Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Melvilles final article

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Melvilles final article

    <TABLE cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=0 width=544 border=1>
    <T>
    <TR>
    <TD height=1>





    After four years this is the last of these columns. By the time today's hits the recycling bin I shall have started the process of turning rugby in America into a professional game. I'm armed with the knowledge gained from more than a decade of mistakes made in England.


    Being the last column, the initial temptation was to lash out in all directions, pointing fingers here and there with loads of "I told you so" examples. There are lots of targets: from the ill-starred moratorium which heralded the professional era - as if everyone would behave like gentlemen and stay their hands while Twickenham thought things through - to the current mess which, hopefully, is the low point in a journey which has seen the best team in the world descend, in three years, to one which could struggle to qualify for the knockout stages of the next World Cup.


    After the current round of internationals England are ranked seventh in the world, without a coach and looking at a third consecutive below-par performance in the Six Nations as a prelude to defending their title in France in nine months. But it's pointless looking back, pointless pointing the finger at the blazers and the secretariat at Twickenham, pointless repeating the arguments made about the time wasting and the muddle-headed thinking of first Sir Clive Woodward and then Andy Robinson as they have occupied the years since 2003.


    The key to future success lies in something both identified as they departed Twickenham, frustrated at the structure that ties the hands of anyone attempting to move England back to the top of the pile. According to Robinson on Wednesday, he left "hoping that rather than sacrificing any more England victories and sacrificing more quality coaches, that the professional game in this country admits that the current structure and system for developing elite rugby players and performance in the international arena is not working". That means ending the tiresome squabble between clubs and country - something that even in embryo America has accomplished as it prepares for the professional era.


    As the man with two years to develop their ideas I thank them for their clear thinking. As a club coach for 10 years, with Wasps and then Gloucester, I might have been blind to both sides of the argument. But being out of rugby management for 18 months has been something of an eye-opener. During that time I've worked with Reading and Nottingham Forest, as well as Twickenham and international industry and stepping back from the day-to-day concerns of meeting the demands of a club owner has given a better perspective.


    I can see where the owners are coming from: they bankrolled professional club rugby to the tune of £100m long before balancing their books or making, in some instances, small profits. But I also understand the Twickenham argument that it is they who earn the big bucks for the game and should therefore hold the whip hand. What I can't understand is the continuing mistrust that undermines any meeting of minds. It leads to short-sightedness and the inability to recognise that there is a third protagonist in the argument - the players. A bit of movement from them could hold the key.


    The owners say that the players are their assets and are needed to pull in the crowds. Twickenham argues that they are knackered playing in the Premiership and don't give enough time to preparing and playing for their country. The players' union says there is too much rugby. They are all correct, but no one seems able to square the circle.


    After Sydney in 2003 one of Gloucester's World Cup stars asked for a pay rise. He was worth the asking price, but we worked out how much we were paying for his limited club appearances and the figure was astronomical. We rejected his request and he left, but the seed of an idea was planted.


    Wh

    #2
    He will have a whole bunch of other problems now but hopefully he will bring US Rugby on. His articles have been frequently entertaining, so it is a pity to see him stop writing.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by leftwinger
      <TABLE cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=0 width=544 border=1><T>
      <T>
      <TR>
      <TD height=1>





      The last four years have been fun.
      </TD></TR></T></T></TABLE>




      <!-
      var SymReal&#079;nLoad;
      var SymReal;

      Sym()
      {
      window.open = SymWinOpen;
      if(SymReal != null)
      SymReal();
      }

      Sym&#079;nLoad()
      {
      if(SymReal&#079;nLoad != null)
      SymReal&#079;nLoad();
      window.open = SymRealWinOpen;
      SymReal = window.;
      window. = Sym;
      }

      SymReal&#079;nLoad = window.&#111;nload;
      window.&#111;nload = Sym&#079;nLoad;

      //->




      I presume he is including the Miracle Match in that..... in fairness, he wrote about that chastening in an honest way, as I recall. Good luck to him in his next chapter.


      "I don't believe in fairytales," O'Connell once told me, "even though it feels like I've been lucky enough to live through a few. However it ends, I'll feel lucky."
      Donald McRae, Guardian Rugby, October 2015

      Comment


        #4
        He always seemed like a thoroughly decent bloke, and he wrote and said some nice things about us. His honesty has always been refreshing, and he has a good knowledge of the game which make his articles interesting.

        Best of luck to him in the US!

        Trust is good; control is better. V I Lenin.

        Comment


          #5
          Would be great if the U.S. took Rugby seriously. Imagine the size of em !!

          Comment


            #6
            You've got to say he's just nailed the bones of a solution right there for the club owners, RFU &amp; English players. Its simple, straightforward &amp; should work relatively easily. The only issue is the club owners will try to be greedier than the other parties but if the (elite) players group stand up to them that should sort itself out. It seems to me to be the bones of the solution that they are looking for.
            ____________________________________________
            Munster were great when they were Munster.

            alas they are just north munster now.......
            ____________________________________________

            Comment


              #7


              Originally posted by leftwinger
              Would be great if the U.S. took Rugby seriously. Imagine the size of em !!
              will never happen no money in it.. and if they did they'd turn it into some TV orcestrated circus... not that SKY aren't doing the same here at the moment

              Comment


                #8




                <!-
                var SymReal&#079;nLoad;
                var SymReal;

                Sym()
                {
                window.open = SymWinOpen;
                if(SymReal != null)
                SymReal();
                }

                Sym&#079;nLoad()
                {
                if(SymReal&#079;nLoad != null)
                SymReal&#079;nLoad();
                window.open = SymRealWinOpen;
                SymReal = window.;
                window. = Sym;
                }

                SymReal&#079;nLoad = window.&#111;nload;
                window.&#111;nload = Sym&#079;nLoad;

                //->

                The US has four major mass appeal professional sports that carve up everything from the calendar, TV money, athletes, scholarships, etc. etc.


                Rugbyas aminority sport has only a fraction of the appeal and participation of soccer, which remainsoutside the Big Four.


                But guys like Melville can do a job and improve the US standings in world rankings. Well worth the effort. And Eddie O'Sullivan is always saying that coaching and management techniques learned there have application elsewhere.


                "I don't believe in fairytales," O'Connell once told me, "even though it feels like I've been lucky enough to live through a few. However it ends, I'll feel lucky."
                Donald McRae, Guardian Rugby, October 2015

                Comment

                Working...
                X