Leeds Carnegie

Leeds Carnegie

Oxford Glaws 03 Dec 2019 16:09 pm said..

Owen Slot in The Times with a very disturbing tale from oop north.
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The worst club in the country have lost all their games this season. They have been beaten in ten from ten. It wasn’t until the third weekend of the season that they scored a try and they have conceded 40 or more points in all but two matches. Yet these results are not the reason that Yorkshire Carnegie are the worst club in the country.

Just for clarification, this is the same Yorkshire Carnegie whose name has gone through various iterations. They are the same Leeds Tykes who finished fifth in the Premiership in the 2002-03 season and the same Leeds Carnegie who, for much of the past decade, were regarded as a slumbering force from the north who were bound to awaken.

Reality, however, has been different. This time a year ago they were so far from challenging for promotion from the Championship back to the Premiership that they were bottom of the table with one win from nine.

Their response was to try to spend their way out of trouble. They identified nine new players, most of them New Zealanders, and offered them contracts that were fat by Championship standards: £60,000-£100,000-a-year each. This was a big adventure; the players came and brought their families with them too.

This new squad gelled quickly and soon started winning games. In January, they were told that there were a few issues with their main financial backer, but not to worry. They carried on winning. In April, by which time they had seen off relegation, they were told that those financial issues had never been solved. There was no money. They talked of boycotting fixtures but they were persuaded to play on.

Eventually, the insolvency expert, Begbies Traynor, was brought in to salvage the situation. In its estimated statement of the club’s financial affairs logged on June 7, the list of unsecured creditors includes future player contracts worth £1,031,560.
1Thes.5 [14] Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
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Re: Leeds Carnegie

Oxford Glaws 03 Dec 2019 16:10 pm said..

cont.

Begbies Traynor drew up a company voluntary agreement (CVA) — a procedure that allows a company to settle its debts by paying only a proportion of the amount that it owes to creditors — that would pay out 15p to every £1 owed. The players accepted and pretty much the entire playing and coaching staff left the club.

This meant that some of the foreign players could not afford to fly their families home. “I had some on the phone to me almost in tears,” Nic Mayhew, a prop who had come from Auckland, said. “You are abroad; you have no money. It was impacting on players’ mental health.”

The players were therefore forced to take whatever contracts they could find elsewhere. One of the reasons the players are so furious is because the reality of the situation was withheld from them for so long. Most clubs have completed their recruiting for the next season by April, so if you are put on the market then, your value has plummeted. One player took a contract for a quarter of what he was on before.

What happened next? The players started to find they were being sent medical bills that the club had previously covered. Only after the players went public with their situation did they find these bills being paid for them again.

Then the club started recruiting a new team. Here was the real fix.

The RFU’s position was that, because the CVA had been given 100 per cent creditors’ approval, they would not make the same points deduction that had been levied against a number of other clubs in the past who could not pay their debts. And because Yorkshire thus avoided relegation, they therefore stood to receive the annual £540,000 with which the RFU funds all Championships clubs. And because of that, they could start again.

This was rugby’s version of cowboy builders declaring themselves bust one day, washing their hands of their debts and starting up again the next day under a new name.

No, Yorkshire could not afford the same calibre of player. Most of their squad now are part-timers, students or overpromoted academy boys. However, that number includes Tom Varndell, who spent over a decade in the Premiership with Leicester Tigers and Wasps, and the former Sale Sharks and Leicester fly half Joe Ford, brother of England’s George Ford, who came in as a player-coach.
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Re: Leeds Carnegie

Oxford Glaws 03 Dec 2019 16:10 pm said..

cont.

The discarded players from the previous season were gobsmacked. Daniel Temm, now at Bedford, wrote on Twitter: “I find it truly unbelievable that @carnegierugby are able to sign a guy like @_JoeyFord.”

Likewise Joe Buckle, now at Coventry: “You’ve signed for a great club which used to have great people working in its rugby programme. I hope you’re prepared to listen to lie after lie from a board who truly are some of the worst people I’ve encountered.”

By no means does it end there.

On September 10, the Yorkshire chief executive Gary Hetherington posted a start-of-the-season statement on the club website in which he wrote of how the CVA had “achieved 100 per cent support from the trade creditors and nine contracted players”.

It triggered this post from Mayhew: “We haven’t all just been let down, we have been entirely screwed over by the Yorkshire board. You mention that all nine players ‘supported’ the CVA. That is rubbish. Had we known Yorkshire needed 100 per cent support for the CVA, myself and many others would have voted no.”

In other words, Mayhew et al had lost their one bargaining chip. If they had said no to the CVA, the RFU would have penalised Yorkshire and the club might have lost the £540,000. The players could have demanded more than 15p to the £1, Mayhew says, but “we were told it was our only option”.
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Re: Leeds Carnegie

Oxford Glaws 03 Dec 2019 16:11 pm said..

cont.

It still does not end there. The CVA states that the 15p was only the “anticipated” offer. In fact, the total owed to the creditors turned out to be higher than expected. The small pool for the big payoff had to be shared around further. The players say that they haven’t been paid 15p to the £1 but 11p.

What next? Next up is Cornish Pirates on Sunday in the Championship Cup. The Pirates’ director of rugby is Chris Stirling, who was director of rugby at Yorkshire until last summer when he lost his job with everyone else. He brought six Yorkshire players with him to Cornwall. Their motivation will be weird but considerable. In fact, last season’s Yorkshire discards don’t harbour great animosity to the players who replaced them. They understand that money and opportunities are precious in this fragile professional game. They tend to express more their concern for the new, young players being overpromoted to a level that might be dangerous. Yorkshire’s results this season, though, illustrate what a farce it was to keep them in the Championship.

I should declare an interest here. Because Yorkshire stayed up, Richmond, who are my local club, went down. And lost the £540,000.

This is not about Richmond, though. It is about rugby, about the values the game aspires to, about integrity, respect and all the talk of looking after players. Yorkshire Carnegie could not occupy a more polar opposite extreme; it remains astonishing that the RFU allowed them to operate this way. How can English rugby have allowed this to happen and then carry on?

Those players came to Yorkshire with a dream and found themselves at the worst club in England.
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Re: Leeds Carnegie

Lurker 03 Dec 2019 16:23 pm said..

ouch - RFU taking lead from PRLin the useless stakes!!
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Re: Leeds Carnegie

Nobbler23 03 Dec 2019 16:38 pm said..

I noticed my first club Bromsgrove, beat South Leicester 240-0, SL were relagated from, I believe the fourth tear of rugby, lost sponsor, stopped paying players and 30 left the club, professionalism and league system ain't all it is cracked up to be.
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Re: Leeds Carnegie

CMGC 03 Dec 2019 17:34 pm said..

I guess there are several salient lessons to be learnt from this very sad story. The one that jumps out to me is the madness whereby a club can just go and hire in a large number of overseas pros. The fact they when they were ditched it caused even more woe as they were overseas with families etc. but it created a set of results purely driven by ecconomic madness ... sound familiar.
For me there should be a strict limit on the number of non EQP in a squad set down for each level of Pro/ semi pro rugby. At this level is is far too high.
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Re: Leeds Carnegie

RTS2 03 Dec 2019 18:18 pm said..

I am reliably informed that the "Yorkshire" boys have more than settled down well in Penzance :)

It will be along journey for Carnegie but it will be an even longer journey for them on the way back .
Last edited by RTS2 on 03 Dec 2019 18:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Leeds Carnegie

stuartjames 03 Dec 2019 18:18 pm said..

Back in the day when I lived in Yorkshire I was a semi-regular at Headingley, watching the Tykes take on the rest of the prem.
They had some great players, Mike Shelley, LH Prop and captain, Diego Albanese, once of this parish, at No15 or 11, Andre Snyman at 13 and Mark 'Ronnie' Regan at No2.

Their Powergen cup win, or whatever it was called then, was a great occasion, and they played exciting, if somewhat scary rugby at times. Great crack in the main stand opposite the posh seats as well, though the Tetley's was always served at about zero degrees !

Terrible shame to see them in such dire straits.
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Re: Leeds Carnegie

David 03 Dec 2019 18:29 pm said..

Bummer.
A wee historical anecdote: the last time I played rugby, way back in the late 70s, I was a large, strong, and quite fit, 27yr-old, who hadn't however played for some years, but was studying as a mature student at Ilkley College. I was persuaded that, as a Welshman, my lack of match fitness would be mitigated by my size and heritage, so was optimistically picked for the first team, against something called Leeds Carnegie, which meant nothing to me.
I accidentally managed, in the very first minute of the game, to tackle and to knock briefly unconscious their massive tight-head prop, after which I became a literally marked man - three cracked ribs, broken nose, black eye - and we lsoit the game by about 50 clear points.
On the Monday both my wife and the doctor suggested that I might be better advised to enjoy my beloved game as a spectator rather than participant.
I was belatedly informed that Leeds Carnegie was the Loughborough College of the North, the breeding-ground for brilliantly sporting budding P.E. teachers.
:oops: :oops:
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