Sunday, 27 September 2009

Nothing Toulouse? Oh Good Grief!

The history of growth and expansionism in rugby league is not exactly one that can be drawn in a straight line. For a variety of reasons, some more controversial then others, it has never quite reached the tipping point for a major sport. For some of us tired of the corporate cynicism that has taken over many other sports this is a boon. However the good fight is still being fought.

Recently the sport in France has got its act together, at least relatively. However whatever progress has been made must be part of an ongoing push, properly resourced and properly planned. The possibility of Toulouse Olympique becoming part of European Super League is strong but should not be taken for granted. We shall see.

See ya!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

A Question of Justice?

Many non-rugby followers are perplexed by the existence of two distinct rugby's and at best hear something vague about professionalism and amateurism. The actual reason it turns was as much as about control and class as a philosophical difference. Late Victorian England was as much a place of conflict and discord as of table legs being covered up.

Still reading the history and how the opportunity to seriously rival football was lost due in the main to pigheadedness is painful. Then again the deep fissures the split reflected, indeed the story is much more then a tale of sporting events, may have made it inevitable. Here you can read my account of the creation of the Northern Rugby Football Union.

Onwards and upwards.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Great Britain Memories

It seems promises to resurrect the Great Britain side in a touring capacity more in line with the rugby union side was hot air. The Australian professional players err want a rest in 2012. Aww bless 'em. Although its a long sighted decision to allow proper home nation development, the inability to see the potential of a rare British Lions tour with the ashes at stake is frustrating.

This is of course the fate of all rugby league enthusiasts, to suffer one step forward two steps back. Oh well. At least you can enjoy a little bit of nolstagia with the various videos floating around. One of my favourite is the League of Their Own, a behind the scenes documentary, in which shockingly we lose to the Aussies. Those pesky scamps.

Be careful out there, y'all.

Monday, 21 September 2009

A Long and Worthwhile History

Its play-off rugby league once again, slowly grinding its way to the final show down at Old Trafford. The main purpose of this is, of course, to provoke Alex Ferguson into mumbling about his pristine pitch being ruined by the exertions of sporting figures who don't fall over in a slight cross wind. Pfft.

Many whipper snappers have their own grumblings about the champions being determined by the method of a Grand Final. Here I educate you, whippersnappers all, as to its long history. Be grateful.


Sunday, 20 September 2009

The Legacy of Vichy

The issue of how much of the past should impact on the present is an long running one. The debate seems to interminably swing between two none too subtle poles of thought. Events that pale into insignificance compared to genuine horrors are most likely to be dismissed. But yet.

Sport is based and deepened by its history, its events, its characters. My rule of thumb is that if you take the great things as somehow still part of what attaches you too a sport then you take the bad things, the less savoury and the downright criminal. The banning of Rugby League by the Vichy regime during WWII, instigated by the French Rugby Union, definitely falls into the latter category.

However the sport survived and flourishes and here I explain why.

Au revior, mon braves.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

The Greatest Game

My love of rugby league, neglected and derided though it often is, started at the Welsh home of the fifteen man version, the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff. Leeds versus Bradford turned an affection into fanaticism. Luckily someone went and set up the Celtic Crusaders (very kind of them) for me too support. Lovely.

However this blog ironically is set up to save people from it. Or to be more exact to save the few readers of my main blog,, from having to read about it. You more discerning readers will of course snort with derision at such tomfoolery and check here for words of wisdom almost every day, at least.

My main blog concerns a fluttering, barely breathing writing career currently being pursued most vigorously on Luckily I find myself writing about the jeu a treize more then any other subject so far. And rightly so. I like this effort especially: League of Their Own. Let me know if you are feeling it.