THERE was an interesting article in the Guardian this week suggesting that the RFL would listen to any existing Super League clubs wishing to relocate to the south or even abroad.
Although so far there are no firm takers or even expressions of interest it does say two things.
Firstly that the game’s rulers would see this model as a way of fast tracking expansion.
Secondly, it demonstrates once again that with new club Toronto Wolfpack causing quite a bit of a stir expansion is a hot topic again.
The article states that the game’s governing body has told clubs they can apply to move their ‘franchise’ to a different city should they wish.
Some of this is probably fuelled by the attention the Wolfpack, featuring ex Saints Gary Wheeler and Andrew Dixon, has received.
They have had terrestrial TV coverage in England and plenty of news items back in Canada - reaching a huge audience.
And in some ways it is reminiscent of the way football clubs at Cardiff, Carlisle, Maidstone and Mansfield jumped on the coat-tails of Fulham’s first flourish of success in 1980.
Some will say it has worked, numbers wise, in rugby union where Wasps were plonked at Coventry’s Ricoh arena and immediately reached a new plastic flag-waving supporter base.
A lot of those supporters, even in a relatively strong rugby city like Cov, will be new to rugby union and maybe even new to spectator sport too.
But uprooting an existing league team and plonking it in another area would be flawed, unfair and end in failure.
For a start RL doesn’t have the national figures to simply transplant into an area and then sell to the locals.
It is easier to sell Wasps games in Coventry because the field on match day is full of household names from internationals.
League’s groundwork on the other hand has to be more basic, a fight for every inch, just like has been happening in the Championship 1.
When those fledgling clubs finally get into the top flight it will have been on merit. And isn’t that what sport is about?
The second thing is this, how miffed would you be if the team that has sported your town’s crest for a century; that has been cheered by you, your parents and great-grandparents for decades, suddenly headed elsewhere.
You can take the kit, balls and furniture but you cannot take the people. Never mind what business plan the current custodians of any club has, that would be a form of theft in my book.
Pushing into cities is not a new thing; from the outset of Super League we had Paris, London and Sheffield.
Yet it is funny how it is still small towns like Castleford, who were supposed to wither away or merge, are still going strong in the top flight long after the Charlety Stadium closed its doors to Super League.