IN 1987 when Ken Livingstone wrote his book If voting changed anything, they’d abolish it rugby league was probably the last thing on his mind.

But, as if to prove a point for the former leader of the GLC, the organisers of BBC Sports Personality did just that after 2006 when the team of the year category was tossed back to the panel rather than trusting the public.

Whether that was a response to the wailing and gnashing of teeth that greeted Saints’ victory in the team of the year category ahead of the Ryder Cup golfers is anybody’s guess.

The winners are just a side issue for our game – the whole programme, by all accounts, scarcely touched on rugby league this year.

And one of the biggest bug-bears remains the lack of any recognition on that show for the work of the late, great Steve Prescott.

Now maybe we are all getting wound up over nothing over this programme – after all SPOTY is the ultimate sports programme for people who don’t really like sport.

That sounds churlish but look down a list of some of the past winners!

But maybe the coverage of rugby league on this show, and its disappearance from most national newspapers, is a symptom of a greater problem.

The truth is programmes like SPOTY can get away with paying lip service to rugby league because we are essentially a small, northern sport with not that much clout.

So our sport ends up stuck outside with noses pressed against the glass while all the rich and famous people get their pats on the back.

Being ignored is probably tougher than being mocked. At least we can argue with that annoying section of the media who hone in on any scandal story like a flock of pigeons picking over a discarded bag of chips.

Perhaps we in league are looking at the issue of lack of coverage on national television and radio bulletins – and its dismissive treatment for awards – from the wrong perspective.

Perhaps rather than badgering the national media, maybe we should start looking at our sport through the eyes of the vast population beyond those 20 odd towns dotted across the M62 and on the west coast of Cumbria.

If we insist on celebrating being a provincial game then our coverage will reflect that.

And in an increasingly competitive market where other sports are even more aggressive we need to expand our appeal.

If not – then don't be surprised when we are ignored.