Field Theory by Hadyn Green

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Field Theory: The Master Plan: No one can stop us now!

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  • LegBreak,

    Or cricket during rugby season?

    I really, really hope that’s a wind-up HG.

    It’s well documented that test cricket is no longer played at 3 of the 4 traditional venues in this country now because of a thing called Super Rugby. And we’re talking about Feb / Mar here. Most neutrals would agree that’s the cricket season.

    And recently we had the case of an ODI not being able to be played at Carisbrook in the middle of Feb because of a rugby match.

    But if you can give an example of a rugby game being shifted in Aug / Sep because of cricket you may have a point…

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    I really, really hope that’s a wind-up HG.

    Just a little one :)

    I have been against the Super 14/Cricket clash for aaages

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    When you say "this" you mean your idea right? because I want nothing to do with the EPL, I think it's an awful system.

    On the other hand, the English football system is the most successful sporting organisational system ever. It might be awful*, but by God it works.

    Personally, if I were the NZRU, I'd kill the current Super 14 teams, and make the Super n the European Cup equivalent. Bring back the NPC, and play that as a straight pyramid league system, with no post-season nonsense. Have a league or a cup, or both, but don't try to have 2-in-1.

    Televise everything on free-to-air.

    Don't monkey around with salary caps and such. Accept that if you can't pay the money, that's not the player's fault, and move on.

    Clubs must have more than 50% fan ownership. (Only 25% if the fans are ponies.)


    * I think it's a lot better than the NZ rugby system, or the American franchised stuff

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    On the other hand, the English football system is the most successful sporting organisational system ever.

    As evidenced by the dominance of the national team in all major tournaments? By the five-year ban imposed by Uefa on all English teams after the Heysel massacre?

    Granted, they've turned it around financially with the new stadiums. And they're making a lot of money as of right now. Whether it's a long-term sustainable model (Manchester United at the moment is is being run pretty recklessly by its US owners), and whether they'll manage to keep a lid on the violence, remains to be seen.

    From a purely commercial standpoint, it is obvious that you cannot compare the kind of market that Premiership teams can enjoy thanks to the domestic population and the international popularity of the game, to what the NPC or the Super 14 can rack up.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    As evinced by the fact that everyone plays Association Football. That would seem the most important measure of the Football Association's success.

    The massive amounts of money they make, and the success in European club competitions don't hurt. Further, if you look at the teams which beat English teams, an awful lot of them follow the basic English model of a league and a cup, and are organisationally very similar.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    As evinced by the fact that everyone plays Association Football. That would seem the most important measure of the Football Association's success.

    If that were true, I'd expect the national team to be quite a lot more successful. Besides, a lot of people play football in Brazil and Argentina and quite a few African countries, in spite of the very sorry financial state of their premiere competitions, and in Italy, Spain, Germany etc. I think if you want to look for countries that are very successful in promoting participation and fostering talent, I'd rather point to France and Argentina. Assuming we're interested not just in the NPC being well attended, but also in the All Blacks being successful.

    Further, if you look at the teams which beat English teams, an awful lot of them follow the basic English model of a league and a cup, and are organisationally very similar.

    European leagues work more or less all in the same way, yes. It's quite possible that it was the English who started the model, seeing as they invented the sport. It doesn't mean it's an unqualified success, nor that you can apply it here, to a different sport and a much, much, much smaller market. That way the talent drains of South American and African countries lies.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    It doesn't mean it's an unqualified success, nor that you can apply it here, to a different sport and a much, much, much smaller market.

    No, but the FA has still done a very good job at getting people to play football worldwide. Maybe not an unqualified success, but I'd have to say that they've done a way better job than any other sporting body on the planet at getting people to play sport their way. Not all of that is due to the organisational structure, but you'd have to admit that quite a bit is.

    I think that the English footballing model has proven itself to be a very heavily reproduced way of playing sport. The examples you cite, well, I don't know much about Argentine football (except that they're animals...), but the French use a similar system to the English one -- a league with relegation/promotion, a cup, a national team that doesn't restrict itself to only picking players playing domestically, etc. Stylistically, way more like the English model than the NZ system or the American franchise system.

    I don't think that the English way is the best way, but it has a proven track record, and lots of people use variations on it, some of which are better than the original.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    No, but the FA has still done a very good job at getting people to play football worldwide

    Wow, that's a big statement. England invented the sport and it caught on, but it's hardly the FA that did it. I know a bit about the history of the sport in my country, and I can tell you it was British expats - and particularly sailors in Genoa - that got it all started, and it took off from there. Bugger all to do with the FA.

    The examples you cite, well, I don't know much about Argentine football (except that they're animals...)

    I'll let that one slide.

    but the French use a similar system to the English one -- a league with relegation/promotion, a cup, a national team that doesn't restrict itself to only picking players playing domestically, etc.

    It's got nothing to do with the league, it's how they get kids to play, how many grounds and clubs they set up in the seventies and eighties, their high performance centres. They were quite revolutionary back then, and it's paid off handsomely. And yes, unlike the English, they pick a lot of players from abroad, simply because historically their league doesn't have a lot of money to play around with (although they're catching up).

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    The Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup almost in a canter last year

    Ahem. Red Wings won the Stanley Cup _this_ year.

    My Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup _last_ year.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    I'll let that one slide.

    At the risk of explaining a joke, I was trying to poke fun at the dafter English insular attitudes -- you know, the ``two World Wars and a World Cup'' stuff. '66 and all that. And Argentina do have a bit of a rep for anti-futbol.

    I dunno that it was bugger all to do with the FA. The FA gave those sailors a set of rules to play by, it popularised them, it organised the FA Cup to showcase the best football happening. When the Italians wanted to start an organised sport, they used the English model because they saw the FA as an admirable example. Of course, I wouldn't say it was all down to the FA (or even mostly, if I were to be really honest), and I think the English FA had a tendency to amateur incompetency, but they were clearly doing something right, as are the current lot.

    It's got nothing to do with the league, it's how they get kids to play, how many grounds and clubs they set up in the seventies and eighties, their high performance centres.

    Yeah. According to the scholarly articles I've read, (a) monocausal explanations are probably insufficient, and (b) there's probably something important in the amount of peer-lead play that the French engage in compared to the English. (That is to say, how they get kids to play.)

    Of course, the NZRU is pretty shocking on those grounds. I'd say that the things I like in the English system are present in the French system. Mainly I dislike the Americanised franchise nonsense, and the English are the best known, biggest money example of sport done different.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Ahem. Red Wings won the Stanley Cup _this_ year.
    My Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup _last_ year.

    I meant last season. I am sadly aware of what happened last year.
    (One game! They banned Pronger for just one game! A travesty.)

    The FA gave those sailors a set of rules to play by, it popularised them, it organised the FA Cup to showcase the best football happening.
    When the Italians wanted to start an organised sport, they used the English model because they saw the FA as an admirable example.

    Look, half the football clubs were cricket clubs as well, and do you think that Italians even knew what the FA Cup was? They liked football, they quickly discarded cricket, and moved on. There weren't a million ways you could organise tournaments given the basic set of rules, and the original serie A resembled the English tournament as much as the NPC resembles whatever goes on in England in rugby right now. Bear in mind too that the FA was fiercely insular, hardly a soccer promoting body - the English team didn't play abroad until well after WW2. But that's by the by. The point is according to what criteria you could say that the English Premiership is successful (makes money, fill seats, yes, but is rife with violence and racism and doesn't serve the national team too well) and whether the model could be applied here, if it were even desirable to do so.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Sorry I misquoted myself: a minimum of one free per week. The "minimum is because I would sell games separately and not as a whole season. this means there might be three free games all shown on TVNZ in one week. It also means SKY may release games in the bidding process just so they don't have to show something for free. We could even have the phenomenon of games being shown on all channels!

    I can't imagine any TV station would go for that, or if they did, they'd go for it on massively reduced money.

    If Sky, or TV1 or TV3 can't run a heap of adverts saying "we've got the NPC/World Cup/Olympics exclusive" then they're going to be less interested. A lot of Sky's growth has come from being able to buy rugby wholesale.

    They'll be a lot less interested in paying for it if they can't get all the games. All they can advertise then is "er, this week we have Manawatu vs Auckland on Friday, and Otago vs Southland on Saturday. If you want to watch the other teams... try another channel".

    People seem to be wholly against rugby being on Pay TV, ignoring the fact that the professionalism of rugby has been driven by and paid for by the media who put it on the TV. A lot of benefits to the sport have come along with that.

    I've never heard of, or seen a good promotion/relegation model which I feel would fit NZ rugby. The problem we have is that our top tier is professional, our bottom tier is amateur. That's big gap, and it continues to grow. Our second division players all have careers and jobs, if they got promoted they couldn't necessarily quit those jobs and hope they stay in the top tier. Their rugby club or province also doesn't have a professional structure. Marketing, merchandise, player contracts, sponsorship, craploads of money.

    If you think about promotion/relegation, the obvious example that comes to mind is soccer clubs in the UK. But those are all clubs along the professional scale. Sure the top clubs have the most money, best players, grounds etc. But the next tier down is still professional, just 'less'. Here it isn't 'less', it is 'different planet'.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    On the other hand, the English football system is the most successful sporting organisational system ever. It might be awful, but by God it works.

    You might almost be right if you're talking about money only. And I have a sneaking suspicion that Major League Baseball is catching up quite quickly (note the large number of NY and Boston hats when you're walking about town)

    I hate the English system for the fact that if you aren't a supporter of the three big teams all you can hope for is to not be relegated or to the team that gives one of the big teams an upset. "Go team! Don't Lose!" What a fun thing.

    It's the exact reason I like the American systems. If we look back to 2000 we have:
    NFL - 7 different winners in 9 seasons
    MLB - 7 different winners in 8 seasons
    NHL - 6 different winners in 7 seasons
    NBA - 4 different winners in 9 seasons (stupid basketball)

    and in the football:
    EPL - 3 different winners over 8 seasons (in fact it's only had 4 different winners since 1992!)

    The Champions' League (the official title doesn't have an apostrophe btw) has had a different winner every year. However that is a "best of the best" tournament so you would hope for that outcome.

    So, I don't see how a tournament where the winner can almost be predicted before the season starts is going to interest people enough to watch it.

    Don't monkey around with salary caps and such. Accept that if you can't pay the money, that's not the player's fault, and move on.

    Not having a salary cap would be much worse, for the reasons above.

    Moreover you have the situation where fans of the smaller teams are constantly getting kicked in the nuts, because the player they were cheering for for years has been poached by a bigger team. (see: Senio, Kevin)

    Clubs must have more than 50% fan ownership. (Only 25% if the fans are ponies.)

    I like this idea, it needs tweaking but I like it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    I thought I'd take a breath before my next comment...

    I like the idea of scrapping the Super 14 and instead having a Champions' League/Heineken Cup system of the best club teams playing each other. It would have the bonus of increasing interest in the NPC again too.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    So, I don't see how a tournament where the winner can almost be predicted before the season starts is going to interest people enough to watch it.

    Plenty of people are interested in the EPL.
    I can tell you that since 1970, the year when Cagliari won its first and only scudetto, Serie A has had only 8 winners, including Sampdoria, Lazio, Torino and Verona with one each, Roma with two. The other three teams won the remaining 20+. It hasn't hurt attendance in and of itself. So long as your team performs to expectations, whatever those may be, you get your share of fans. If you have a breakout season, you sell out, if it's a bust the fans stop coming. But often you'll find that of the two teams in Turin, Torino is the one that gets the most bums on seats, in spite of the fact its result's are nowhere near those of Juventus. So I think that theory doesn't hold.
    I like parity and salary caps, but not because they keep people interested.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    Bear in mind too that the FA was fiercely insular, hardly a soccer promoting body - the English team didn't play abroad until well after WW2.

    Point of order, Giovanni

    The FA refused to take part in the World Cup until after WW2. They may have even withdrawn from FIFA for a while. This is an infamous pre-war pic prior to this game.

    English football was terribly insular prior to the 60s. It had taken until this match for England to lose to non-British opposition at Wembley, and the FA made no allowances for English teams competing in the first European Cup tournaments, which led, ultimately to the Munich Air Disaster.

    Please pardon the source of the first link)

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 574 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    So I think that theory doesn't hold.

    It totally holds because we are discussing how to revive rugby in New Zealand. People have lost interest in the current product, and in that product it's same old same old. Canterbury or Auckland.

    Remember how exciting it was when Hawkes Bay got to the semis last season? Or when BoP did it a few year's back? But when was the last time it wasn't a "top four" team in the final? Even Otago, Wellington or Waikato winning is a rare thing.

    It may be (deep breath) a New Zealand psyche thing. We like thinking the underdog can win.

    People will go to watch stars however. So if each team has a few big name players then fans can at least cheer them on (see: Beckham, David or Bonds, Barry). Hence the need for team parity.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Point of order, Giovanni

    Yes, of course, you're totally right.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Jose Barbosa,

    It's been my long held opinion that any sport (indeed any social event) can be improved exponentially by the inclusion of mini cannons.

    It would have made me watch the America's Cup.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 64 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    It totally holds because we are discussing how to revive rugby in New Zealand. People have lost interest in the current product, and in that product it's same old same old. Canterbury or Auckland.

    When I came to NZ, the NPC was very popular. It had been won that year by Canterbury and the previous four years in a row by Auckland.

    Here's the list of winners from 1981 up to that year:

    1981 Wellington
    1982 Auckland
    1983 Canterbury
    1984 Auckland
    1985 Auckland
    1986 Wellington
    1987 Auckland
    1988 Auckland
    1989 Auckland
    1990 Auckland
    1991 Otago
    1992 Waikato
    1993 Auckland
    1994 Auckland
    1995 Auckland
    1996 Auckland
    1997 Canterbury

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    I hate the English system for the fact that if you aren't a supporter of the three big teams all you can hope for is to not be relegated or to the team that gives one of the big teams an upset. "Go team! Don't Lose!" What a fun thing.

    I half agree with you Haydn, as a supporter of Ipswich Town, who are perennially in the second tier, I only have a passing interest in the EPL, unless I get to see a game (which, when they're good, they are very good). There is usually only 3-4 teams fighting for the title, but there are also teams just outside them fighting for the fourth Champion's League place, one of the UEFA Cup Spots, occasionally for an Inter-Toto spot, and of course the half dozen or more teams fighting the drop. Means there is something to play for right up until the end of the season for a good number of clubs.

    In the Championship, the play-offs have been hugely successful (and speaking as a Town man, I've more reasons to hate them than not) and means with 2-3 weeks to go there are usually about 10 teams still in with a shout of promotion.

    The NRL shows how good a salary cap is at levelling out the teams - you never know who will be there or thereabouts from one season to the next, but competition from other codes and UK Super League is making that model unsustainable.

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 574 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    The difference between the English Championship play-offs and the old NPC play-offs is that in the Championship it is between themselves. 3 go down from The Premiership automatically.

    The old NPC play-offs were unfair in that one side had been playing at a totally different level from the other.

    And to make it even more lop-sided the Div 1 team got the home advantage.

    Hawkes Bay, who always seemed to qualify for this match, and always lost, have subsequently proved they are actually of Div 1 standard.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    Hawkes Bay, who always seemed to qualify for this match, and always lost, have subsequently proved they are actually of Div 1 standard.

    And Northland, who seemed to not win a Div 1 match until the playoff for years, have finally been relegated.

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 574 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Bart you've made some really good points but I have to disagree with some of what you wrote:

    Hi Hadyn thanks and please disagree with me lots – I’m probably wrong about stuff :)

    Or cricket during rugby season?

    Not sure I know of much cricket played in NZ during Rugby (rainy) weather. The problem I have with Rugby during cricket season is in Feb and March the two best cricket months of the year we have 30 blokes with spikes running all over our best pitches. And seriously I just don’t want to see Rugby in those months. If you mean NZ tours of other countries during Rugby season – um I thought we were talking about local Rugby.
    I guess my thesis with this is I think Rugby would benefit from having a shorter more intense season.

    Play more Rugby. ...
    Please Jeebus no!
    I cannot imagine anything worse than midweek rugby. Look at how popular Thursday night games are (hint, not at all). And don't say "more rugby" to the NZRU they'll slap an extra couple of weeks on the Super 14 before you can blink.

    I guess we disagree, I don’t think the odd Thursday game cuts it as a test of the idea.
    I’m not so much talking about more games per season but a shorter more intense season. Yes I know the NZRFU only gives a rats arse about revenue from S14 – so let the fans tell them to focus more on the local game which some folks believe is important to “the game” as a whole.
    My own reaction is that it seems so long between games that I can’t maintain interest. And even the NPC seems to drag on over a lot of weeks, certainly the S14 does. My personal feeling is play these competitions more intensely in time and I think the public will respond to that intensity OR I could be wrong.

    I don't think matches are scheduled for the English market, only tests.

    And yet matches still start at 7:35 pm – why? Kids are awake and attentive earlier than that and it’s the kids that we have to get excited.

    Re firing coaches

    What level are you talking about? Because I'm fairly sure they already do that.

    All levels. No I think we have an incredibly tolerant attitude to failure for coaches. At the AB level I love our current coaches I think they are brilliant – but they ***ed up and should never have been allowed to excuse that and keep their jobs. Tough yes but that is the lot of a coach.

    Just another comment, I think promotion relegation games suck. If you are the bottom of the 1st div you go down end of story. Sure the team coming up will struggle but you know their fans will LOVE that struggle, they deserve to play on Eden Park too (assuming Ak doesn't get relegated :)).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4449 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    The NRL shows how good a salary cap is at levelling out the teams

    The NRL rocks the party (IMHO)

    re: promo/relegation
    It seems the Hivemind has come to a decision that the team that wins the second division should be promoted and the team that loses the first division should be relegated. No questions asked.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

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