Every few years it comes up. Growing the game. Expanding into new markets. And hand-in-hand with the concept of expansion comes relocation.
But we’re looking at it all wrong.
We pick the struggling clubs to go. The ones with debt, years of poor performance, the taint of peptides or salary-cap breaches. It’s like relocation is a punishment.
And we ask a new market to accept this castoff as if it were their own. So both the club and the new market are being punished.
New markets deserve better. Clubs deserve better. So go ahead, move my team.
Move the Roosters.
Hang on! Move the reigning premiers? A team that’s enjoyed sustained success in recent times?
Sure. Let’s go.
Why not? Will the club lose fans? Probably. So what? The Roosters are routinely criticised for low crowd numbers. We lose from an already small attendance on game day, but we will pick up in a new market – be that Perth or the Central Coast or wherever.
And rusted-on fans – like me, who haven’t lived within 400km of the club in 20 years – will follow no matter what.
But what about Nick Politis? Isn’t he entrenched in the Eastern Suburbs elite? Won’t the club lose him and his toffy mates with all their cash?
Nope. Uncle Nick is an astute businessman, as evidenced by the ability of the club to attract and retain not only top-shelf talent but the third-party deals to fund them. You can bet he would be across the risk-benefit of a move. It’s not just a new market for the team, it’s a new market for sponsorship dollars too.
What about the local talent pathways and junior nursery? The Roosters are criticised for this too. Keep the Bears as a feeder club and tap into the juniors wherever they are. Nursery and pathway sorted.
Tribalism? Oh please. Aren’t Roosters fans too busy sipping lattes and talking about the Swans? That’s what the supporters of other clubs tell me.
Will the new market, wherever that may be, embrace the Roosters? You bet they will. Oh sure, some people will continue to support the team that they have for years, but many will, especially if they are offered a high-performing, successful team.
A team that chose to be there. A team that wants to be there. Not one sent as punishment.
The club has something to gain in an improved junior nursery and improved crowd potential, while a new market gains a championship club. Win-win.
So go ahead. Move my team.