In 2014, Sir Ian McGeechan, one of the most respected men in British rugby, unveiled a vision that he hoped would lead to Headingley becoming the home of a prosperous and successful rugby club. His idea was to copy the successful Divisional structure of New Zealand rugby.
The Leeds club would be the pinnacle of the system, enveloping all junior rugby throughout Yorkshire, with players aspiring to play for their parent club. He had discussed the idea with the RFU, both nationally and locally, and believed investment was available to make this a success, providing the club changed its name from Leeds, to Yorkshire.
Sir Ian believed that the club would make big strides forward, and before too long would be an established Premiership club. He sold the project well, players like Ryan Burrows and Jonah Holmes committed to the club, and experienced players like Chris Jones, Andy Saull, and Dean Schofield came along to join the revolution.
Fast forward 3 years. If there has been significant investment off the field, it has not been reflected on it, Carnegie are well established in the Championship, a long way away from looking like a side who could compete at the top level. True the end of season play offs still give us a chance to be promoted, but most observers expect London Irish to claim the ultimate prize. With the play-off system being consigned to the scrapheap, this is probably our best chance of promotion, until, (if it happens), a 14 team Premiership becomes reality. Unless we find a very rich benefactor we cannot hope to even match the struggling teams at the top level. Ryan Burrows and (allegedly) Jonah Holmes believe their Premiership futures now lie elsewhere, and the many talented youngsters who have come through the academy don’t take much persuading to move on..
Carnegie have attempted to spread the word. Club representatives spend hours going into the community to provide coaching to the junior clubs. The club have adopted an ‘on the road’ policy for their B and I cup games, local clubs benefitting financially from the chance to see senior rugby on their own ground. The payback, should be an increase in attendances at Headingley as these clubs and their members become attached to Yorkshire Carnegie, but this has not happened. Why?
It is also fair to say the Yorkshire moniker has not gone down well with our near neighbours at Doncaster and Rotherham, after all why should they introduce youngsters to the game to see them move to Yorkshire after the investments they have made.
As for our own fans, the majority still shout for Leeds, and the players belt out ‘Marching on Together’ after every victory. Those two factors alone probably sum up the last three years. So, has becoming Yorkshire Carnegie improved anything at Headingley? If it has, I must have missed it.
Do the fans shout for leeds much anymore? Not in my experience even if we are thinking it.
Players move on at every club, big small rich or poor.
The crowds will come for big games and prem Rugby.
At least they are trying something. The alternative might have been a lot worse.
To grow this type scheme takes far longer than 3 years.
As you say we need more investment to be successful and top driven guy in charge.
We need more investment but where will it come from? The Championship is a bit of a Cinderella competition and there does not seem to be any great desire from the game's movers and shakers to change that for the better.
If I was an investor I would put my money into a top flight club who get televised and lots of publicity rather than a club which aspires to the top table.
Geechs vision of a club representing the whole of the Yorkshire rugby union community at the pinnacle of the domestic and European game really appeals to me.
I have this romantic image of night fixture against one of the European elite, Toulon, Clermont, Racing. Its held at a gleaming new state of the art stadium illuminated against an inky Yorkshire sky. Yorkshire rugby supporters from all over the county, the same guys who give up their spare time every weekend to coach, run the bar or just get their kids to the game on time, are flooding in to support a team made up of lads who came up from those same clubs. Lads who've worked their way up through the structure. Lads who've had the opportunity to move on but chose to stay and in doing so have had access to the best facilities and the opportunity to play rugby at the very highest level for a team with a Yorkshire Rose on the shirt.
In short, I support Geech in what he's trying to do.
I disagree when you say that we haven't seen investment on the pitch. People like Redpath and ex internationals like Saull and Jones won't come cheap. We've seen investment but its happened alongside some shocking judgement. The single most important role at the club is that of DOR/Head Coach, whatever you want to call him, and we haven't got that right for a long time. This year in particular I think, with the possible exception of another fly half, we have had the playing personnel capable of getting the job done but no one seems capable of instilling a professional environment around them in order to instil a professional attitude within them. It all seems a bit sloppy, a bit matey, a bit amateur and results, unsurprisingly, have followed suit. That's where we've fallen short, not because Geechs vision is flawed, but because we haven't put the right General in place to make it happen.
Don't understand where you're coming from WW. We're all allowed an opinion aren't we ?
I happen to believe that he was our best chance of achieving sustainability as a Premiership club. I said that before he arrived and I still believe it now.
The fact that he might have upset one or two was only because it probably meant so much to him being a Yorkshire man and previously playing for Tykes.Most of the other coaches we have had have upset players along the way. Doesn't really bother me if that happens as long as we get the end product.
Without a doubt the best coach we have had for a long time and we have struggled ever since. But that's just my opinion and no one will change it. However, I also respect the opinion of others whilst maybe not agreeing with them.
Lots of valid points made above, and this is why I asked, are we any further on? We should have appointed a DoR as soon as the change was announced, and we would have been 3 years further down the line. I still fail to see how we are any beter off now, than we were then.
COME ON LEEDS.
We've been through it all together.
No problems WW. Yes I do bang the DE gong because I truly believe that he was the best person for us and I still think that. I just like an individual for whom it means so much (a bit a la Steve Diamond) and I may therefore forgive other perceived sins.
That started to go downhill in a big way with the advent of professionalism and the abolition of the four divisional sides. I still enjoy going to representative matches but big crowds won't turn out to watch players from the third tier and below, however enjoyable the rugby.
If I had all the money I've spent on drink ..... I'd spend it on drink.
Just watched a you tube clip of Owen Farrell speaking to a group of Saracens U18s before a big game and he says something which, for me, sums it up.
It sums up what I've been clumsily trying to say on here for the last few years about where were coming up short and it provides a window into the mindset that is instilled into Saracens players right from the off.
"In big games there are two non-negotiables boys, your physicality and your intensity"
That's the difference between where we are and where we need to be imho.
If we are still living the dream of becoming a Premiership side, we should have some foundations in place. IF, the attitude is, well it's Bristol coming down so they will go straight back up, we will never succeed. We should be building and recruiting to win the Championship next season regardless of who is relegated.
We could of course win promotion this season, then all will be ok.
COME ON LEEDS.
We've been through it all together.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
We record all IP addresses on the Sportnetwork message boards which may be required by the authorities in case of defamatory or abusive comment.
We seek to monitor the Message Boards at regular intervals.
We do not associate Sportnetwork with any of the comments and do not take responsibility for any statements or opinions expressed on the Message Boards.
If you have any cause for concern over any material posted here please let us know as soon as possible by e-mailing