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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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THE RAIDING PARTY: Barrow Raiders keep an eye on game's future

I WAS interested to read this week that it appears discussions will take place next month between all the Super League clubs as part of a review of the current league structure.

Andy Gatcliffe, the Warrington Wolves chief executive, will be one of those involved and he has come out and declared his preference for taking steps to establish a two-tier Super League by 2015.

This is only his opinion of course, but his is the latest voice to openly say the 14-club franchised league is not working towards the best interests of the game as a whole.

His structure of choice is for a Super League of two divisions (each consisting of 10 teams), with the Championship (presumably all the remaining clubs) underpinning this.

He was quoted as saying: “We always want the structure of Super League to be moving forward because we have not found the solution for everything yet. So we will be discussing what we want it to look like.”

In recent months, a number of prominent figures have thrown their weight behind the argument to reintroduce promotion and relegation, so maybe that can be tied into any plans for the future.

If, and it is of course a big if, such a scheme was to get the green light from the powers-that-be, then we at Barrow would have to ensure we were ready to make a bid for one of the six additional places at the top table.

On the assumption that the criteria would be the same, or very similar, to that which is in place now, we would not be a million miles away from being able to throw our hat in the ring.

We would need new floodlights (which we are well aware of), additional seating, an under-20s team, more toilet facilities and a much better infrastructure to run the club on a full-time basis.

All are achievable but the latter, in my opinion, would be the hardest to achieve in a short period of time. Nevertheless, it is something we will no doubt be debating in the boardroom and hopefully we will be ready to react positively should the upper tier be expanded as outlined by Mr Gatcliffe.

While in years gone by the close-season has been a quiet time for me, I am quickly learning there is no such thing as a rest period now I have become a director. I still have this article to write each week, the board meeting to attend every Friday, press releases to compile and send out as and when a newsworthy story emerges (generally a new signing at this time of year), plus any other ad hoc actions that I may pick up along the way. Each and every member of the board has work to do each week as we battle to keep the club on an even keel and, dare I say it, actually improve matters.

The ‘new’ board has now been in place for 11 months and in that period we have made significant progress in many areas, but there still remains a myriad of matters to sort out if we are to ensure the long-term future of this great club of ours.

You can play your part by buying a season ticket for 2013. The early bird offer now has just 15 days to run, so why not get down to the Rugby Shop and secure your place at every home match in the Championship next season? Without your continued support we are nothing but with it anything is achievable in the long term – even Super League.

And remember – the future is bright; the future is blue and white.

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