Digby wrote:If there is no bailout and no fans for a year the RFU could decide to have a union led series of comps, the league and the European venture. Supposing rugby ever comes back they're not going to get a better chance than this. Probably still something of a hybrid between union and clubs rather than full central control, but bringing the pro game much more under RFU control.
Which begs the question which 4 of our clubs should be allowed to go to the wall?
Ooh, that's a fun question. And it's realistically 5, cause there's 13 pro clubs.
You'd have to say one of the London clubs, one of the West Country clubs, and one of the Midlands clubs definitely. London Irish are a nice easy one - don't own a ground, have just moved, so no inherent support-base, could be easily reestablished as an amateur club like London Scottish were. In the West Country, it pains me to say it, but it could be the death knell for Bath - if we have to pick between Bristol and Bath, then Bristol have a better ground and a richer owner.
Midlands could probably lose two. Worcester are inherently unprofitable - it's unfair cause they have built such a good rugby side, but the business has never worked. On the field, Leicester are clearly the weakest, but can you really get rid of one of the most famous English clubs (mind, I just did with Bath) and one of the biggest support bases, as well as one of the best stadia? Wasps are still very new to the Coventry area, but they have a big ground and are building up - have they ever looked like being profitable though? And Northampton, who were until recently profitable - smaller stadium, but a lot of history and a fervent support.
So I'd have Irish, Bath, Worcester, Wasps and ANOther - one of Glaws, Sale or Newcastle. It's like pulling teeth though - I'd hate to lose any of those that weren't London Irish.
Possibly an opportunity to reorganise into 2 divisions of 8 (based on the 13 top clubs based on league table positions and 3 teams from the Champ based on most viable (put it out for tender based on finance, ground, filling an unsupported area)? That way we keep the clubs we have, even if some of them go significantly lower budget and keep the funding from the likes of Bruce Craig and the geographical coverage for the country as a whole.