Whats Going Wrong?

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Whats Going Wrong?

Post by Sam Armstrong on Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:20 am

Every day I visit this Forum several times to try and see if anyone, on a National scale really cares about the amateur game .... sadly, as every day passes with minimal posts I feel more and more disillusioned.

Where is the Forum going wrong? Many Clubs & Leagues and almost every, I stand to be corrected, District League has NOT got somewhere where participants in our great game can discuss matches, seek guidance from other areas, discuss matters or promote events and yet day after day the Forum remains unused.

I admit I was the biggest initial cynic/critic of this site as, with a successful NW Counties 13-15's forum of our own, I initially perceived it as a threat which could strip us of our own registered contributors. I am now happy to openly admit that I was wrong in my opinions and have subsequently tried to embrace the site by becoming a regular Contributor and, by a slightly odd circuitous route, an Administrator too. I also see several users from our own site registered on here too and note that whilst regional matters obviously take the forefront on our site we still discuss matters that have an impact nationally. Here, whilst national matters should be prominent, club/regional pages have been offered but even then the take up seems minimal.

Simple question ... where is the site going wrong? What is missing? What's not working? What needs "tweaking"? What does it need to get regular, active participation?

Some of the problems, certainly as far as I see it, are that firstly there seems little input from BARLA personnel other than posting results or re-iterating events already promoted on the main BARLA site, this is not a complaint about those two aspects but a reference to the fact that there is no-one fromthe Board promoting discussion, responding to issues, advising the members what is going on at WYH etc. I accept that not everyone is of an age where computer literacy is their forte, but, invariably they do have children and grandkids who'll happily show them how to post ... almost everyone can spell & has handled a keyboard ... it's really not that hard to go a step further and post. Sadly other users look at their lack of input and basically say to themselves "if they can't be bothered on their own forum why should I???

Our own site is, regularly visited by at least 4 or 5 members of our own Committee and questions raised on there are SEEN to be responded to by US, not by "spokesmen", mostly within a few hours and often within minutes .... AND WE WORK ALL FULL TIME!!! We still find time to join in the banter, offer congratulations to our succesful teams, paricipate in debates, help with clarification of details etc and consequently our site, since Feb 08 when we launched it, has had over 16000 posts and has now approaching 800 members!!!!!

Most times when you visit our Forum you'll see 3 or 4 registered members and regularly 15 - 20 other "guests" online, indeed our highest was 45 people online at any given time whereas here I regularly find myself the sole visitor which, for a "national" site is appalling and I can almost sense the tumblewood blowing down the deserted streets of what is rapidly becoming a "virtual" ghost town!!

The nearest this site came to achieving a reasonable number online at any given point was when we, as a League, hosted the BARLA/Northern Rail Youth/Junior Cup draw and deliberately promoted the fact that we'd have the draw online within minutes of it being made ... in return there were 18 eager enquirers waiting with baited breath for that draw.

Sadly, those giddy heights have never been repeated even as the competition has progressed to the, for some, more "exciting and marketable" QF & SF stages as, not having learned from our success, the draw has most definitely not been "live" since and instead has appeared several days after being drawn ..... subsequently there has been no incentive for people to hang around or visit.

I regularly speak to Eric & Lee at Utmost who host/run this Forum on BARLA's behalf and I am fully aware that, almost every time I speak to one or the other, they have spent the day with Spen at some meeting or other as he tries to, almost as a one man crusade, promote the Association and yet, he sadly seems not to be being supported by other s. Board members who are happy to wear the badge, accept the titles and accept it's occasional nice perks, find it too much trouble to even get off their backsides to turn their pc on and visit their own forum. I would therefore like to emphasise that my criticism of others most definitely does not include Spen as the hours he puts in probably leaves him with very little personal free time!!! It's a great credit to Spen that, at a time when he should be taking things easy, he is doing the complete opposite ... pity that others couldn't do a little more by taking up some of the day to day matters and make this forum one that is a key site to visit to find out what is going on in the amateur game.

Until they do things will be in danger of remaining stagnant on here despite the best efforts of Lee to add a whole variety of items to grab users attention.

Am I alone in thinking this way? Let me know! confused
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Re: Whats Going Wrong?

Post by mick doyle on Fri Apr 24, 2009 3:09 am

Pass me the sick bucket ( only joking )

Sam i,m sorry but surely the blame does rest with the Chairman under his leadership Barla has lost several long standing fervent supporting leagues,because of the lunatic policies his board have forced upon us.

Just a couple to highlight, stopping associate members from ATTENDING meetings although they are now trying to back track on that moment of madness.
The Blades fiasco.
The kicking out of the R.L.Services from Barla HQ.
The attempted persecution of valued volunteers ( I refer to the disgraceful treatment of Hilary Steel. )
And more recently the shambolic open age county competition,which has apparently seen the resignation of highly respected LONG standing BARLA supporters from the Lancashire committee.

I could list many more ACHEIVEMENTS Very Happy

Sorry for being cynical ,but at the latest NWC open age meeting I was having a chat with a highly respected club official who has always been a strong Barla supporter at Club,District and National level and his parting comment was BARLA was finished.

Spen has seen the writing on the wall and in my humble opinion has done nothing to stem the flow but has left the floodgates well and truly open.

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Re: Whats Going Wrong?

Post by john Pattinson on Sat Apr 25, 2009 9:31 am

Mike,

Just a couple to highlight, stopping associate members from ATTENDING
meetings although they are now trying to back track on that moment of
madness.

In correct comment--------BARLA never stopped associate members attending meetings. Associate members have been allowed to attend meeting but cannot vote. Most other memberships would not allow any one other than full members to vote.

The Blades fiasco.

Mike, you might want to write a letter or discuss with a players parents or partners that have been injuried. This is still an on going issue and we have still had leagues asking for BLADES to be banned. We are elected to look after the interest of the clubs and players. This means challenging the RFL and not just accepting decision that are having a direct effect on BARLA players (open-age and youth).


The kicking out of the R.L.Services from Barla HQ.

In correct---------BARLA board attempted to discuss extra charges for West Yorkshire house over 18 months. The RFL did not respond to the requests and again we took the action of asking the RFL with 6 months notice to vacate. This was ample time for the RFL to discuss the situation yet again but they choose to vacate. BARLA board interest was the membership throughout.


The attempted persecution of valued volunteers ( I refer to the disgraceful treatment of Hilary Steel. )

Not worth a reply


And
more recently the shambolic open age county competition,which has
apparently seen the resignation of highly respected LONG standing BARLA
supporters from the Lancashire committee.


In Correct-------------As Three Counties Chairman I have not received any resignation to date. Lancashire under 19 plays Cumbria tomorrow at Maryport. This years issues will be addressed in the coming weeks in the correct manner. The main issue being players availablility for County against club. The issue as been around for a number of years and will not be resolved over night.

Sam
Whats Going Wrong?

I used to visit the site every day. I stopped visiting because of negative comments and stagnant views.

I will reply to any question posted, but will not get into a game of Tennis over anti-BARLA views OR stagnant views.
We have members with constructive challenge/comments out on the site and geniune question who need to be encouraged to post. Constant attack and negativity will only prevent the real members having a say and using the site.

My final comment is I like other members of the board, work and have local league commitments.

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Re: Whats Going Wrong?

Post by once a ref on Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:32 am

When you are refuting another poster's comments it would look better if you realised that the correct use of INCORRECT brings the correct meaning to your reply whilst your use of IN CORRECT stands out like a some thumb.

I note that Cumbria are still playing on your doorstep.

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Re: Whats Going Wrong?

Post by john Pattinson on Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:38 am

Hi,

Your reply proves why people will not use the site.

Well done!!!

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Re: Whats Going Wrong?

Post by once a ref on Sat Apr 25, 2009 11:23 am

My reply proves nothing it is your opinion just as I have an opinion. You are one of the faceless wonders who ignore requests for dialogue and conversation. You are a badge wearing member of BARLA who has totally ignored the contributors until you spotted an opportunity to refute Mick Doyle's assertions.
There has been a complete absence of information about competitions particularly the shambolic Inter County competition that is under your supervision is it not? The international selection was a complete bollix and all the Board of BARLA are doing is tarnishing the name of Amateur RL by their ministrations.
BARLA is a complete and utter shambles and it can only be because the current Board Members and job holders aren't up to the job. Nobody uses this Forum because there is no dialogue between posters, there is nothing to talk about.

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Re: Whats Going Wrong?

Post by john Pattinson on Sat Apr 25, 2009 11:35 am

You are one of the faceless wonders who ignore requests for dialogue and conversation.

I have a name against my posting. I do not hide.

I have stated i will respond to question and not opinion. This is not dialogue and conversation it is tennis.

I will no longer respond with a person who hides behind ONCE A REF

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Re: Whats Going Wrong?

Post by once a ref on Sat Apr 25, 2009 11:59 am

I can assure you that there is nobody hiding behind me.

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Re: Whats Going Wrong?

Post by Sam Armstrong on Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:01 pm

John, my initial posting was to see what was required to get users back on this Forum which is slowly dying ... a Forum has both good & bad comments on. and sadly, in life you cannot simply throw your toys out of the pram because they are not all praising you.

I regularly get criticised on our own Forum and view these comments as criticisms/challenges to raise my game against and always take the time to respond. Sulking and ignoring the issues does not make them go away but simply gives strength to the critics arguments.

Several times I have posted positive and enthusiastic threads on here with a view to getting some equally positive or at least encoraging responses from an interested Board Member, but sadly nothing has been forthcoming and it was probably borne out of sheer frustration that I subsequently could no longer hold back with my disappointment in the seeming Boards' lack of interest.

To take the game, the Forum and most importantly the Association forward you need young active membership ... something that I sadly fear is now too distant to pull back.
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Re: Whats Going Wrong?

Post by john Pattinson on Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:17 pm

Hi Sam,

I agree the forum is slowly dying and you ask why. I gave you a reason why it turned me off after i replied to a posting via the admin a couple of months back.

I have only started to log back in and have made the statement on what i will do to try and help the forum. The first reply from once a ref says it all.
stagnant

I want to read all members views and will respond to question if i can.

I agree the forum needs all views good and bad.

So lets not live in the past and ask question.

I want to be positive.

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Re: Whats Going Wrong?

Post by Sam Armstrong on Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:29 pm

John thank you for responding ... trust me it is appreciated. As I said I was one of the Forum's biggest initial critics but have retracted my criticism as I see it as a great tool for communication but we do need to perceive enthusiasm and activity. Keep it live and active and there's a chance to pull it back ...... step away and it's finished.

Again I refer to our own Forum and would recommend a visit there to, perhaps as an outsider looking in, see what we are doing right to have had 16000 posts and then use those aspects here.

I cannot think why there is such a big difference other than involvement, some threads we allow to run their course, others we'll correct where required but one way or the other we are pro-active and that may be the crux of the matter.

I have not responded to your response about Associates being barred/unable to attend meetings as again, you are right, it is old ground and does become tennis-like and benefits no-one but would strongly recommend that you read the minutes from September!!!
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Re: Whats Going Wrong?

Post by mick doyle on Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:31 pm

John ,
I also welcome your response but all the points you have highlighted have a common thing each badly handled.

Like Sam as highlighted check the associations minutes of last Septembers minutes re the Associate members.
A meeting and minutes ratified by the Board of management of which you are a prominent member of.

This is what was proposed by the board and was passed at the SGM in September.

Proposed Rule Changes to the BARLA constitution


All rule changes proposed by the Board of Management



Existing Rule (4-4)

Affiliated Membership of BARLA shall be automatically conferred upon all clubs and such other organisations which are members of a BARLA member league for so long as that District League remains a member of BARLA, All clubs must be in membership of the District League in which they are geographically located prior to joining any fixture organising league unless dispensationhas been granted by the BARLA Board of Management, District Leagues must not admit into membership any new clubs or teams which will adversely affect existing members All member clubs of District Leagues shall have equal voting rights within their league without discrimination Affiliated members have the right to attend and speak at all General Assemble meetings but shall have no voting rights



New Rule Delete the following

Affiliated members have the right to attend at and speak at all General Assemble meetings but shall have no voting rights



Now correct me if I am wrong if the above was deleted out of the rule does that not mean associate members can not attend meetings ?

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Re: Whats Going Wrong?

Post by pandasdad on Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:29 pm

Sam,

The answer to your question seems to be in the few posts on this thread. Few BARLA officials choose to use the forum and when they do, they are ill prepared to allow opinions which vary from their own. Above, we have yet another example of an official spitting his dummy out because somebody has had the temerity to disagree with him ... and even goes on to say that he won't debate opinion!!

How high handed is that?? I'm disappointed that a fellow Cumbrian hasn't got a thicker skin!

On the nwc forums, the contributors discuss games, thoughts, incidents and ideas that are common to them, and the cement is the competitions we are all involved in as well as the encouraging, rather than defensive, style of management.

Just as the nwc forums will become very quiet over the next two or three months, so the BARLA forum is quiet most of the time, as there is little added by BARLA from a competition point of view and participation in discussions of policy are discouraged or ignored.

Kevin

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Re: Whats Going Wrong?

Post by pandasdad on Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:37 pm

Mick,

It might equally be that since the amended rule no longer says that you haven't got voting rights means that you now have them!!

Badly worded rules being clumsily amended doesn't necessarily constitute a conspiracy.

Kevin

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Re: Whats Going Wrong?

Post by john Pattinson on Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:17 pm

Kevin,
Lots of Kevin in Cumbria.

I note your points and any others and have no problem with opinions that vary. If I use opinion it becomes fact and BARLA POLICY. I read views, but attend Cumberland league and BARLA meeting to discuss issues and accept the end decision.
I will post a reply to Mike that will be a upto date reply.

John (thick skinned committee member)

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Re: Whats Going Wrong?

Post by YAKC on Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:10 pm

posts and debates, ideas come on were rugby league people not whingers lets move on

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Re: Whats Going Wrong?

Post by pandasdad on Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:17 pm

John,

Why not give us all the benefit of the reply you intend to make to Mick? Surely it isn't secret!

For all your assertion that your opinion becomes BARLA policy, I would hope that even BARLA, as we see it, is slightly more democratic than that.

From outside, there seems to be a constant "bomb shelter" attitude from BARLA reps, which has only emanated from the distance they have put between themselves and the grassroots rugby league community - the very people that BARLA was set up to represent. Every indication on this forum is that the management has lost touch, but sadly, it appears that the management are the last ones to realise it.

An example: Spen and Carole were at Golborne on Sunday and spoke with Sam Armstrong. I know they were there, because I stood along side them. It is clear from Sam's post elsewhere on this forum that the idea of setting up a National Youth League for U16s was never mentioned to him on the day, or before. But on that same day, the proposal appeared on the BARLA website. You might argue that Sam has nothing to do with Under 16s, but Jackie Clowes has, and she was there also.

To have not mentioned it or discussed the idea seems to me to be underhand and I am personally convinced that there is more than one agenda involved in it. Many reading this will be able to guess what those agendas are.

But with that sort of behaviour, how can the people involved in running and organising leagues - like Sam and Jackie - have faith in an organisation such as BARLA?

Incidentally, don't look for me in Cumbria. I am a Cumbrian - and proud of it - but have been further south for most of the last 30 years.

Kevin Davidson
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Re: Whats Going Wrong?

Post by mick doyle on Sat May 02, 2009 12:06 pm

Well its been four days since John said he would reply regarding the associate member issue and I am still waiting.
Which clearly illustrates like others on the board when backed into a corner and exposed they have nothing to offer.

Do the decent thing and resign en-bloc and let the association re-group and move forward.

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Re: Whats Going Wrong?

Post by john Pattinson on Tue May 05, 2009 9:14 am

Mike,

No Apologies for not replying within your time scale. Have been away since
after work Friday and awaiting confirmation of the rule.

I have checked even my understanding of the present situation with regard
to the associated members attending BARLA meeting.

Under the present rules any BARLA associate members can attend any BARLA
meeting and speak, but cannot vote.

The cost to be an associate member is nothing, but to be a full member and
vote is £45 and no signed agreement.

So taking into account your comments on everything round BARLA and change.
Why not be positive and encourage full membership and get people attending
meetings and making changes.

Note
This is my final posting on Associate membership.
No need for me to give any more debate on subject because its only ever
been a poor justification to leave BARLA.
When its clear that change can only happen from within.

John

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Re: Whats Going Wrong?

Post by peter moran on Tue May 05, 2009 2:18 pm

Mick and Sam,

John and others have been voted into their positions TO LEAD.The problems at Barla are obvious to most, and the combined powers of the Board are such that they can introduce initiatives and radically alter the whole structure in a modernising sweep without real resistance. They simply seem not to have the will or vision.
That is why you get John ( the only one coming on here ) refusing debate by saying 'stagnant' etc ,'last word ' ( on the issue of Associates ) or 'change from within ', when we all know that is impossible without 'the nod'
I was blessed with true leadership in my time - Jim Tonge, Alan Gibb, Terry Parle and even god bless him Mike Morrissey. We fought the battles and won the wars , and I hope the Association was the better for it . But you have to have the respect of your troops, the loyalty of your administrators and a determination to progress your cause in a realistic achievable way. So when people say 'come along and get it changed' I have to be cynical, and even a touch sad. What the hell are the Board of Management there for ? Lead from the front, get it all sorted and try to earn a place beside those who have gone before ......

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Re: Whats Going Wrong?

Post by john Pattinson on Wed May 06, 2009 1:19 pm

Peter,
Cricket season must have started, bat and ball out of bag.

Thanks for your views.

In the 80s and 90s (your years).

Without sounding disrespectful to the names you have chosen.

BARLA started and moved the amateur game on to its highest
level with coaching, players and referee’s increasing numbers.

BARLA had a clear field.

BARLA had funding.

BARLA had full time officers

BARLA was in control.

Then in 2000 came Unification and the community game. Who
lead us into that? Not me, and history will tell its own story!!.

BARLA, no funding (RFL).

BARLA, no full time officials.

BARLA, part of the community board.

Player’s numbers in decline.

Referee shortages (unless you are NCL or RFL)

Coaching numbers in decline because of cost. If you sign an RFL agrrement you will get a cost reduction on coaching courses(I thought we were all part of the RFL community).

The above is grass roots issues, in traditional areas.

The only part that may be on the increase is youth rugby. I
admit I am not an expert in that area and have never declared anything
different.

I have been elected to represent BARLA clubs/players and
believe it or not, people in BARLA are working to improve things.

So I could go on and on but I have no doubt you will have more past
history or correction.

I will not be spending any more time on this subject. I have
Cumberland league and BARLA business to do. Others will decide and with a bit of luck others might be given the chance to ask real and forward thinking questions.

John

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Re: Whats Going Wrong?

Post by mick doyle on Wed May 06, 2009 4:25 pm

john Pattinson wrote:Mike,

No Apologies for not replying within your time scale. Have been away since
after work Friday and awaiting confirmation of the rule.

I have checked even my understanding of the present situation with regard
to the associated members attending BARLA meeting.

Under the present rules any BARLA associate members can attend any BARLA
meeting and speak, but cannot vote.

The cost to be an associate member is nothing, but to be a full member and
vote is £45 and no signed agreement.

So taking into account your comments on everything round BARLA and change.
Why not be positive and encourage full membership and get people attending
meetings and making changes.

Note
This is my final posting on Associate membership.
No need for me to give any more debate on subject because its only ever
been a poor justification to leave BARLA.
When its clear that change can only happen from within.

John

I suggest you check your own Boards minutes again ,Associate members lost the right to attend meetings at the SGM LAST September,
And as you are so mis informed our Full Member status was taken off us and the 13-15,s and we are both STILL Barla associate members ,this was in my opinion retribution from the current Barla secretary when we objected to the treatment of Maurice Olroyd when Mike Morrisey ( God rest his soul ) was chair along with Stuart Sheard and of course Mr Hollingsworth.
We was at the time backed by the full council and the above three all resigned.
I have made my thoughts on our case known to Carol Land the current youth and junior chair.
This will also be my last post on this issue ,I have much better things to do in getting ready to organise a new season for our 48 Clubs and 179 + teams.

You enjoy burying your head in the sand and ignoring the obvious.

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