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Brian Moore's Article in Telegraph
Ernie Ball (IP Logged)
02 January, 2018 13:44
A piece mostly about Northampton's woes. Also talks about promotion and relegation towards the end. As usual Brian Moore talks a lot of sense.

"Failure to cull in stages means seismic change is inevitable for Northampton
Saints have kept too many senior players and new coach will have to crop dead wood
A decade back, nobody would have predicted that a rugby club’s annual fixture between Christmas and New Year would attract more than 75,000 people. It is a remarkable achievement that Harlequins’ Big Game now consistently attracts that number of spectators, the majority of whom are not normally rugby supporters.

At what point do Saints send Dylan Hartley on his way?
As a club, the challenge is to convert a small percentage each year into regular fans, and they can do that by playing the sort of expansive rugby that saw them beat Northampton 50–21.
At the pre-match Q and A I had said that this was the best time to play the Saints, given that they were a shambles at the moment. I did not know when I said this that I would be sitting next to Northampton’s top brass throughout the game, but it would have made no difference. Though I admire and like Northampton as a club, my thoughts are my own and it turns out that, though they might not have used such pejorative language, they agreed with the general thrust of what was said.
Jim Mallinder’s departure was inevitable. As the director of rugby, the responsibility for the lack of progress on the field had to stop with him; it was, I opined, a surprise that others in the management and coaching team had not gone as well.
This was where the conversation got interesting and, for Northampton fans, where the signals of seismic change were apparent.
Saints are not going to get relegated, so they can and should take their time in finding Mallinder’s permanent replacement, but until the end of the season, the Australian Alan Gaffney will take temporary charge. My guess is that the permanent replacement will also be from overseas. The problems he faces are not small and they are typical of those facing an English club who do not have money to throw around – or who want to, in the hope that it will solve everything. Northampton’s academy is producing plenty of talent but they cannot hope to introduce several young players at once and expect them instantly to play first-team Premiership rugby successfully.

If anything, the later years of Mallinder’s tenure were marked by misplaced loyalty to players who had produced the goods in the past but were no longer playing anything close to the standards of the past.
Ominously, I was told that the new man will have complete freedom to retain or replace anyone in the coaching or playing sphere. With 12 players out of contract at the end of the year you can expect huge changes in coming months.
The two issues of promoting youth and retaining older players are extremely difficult to get right but they are the ones which the best clubs and countries get right most of the time. At what point do Saints say to players like Tom Wood, Dylan Hartley, Ben Foden and Stephen Myler, players who have shown loyalty and been involved in Saints’ past triumphs, that they are surplus to requirements? The answer is that you have to do the cutting in stages but make sure it is done each year.
Unfortunately for Northampton, they find themselves in a position where too large a group of senior players has been allowed to remain, and England’s post-2003 decline is a salutary lesson in what happens when a side suddenly lose so much experience.
The promotion of nascent talent is inextricably bound to the issue of automatic promotion and relegation. English rugby needs to look again at this point because presently it is bedevilled by sentimental nonsense, preached by people who ignore, purposefully or otherwise, the reality of professional rugby.
In truth, only Bristol have the resources and ambition to play in the Premiership. No other Championship club have the ground, attendances or business model to make a serious attempt to be promoted and to stay in the Premiership under current arrangements.
The other clubs also have the inbuilt handicap that they invariably do not find out whether they are going to gain promotion until late in the season, by which time it is too late to negotiate contracts with sufficiently experienced players, even if they are available. Thus, unless they are like Bristol and can afford to contract such players to play in the Championship, in the hope of promotion, they face an almost impossible task.
Having promotion/relegation every three years would give all teams a realistic chance to build squads on a sensible basis and this, crucially, would allow young talent to be introduced on a realistic timescale. All we hear from romantic rugby writers and rugby purists is the parroting of the cliche that rugby must be seamless from top to bottom. If so, let them explain how the problems set out above can be solved or move into the real world."

 
Re: Brian Moore's Article in Telegraph
Furriner (IP Logged)
02 January, 2018 13:55
Very thought provoking. We should be careful not to read into this that players such as Wood and Hartley are fit only for the scrap heap. I reckon they’re the type who’d discover a new hunger for the game by signing for a different club.

 
Re: Brian Moore's Article in Telegraph
Bod (IP Logged)
02 January, 2018 16:17
Sound all very Tyrrells Premiership to me. Bristol Ladies Rugby have a 3 year ring fence in this league.



http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_dOg4Ljp3kh8/Sf89bRrqecI/AAAAAAAAAJY/eJCF1kt4b0E/s200/DON%27T-SHOOT-THE-MESSENGER1.jpg

 
Re: Brian Moore's Article in Telegraph
Graham_U (IP Logged)
03 January, 2018 11:59
Not sure that every 3 years is a real solution as what happens to the relegated club who have the Prem set up but can not return for another 3 years? That would be commercial suicide unless you have a SL supporting you.

If ring fencing is the answer, as he has put a very good argument for, then I think the prem size has to be flexible to allow new teams with everything in place to join, but also monitor those in place to ensure they are still meeting the requirements for a prem team.



Graham

C'mon Bris,

http://www.rugbynetwork.net/boards/file/s100.htm?102,file=399.jpg

Stand out in a crowd, wear the Hoops!

 
Re: Brian Moore's Article in Telegraph
Platwell House (IP Logged)
03 January, 2018 12:12
Though I am against ring fencing if it does happen I would like to see 14 teams ring fenced with the bottom team relegated if finishing bottom two times in a row.

 
Re: Brian Moore's Article in Telegraph
Big Dave (IP Logged)
03 January, 2018 17:22
But what if no team is avle to come up - i.e. wouldn't be competitive in a month of sundays?

 
Re: Brian Moore's Article in Telegraph
Hercules Spoons (IP Logged)
03 January, 2018 20:42
I feel very privileged to be allowed to read this article- thank you censors

 
Re: Brian Moore's Article in Telegraph
inatthebreakdown (IP Logged)
03 January, 2018 21:21
Quote:
Big Dave
But what if no team is avle to come up - i.e. wouldn't be competitive in a month of sundays?

Exactly and that's where the promotion idea currently falls apart. Ring fence it at fourteen teams and have done with it. The Prem will be professional and competitive. The Championship will be semi-pro and competitive.

I don't really see why people are against it, as it's effectively ring fenced already, with us, Wuss and Irish swapping around.

 
Re: Brian Moore's Article in Telegraph
JamboBris (IP Logged)
03 January, 2018 21:24
Quote:
inatthebreakdown
Quote:
Big Dave
But what if no team is avle to come up - i.e. wouldn't be competitive in a month of sundays?

Exactly and that's where the promotion idea currently falls apart. Ring fence it at fourteen teams and have done with it. The Prem will be professional and competitive. The Championship will be semi-pro and competitive.

I don't really see why people are against it, as it's effectively ring fenced already, with us, Wuss and Irish swapping around.

For me the issue is that there isn't a 14th team ready. Ealing comfortably the second best team but would lose every game by a landslide next season with their current squad.

 
Re: Brian Moore's Article in Telegraph
Earlsbris (IP Logged)
03 January, 2018 23:08
I like the idea of a bottom v top prem v champ fixture to decide promotion/relegation.

It would act as a virtual ring-fence but maintain interest in the bottom half of the prem, and keep the door ajar for a champ side. The difference between the leagues would make it difficult to do a bristol in the final

Being realistic, I don’t see what would encourage a neutral to bother with Irish v Worcester, Sale etc...

The ideal situation would be to have 12 decent champ teams but that that is a very long way off, if ever it will happen

 
Re: Brian Moore's Article in Telegraph
Platwell House (IP Logged)
04 January, 2018 08:14
It's a shame the RFU won't fund the second tier properly. I like the idea of Earlsbris, maybe a one off game at a neutral ground.

 
Re: Brian Moore's Article in Telegraph
Field marshall (IP Logged)
04 January, 2018 10:04
Quote:
Ealing comfortably the second best team but would lose every game by a landslide next season with their current squad.
Ealing would offer precisely zero to the AP. No Crowds, TV subs, rugby, money, nothing. This is professionalism and clubs need to pull their weight.
I note a couple of articles in the RP from champ coaches bemoaning the lack of play offs. They did not have a decent argument between them.

 
Re: Brian Moore's Article in Telegraph
SparkyBris (IP Logged)
04 January, 2018 10:22
Other than providing matchday revenue of an extra 2 or 4 games what benefit did the play offs bring to Bedford/Donny/Ealing/Rotherham etc? Hope? - it isn't a great business model is it!?! We're only too aware of the problems it eventually caused London Welsh.

There is something appealing about promotion/relegation every other season which will allow the side promoted to the prem a chance to steady the ship and equally any side in the Championship with ambition can mount a reasonable assault on the league in order to prove their mettle.



Supporting Bristol since... since... Oh, not enough fingers.

 
Re: Brian Moore's Article in Telegraph
hooter (IP Logged)
04 January, 2018 10:34
How about the team winning the championship has to win it by beating the second placed team by 10 points or so for a chance to play the bottom team in the premiership

 
Re: Brian Moore's Article in Telegraph
SimonB (IP Logged)
04 January, 2018 11:13
There is no perfect solution to this. Most of us have supported the principle of promotion/relegation for ever, but the actions - or lack of - by the RFU in supporting the Championship has made it impossible for any other than Bris to contemplate a crack at he Prem.
So the answer in the short term has to be promote Bris, have no relegation from the Prem and run it with 13 clubs. That is all the shareholders bar Yorks who are not competitive and lack both funding and support.
There will be 1 club each week without a fixture but overall 2 more league games/season. Rationalise the cup competitions and overall there would be no increase in games.
Do away with relegation for at least 3 years and then re-assess. If someone in the Championship shows in that time they warrant consideration, then review whether to let them up either as increase to 14, or by a promotion/relegation year.
I just wish the RFU/Premier League would get on and sort it out, currently it is a mess.

 
Re: Brian Moore's Article in Telegraph
Graham_U (IP Logged)
04 January, 2018 11:40
If the Champ clubs can not fund themselves then there is no way the RFU can fund them to be anywhere near competitive unless they drastically cut funding to the grass roots. They are an easy target, but they are not the real problem. Its the PRL grabbing all the TV/sponsorship money for the pro club game, that is the major problem to pro rugby.

As Moore and other on this thread have said there are only currently 13 teams able to support the current level of pro-rugby, Leedshire have the facilities but have generally struggled with the needs of pro-rugby and the longer they have spent in the champ the less they look like a potential prem outfit. Even with a more equitable split of funding it would still take major multi-million pound per season commitments from any team in the Champ to go up. But unless there is the off field support, crowd and sponsorship, there is little chance of any other team bridging that gap. But anyone that can should have the opportunity to be elected into the top level.



Graham

C'mon Bris,

http://www.rugbynetwork.net/boards/file/s100.htm?102,file=399.jpg

Stand out in a crowd, wear the Hoops!

 
Re: Brian Moore's Article in Telegraph
AlexInSouthville (IP Logged)
04 January, 2018 11:42
Quote:
SimonB
There is no perfect solution to this. Most of us have supported the principle of promotion/relegation for ever, but the actions - or lack of - by the RFU in supporting the Championship has made it impossible for any other than Bris to contemplate a crack at he Prem.
So the answer in the short term has to be promote Bris, have no relegation from the Prem and run it with 13 clubs. That is all the shareholders bar Yorks who are not competitive and lack both funding and support.
There will be 1 club each week without a fixture but overall 2 more league games/season. Rationalise the cup competitions and overall there would be no increase in games.
Do away with relegation for at least 3 years and then re-assess. If someone in the Championship shows in that time they warrant consideration, then review whether to let them up either as increase to 14, or by a promotion/relegation year.
I just wish the RFU/Premier League would get on and sort it out, currently it is a mess.

Agree with all of this. The arguments in support or promotion/relegation (which the old romantic in me always backed) are simply dying away.

 
Re: Brian Moore's Article in Telegraph
Big Dave (IP Logged)
04 January, 2018 17:51
Quote:
Platwell House
It's a shame the RFU won't fund the second tier properly. I like the idea of Earlsbris, maybe a one off game at a neutral ground.

I suspect a large part of the answer is that the Premiership clubs don't want to.

 
Re: Brian Moore's Article in Telegraph
Dieselpup (IP Logged)
06 January, 2018 09:41
All very interesting.

Agree that things need to change both for both leagues sake (cant be much fun to watch a demoted prem club win everything and go straight back up - as in the last couple of seasons).

Mr Moore touched on a good point, its as much about business plan, strategy and finance off the field as on it to make a successful club in any league. Its important that clubs know their limits and just "winning" is often not enough. You must have the resources, commitment and most importantly the popularity (both in terms of fans and local business) to really succeed.

Rugby is an ever evolving beast, over the years we have seen law changes, technology enhancements, player welfare intelligence, television and viewing experiance changes and I am sure many many more to come. Is it time to look at the leagues and admit that, in the current format of the game in England a locked off premiereship is the best thing for English Rugby right now?

Play a premiereship of 14 teams for a 5 year trial and invest properly in the Champiosnhip to generate more interest in the game at this level.

Whilst the pureists will argue that promotion and relegation is a fundemental part of Rugby I believe the reality is that Rugby in England cannot sustain this in its current state, see the Celtics, Southern Hemisphere etc etc for details.

 
Re: Brian Moore's Article in Telegraph
Hercules Spoons (IP Logged)
06 January, 2018 10:19
Much as I admire Hartpury and Ealing I think the post by the Hartpury supporter (we're increasing crowd capacity to 3000) only adds credibility to the argument tyhat the premiership and the Championship are not currently compatible.

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