Posted on September 30th, 2014
A few weeks ago I went to the London Broncos’ final Super League game, against the Bradford Bulls. Typically, they found a way to lose from a leading position with time running out. It was my first visit to the new home of the club at The Hive in Canon’s Park, home of Barnet FC and essentially a nice-enough stadium in the middle of a training facility, which made it seem somewhat more picturesque than your typical Super League ground.
I’ve been going to Broncos games on-and-off since 2002. I went because it was the only way to see top class Rugby League in London and that’s primarily been the reason that I’ve continued to go for the odd game. I’ve always been more of a London Skolars man (local club), but it heartened me knowing that there was an option for Super League, and a focal point for all the junior work the various clubs dahn saaf do. Whilst that figurehead is still technically there, it’s hard to argue that relegation has not significantly damaged its position.
I used to think that a Super League team in the capital was viable, but I’m less sure these days. London is a Football town, and it’s also an Event town – the past weekend’s NFL game just showed that. Hell, last year I was amongst a crowd of 66,000 to see a Rugby League international at Wembley (the World Cup semi-final, which England lost to New Zealand with literally the last play of the game). There’s not much room for other regular sports in London.
There certainly wasn’t room for the barely credible club the Broncos have been eroding into over the last few years. The reason I stopped going so regularly (I’ve only been to one game each of the past two seasons) was because the club became morbid to be around, always getting beaten and seemingly lacking any concept of fringe defence. People don’t want to pay to fund a club that seems unwilling to learn its lessons.
The Broncos could theoretically be back next year, but I doubt it. They appear to be scaling back operations and the Championship is super-competitive. Also, the RFL’s re-structuring of the game heavily weighs in favour of incumbent Super League teams. Barring a crazed money-throwing benefactor coming in, it looks like London’s lost its Super League chance for a while, which is a shame, because it was fun whilst it lasted.