Don't Blame the Players

Don't Blame the Players

Post by b.. » Thu, 28 May 1998 04:00:00


I read the first intelligent essay I have seen by the much reviled Mr
Stephen Jones the other day.

It concerned the English tour of the SH superpowers next month, and in
particular the Aussies mouthing off about the disgraceful
light-weightedness of the tour squad.

I find myself completely in agreement with Mr Jones for the first and
perhaps only time.

It is a sadly under-strength squad with a crowd of new caps. They may
not provide the opposition hoped for in tests against Australia, New
Zealand and South Africa. It probably won't do much to prepare England's
top echelon for the world cup next year. Maybe the clubs v. union
contretemps has a lot to answer for. Maybe Dallaglio shouldn't be
playing club rugby when he can't be bothered making the tour.

But it's not the pommy players' fault. Down here in the sensible part of the
world it is winter next week. The Super 12 final approaches. Our club rugby
seasons are half way through.

Up there on the top of the globe, it is summer next week. The
end of a long and hard, not to mention controversial, season. They had
their European Cup nonsence yonks ago. The Five Nations is but a distant
memory. They had tests coming out their ears before Christmas. Their
club season has raced to its customary thrilling conclusion. It's all
over red rover. They've done their dancing around the maypole and its
time to unpack the wickets and pads. What pom in his right mind would
want to grind on into the Toughest Tour of them All after ten months of
rugby, and plunge into a frozen cauldron of SH fury in the middle of a
southern winter?

The whole planning of the thing is an unbelievable disaster. Whoever is
responsible (read: RFU, ARU, NZRFU, SARFU) should take the
aforementioned pads and wickets and jam them up their arses, with
liberal helpings of vinegar.

Now what do we get from the greedy, expolitative machinations of these
bureaucratic cretins determined the wring the last dollar from their
workhorses? A second rate tour and a disappointing shambles.

If we're going to start apportioning blame, I for one will be pointing
the finger directly at the administrators of the game, and not the
English players.

I look forward to welcoming the pommy boys to Aussie, even if they're
not coming to WA, and good luck to them. Hopefully it is educational for
them and they can salvage something from this disaster.

No ***y thanks to the silly old halfwits who organised it.

* -- Rick Boyd
* Perth-Bayswater Rugby Union Football Club Inc of Western Australia
* http://SportToday.org/~boyd/perth-baysw.htm

-----== Posted via Deja News, The Leader in Internet Discussion ==-----
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Don't Blame the Players

Post by Simon Smi » Thu, 28 May 1998 04:00:00

Hang on, this sounds like a reasoned argument, based on evidence.  Wash your
mouth out with Emu Export immediately.

Stephen Jones occasionally says sensible things, he just seems to delight in
winding up the southern hemisphere.  Shame he doesn't have access to the
newsgroup really.


Quote:

>I read the first intelligent essay I have seen by the much reviled Mr
>Stephen Jones the other day.

>It concerned the English tour of the SH superpowers next month, and in
>particular the Aussies mouthing off about the disgraceful
>light-weightedness of the tour squad.

>I find myself completely in agreement with Mr Jones for the first and
>perhaps only time.

>If we're going to start apportioning blame, I for one will be pointing
>the finger directly at the administrators of the game, and not the
>English players.

>I look forward to welcoming the pommy boys to Aussie, even if they're
>not coming to WA, and good luck to them. Hopefully it is educational for
>them and they can salvage something from this disaster.

>No ***y thanks to the silly old halfwits who organised it.

>* -- Rick Boyd
>* Perth-Bayswater Rugby Union Football Club Inc of Western Australia
>* http://SportToday.org/~boyd/perth-baysw.htm

--
Simon Smith


 
 
 

Don't Blame the Players

Post by Jonathan Chapma » Thu, 28 May 1998 04:00:00

Quote:

>I read the first intelligent essay I have seen by the much reviled Mr
>Stephen Jones the other day.

<snip>

Quote:
>The whole planning of the thing is an unbelievable disaster. Whoever is
>responsible (read: RFU, ARU, NZRFU, SARFU) should take the
>aforementioned pads and wickets and jam them up their arses, with
>liberal helpings of vinegar.

>Now what do we get from the greedy, expolitative machinations of these
>bureaucratic cretins determined the wring the last dollar from their
>workhorses? A second rate tour and a disappointing shambles.

>If we're going to start apportioning blame, I for one will be pointing
>the finger directly at the administrators of the game, and not the
>English players.

>I look forward to welcoming the pommy boys to Aussie, even if they're
>not coming to WA, and good luck to them. Hopefully it is educational for
>them and they can salvage something from this disaster.

>No ***y thanks to the silly old halfwits who organised it.

Stephen Jones is a fine writer Rick and I often find myself in agreement
with him.

As I do on this occasion.

Which means, logically, that I agree with you.

Oh God, NURSE!!

JC

 
 
 

Don't Blame the Players

Post by Ben Cle » Thu, 28 May 1998 04:00:00

<<stuff deleted>>

Quote:
>If we're going to start apportioning blame, I for one will be pointing
>the finger directly at the administrators of the game, and not the
>English players.

How stupid of those administrators. England were being thrown out of the 5
Nations, and everybody was saying how if England were ever going to really
compete in the next RWC anyway then they needed regular contact with the
major SH teams. These crazy administrators arrange these major fixtures --
the sort that English rugby fans would relish watching.

Should they have realised a year ago that the English clubs weren't going
to take any action to make sure players were available to tour with
England? Should they have declined annual fixtures with the biggest teams
around because the English clubs don't directly benefit from these games?

Thank goodness now the clubs have a real say England are going to reap the
benefit. After all, without strong clubs where would England be -- touring
the Southern Hemisphere with an untried combination of players more than
half of whom have no experience, no doubt.

But yes Rick, most of all let's think of those poor players, sitting at
home crying into their 250,000 contracts that they were forced to sign.
I'm sure they'll cheer themselves up knowing that everybody is doing their
best, working to help the national side -- just that they happen to be
sitting at home, not being part of the national side on the biggest tour
that England have ever undertaken. That's a sign of real progress for
England, when we can take on the best in the world and we don't even take
our best players along.

Yep those administrators have a lot to answer for. Personally though I
blame all those millions of people who are interested in the England side,
if they just would think for a minute they might see how much they are
inconviencing the tens of thousands who support local clubs -- a handful of
whom have millions of pounds and therefore must know what is best for
rugby. The sooner those guys are running the game the better for all those
people who support the tiny minority of elite English clubs.

         Cheers,

                        Ben

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University of Oregon            | http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~benc
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Don't Blame the Players

Post by Lyndon Wats » Fri, 29 May 1998 04:00:00


Quote:

> But it's not the pommy players' fault. Down here in the sensible part of the
> world it is winter next week. The Super 12 final approaches. Our club rugby
> seasons are half way through.

> Up there on the top of the globe, it is summer next week. The
> end of a long and hard, not to mention controversial, season. They had
> their European Cup nonsence yonks ago. The Five Nations is but a distant
> memory. They had tests coming out their ears before Christmas. Their
> club season has raced to its customary thrilling conclusion. It's all
> over red rover. They've done their dancing around the maypole and its
> time to unpack the wickets and pads. What pom in his right mind would
> want to grind on into the Toughest Tour of them All after ten months of
> rugby, and plunge into a frozen cauldron of SH fury in the middle of a
> southern winter?

> The whole planning of the thing is an unbelievable disaster. Whoever is
> responsible (read: RFU, ARU, NZRFU, SARFU) should take the
> aforementioned pads and wickets and jam them up their arses, with
> liberal helpings of vinegar.

If it is a timing problem, what's the solution?

Tour in the southern summer or autumn?  Stop touring altogether?  Meet
somewhere in the tropics?

I seem to remember teams from this part of the world touring the north
in their winter, after a full season at home.

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

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


 
 
 

Don't Blame the Players

Post by John Willia » Fri, 29 May 1998 04:00:00

Quote:


><<stuff deleted>>

>>If we're going to start apportioning blame, I for one will be pointing
>>the finger directly at the administrators of the game, and not the
>>English players.

>How stupid of those administrators.

Yes, it was really, Ben. First and foremost they were far too slow off the
mark in getting players signed up after professionalisation, secondly they
can't make up their "minds" who they wish England to play with, the SH or the
5Ns, and end up playing both. After a period of playing NZ twice a decade,
they decide to do it four times in six months! "I know, let's add in some
tests v SA and Australia too" Magnificent!

The RFU has been driven by money just as much as the clubs and players.

Quote:
>England were being thrown out of the 5
>Nations, and everybody was saying how if England were ever going to really
>compete in the next RWC anyway then they needed regular contact with the
>major SH teams. These crazy administrators arrange these major fixtures --
>the sort that English rugby fans would relish watching.

>Should they have realised a year ago that the English clubs weren't going
>to take any action to make sure players were available to tour with
>England? Should they have declined annual fixtures with the biggest teams
>around because the English clubs don't directly benefit from these games?
>Thank goodness now the clubs have a real say England are going to reap the
>benefit. After all, without strong clubs where would England be -- touring
>the Southern Hemisphere with an untried combination of players more than
>half of whom have no experience, no doubt.

Well, put it this way, as soon as Brittle was sidelined from negotiations, the
RFU and clubs came to an agreement. Not a perfect one, but an agreement all
the same. Heck, even the RFU itself is putting up a candidate against Brittle
for the forthcoming elections.

[...]

Quote:
>Yep those administrators have a lot to answer for. Personally though I
>blame all those millions of people who are interested in the England side,
>if they just would think for a minute they might see how much they are
>inconviencing the tens of thousands who support local clubs -- a handful of
>whom have millions of pounds and therefore must know what is best for
>rugby.

Which completely differentiates them from Brittle and Cotton???

Quote:
> The sooner those guys are running the game the better for all those
>people who support the tiny minority of elite English clubs.

Ben, can you really not see the club's point of view at all? You always
approach the topic from the angle the RFU are right, and never admit they have
made any mistakes whatsoever. Isn't RFU = good, clubs = bad is just a little
bit one sided?

ps Glad you haven't completely deserted us :-).

All the best

John Williams.

 
 
 

Don't Blame the Players

Post by Steve Co » Fri, 29 May 1998 04:00:00

Quote:
>> But it's not the pommy players' fault. Down here in the sensible part of
the
>> world it is winter next week. The Super 12 final approaches. Our club
rugby
>> seasons are half way through.

>> Up there on the top of the globe, it is summer next week. The
>> end of a long and hard, not to mention controversial, season. They had
>> their European Cup nonsence yonks ago. The Five Nations is but a distant
>> memory. They had tests coming out their ears before Christmas. Their
>> club season has raced to its customary thrilling conclusion. It's all
>> over red rover. They've done their dancing around the maypole and its
>> time to unpack the wickets and pads. What pom in his right mind would
>> want to grind on into the Toughest Tour of them All after ten months of
>> rugby, and plunge into a frozen cauldron of SH fury in the middle of a
>> southern winter?

>If it is a timing problem, what's the solution?

>Tour in the southern summer or autumn?  Stop touring altogether?  Meet
>somewhere in the tropics?

>I seem to remember teams from this part of the world touring the north
>in their winter, after a full season at home.

I know it seems like people whinging about the number of games that they
play, however some of these guys have been playing non-stop rugby for nearly
two years and that has taken its toll on their health. Maybe we need to
consider removing divisional representation matches, and play the full
domestic season between September and Feb/March and then start the national
representative matches finishing in late May/early June so that the players
get a break in the middle of the summer. This way the clubs get all their
money and we get the test against the nations we really want to play against
I.e Aus, NZ and SA alongside a 5/6 nations tournament

I also think think that people like MacGruther ( not sure ) should let the
players do the talking as any amount of running the other team down in the
press can only inspire our boys who are out to make a name for themselves.
Besides this many of the guys selected for the opening game against Aus
played exceptionally well against the All Blacks mid week sides last year -
or did MacG miss those games :-)

Comments please

Steve

 
 
 

Don't Blame the Players

Post by Jonathan Chapma » Fri, 29 May 1998 04:00:00

<snipped>

Quote:
>I also think think that people like MacGruther ( not sure ) should let the
>players do the talking as any amount of running the other team down in the
>press can only inspire our boys who are out to make a name for themselves.
>Besides this many of the guys selected for the opening game against Aus
>played exceptionally well against the All Blacks mid week sides last year -
>or did MacG miss those games :-)

>Comments please

MacGruther is probably the kind of bloke who feels qualified to judge
English rugby on having half an eye on half a test match.

As in "I know AD1 rugby is ***because we get it here - and don't ask me
awkward questions like precisely how much I am likely to watch of rugby I
consider to be crap".

The EPRUC selection v midweek AB's is a prime example of what a motivated
bunch of kids can do. (maybe the midweek AB's were "tired":-)

IMO the more people slag this crew, the greater the rod they make for their
own backs and it stuns me that people haven't learned that lesson from
pre-Lions comments at about the same time last year.

JC

Quote:

>Steve

 
 
 

Don't Blame the Players

Post by Ben Cle » Fri, 29 May 1998 04:00:00


<<stuff deleted>>

Quote:
>The RFU has been driven by money just as much as the clubs and players.

While the RFU certainly are interested in money, I don't think that I
believe they make it as high a priority as some other elements. One big
dispute originally was whether they should have taken more money from Sky
or less money from the BBC/ITV. Some still argue that it would have served
the interests of the game more to have gone with less money and more
exposure, but there was certainly pressure to generate finances to fund the
professional game. The fact that there is even debate shows that some
people believe money isn't everything.

Quote:
>Well, put it this way, as soon as Brittle was sidelined from negotiations, the
>RFU and clubs came to an agreement. Not a perfect one, but an agreement all
>the same. Heck, even the RFU itself is putting up a candidate against Brittle
>for the forthcoming elections.

I'm pleased they have reached an agreement, and I think Cliff Brittle
should have stood aside from the negotiations a while back when things
became personal. I'm not sure if he didn't because of his ego, his
inability to find somebody he believed in to take over, or if he really
thinks he's the only person capable to achieving what he wants, but in my
book it was a mistake.

However look at the agreement the RFU have secured, and i think you can see
why he tried to stay involved:

The clubs promise to release players -- well if they hadn't said this there
is no way the RFU could have signed the deal (although the clubs are
compelled to do anything to improve things -- just look at the Bateman
situation, he is fit to play for Wales, but without an operation now he
will miss some games for Richmond. You tell me who has primacy?)

They are going to 'aim' for 37 games a season for the top players. And then
what? This kind of intention is all well and good, but I'm pessimistic
about its ability to solve anything. As far as I can see there is just no
requirement to make anyone do this, or any penalties for failing.

England are now basically limited to half a dozen games a season, but what
if there is interest in England playing more, and it would be better for
the team if they want to compete with other international sides who will be
playing together more?

The stated policy is now to get the 5 Nations moved. All well and good in
principle, but it simply isn't just the RFU and the clubs' decision.
However, having seen the style of 'negotiation' over the European Cup, I
think we can have a pretty good idea what to expect.

The top division is to be increased. That is exactly what we need right?
More games and spread the quality out a bit more. I don't think so.

And overall, what concessions do you think the RFU's master negotiating
team managed to get that weren't always going to have to be part of any
deal? I think the RFU negotiated themselves nothing.

Quote:
>>Yep those administrators have a lot to answer for. Personally though I
>>blame all those millions of people who are interested in the England side,
>>if they just would think for a minute they might see how much they are
>>inconviencing the tens of thousands who support local clubs -- a handful of
>>whom have millions of pounds and therefore must know what is best for
>>rugby.

>Which completely differentiates them from Brittle and Cotton???

I'm sorry, wasn't Cliff Brittle elected? Isn't Cotton an elected RFU
representative? And here we are not talking about popular support for
someone who is waiving a chequebook around.

Quote:
>> The sooner those guys are running the game the better for all those
>>people who support the tiny minority of elite English clubs.

>Ben, can you really not see the club's point of view at all? You always
>approach the topic from the angle the RFU are right, and never admit they have
>made any mistakes whatsoever. Isn't RFU = good, clubs = bad is just a little
>bit one sided?

I think I can see the clubs' viewpoint completely. And I'm sure they
believe that what they are doing is for the best of rugby in England. I
can't believe anybody would ever think that people like Peter Wheeler,
Geoff Cooke or Rob Andrew would set out to shaft the national side. But
they are now all in positions in which they would really struggle to
separate out their own interests, and those of the clubs they are part of
and have invested their efforts into, from the views they have of what is
now best for England.

The fact that those involved with the clubs naturally will find it
difficult to separate what is best for their clubs from what is best
overall, coupled with the fact that the people who have real power at many
of the clubs [the owners] are not answerable to anybody, to me lies at the
heart of the problem with the current direction in England. When people
without some vested interest in the clubs try to suggest that strengthening
the clubs might prove to be at the expense of the national side, and indeed
rugby not just in England but elsewhere, they often get told they simply
don't understand what the clubs are trying to do. Somebody on this group
the other day (can't remember who) told a regular Southern Hemipshere
poster (maybe Tony Elson?) that his views on the problems caused by the
clubs weren't needed, and that since he wasn't part of things he didn't
understand -- basically to mind his own business. For one thing this was
just really dumb, since the thing about Usenet is you *do* get to hear
other people's opinons -- whether you agree with them or not. But it really
struck me that this is exactly the problem in England at the moment. The
attitude seems to be that only those intimately involved with clubs can
understand what clubs have to offer. this in itself should flag a problem.
But worse, not only is not really listening to other views incredibly
short-sighted, but if people who have nothing to gain can see a problem
then maybe it is time to reappraise your position.

I'm not suggesting that the clubs are 'bad', what they are trying to do
makes total sense for them. I know they believe in what they are doing.
There are lots of great things coming from the strides the clubs have taken
-- but there is a price for these gains, and the clubs are expecting
everyone [not just in England but everywhere else in the world] to be
prepared to pay it because it is necessary for them.

I certainly don't think the RFU = good. In fact I don't think Brittle or
Cotton should be running things, I've yet to see either show real evidence
of leadership. However, right now given the other options, I think what
they are striving for makes a lot more sense for rugby in England in the
long term. This notion that stronger clubs will inevitably lead to a strong
England team is IMHO flawed. In other countries the whole structure of the
game is being organised to benefit the national team. That is not the case
in England, and the more things shift away from the RFU making decisions,
and towards the clubs having the power, the less likely that is to be the
case. Improving the clubs will obviously improve England in absolute terms,
but in relative terms I think we will lag behind those places that have
everyone working simply to benefit the national side. I realise that to
move towards a better model will cause problems and unhappiness along the
way in England, but I simply believe that things need to be done now, while
it still is viable to make changes.

For me though it isn't all simply about England and international rugby.
The major issues, and something that I think gets neglected, is the future
of the sport outside the elite levels. I think you need a national
perspective to really make things work across the board. I don't doubt that
clubs will make huge strides improving rugby in certain ways, and
definitely they are bringing new spectators. I know clubs like Leicester
have developed strong ties to junior clubs (like Norwich), and so are
playing a role at improving rugby lower down the ladder. But I personally
believe whatever strides are made in individual cases aren't what is needed
on a global level. That's why I am very skeptical of thse moves to
strengthen the clubs at the expense of the RFU (and who has what pwoer lies
at the heart of the debate). Maybe the RFU haven't been running things as
well as they should, but I think the solution is for the RFU to run them
better, not for the clubs to assume the power.

Finally back to the topic of the thread, the 'blame the administrators not
the players' perspective. This suggests that the players are powerless to
influence events. That simply is not true. Likewise while the
administrators have made a mess of things, they aren't completely to blame
and there certainly was logic underlying what they were trying to do. They
are being criticised by people using the benefit of hindsight in a lot of
circumstances.

Quote:
>ps Glad you haven't completely deserted us :-).

Well I always try to check in (although I've been busy both with work and
before that with coaching commitments to the University rugby team). But
there is less and less worth discussing it seems. Besides, being a noted
Tigerphobe, I'm struggling to come terms with believing Neil Back was the
player of the year this season. :-)

      Cheers,

                  Ben

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University of Oregon            | http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~benc
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Don't Blame the Players

Post by b.. » Sat, 30 May 1998 04:00:00



Hello Ben. Who'd have though you'd be disagreeing with me :-)

Quote:
> How stupid of those administrators.

Damn right it was. England played a bunch test matches against SH
countries in November 97, at the end of the SH playing season and the
start of yours. What is the possible purpose of jamming another bunch
of internationals into one season. Except to provide everyone with
disappointment?

Quote:
> England were being thrown out of the 5
> Nations,

and whose fault was that?

Quote:
> and everybody was saying how if England were ever going to really
> compete in the next RWC anyway then they needed regular contact with the
> major SH teams.

Which they did in November.

Quote:
> These crazy administrators arrange these major fixtures --
> the sort that English rugby fans would relish watching.

England badly needs to sort out the clubs situation. OK, the clubs stole a
march with contracts to the players, mainly because the RFU were sound asleep
in their gin and tonics. Perhaps the players need a players' union or
association to sort out the hierachy of reponsibility in their contracted
commitments. With England having first call. There must be some laws along the
lines of restriction of trade etc.

Quote:
> But yes Rick, most of all let's think of those poor players, sitting at
> home crying into their 250,000 contracts that they were forced to sign.

And let's think about all the administrators, club players, club members and
ordinary supporters who want quality not quantity. Satisfying a shallow veneer
of greed is doing nothing to improve the quality of England's play, and that
involves timing the season to the maximum benefit of the athletic performances
of their key resource -- the players.

The players pulling out of this tour are not being withheld by the clubs, they
are not on strike for more money, they are simply ***ed after too much rugby
for too long.

For the maximum benefit of English rugby sooner or later the clubs are going
to have to face the unpleasant truth they will have to do without England's
best players for much of the year, as New Zealand clubs do. Here's the ideal
season: Aug/Sept -- pre season preparartion and club scratch matches. Oct/Nov
-- European Super 16 Divisional Championship. Dec/Jan -- Five Nations. Feb/Mar
-- Club championships. April -- International Tour.

Or something like that.

-- Rick Boyd

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http://SportToday.org/; Now offering spam-free web-based newsreading

 
 
 

Don't Blame the Players

Post by Tony Elso » Sat, 30 May 1998 04:00:00

Quote:

> They are going to 'aim' for 37 games a season for the top players. And then
> what? This kind of intention is all well and good, but I'm pessimistic
> about its ability to solve anything.

Also, is there any criteria for deciding who can play what 37 games?  Do
internationals take precedence or the clubs?>> The sooner those guys are running
the game the better for all those

Quote:
> >>people who support the tiny minority of elite English clubs.

> >Ben, can you really not see the club's point of view at all? You always
> >approach the topic from the angle the RFU are right, and never admit they have
> >made any mistakes whatsoever. Isn't RFU = good, clubs = bad is just a little
> >bit one sided?

> I think I can see the clubs' viewpoint completely. And I'm sure they
> believe that what they are doing is for the best of rugby in England. I
> can't believe anybody would ever think that people like Peter Wheeler,
> Geoff Cooke or Rob Andrew would set out to shaft the national side. But
> they are now all in positions in which they would really struggle to
> separate out their own interests, and those of the clubs they are part of
> and have invested their efforts into, from the views they have of what is
> now best for England.

From the South, where the national teams take precedence, it it a question for
England as to what has the priority?  Money has clouded a lot of issues, and there
are / were things about the Super 12 I didn't like.  This year however (despite
some heated debate about the tackled ball rule), the Super 12 has improved imo.
The question is for you (from my perspective anyway) is how to achieve the balance
between professional (club) football and International football.  There doesn't
seem to be any common goal. Is a comman goal required?

Quote:
> But worse, not only is not really listening to other views incredibly
> short-sighted, but if people who have nothing to gain can see a problem
> then maybe it is time to reappraise your position.

I take you point of view Ben, but I think that we have everything to lose if
England are only going to make themselves competitive at world cup time, and at
home.  We (as in NZ) need to see teams like England who have never toured much.

NZ love to beat Australia, SA, France and England - and I would suggest there is no
particular order of who we like to beat most.  When the clubs actions affect this,
its no wonder that you get guys like me crying in our beer.  Everyone here loves
rugby, whether its club, provincial, Super12 or international, but as far as I am
concerned, international rugby is where the best of the best meet.

Quote:
> I'm not suggesting that the clubs are 'bad', what they are trying to do
> makes total sense for them. I know they believe in what they are doing.

I would agree that the clubs are not necessarily bad, but some imo only believe in
what they are doing for money's sake only.  When you have a boxing promoter running
a club, imo any crediblity has just gone out the window.

cheers.

--

Tony Elson
_____________________________________________
My advice to you is to drink heavily.
John Belushi (Animal House 1979).

 
 
 

Don't Blame the Players

Post by John Willia » Sat, 30 May 1998 04:00:00

Quote:




><<stuff deleted>>
>>The RFU has been driven by money just as much as the clubs and players.
>While the RFU certainly are interested in money, I don't think that I
>believe they make it as high a priority as some other elements. One big
>dispute originally was whether they should have taken more money from Sky
>or less money from the BBC/ITV. Some still argue that it would have served
>the interests of the game more to have gone with less money and more
>exposure, but there was certainly pressure to generate finances to fund the
>professional game. The fact that there is even debate shows that some
>people believe money isn't everything.

True, but the bottom line was the RFU took the TV option which brought most
cash into the coffers [so greatly annoying many fans of course]. The other big
issue was getting gate income from internationals, and the decision [last
autumn's tests] miximised income.

Again, there was a chance England could have been kicked out of the 5N which
partly explains why there have been so many internationals this season, but
the reason England's place in the 5N was under threat was, yep, money.

[...]

[Brittle and the recent RFU/club agreement]

Quote:
>However look at the agreement the RFU have secured, and i think you can see
>why he [Brittle] tried to stay involved:
>The clubs promise to release players -- well if they hadn't said this there
>is no way the RFU could have signed the deal (although the clubs are
>compelled to do anything to improve things -- just look at the Bateman
>situation, he is fit to play for Wales, but without an operation now he
>will miss some games for Richmond. You tell me who has primacy?)

Well, it ain't the WRU certainly :-). The Bateman case seems weired, as I
understand it Bateman need a nose operation, but is not hindered from playing.
If he has his operation on return from tour would he in fact miss Richmond
games?

Quote:
>They are going to 'aim' for 37 games a season for the top players. And then
>what? This kind of intention is all well and good, but I'm pessimistic
>about its ability to solve anything. As far as I can see there is just no
>requirement to make anyone do this, or any penalties for failing.

The 37 game limit and playing league games on international weekends does have
a makeshift feel to it, and I agree it might all break down again. Goodwill
might just have returned to the parties though. I live in hope rather than
expectation.

Quote:
>England are now basically limited to half a dozen games a season, but what
>if there is interest in England playing more, and it would be better for
>the team if they want to compete with other international sides who will be
>playing together more?

Yep, there is a conflict - especially the way the season is fragmented at the
moment. It remains a massive challenge to get things satisfactory, not least
because of the other nations involved.

Quote:
>The stated policy is now to get the 5 Nations moved. All well and good in
>principle, but it simply isn't just the RFU and the clubs' decision.
>However, having seen the style of 'negotiation' over the European Cup, I
>think we can have a pretty good idea what to expect.

It's not as if the other 5N countries are happy with their season at the
moment though, Ben. With the 6N soon to start, that could be a good time to
try to move internationals to the end of the season.

Quote:
>The top division is to be increased. That is exactly what we need right?
>More games and spread the quality out a bit more. I don't think so.

I completely agree the size of the leagues is too big. What's more, the lack
of relegation/promotion is a disgrace.

Quote:
>And overall, what concessions do you think the RFU's master negotiating
>team managed to get that weren't always going to have to be part of any
>deal? I think the RFU negotiated themselves nothing.

Well, with Brittle sidelined and Cotton having resigned, it is possible the
remaining RFU administrators have got what they expected all along. There's a
long way to go before stability is reached, clearly.

Quote:
>>>Yep those administrators have a lot to answer for. Personally though I
>>>blame all those millions of people who are interested in the England side,
>>>if they just would think for a minute they might see how much they are
>>>inconviencing the tens of thousands who support local clubs -- a handful of
>>>whom have millions of pounds and therefore must know what is best for
>>>rugby.

>>Which completely differentiates them from Brittle and Cotton???

>I'm sorry, wasn't Cliff Brittle elected? Isn't Cotton an elected RFU
>representative? And here we are not talking about popular support for
>someone who is waiving a chequebook around.

It could be argued Brittle and Cotton's vision of the future is in fact a
vision of the past, and has always been completely unworkable. These people
were definitely not elected by the senior clubs, after all. Democracy has
meant the top 20 or so clubs have been effectively disenfranchised, when it is
clear their needs are completely different to the junior clubs. On the other
hand, any club owner who's primary interest is making a profit is also doomed
to disappointment in my view.

Quote:
>>Ben, can you really not see the club's point of view at all? You always
>>approach the topic from the angle the RFU are right, and never admit they have
>>made any mistakes whatsoever. Isn't RFU = good, clubs = bad is just a little
>>bit one sided?
>I think I can see the clubs' viewpoint completely. And I'm sure they
>believe that what they are doing is for the best of rugby in England. I
>can't believe anybody would ever think that people like Peter Wheeler,
>Geoff Cooke or Rob Andrew would set out to shaft the national side. But
>they are now all in positions in which they would really struggle to
>separate out their own interests, and those of the clubs they are part of
>and have invested their efforts into, from the views they have of what is
>now best for England.

That isn't so far from my view.

Quote:
>The fact that those involved with the clubs naturally will find it
>difficult to separate what is best for their clubs from what is best
>overall, coupled with the fact that the people who have real power at many
>of the clubs [the owners] are not answerable to anybody, to me lies at the
>heart of the problem with the current direction in England.

That sums up the problem from the club angle.

[...]

Quote:
>Somebody on this group
>the other day (can't remember who) told a regular Southern Hemipshere
>poster (maybe Tony Elson?) that his views on the problems caused by the
>clubs weren't needed, and that since he wasn't part of things he didn't
>understand -- basically to mind his own business. For one thing this was
>just really dumb, since the thing about Usenet is you *do* get to hear
>other people's opinons -- whether you agree with them or not.

Although some posters want the group to be "nation shall speak unto nation",
others do want to replace "speak" with something less pleasant :-).

Quote:
>But it really
>struck me that this is exactly the problem in England at the moment. The
>attitude seems to be that only those intimately involved with clubs can
>understand what clubs have to offer. this in itself should flag a problem.
>But worse, not only is not really listening to other views incredibly
>short-sighted, but if people who have nothing to gain can see a problem
>then maybe it is time to reappraise your position.

Yep. We can all see there is a problem. This hasn't been helped by the
polarised views of the RFU under Brittle and Cotton, and Sir John Hall et al.
Hopefully middle ground has been reached whilst people work for a lasting
arrangement.

[...]

Quote:
>I know clubs like Leicester
>have developed strong ties to junior clubs (like Norwich), and so are
>playing a role at improving rugby lower down the ladder. But I personally
>believe whatever strides are made in individual cases aren't what is needed
>on a global level. That's why I am very skeptical of thse moves to
>strengthen the clubs at the expense of the RFU (and who has what pwoer lies
>at the heart of the debate). Maybe the RFU haven't been running things as
>well as they should, but I think the solution is for the RFU to run them
>better, not for the clubs to assume the power.

It has a long way to go, but it looks like there is some positive movement
towards a more sensible approach at the top of the club game. I'm even less
qualified to comment much on junior club matters :-). What does seem to be
happening is a much more rapid development of young players by the clubs,
which is good for the international side.

Quote:
>Finally back to the topic of the thread, the 'blame the administrators not
>the players' perspective. This suggests that the players are powerless to
>influence events. That simply is not true. Likewise while the
>administrators have made a mess of things, they aren't completely to blame
>and there certainly was logic underlying what they were trying to do. They
>are being criticised by people using the benefit of hindsight in a lot of
>circumstances.

Of course hindsight comes into it enormously, and I was partly trying to get a
more detailed view from you using hyperbole :-). The reason for the current
tour debacle regarding unavailable players lies with both parties in my view.

Quote:
>>ps Glad you haven't completely deserted us :-).

>Well I always try to check in (although I've been busy both with work and
>before that with coaching commitments to the University rugby team). But
>there is less and less worth discussing it seems. Besides, being a noted
>Tigerphobe, I'm struggling to come terms with believing Neil Back was the
>player of the year this season. :-)

And only one Bath player in the ...

read more »

 
 
 

Don't Blame the Players

Post by Ian Diddam » Sat, 30 May 1998 04:00:00

Quote:

> Maybe we need to
> consider removing divisional representation matches,

?????????

Have I missed something here?  I assume steve is talking about England,
or at least the UK (by his snipped points and his email address), but we
haven't had divisional representation games for ...  ages now!

Quote:
> and play the full domestic season between September and Feb/March and
> then start the national representative matches finishing in late
> May/early June

Now this is closer to something I understand, and even agree with!  IMO
12 teams in Ad leagues is too many; drop it back to 10. 18 games = 18
weeks = 4 months = mid-september to mid-Jan.  Throw in a couple of
Autumn internationals with the clubs having "time out" those weekends =
Domestic league copmpleted by end of January.

European competition (ie ERC) Feb & March.  6N April & May, games every
weekend.

Cup would need to be thrown in their somewhere, which will extend the
season by another couple of weeks.

Problem is - season is now too long/late.

Hmmm...  start league season 1st week of September.

Pros : Structured season.  Every body knows what goes where and when.
fans know they have home league matches everyu fornight for 4 months =
Bums on seats, regular income.  Season increases in level as it goes on,
culminating in international rugby, and these tests (ie 6N) played just
prior to any tours.

Cons : 5/6N moved from traditional spot in calendar.  Clubs have no
matches possibly after Feb. (ie after ERC/Cf pool matches).

Further thoughts :  From 10 teams in AD1, 3 teams go forward to ERC with
cup winners.  4 teams go to Conference.  Remaining two teams' players
(maybe 3 teams if cup winners aren't Ad1 club) available on short term
contract to ERC clubs to ensure "cream" rises to top (possible conflict
from clubs that normally contract these players, and from "lower"
players within qualified clubs.)  Clubs contract players each season
only for domeatic ie league season - contracts have "loyalty" clause for
extended ERC season (maybe with cluses for "unwanted" players to enter
"draft" system along with unqualified clubs' players).  Effect = clubs
only pay wage bills for part of season when they "need" players.  Better
players "rise" to the top levels.  In the future, teams from other
European nations may want to be admitted - reduce number of teams from
England & France (maybe others, depends on numbers) to accomadate this -
creates larger "draft" pool of players for ERC teams.

Pie in the sky.....

Didds.

 
 
 

Don't Blame the Players

Post by Jonathan Chapma » Sat, 30 May 1998 04:00:00

Last year we saw the All Blacks go to England

Quote:
>after playing Super 12 in Mar/April, a long test campaign including
>Argentina, the Tri Nations and Bledisloe Cup June/July, followed by the
>national provincial championship Aug/Septmber, and then a NH tour in
Nov/Dec.
>No wonder they were so shagged England actually drew with them (he said
>modestly).

And disengenuously Boydly!

England had a schedule as arduous as that for three successive years, not
just one and in any case it was infact a m***victory for us because Jeff
Wilson cheated us out of certain victory by lying on the ball for ten
minutes under your posts.

(He said trollingly :-)

JC