First of all I would like to send my regards to all players, directors, supports, staff and sponsors at Newcastle Thunder. The news that Newcastle will no longer compete in League 1 is nothing short of a tragedy following so soon after London Skolars announced their withdrawal from the competition.
So I, as well as I am sure our supporters are asking “what next?”
If there was ever a time for unity in a professional sport, where the governing body have pulled in a global sports, events and talent management company to look after the sport of Rugby League, it is now.
Unfortunately, at last week’s Championship and League 1 meeting, a number of Championship Clubs made it clear that they had no interest in a conferenced competition. We understand protectionism, but the simple fact is League 1 is now unsustainable. I would say this even if we had survived in the Championship this year.
With a conferenced competition all clubs benefit.
We saw amazing attendances at Cougar Park this year and we must thank our loyal supporters for sticking with us through this turbulent year but also in part thank the supporters of teams such as York, Halifax, Barrow and Bradford who brought with them their passionate fanbase.
I will reiterate we are not against expansion and our well documented resistance to IMG shows that. I think at one point Kaue suggested smaller conferenced competitions in local areas and he was laughed at and mocked on Twitter and just 6 months on from that, League 1 has diminished into an 8 team competition.
At this point in the year we would be selling season tickets – but as of today, we can’t because we don’t know exactly what the structure will look like. We’re also in the midst of a commercial drive but we can’t guarantee how many times we will play at home. We want to grow our business and IMG want us to increase non centralised turnover.
On what is the sports biggest weekend we are still in disarray. We need the RFL, clubs and The Rugby League Family” come together and do what is right for the sport and support a conferenced competition.