Wednesday, 23 October 2019

South Leicester RFC - a cautionary tale

Away from the build up to the Rugby World Cup semi-finals, I am sorry to learn about the plight of South Leicester RFC who have endured an awful start to life in the Midlands Premier league having last season been relegated from the national leagues.

Having already conceded over 100 points on 5 occasions this season, South Leicester's season reached rock bottom last weekend as they went down 240-0 to Bromsgrove, conceding 36 tries (at a rate of nearly 2 tries per minute) in the process.

Relegation last season led to a loss of sponsors, meaning the club could no longer pay players, with over 30 players subsequently departing a club who now struggle to put together a team.

Remarkably South Leicester are not, at the time of writing, bottom of Midlands Premier - that honour goes to Peterborough Lions (also relegated from the national leagues last season) by virtue of the fact that they have been docked points for failing to fulfil a fixture. A third relegated team, Birmingham and Solihull, has been forced to drop out of the league entirely and now play in the Birmingham Merit Leagues.

All of which highlights the ultimate folly - as I have previously mentioned - of clubs below the elite level paying their players, something which more or less inevitably leads to an over-reliance on sponsors.

South Leicester, to their credit, are attempting to re-build the club on a sustainable model and you have to admire those players who continue to turn up week after week despite taking hammering after hammering. At some point in the not too distant future hopefully the club can find its proper level, rediscover the joys of amateurism, and thrive as a self-funding, community-based organisation.

I wish them all the luck in the world...

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