FalconsRugby.org.uk
2017: A Falcons Odyssey
By Leipziger
May 18 2017

Since we need an article, I’m going to put my thoughts on the Philadelphia Falcons here.

It’s not often you hear the Falcons mentioned on the sports headlines on talkFootball (oops, I meant talkSport) radio, so when I heard yesterday’s news at 11pm it was quite a surprise in more ways than one.

 

My immediate thought was “there’ll be hell on” after people’s comments when it was suggested our game against Saracens last season would be played in the US, and so it has proved, with the decision being unpopular with the majority.

 

Do you want to know what I think? Well, you’ve read this far so I’m going to assume that you do. I’m not as angry as some fans are, but I don’t really like the idea of the Falcons playing a home game abroad. First, we are giving up home advantage against a world-class team in Saracens, potentially costing us points in the Premiership.

 

Sporting-wise, play an away game over there if you want, we’d probably lose away at Saracens anyway. But why should we be the ones to lose the advantage? Saracens are clearly the big draw over there – I doubt we’ll see Falcons v Worcester played in the US any time soon, for example – so why not make it their home game?

 

I suspect Saracens were first asked to play a home game over there and they thought something like: “No, we don’t want to give up a home game and if we play an away game over there, the opposition loses home advantage. This will be better for us in the Premiership.” Maybe the Falcons have different priorities.

 

Or, as has been suggested, schedule a 23rd game abroad for each team – though that has huge disadvantages too of course.

 

Second, Mick Hogan has said: “The club always puts its ST members first.” Unfortunately, this decision suggests that the club only wants the season ticket holders’ money until it can make more money by taking a game elsewhere, and then it’ll just give the season ticket holders their money back for this game. One person’s money isn’t just as good as another person’s, when there’s more of it.

 

You know, people talk about football being an uber-commercialised sport that is only interested in grabbing as much money as possible. Yet the Premier League scrapped plans for the 39th game abroad after huge opposition from fans (without whom they’d still be profitable, unlike rugby clubs with their fans). To my knowledge, the likes of Mike Ashley, Ellis Short, and the owners of Hull City and Crystal Palace also aren’t lobbying to scrap relegation.

 

The Falcons v Saracens Premiership game being played in the US is perhaps an eye-opener into where top level rugby’s priorities really lie.

 

All of this said, I obviously appreciate that the Falcons are a loss-making organisation, and so from that point of view I can understand why they’d be attracted to making a tonne of money at the expense of one home game. Maybe we’ll pick up an American sponsor to add some more income, too.

 

If this game a one-off for us, then in ten years’ time we probably won’t care any more that it happened.

 

But for now, I don’t like the decision and I can understand why many others don’t either.