Summer Musings (also known as keeping t'board ticking over)
June 26 2020

So here we are on a summer’s day, the thoughts turning towards the upcoming season, trips to grounds to meet old friends, players looking forward to pre-season starting…

Of course we are not, the premiership final should have been played this weekend just gone, but we still have 8 rounds of the league to play (assuming they don’t abandon the season any time soon).

News from the club is limited, part of me is a bit disappointed, but then for once I can understand to an extent – there is great unknowns still to happen add into that from what I’ve heard the majority of staff at Leeds Rugby are on furlough, given how little of their time we paid for before of this we must be well down their list of priorities.

When will the season start – ignoring the premiership as they are in their own “bubble” the answer is who knows, I’ve seen guesses from November through to January – could it be longer who knows, I guess that depends on 2nd waves coming in, all I know is I’m itching to get back watching rugby in person! I can’t see from a supporter perspective any problems with social distancing – but as it’s been said, Rugby and COVID are not good bedfellows!

So, what do we know for certain? Not a lot, we are likely to be changing our name, this seems to have been confirmed by Phil Davies, but there is nothing else, strong rumours on a new venue, but again nothing confirmed. Hopefully we will get some clarity soon – once we have an idea on a return to playing plan.

What has been announced is that We’ve lost a couple of players, but on the face of it maybe not a huge surprise given the news that ideally players would live less than 1 hour from training – James Robbins (moved to Sale) could still live over Chester way – I would not fancy that journey 3 times a week. James Elliot has had a chance to stay in the championship and move to Jersey – I can’t blame him for that decision.

So player recruitment is an unknown, one of our challenges could be that Phil has mentioned building better links with the universities of Leeds – when are they coming back to Leeds? How much of an issue could this be for us? Hopefully there are conversations going on with prospective players, could having a well respected coach linked to the club help? You’d hope so.

There’s not much happening elsewhere, there’s not a lot of news from our division, a few player resignings, but not much movement – again not surprising, why sign a new player when under the rules of furlough you have to start paying them with no idea when money may becoming in.

Times are a changing in the championship, unless you are Donny, Jersey or Ealing you seem to be losing players. As some people know I have in-law connections with Bedford so I keep an eye on them, they seem to have lost a lot of players who want to carry on playing full time rugby. It seems that a lot of clubs in that division are going to have to cut their cloth accordingly. Whilst technically this won’t impact us, it may push higher quality down into our division and we are not going to be looking at it I suspect. Makes it even harder for us next year.

All in all, it is a summer of great unknowns, not just for rugby but for the wider world. In the meantime, I’m off to open a beer in my garden, as I can’t see me dashing to the pubs soon.