House of Payne: London should not give up on Broncos
7:00am Sunday 8th December 2013 in Sport
This week’s announcement that London Broncos are trying to avoid going into administration should be welcomed, writes John Payne.
Fans are generally highlighted as the victims when the administrators get called in, but that is usually only part of the story.
The people who invariably suffer most are those whose bills don’t get paid – those who are forced to take a fraction of what they are owed.
When Leicester City went into administration with debts of £30million a decade ago, not only did it mean them paying just 10 per cent of their debt, but there were rumblings from small businesses in their own county who had to accept a fraction of what they were owed.
I use that example because it is the most extreme one of a club making the most of the situation – they won promotion to the Premier League at the end of that same 2002-03 season in the days before
automatic point deductions were introduced.
The rules in football and other sports were tightened up after that and, for a club like Broncos, which given their small crowds need all the goodwill they can get, it is good news that they are exploring other options.
On Tuesday they announced they had applied for 10 more working days to secure a rescue deal with talks to fulfil their 2014 fixtures in a new home at “a positive stage”.
Their eight-year agreement to play at the Stoop, which they shared with Harlequins, has expired and it seems certain they will be leaving this part of London as a result.
They played two home games “on the road” at Leyton Orient and Gillingham this season and a nomadic existence during their 33-year-old history, that has also taken in Fulham, Crystal Palace, Chiswick, Barnet and Brentford, has hardly helped build and keep a regular fan base.
But with 67,545 having attended Wembley for the thrilling World Cup semi-final in which England were cruelly pipped by New Zealand last month, this isn’t the right time for rugby league to give up on London.