For me on Friday morning the greatest game in the world stood at a crossroads! The sport held its breath and waited. Of course, the competition has changed so many times before, in fact its infamous for it, but with seriously declining gates and mounting indifference, this really did look like the last hurrah! However, in the end, quite miraculously and against what was the general belief, sense prevailed and wisdom won the day. The new structure isn’t the solution, but I think those leading it do at least give us the best chance of finding it!
For this fan who has spent literally hours and hours studying the options and the arguments, one road, on the back of bloody mindedness, avarice and parochial thinking, saw the status quo prevailing and the (eventual) demise of our sport as we know it, whilst the other at least gave us a fighting chance of sorting things, before we have to renegotiate the new TV deal. A deal that is sadly something, that in two years-time will undoubtedly be make or break for the game as we know it. Ironically, Sky TV and their money has in many ways ruined British Rugby League already, but we had to give the owners one last fighting chance to save something from the escalating apathy that is surrounding the game at present.
With minimal interest in the Super Eights and the Qualifiers, attendances at games down to 2000 in the latter and Sky viewing figures running at around 80,000 when compared with the 200,000 that have watched the regular rounds, we are as a game in as big a mess as we have seen for decades. In a nut shell, the season, and perhaps even our great game, was dying on its feet. Sky is calling the tune, it’s ludicrous that the whole survival of a full time professional sport depends on one TV company and their money, but it does; what’s more it was becoming a dead certainty that come 2021 they won’t be paying anything like they did, because their patronage as a broadcaster depends solely on the popularity of the product with their viewers and that has declined significantly as well.
It may be too late already, who knows, but we desperately need to get our act together and personally, when compared with the owners of some Championship teams and/or the blazers of Redhall, then Elstone and Co. were always our best and perhaps only chance of doing that.
For me, the Super League owners are, through their vested interests and their own money being on the line, the ones who give us the best chance of doing something, so that as a game at least we don’t die wondering. I have banged on about this unprecedented crisis for months now, but on Friday it all came to a head and thankfully sense prevailed and at least for the moment we can all breath again. Now it’s time to see some action!
Oh and the FC tried hard again and fought valiantly again, but again came up short and more worryingly, a few, by their actions seemed to accept that defeat all too easily. But more of that later; bring on the end of the season