term] by
their individual success, but what is best for these particular clubs may
not be what is best for the game in England. I don't think the clubs have
bad intentions, just different interests.

Quote:
>>When England
>>lack not only a structure to identify and groom their future coach, but are
>>also unable to get the ones involved in English game even if they want them
>>to do the job then surely that should scream out that something is wrong.

>Y'what? I would have thought the England coach business shows the ERFU
>[presumably Cotton and Beaumont] have very disjointed thought
>processes. A lack of suitable coaching candidates points to the
>backwardness of the RFU's coaching policy rather than anything else.
>What's more, the problem has been around for a long time, not just
>since professionalisation. What on earth has it to do with the clubs
>or divisional championships?

Can you imagine a divisional team refusing to release their coach to the
national side, or saying they might do so on a part-time basis? Or indeed
why would you appointment somneone to that position in a divisional team if
they weren't interested in the national job? With let's say four divisional
teams, an England 'A' coach and an U21's coach there would be an automatic
shortlist of half a dozen candidates, all of who would have some experience
with the England set-up, all would have some sort of international
experience (since the divisions would have fixtures against all major
touring teams [provinces and national sides] and could tour themselves),
and all would be available. While the top of the English game remains the
clubs then England's needs will always come second, that would not be the
case with a divisional tier above the clubs.

Quote:
>>As the clubs are quick to point out, things have changed. The fact that
>>divisional rugby used to be unloved in its former incarnation is
>>irrelevant. Teams like Richmond and Newcastle used to be relatively
>>unimportant also. With marketing and promotion backing up significant
>>fixtures divisional rugby could take off in just the same way that clubs
>>are doing, certainly their long term prospects would be better.

>Divisional contests are never going to make money, Ben. As you have
>already said, the clubs are making a massive loss at the moment, with
>typically 5,000 gates.

But at the moment there are lots of clubs clubs (24 if you include the 2nd
division, and there are a few big spenders outside that as well) who at the
end of the day all compete with each other on a given Saturday, and all
make demands on central resources [money from TV contracts, etc] when
little of this money is actually generated by the profile of the clubs
themselves but rather because they are notionally at least the top tier of
English rugby.

So instead of a couple of dozen teams operating at huge loss, even if the
situation was no better in terms of gates (and I find it hard to belive
that free from competition a single London divisional side could do no
better than say a Richmond or whichever individual club) at least there
would be lower costs from only running 4 (or perhaps 5 or 6) teams. And it
isn't just about the potential crowds, but also things like developing
stadiums whereby instead of all competiting, local resources could be
concentrated.

Quote:
>Marketing and promotion has NOT led to an
>increase in bums on seats from what I can tell.

Not overnight, but who knows in the longer term -- I think Saracens might
be the first to really move ahead with this, the chap they've brought in
from the Bradford rugby league clearly has some good ideas and understands
what is required. But yep, I'm prepared to admit that the divisions will
probably need RFU money to finanace them, but at least the RFU would be
investing in something which they know benefits the national side as much
as possible.

Quote:
>Aren't you now arguing for Divisional rugby on financial grounds,
>rather than for the express benefit of the England national side? If
>so you are on a loser in my view.

Actually I think divisional rugby has advantages on all sorts of grounds,
as I thought I made a case for in the article, there is an advantage of the
structure, but yes there are also financial benefits with less money
"wasted".

Quote:
>There might well be a case for a trial or short series of trials for
>the England side, and a showcase for young talent would be a good
>idea, but the old style divisional championship is dead and buried.

And so instead we'll continue down the current road, with clubs going
eventually going bankrupt, many of England's squad potentially unable to
get regular top class games while some are forced to play 50 matches in a
season, and long term development an after-thought if it doesn't cost too
much?

            Cheers,

                     Ben

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University of Oregon            | http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~benc
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ERU Divisional Rugby

Post by Stuart Andert » Wed, 15 Oct 1997 04:00:00

Is this a competition for who can write the longest post?

Surely they key to this is where the money comes from for a professional
game, and the answer is from rugby supporters, either directly from gate
receipts or indirectly via Sky from subscription fees.

And the supporters, to a man, wonam and child, are CLUB supporters. Bath
not the South West, Leicester not Midlands. And you can no more get a fan
of a rugby club to change allegiances than a soccer fan or anyone else. It
doesn't work like that. Once a fan, always a fan - and a fan will on the
whole only spend money on their own team.

So while you can make all the logical cases you like for a divisional
structure, the fans won't want to watch the games, so there will be no
gate money and no TV money either. Logic, or "the benefit of the game"
don't come into it - it's about supporting your team. And if there's no
money in it, in this day and age it won't happen.

Stuart

 
 
 

ERU Divisional Rugby

Post by John Willia » Wed, 15 Oct 1997 04:00:00


Quote:





><<stuff deleted>>

[Who would go to watch divisional games?]

Quote:
>And how many were paying any attention to Richmond, Newcastle or the like?
>How many Saracens fans do you think there were in Watford last year? The
>divisional competition was a victim of the era and the circumstances, the
>first has changed and the second could easily be changed.

Well, the easiest question to answer is how many Saracens fans were in
Watford last year - answer not a lot! Newcastle have probably doubled
or tripled their gates, but 200% of nothing is nothing.

The ludicrous amount of money being lost by the clubs is at least
partly explained by the singular inability of the clubs to get viable
attendances. Bristol made a loss of about 500,000 pounds last season,
which over 10 home games at 10 pounds a go equates to another 5,000
needed per game, a 100% increase. Rounded figures of course.

A number of other clubs have a higher wages bill and need a
correspondingly large increase in gates to move into the black.

Bottom line is, there aren't enough fans to pay for current salaries,
regardless of the set-up.

Quote:
>I'm not saying that the divisional competition didn't have huge problems in
>the past, not least being a lack of both identity and status [at the point
>where England players started announcing they couldn't be bothered to play
>in the competition the writing was on the wall]. But that was then, now
>with professional rugby it is possible to establish divisional rugby.
>Indeed there is a template out there with New Zealand's Super 12 teams.

The point about the former divisional championship is common ground,
at least :-).

The move to a divisional tier will be fought very hard by the clubs,
for a variety of reasons. I fel the main flaw with you r suggestion is
the small number of divisions you propose. Four won't make much of a
difference- after all, there were 77 players named in the pre-Woodward
England squad, which leaves no room for new players. Not least is the
one Nigel Wray frequently makes: fans need the habit of going to home
games every fortnight, or they won't come regularly at all. An extra
month away from club games will severely hinder these new spectators'
***ion.

To be viable in its current form, or any other for that matter,
English professional rugby must be less reliant on TV revenue - i.e.
Sky. The viewing figures for the European games make very sobor
reading. The biggest figure was apparently around 150,000. Sky simply
will not continue with this loss leader indefinitely, and the clubs
will do well to take that on board very soon. The clubs are showing
signs of doing that. The salaries paid are another matter of course.

Quote:
>>Another point: where could such a competition be fitted in the
>>calendar?
>Well I think the first thing to do is to decide what structure suits
>English rugby best, of course scheduling will be a problem -- although if
>they start by tearing up the current mess and beginning again from scratch
>things could hardly turn out worse.

Agreed.

Quote:
>Part of the current problems is that
>clubs need to play every week in order to just bring in money. But there
>isn't enough money to support that many teams, and especially that number
>of players being paid that much money. If clubs were not the top of the
>hierarchy then their budgets could be far lower, and they could play a
>reduced number of fixtures (or at least play fixtures without their big
>name players which might not draw such crowds).

Agreed regarding the money. The idea of clubs running on a much lower
budget depends on a large drop in player salaries, which remains the
biggest problem. Clubs are now trapped in a wages spiral to attract
the best players, and that will be extremely hard to break. I can't
see anyone making money out of owning a club, as the current owners
are finding out. A collapse in the suger daddy investments will be
painful, but is the only way to return the club game to some form of
financial sanity.

Quote:
>>[.... Ben's anti club speech snipped]

>>>There is, and of course should be, a place for the clubs in the scheme of
>>>things.

>>Thank heavens for that! After all, it is the clubs that are bringing
>>about the improvements in English rugby standards, not the RFU, who
>>even fought against English clubs playing in a European competition.

>Hardly surprising that the RFU didn't have a coherent plan when they were
>in such turmoil themselves. It was natural that the clubs stepped into the
>void and moved things forward, but I don't think the past failures of the
>divisional competition or the current status of the clubs are any reason
>not to think about changes.

I agree changes are necessary, but the vested interests are very
strong and will lead to more entrenchment in my view. There is talk in
the media of the ERFU "getting revenge" on clubs such as Newcastle, by
banning Ryan for example, and talk of the RFU, namely Brittle and
Cotton, moving the clock backwards. The genie is out of the bottle
though, and such talk is either very mischievious reporting or a very
worrying attitude from the RFU.

The complete lack of strategy exhibited by the ERFU was extremely
regrettable, but has left a situate where the two parties need to be
far more constructive. Trying to impose a new regional competition on
the game will simply frighten the sugar daddies, leading to a
wholesale collapese in club finances as they withdraw in my view. This
is because the owners see merchantising as the saviour of their
investments, and they will not allow the clubs to be pushed to a lower
rung with a lower profile without a ***y fight.

Quote:
>In large part the resistance of the RFU to English clubs entering the
>European competition comes down simply to the fact that the RFU had little
>say or influence over the competition and as such were once again being
>asked to trust the future of English rugby in the hands of the clubs. As I
>said, I think there are reasons to distrust clubs with the future of the
>game since their best interests are served [at least in the short-term] by
>their individual success, but what is best for these particular clubs may
>not be what is best for the game in England. I don't think the clubs have
>bad intentions, just different interests.

I'm glad you made that clear, as I was beginning to wonder :-).
However it is too easy to say the ERFU resisted the European Cup
because of a lack of control. The whole evidence of the last few years
suggests to me that the ERFU didn't like the idea of money going
directly to the clubs, weakening their control over them. The clubs
are now more vibrant and proactive than ever before, despite the
obvious financial problems, and the RFU needs to raise their pace of
thought and action by a considerable degree to gain my confidence, for
whatever that is worth. Like it or not, the clubs are in the driving
seat, and it will take tact and patience by the ERFU to pull the
situation round to a more balanced partnership between the two.
Imposing things won't get anywhere, and that appears to be the way the
RFU are thinking.

Quote:
>>>When England
>>>lack not only a structure to identify and groom their future coach, but are
>>>also unable to get the ones involved in English game even if they want them
>>>to do the job then surely that should scream out that something is wrong.
>>Y'what? I would have thought the England coach business shows the ERFU
>>[presumably Cotton and Beaumont] have very disjointed thought
>>processes. A lack of suitable coaching candidates points to the
>>backwardness of the RFU's coaching policy rather than anything else.
>>What's more, the problem has been around for a long time, not just
>>since professionalisation. What on earth has it to do with the clubs
>>or divisional championships?
>Can you imagine a divisional team refusing to release their coach to the
>national side, or saying they might do so on a part-time basis? Or indeed
>why would you appointment somneone to that position in a divisional team if
>they weren't interested in the national job?

The way recent things have been handled by the RFU I am utterly
astonished anyone is remotely interested in the England coaching job.
If the RFU are insistent on a full-time coach, as they are, then they
must expect to buy people out of current contracts. I think Bath might
well suffer for giving up Woodward to coach England, and Northampton
would definitely have suffered (even more) if McGeechan had taken the
job. Becoming a divisional coach might be attractive if it was handled
the right way, but a four or five game season would automatically mean
they'd have to also be full-time club coaches (or amateurs), leaving
the contractual situation unchanged.

Quote:
>With let's say four divisional
>teams, an England 'A' coach and an U21's coach there would be an automatic
>shortlist of half a dozen candidates, all of who would have some experience
>with the England set-up, all would have some sort of international
>experience (since the divisions would have fixtures against all major
>touring teams [provinces and national sides] and could tour themselves),
>and all would be available.

The number of games might well be less than you think, Ben. Long tours
are way out of fashion. Australia and South Africa are playing very
few non-test games against English sides from what I know, and NZ are
playing Emerging England, an Allied Dunbar XV (whatever that is), and
England A. The tours of SH provinces for example would be very
difficult to accomodate in a club league system. Witness the pretty
poor show last season regarding the touring provinces.
Quote:
>While the top of the English game remains the
>clubs then England's needs will always come second, that

...

read more »

 
 
 

ERU Divisional Rugby

Post by Martin Rylan » Wed, 15 Oct 1997 04:00:00



Quote:
>Surely they key to this is where the money comes from for a professional
>game, and the answer is from rugby supporters, either directly from gate
>receipts or indirectly via Sky from subscription fees.

>And the supporters, to a man, wonam and child, are CLUB supporters. Bath
>not the South West, Leicester not Midlands. And you can no more get a fan
>of a rugby club to change allegiances than a soccer fan or anyone else. It
>doesn't work like that. Once a fan, always a fan - and a fan will on the
>whole only spend money on their own team.

Divisional matches would be "all pay" games as well, whereas with a club
season ticket you can get to watch all the Premiership and the European
group stages.  You won't get many people paying 10 quid for a divisional
game, especially towards the end of a competition when the game is to
decide who finishes last.  That's assuming that you can find a ground to
play it on, would the clubs release their grounds?  I know last season
Gloucester didn't make Kingsholm available for divisional matches, when
they were offered 4,000 UKP - less than it would have cost them to open
the ground.  If the money offered is going to be the same, then there's
no way that a divisional match could get a big crowd, as it would never
be played on a ground of any size.  Of course no crowds = no money, so
who would pay the players, or the divisional coaches?

Quote:
>So while you can make all the logical cases you like for a divisional
>structure, the fans won't want to watch the games, so there will be no
>gate money and no TV money either. Logic, or "the benefit of the game"
>don't come into it - it's about supporting your team. And if there's no
>money in it, in this day and age it won't happen.

Another thing, remember when the selectors insisted that players turn
out for the divisions, then South West played London at Kingsholm and
two thirds of the then England squad played with not a single selector
at the match, which wasn't televised live.

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.

 
 
 

ERU Divisional Rugby

Post by John Willia » Wed, 15 Oct 1997 04:00:00

On Tue, 14 Oct 1997 19:20:30 +0100, Martin Ryland

Quote:

>Another thing, remember when the selectors insisted that players turn
>out for the divisions, then South West played London at Kingsholm and
>two thirds of the then England squad played with not a single selector
>at the match, which wasn't televised live.

But it will all be different when Ben is in command  :-). One huge
benefit of having a full time national coach is he has no excuse if he
fails to see lots of club rugby live. Clive might even find his way
back to Welford Road, or even up the M1 to the north.

All the best

John Williams.

 
 
 

ERU Divisional Rugby

Post by John Willia » Wed, 15 Oct 1997 04:00:00


Quote:

>Is this a competition for who can write the longest post?

Nah. That's the problem with having a moan about English rugby.
There's so much to say.  The trouble with answering a long post is how
much you keep in the reply so it makes sense (sort of). I can do a lot
"better" than 283 lines, half repeated from an earlier post :-).

[Agreed stuff snipped]

Quote:
>So while you can make all the logical cases you like for a divisional
>structure, the fans won't want to watch the games, so there will be no
>gate money and no TV money either. Logic, or "the benefit of the game"
>don't come into it - it's about supporting your team. And if there's no
>money in it, in this day and age it won't happen.

Okay Stuart, so how can the young fringe players be brought on in the
current system? I know of several promising young Leicester players
(Greg Fry, Ben Pain, Matt Jones) who have moved on to play for
Nottingham and Moseley. Bath have had similar movements recently.

All the best

John Williams.

 
 
 

ERU Divisional Rugby

Post by Ben Cle » Wed, 15 Oct 1997 04:00:00


Quote:

>That's assuming that you can find a ground to
>play it on, would the clubs release their grounds?

Well even without the fact that clubs seem to be able to get access to
football grounds (and there is no reason divisional teams couldn't do the
same), if millionaires can buy control of teams lock, stock and barrell,
why couldn't the RFU do something similar? With so many clubs currently
facing debts, it would be easy enough for the RFU to meet some of these
costs [or buy out the now disinterested "sugar daddy"] and as a condition
of the financing have an agreement to be able to use the club's ground for
divisional games.

Quote:
>Another thing, remember when the selectors insisted that players turn
>out for the divisions, then South West played London at Kingsholm and
>two thirds of the then England squad played with not a single selector
>at the match, which wasn't televised live.

Again, I'm not suggesting that we need a divisional competition run like
the previous one. It was a shambles, but past problems shouldn't mean the
idea gets rejected in the current climate.

         Cheers,

                  Ben

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University of Oregon            | http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~benc
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ERU Divisional Rugby

Post by Ben Cle » Wed, 15 Oct 1997 04:00:00


<<stuff deleted>>

Quote:
>And the supporters, to a man, wonam and child, are CLUB supporters. Bath
>not the South West, Leicester not Midlands. And you can no more get a fan
>of a rugby club to change allegiances than a soccer fan or anyone else. It
>doesn't work like that. Once a fan, always a fan - and a fan will on the
>whole only spend money on their own team.

>So while you can make all the logical cases you like for a divisional
>structure, the fans won't want to watch the games, so there will be no
>gate money and no TV money either.

Two things.

Firstly the clubs don't have enough supporters to make the current
enterprise pay for itself anyway. They may start out with a few thousand
fans [and many started out with a couple of hundred] but that is nothing
like enough. TV money is not being generated on the basis of the size of
the audience that is currently being attracted [nor indeed do I believe
there would be any substantial drop in that audience were a meaningful
divisional competition to be put in place], but because Sky are interested
in English rugby's premier competition.

Secondly, with respect to the "once a fan, always a fan" I would suggest
you explain why it is that the New Zealand Super 12 teams are able to
attract support.

               Cheers,

                        Ben

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University of Oregon            | http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~benc
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