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Do the RFU care what happens below the Prem?

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Rothman2 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 07 Apr 2020 at 22:42
I thank Raider 999 for asking the above question in a recent thread. 

I was going to reply within the confines of the thread but reading a couple of Guardian articles from 2002 and a year later in 2003 when we were a really good team. I mean a Roth 102 Moseley 3 sort of team.

Other key things finally led to our backer finally pulling out and with it ending our dream to be among the elite. The owners now love the club but we live hand to mouth like the rest and next season return to level 4 for the first time in 26 years.

And do you know what? It’s great to be back to proper Rugby cos ....it ain’t all that in the Prem or the Championship. In fact the Championship is still. A bloody shambles :

Articles below:

Raider questioned :


or do they just not care what happens below the Premiership?


They have never cared about what happens below the Premiership, and particularly not the Yorkshire area. 


It is very much a minority sport in the North and football dominates.


We were the first Yorkshire team to get to the Prem at a time where there were big financial hitters involved such as Tom Walkinshaw, 


Guardian publication 24th March 2002:


Rugby’s toffs accused of foul tactic

Labour MPs protest at 'elitist' new rule barring gritty Rotherham from premier league

Vivek Chaudhary, sports correspondent

Sun 24 Mar 2002 21.25 EST


Located in a prosperous suburb of south-west London just a stone's throw from Twickenham rugby ground, the esteemed home of English rugby union, Harlequins rugby club has come to epitomise the traditions and wealth of the sport.

Despite being one of the sport's blue chip clubs since its formation in 1866 and having some of the world's leading players, Harlequins is bottom of the premiership and on the verge of being relegated to the national first division.


But the prospect of the aristocrats of Harlequins swapping places with their humbler cousins from Rotherham has sparked a furious row that has reignited the debate over class bias within rugby union, considered by many to be the chosen sport of the establishment.

Supporters of Rotherham claim that the club is the victim of class discrimination from the "toffs of Twickenham" who are trying to ensure that established, blue-blooded teams like Harlequins do not drop out of the premiership, however they perform on the pitch.

Labour MPs and junior ministers Denis MacShane and John Healey, who are fighting the club's cause, said in a joint statement: "The toffs of Twickenham must not be allowed to stop Rotherham from being promoted.


If the Premier League business  refuse Rotherham promotion on merit this will echo around the rugby world ... that English rugby is now about an elite closed shop guarding its privileges, irrespective of whether they play good rugby or not."

The row revolves around a set of criteria introduced by England Rugby, the body that runs professional rugby union, that all clubs must meet before being allowed to compete in the premiership. The criteria relate to size of stadiums, facilities and financial management - but cynics claim that this amounts to nothing more than a conspiracy to exclude smaller, poorer clubs like Rotherham.

Hurdle

Despite promotion being a virtual certainity, the biggest hurdle facing Rotherham in its quest to play at the highest level is England Rugby's rule that all clubs in the premiership must have a ground with a minimum capacity of 4,800, of which 2,000 must be seated under cover.


Rotherham play at the Clifton Lane sports ground, which they share with a local cricket team. With attendances averaging less than 1,000 most supporters stand around the edge of the pitch while the one stand in the ground holds 300.

Harlequins' impressive stadium, The Stoop, holds 10,000. The club generates £6m per year in income while Rotherham barely manages £1m. Clubs from the national first division have also been told that if they get promoted they will not receive as much from the premiership's collective income as those already in the top league.

Critics of the rugby authorities claim that they are trying to keep Harlequins in the premiership because they can attract more sponsorship and television revenue than more anonymous clubs such as Rotherham.



Rotherham hope to build a new 10,000-seat capacity stadium but claim that work cannot begin because the cricket club is refusing to move. The club asked the rugby authorities for permission to ground share with Rotherham United football club so that they can compete in the premiership next season. Critics claim that the goal posts were moved once again with the introduction of a new rule that any rugby club ground sharing must have primacy of tenancy to ensure matches are played on a Saturday.

Mr MacShane and Mr Healey said: "There are premier league teams who play in big grounds, including football stadiums ... the toffs of Twickers are seeking to prevent Rotherham from playing in their league next year. They deserve their chance."

The rugby authorities deny that they are discriminating against Rotherham and that they would prefer to have more commercially attractive clubs like Harlequins in the premiership.


Howard Thomas, chief executive of Premier Rugby, said: "It's complete nonsense. It's perfectly feasible that certain standards should exist. We introduced the criteria because we need to portray the right image to attract sponsorship and television into the sport. We can't have clubs playing professional rugby on a park field."

A group of Labour MPs is planning to put down an early day Commons motion on the Rotherham row while the sports minister, Richard Caborn, is also being urged to intervene.

Harlequins have stayed out of the dispute but deny that they are being favouably treated. Spokesman Mike Scott said: "We are battling not to finish bottom but if we do then we expect to be relegated. I don't buy the argument of class discrimination against poor little northern boys, being a poor little northern boy myself."

Rotherham have until mid April to meet the rugby authorities' criteria. Despite their endeavours on the pitch this season, the club is fearful that time might not be on their side.


Rotherham chief executive Jim Kilfoyle said: "If we want to play in the premiership next season then we have to meet the criteria.

"Our season finishes at the end of April. We are a team of battlers, we are very ambitious and we are hopeful that we can find a solution so that we can play against the country's top clubs."

A game of two halves

Harlequins rugby union football club


Founded 1866 in Hampstead, north London

Stadium The Stoop memorial ground. Main stand holds 4,200. Plus 25 executive boxes

Annual turnover £6m

Major honours Pilkington Cup winners 1988. Tetley's Bitter Cup (2001). Finalists 1992. European Shield winners 2001

Leading players Keith Wood,Dan Luger, Will Greenwood, Jason Leonard, Garrick Morgan.


Rotherham rugby union football club Founded 1927 by local workmen (think that bit is wrong)


Stadium Clifton Lane sports ground. Main stand holds 300. No executive boxes

Annual turnover Just under £1m

Major honours : 1999 runners-up in first division. Lost the promotion play-off

Leading players Eric Peters (former Scotland captain). Rest of team made up of local players plus players from Canada, America, Samoa, Zimbabwe and Italy

Ends


They didn’t let us go up so we repeated the feat a year later and they allowed us up but only after an initial 5-5 vote. You couldn’t make it up.


From the same paper ( The Guardian) a year

Tuesday 6th May 2003:


The first division champions Rotherham are confident they will be playing in the Zurich Premiership next season despite having to wait an extra two days to hear their fate after England Rugby Limited decided it did not have enough information to make a decision on the promotion-relegation issue yesterday.

ERL needed three meetings last year before concluding that Rotherham did not meet the entry criteria for the top flight and ordered them to remain in the first division but the Yorkshire club's chief executive Jim Kilfoyle said he did not anticipate another knockback.


We expected ERL to delay making a decision until next Monday when the Premiership season will be over and they will know who has finished bottom and it may still come to that. It is frustrating because we want to get on with recruitment, but I do not see anything sinister in this."

ERL said it needed "information and clarification" on an auditor's report into whether Rotherham had met all the entry criteria. It adjourned its meeting until tomorrow when its 10 members will probably communicate via a telephone link.

"We were asked a few days ago to supply the letter from the auditors which showed that we had not broken the £1.8m salary cap," said Kilfoyle. "We have not heard from ERL since but all we can imagine is that they did not get the document in time. We did not spend anything like that sum on wages and there is no reason to deny us promotion."


The subject of the proposed merger between Bath and Bristol, two sides involved in the relegation struggle, was mentioned at the ERL meeting but as the two clubs have not made a formal proposal to Premier Rugby to join forces no decision could be made. The delegates, made up equally of representatives from the Rugby Football Union and the Premiership clubs, maintained that the issue had no bearing on Rotherham's fate.

The issue of primacy of tenancy has still not been resolved. As Rotherham play at Rotherham United's Millmoor ground, they are technically in breach of that element of the entry criteria but it is the subject of an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading over whether the rule is a breach of the Competition Act.

"We are still waiting for a response from Premier Rugby and the RFU," said an OFT spokeswoman. "Our inquiry is still very much alive and we have not given anyone an indication of what our conclusion will be."


So - in summary no they don’t care and never have. We weren’t welcome.

You cannot believe this achievement yet every obstacle was put in our way.

Since when has perception been a prerequisite for advancement.

I bet they loved it last week. 


Our epitaph :

They didn’t promote us when we won the league but they did relegate us when we weren’t actually down. The plans for a new ground were there. I saw the plans.

Welcome to the world of Rugby Union. No wonder it has never taken off in Yorkshire.







Edited by Rothman2 - 07 Apr 2020 at 23:04
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote billesleyexile Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2020 at 09:11
Originally posted by Rothman2 Rothman2 wrote:

 I mean a Roth 102 Moseley 3 sort of team.



I don't disagree with any of that, and the way Roth were treated in those years was a disgrace.

Point of order though, spanking a team at possibly the lowest ebb in its history is not a reflection of Rotherham (although I'm not denying for a moment that you were the form team at that time, used to be great to watch) so much as how bad we were. Having narrowly survived the emergency meeting in July 2002 which wanted to stop us relocating to Oxford, that was the season we didn't have a first XV (many players had run away at the back end of the previous season) and were basically fulfilling fixtures with the odds and ends. 

That was the year Moseley nearly died - and some brave people stood up and pulled it back from the brink. Anyway, it wasn't just Roth, we were getting pummelled week in week out.



Edited by billesleyexile - 08 Apr 2020 at 09:12
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Camquin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2020 at 09:49
I am trying to find the place where rugby union dominates and soccer is relegated to second place.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JonDee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2020 at 10:01
Originally posted by Camquin Camquin wrote:

I am trying to find the place where rugby union dominates and soccer is relegated to second place.




Bath is always a good call
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cannon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2020 at 10:33
Originally posted by JonDee JonDee wrote:

Originally posted by Camquin Camquin wrote:

I am trying to find the place where rugby union dominates and soccer is relegated to second place.




Bath is always a good call
Exeter, Coventry, Darlington, Worcester?
Rucks and mauls may bust my balls, but whips and chains excite me!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote billesleyexile Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2020 at 10:46
Originally posted by Cannon Cannon wrote:

Originally posted by JonDee JonDee wrote:

Originally posted by Camquin Camquin wrote:

I am trying to find the place where rugby union dominates and soccer is relegated to second place.




Bath is always a good call
Exeter, Coventry, Darlington, Worcester?

Isn't that just saying "the rugby club's bigger than the football club" though? Rather than rugby is the more popular sport? 

Coventry? Not a chance. Worcester? Having grown up just down the road that's a football city that happens to have an underperforming football club - to be fair, it's never had much sport beyond cricket until Cecil got his chequebook out. But it's not a rugby city - big vectors of home support from south Birmingham and the Black Country out to Wolverhampton, then rural Worcs, rather than the city itself. Basically it's handy for a lot of the usual rugby demographic on the road network and has decent facilities. 

Don't know enough about Darlington. 

Exeter (I've lived there) is a football city with a successful rugby club. The downturn of the Grecians can be timed pretty exactly to Chiefs rise and hoovering of the local sponsorship money. On Chiefs matchdays the city is still full of pubs full of people watching the football. Devon's a rugby county with 2 football cities. 

Bath maybe, Gloucester potentially, although as a percentage of the population I always think it's like Welsh RU - everyone will tell you they're a fan than go back to watching the Premier League. Lots coming down from Cheltenham on a match day.

Interestingly I suspect, and it's only a suspicion based on marrying a girl from there, that Northampton might just edge it as a rugby>football town.

I'd say Devon (not the cities), Cornwall, Bedord, and then pockets of the M62 corridor where RL beats football, but overall there aren't many places. I've got my doubts about all of them to be honest.


Edited by billesleyexile - 08 Apr 2020 at 10:48
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kimbo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2020 at 11:13
Tend to agree with BE.

And the notion that rugby is bigger than football in Cov is laughable. The thought that Cov or the other lot having more popular support among locals is just that. Laughable.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Arch Angel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2020 at 11:26
"Interestingly I suspect, and it's only a suspicion based on marrying a girl from there, that Northampton might just edge it as a rugby>football town".

Having lived here all my life (also lucky to have married a Northampton "girl" as well), I'd like to think we're a rugby town with 16 proper rugby clubs in and around town as well as the Galácticos of Jimmies End but the reality is that football still dominates in the pubs and parks as well as actually the numbers playing the game


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Camquin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2020 at 11:31
Darlington is close enough to Middlesborough, Sunderland and Newcastle.

Worcester is similarly close to the west Midlands connurbation - Edward Elgar famously cycled from Worcester to watch Wolves each Saturday.

The success of Worcester and Exeter rugby clubs is quite recent and down to local businessmen being prepared to spend a lot of money - and nothing to do with the RFU.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Raider999 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2020 at 11:43
Gloucester, Bath, West Sussex

All examples where rugby is at least as big as football
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rothman2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2020 at 11:47
All in the South
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rothman2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2020 at 11:48
Believe what you want. It’s been the same for more than 20 years.

Our local businessman pulled out when the guarantees required were not given. 

I know what happened.




Edited by Rothman2 - 08 Apr 2020 at 11:50
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Darth Raider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2020 at 13:45
What do you want to do ?
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Just Cornwall and Devon for me.......maybe gloucestershire ?   

As others have noted though, it is still likely that there are more round ball players even there ?  I suppose the absence of high level soccer in the south west is helpful to a degree ?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wigwam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2020 at 14:30
Anyone can kick a football...……not many can kick a rugby ball
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Raider999 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2020 at 14:43
Originally posted by Rothman2 Rothman2 wrote:

All in the South


No intention to say none on the north, it's just I personally now the Sout & South West better
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Camquin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2020 at 15:09
Out of interest which clubs in West Sussex get a bigger crowd than Crawley FC (record attendance 5,880). And that assumes nobody in West Sussex watches Brighton and Hove Albion.


Even though Twerton Park has a safety limit of 8,000 now - the record attendance is 18,000 (more than the capacity of the Rec.)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CJB1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2020 at 15:14
Originally posted by Camquin Camquin wrote:

Out of interest which clubs in West Sussex get a bigger crowd than Crawley FC (record attendance 5,880). And that assumes nobody in West Sussex watches Brighton and Hove Albion.

Even though Twerton Park has a safety limit of 8,000 now - the record attendance is 18,000 (more than the capacity of the Rec.)
How long ago was that?  And was it for Bath City or Bristol Rovers?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2020 at 15:49
Originally posted by Camquin Camquin wrote:

I am trying to find the place where rugby union dominates and soccer is relegated to second place.


Cornwall and West Kent. I suspect.


As for the general thread title. I think it is pretty clear that they don't. You can see from how they have that stupid minimum standards criteria to stop any upstarts trying to get in and all those other petty rules designed to stop all but the handpicked few from climbing the ladder. Look at what they did to London Welsh for proof of it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richard Lowther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2020 at 15:56
Originally posted by Cannon Cannon wrote:

[ Exeter, Coventry, Darlington, Worcester?

I wouldn't say Darlington, their football club has crowds into four figures, one of the highest for their league. 

Hartlepool I would have said once upon a time; definetly the five Towns of Wakefield MDC; The Heavy Woollen District of West Yorkshire and Hull, but that is where Rugby League dominates. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rothman2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2020 at 16:49
Rotherham United average 9,000 this season
Sheffield Wednesday over 20,000
Sheffield United nearly 30,000
Roth about 600 although when we played Quins we somehow shoe horned about 4,500 into Clifton Lane (all those who have been to the Lane think about that for a minute) and highest ever was 6,200 when we lost 34-19 at home to Bath at Millmoor  in the Prem in 2003/4

The atmosphere at the Lane in the Prem and the Championship was simply sensational but we had to move. They said words to the effect that they can’t be playing on a park field. It was great it was like a carnival on match days, temporary stands outside tents and then the craic in the bar. 


Edited by Rothman2 - 08 Apr 2020 at 16:50
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