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Thursday, 30 June 2011

Why is the Green Green Grass Greener...

It’s not unusual for any individual to want to better themselves.  In fact, you kinda hope that each and every individual has a fire burning deep within them to always be striving for personal improvement.
Life within sports is
A - similar in that, of course, there is an expectation to always be looking to better yourself.
B - even more likely to see this self improvement desire surface - with the very public nature of one’s employer and their respective abilities (if you are good at Tranmere Rovers, you want to move to Manchester (U or C), if you are going well in Cleveland, you (might) want to move to Miami where the Heat is stronger (you assume)).
So to see a coach move on to a new opportunity is ‘not an unusual occurrence’.  Players do it all the time.
 Whilst there does seem to be an element of hypocrisy in coaches’ preaching to all their players the benefits of loyalty and team-ship, there is now an increasing trend for coaches to believe it is ‘all about them’ - and they need to ‘move on to achieve my ambiition’ - coaches are just catching up....
Now part of the issue here is that true success comes from ‘building a legacy’, about really being part of something special - and see this earlier piece if you want to expand......

The issue today was Dai Young’s decision to move from Cardiff Rugby Club to Wasps - “a better team and a better club” in Dai’s (reported words).....
Now, having worked in the Magners League / Celtic League / Pro Radobank Pro 12 - I may have a bias view - but I just don’t see it myself.  
  • Cardiff have a recently built (shiny and perfect for Club rugby) new stadium - Wasps currently play in a rented football stadia.
  • Cardiff have the potential to drive their admittedly poor-ish crowds (7-10k) upwards - if they can persuade the Rugby public of the capital city to fall in love with the stadium as they were with the ‘Arms Park’.  Wasps are pretty hamstrung by their current situation (7-10k) and there only ‘white knight’ is the proposed new stadium (sometime down the track in this economically challenging time - may happen but Coach Young will need good performance to see out the time needed).
  • Cardiff have a team that has achieved well in the past few years (comparatively) - with a good blend ready for possible further success (with the right coach).
  • Cardiff have a great pool of available young talent to work with (as do Wasps) but fewer natural predatory competitors to deal with - who are looking to take the cream of young talent to their own club.
  • Cardiff will be playing in the prestigious Heineken Cup next season (Wasps won’t).  And likely to maintain a good presence in the same competition (they are currently ranked 4th in a system that rewards ‘high rankers’) - whilst Wasps do not appear to be poised to rejoin the European elite (with Bath / Worcester / others looking to do similar).
So on the face of it - there seem to be many reasons why this would be a strange move.  So what’s behind the move.  For me, the Aviva Premiership’s position (certainly in the Press) as a league far more challenging than the Pro 12.  With 3 of the past 4 winners - there is certainly some glitter in the Celtic Ranks - but it is generally accepted that the Aviva (the English league) is the harder / tougher / more competitive....
Dai Young’s move will rubber stamp that feeling.  The Pro 12 needs to get more assertive / needs to start doing a better job of promoting itself and looking after (and keeping) its own - and helping them to promote the Pro 12 as the place to be.  Any sports league’s top priority has to be to grow itself.  That way it will keep it’s stars from looking for greener pastures.
NOTE - no contact with Dai Young / Cardiff / Wasps / Aviva or Radobank in the recent past (some in the less recent past) - so I’m just guessin’ here folks!!

EXTRA NOTE - I am proud of my Welsh origins - so double my bias-ness...

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