Monthly Archives: December 1999

Tom Walkinshaw’s British League

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There seems to have been a lot of villagism written lately about Uncle Tom’s proposals for a British League. He seems to have created alot of antogonism amongst the natives who are content to watch rugby on rice paddy pitches, trench warfare toilets and deserted terraces. Thank God for Uncle Tom, we say! Nob’s busy maintaining the power of the 57 old farts and hanging the rest of us out to dry (should we have expected any thing else?). So how about the future? Well there seems to be two scenarios.

1. The English go their own way and form their own league. Insufficient funding wrecks the Welsh game, Peter the Pieman and that bloke from Newbridge Networks move their wads elsewhere. Top players can’t earn enough to fill the petrol tank of a Lada, let alone drive the Beemers they all want and they leave across the border. We’re left with another wasted generation of talent (this time going east instead of north) and Welsh rugby once more plumments to sub-Romanian standards.

2. Uncle Tom and others stick a collective two fingers up at the Buffers in the English Rugby Union and the Welsh village luddites (what a strange alliance!) and set up their own Premier League. We get to watch top stars, whether they’re playing for Gloucester, Bath or Bristol. We get huge crowds and a real atmosphere and see the likes of Pat Lam, John Preston and Henry Honiball playing every week. TV sponsorship means we get decent pitches. Professionalism and increased competition means sub-standard effort is not tolerated and the players performance levels increase. Coaches are judged on results and not on whether they’re good buddies with the national coach.

Can’t see much of a choice here! One means the death of the game in Wales and one means top rugby each week.

As for which teams should join the league, why not put the supporter first, and set minimal standards on facilities – access to the ground, seating, toilets, ground capacity? Assuming these are met, then qualification should be meritocratic – top four in the league please!

What’s all the fuss about? Next year’s rugby is suddenly looking rosy again ….. thank you Uncle Tom.

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