- Mar 23, 2008
Did anyone actually wanted it to work.
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Pretty sure that Manly were the only affiliated A R L aligned club during the Super League war who did not receive direct support funding from the Packer group as opposed to all of the other A R L affiliated sides . This very significant drain on the Manly club money resources and cash reserves then apparently meant that they would really struggle to be financially viable during the early stage of the Peace or realigned competition post 2000 at least . Just was not the same for me when the merger occurred , full credit to those Manly officials and individuals who started the process of Manly being a stand alone club once more for 2002 .
Manly's SOS to Roosters
By ALEX MITCHELL and DANNY WEIDLER
Manly's only hope for continued stand-alone existence in the National Rugby League is to find a very rich sponsor - and urgently.
Otherwise, realistic Sea Eagles officials are faced with a cap-in-hand merger, with their targeted option being the Sydney City Roosters.
However, Sydney City chairman Nick Politis was adamant his cash-flush club would continue to stand alone in next year's reduced 14-team competition.
"We're not interested in any mergers," Politis raged.
"I'd like to know who approached us. Was it the groundsman from Brookvale Oval or a member of the board. Who was it?"
The problem for Manly is that when Optus completes its final $1.5million payment to the club at the end of this season, Manly face a huge hole in their funding.
Already the club is drawing up plans to dump a swag of its highest-paid stars, as it had to do with champion prop Mark Carroll last year.
Manly's financial predicament can be sourced to a steady fall in club revenue and the burden of fabulous salaries paid to senior players during the Super League war.
The Manly Warringah Leagues Club, the highly successful registered club which has been Brookvale's most generous sponsor over the past four decades, is incapable of meeting the post-Optus funding crisis.
As the financial vice tightens, there are rumours at the club that some players are not being paid or that salary payments are slow.
Some senior players with Test aspirations have started to search for new careers with other NRL clubs.
Their managers are in the market discreetly seeking bids, including speculation surrounding Test centre Terry Hill.
A merger between the two clubs would leave the Eastern Eagles as the only rugby league club north of the city after the Bears complete their relocation to Gosford.
The only advantages for the Roosters in a merger with Manly are gaining access to the Sea Eagles' loyal tribe of fans, and being able to market themselves as a super club for a significant geographical area of Sydney's east and north.
While Sydney City have no problem with funds, they do have a serious shortage of fans, and have struggled to attract viable crowds for many years.
Manly has the fans, but fast emptying reserves of cash.
Wests' situation is equally bleak. Privately, officials have told the league that unless they can achieve a joint venture they will be forced out of the 2000 competition. The Magpies have a funding shortfall of more than $1 million and cannot afford to stand alone next season - even though they are close to organising funding for 2001. In the past few months they have had talks with Penrith, Canterbury and Parramatta.
|Norths, Manly too strong, clubs say|
|By GREG PRICHARD|
The National Rugby League is putting enormous heat on the management of the Manly-Norths joint venture to leave some quality players out of their 25-man squad and put rookies in their places, sources within the league have revealed.
The official reason is that the NRL wants to help the new club get under the salary cap sooner rather than later, but sources say that is not the real reason.
They say it is because the NRL is bowing to pressure from other stand-alone clubs that fear the team would be too strong. They are worried about the potential for another joint-venture outfit to be instantly and enormously successful in the mould of St George Illawarra.
Officials from some of these clubs also have positions of power within the NRL.
The 25-man squad is yet to be publicly revealed, since the joint venture is yet to be finalised, but no-one would have to study the Manly and Norths lineups for long to realise the potential of the merged teams.
Some star players still contracted to either Manly or North Sydney are being courted by other clubs. They include Manly centre Terry Hill and the Bears quartet of fullback Matt Seers, five-eighth Michael Buettner, back-rower Willie Leyshon and prop Mark O'Meley.
All are still contracted to their original clubs beyond this season.
The NRL last week issued a written warning to all clubs that negotiations with such players could attract a charge under the anti-tampering rules, apparently as a gesture to try to appease Manly-Norths.
But, at the same time, the NRL is leaning on the northern joint venture to become a less obvious juggernaut by shedding some experienced players.
It is expected people involved in the Manly-Norths merger would be incensed at the NRL's attitude, but it is impossible to find out because no-one at the club wants to talk about or even acknowledge the problem.
They have enough problems in trying to settle the merger.
The Dragons were allowed to keep all players from the St George and Illawarra clubs. The players were placed on notional values far below what they were actually being paid to keep the club under the salary cap.
But St George Illawarra made the grand final first-up and that result has rubbed a few other clubs the wrong way.
Managers who can see a dollar for themselves in steering some of the Manly-Norths players elsewhere on new contracts over longer terms have been working overtime on that, which has upset the Manly-Norths players who want to make sure the new team is successful.
Those players have been appealing to colleagues who have huge offers elsewhere, and might leave, to hang on for another couple of weeks before making decisions on their futures.
Hill and Seers have been linked with the other joint-venture club, Wests Tigers.
Manly-Norths would naturally expect the NRL to apply the anti-tampering rules if a club was breaking them but whether the league would be prepared to do so or has merely made a hollow threat is another question.
Would it have doubled the fan base? How many life long Norths fans walked away from the NRL and the game itself when we merged and became the Northern Eagles? The crowds the Eagles got weren't split 50-50 between Manly and Norths fans, it was more like 75-25.So am i but we'd have doubled our fanbase had it worked, done right it could've worked but it was done wrong on every level
Show me a joint venture that has worked.
Sure both the Tigpies and St Merge have each won a premiership. But when you look at the two clubs ... the Tigpies are a shambles and as a club are about the same as what Wests and Balmain were 20 or so years ago with yearly calls for them to go back to being Wests and Balmain. While in all reality, St Merge was really nothing more than St George taking over Illawarra and giving token use of their name, home ground and jumper.The other 2 worked for a while
Then like us ego didn't help
And we are glad you are with us mate..Hmmmm, what to say?
I AM glad it happened, because it landed me many life-long & true friends (and that's what life is really all about), but it was dis-heartening to both groups of fans, and their respective clubs histories.
One thing I CAN say, is that the Manly Sea Eagles community was much more interactive and inclusive. Our (and I mean Sea Eagles here) online presence, thanks to many sources was such an upgrade, and the club, compared to The Bears, was much more connected to the fanbase.
The cultures were very different though. I'm not trying to be harsh here, or gain allies, but it's true - Manly had a winning culture. The Bears were always....relaxed by result I felt. The standard I guess was different. Players went to Manly to win Grand Finals. The Bears - I felt players went there for the coin mostly, apart from the juniors.
One thing I can say, is that The Sea Eagles as a club, our players, and our community has helped me through so many tough life situations, by providing a respite from life, and by providing entertainment & a hobby, and for that, I'll be eternally grateful.
Therefore, the ill fated merger was a positive for mine, because at the end of the day, it lead me into supporting the maroon and white & meeting all of you. I could never support another club (even if The Bears returned to the competition). I take that as a sign of me "seeing the light".
I was at that game!Photo of first NE game in 2000. A trial match at Leichardt vs Wests Tigers.
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