Without Derek Beaumont Leigh would be out of business: Briers on major restructure

Lee Briers Derek Beaumont

Rather than be favourites for promotion back to Super League, Leigh Centurions would be out of business now had it not been for owner Derek Beaumont.

That’s the view of rugby league great Lee Briers who believes that every other club in the Championship would love to have Beaumont at Chairman.

Briers was speaking to the Love Rugby League podcast in a wider discussion of how rugby league should be “reinvented” in the wake of an IMG survey canvassing opinion from all within the sport.

“We have to move with the times,” says Briers, who believes relegated Toulouse should have been protected.

“Catalans got a three-year exemption (from relegation) and look at them now. It works. 

“Leigh have been up and down. If they didn’t have Derek Beaumont then Leigh would be out of business now. It is only out of Derek’s generosity and absolute commitment to that club that they are where they are.  A lot of people hate Derek Beaumont but he puts his money where his mouth is. I bet all the Championship would love him as chairman, 100%.”

Briers on restructure

Briers believes the future of British rugby league is in a 10-team Super League with another 10-team competition below it. And Toulouse, whose relegation has now been confirmed, should be one of those elite 10 teams.

“I would go two 10s. I don’t think we have enough players for 14 teams. 

“But if we are realistic and real then Toulouse have to be in it. If we are serious then we need a strong French connection and we need to grow the game. I get it that it is always a northern sport, and I would love to see a Cumbrian team, I think it is time for that too. I was at Barrow at the weekend and absolutely loved, but there were 2000 there which isn’t sustainable.

“Look at Toronto and Bradford – up, down, gone. Unless you have a person with money it is not sustainable. With a three-year plan you can pick up younger players and gamble on them, you can’t do that in year one when you have to go full-on. We need stability. 

“The Challenge Cup went from May to August, back to May and now back in August. What’s going on? It doesn’t work. Sometimes I think we are not stable and have no plan. Hopefully IMG sort it out.”

PODCASTLee Briers on NRL ambition, Wigan honour & Super League restructure

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  1. “I would love to see a Cumbrian team”

    I’m glad Rugby League is played in Cumbria, and I wish for their clubs to be as strong as possible. However, the reality is that Cumbria is geographically large and sparsely populated.

    If a town doesn’t have a population of 40k+ then it’s unlikely to be able to build a supporter base that’s big enough to even survive at elite levels. If a place is isolated then you’ll probably need a population of 50-60k to reasonably survive.

    Workington, 25k. Whitehaven, 24k.

    Barrow has a 50k population and is the only realistic option for a Super League team, but they’re as isolated as everywhere else in Cumbria, and would have no other significant populations to draw any support from.

    I think they could make a go of it in Super League, but there’s nothing about them that could possibly justify the idea of artificially putting them in Super League.

    An no, Leigh wouldn’t be out of business without Derek. We certainly wouldn’t be in the position we’re in, but we’d be a middle-top Championship team like Halifax, Batley, etc.

    • Are we just talking Cumbria here Look at population of Castleford solid Super League and Featherstone knocking on its door Support and success is not a given

  2. Another piece from someone who has been comfortably wrapped up in the blanket of Super League for too long.
    Why should Toulouse automatically be in the elite ten?
    Why should the be only ten the first place?
    I cannot see two tens working at all as the lower or second ten will have teams coming and going just like yo yo teams but they will be going bust and disappearing which is just what the narrow minds would like.
    Leigh disappearing without Derek is rubbish also. Can’t fault Derek in his backing of Leigh but Leythers wouldn’t let their team die. The setup is just too good of a prize for other investors.

    • Funny mentions toulouse should be protected but what about leigh when they gained promotion to super league and where relegated
      Things need to change but having 2 French teams protected in superheated not the answer

  3. C’mon Mr Briers. Cut the c***. Tell me why Toulouse should get special privileges when no one else does? Tell me, Mr big shot has-been, who you gonna drop from Super League to make way?
    Leigh are doing ok, that’s down to the chairman, brilliant. But what of all the other chairmen, for instance Neil Hudgell at HKR? Why is all his hard work, stretching back years, in dragging us out of the doldrums, making us competitive, and yes, sticking with it when we were relegated, worth less than Toulouse’s?
    Yeah, you’re entitled to an opinion, we all are, but I want you to front us up and explain how you decide who stays and who goes.
    10 teams, my a***!

    • Totally agree you get promotion on merit not some jerk from a private company no we don’t live in the past briers all you people are interested is the money we love the game for what it is stop trying to change it

  4. People who say teams like Whitehaven Workington and Barrow should become Cumbria have no spirit and sound like Robert Maxwell with his Thames Valley Royals.Where exactly would the new Cumbria team be located and who exactly would give a _ _ _ _ about travelling to see them when theyve had their 120 year old hometown team closed down? How would Lee like it if Warrington were merged with St Helens and Leigh? Come on Lee, stop the business angle,People in Whitehaven Workington and Barrow have all got a right to their own town team and so what if they aren’t Billy Big Bananas.Also Derek isn’t the only top Chairman in the championship, and Leigh would still be going without him.You are being a Drama Person and what you’ve said is more like a businessman than an RL person.Its not all about revenue and so what if a team has 2000 fans.Also why should Toulouse have special treatment when Leigh were denied promotion as Championship Champions because their ground was deemed not good enough on a few occasions.Now they ha e a great stadium they still don’t get three seasons up with no relegation unlike Catalans and Salford who did.

  5. Barrow, Workington and Whitehaven form one cumbria super league team. Sixty miles from Barrow to Workington and Barrow is manageable. Alternate where you play home games. Too many clubs in a small area in Lancashire. The sport will become a part time, minority sport in a few years if things don’t change.

    • You are having a laugh it’s at least an hour and a half on a good day to from Barrow to Workington/Whitehaven it’s easier to go south as it is to go north

    • Merging Barrow, Whitehaven and Workington is one of the most silly ideas I’ve heard. Whitehaven is about 1 and a half hours up a terrible road. You are off your head if you ever think that would work, Workington and Whitehaven could merge to create a strong championship club.

      Barrow have been growing the crowds well recently and have been doing a lot of good things on and off the pitch and give it a few years they could be challenging for promotion to Super league.

  6. If a Cumbria club was set up and Whitehaven Workington and Barrow had their 120 year old home town teams extinguished, showing no respect for RL hotbed such as those,where would the new stadium be located, and who would want to support such a faceless artificial construct?What is wrong with being a small town with 2000 fans, and why do they need to be in superleague? What’s wrong with enjoying a good team in the second flight?They’ve managed to survive all this time and will do in the future.Why Toulouse for special treatment and why do we need a strong French connection? FYI Derek isn’t the only good chairman in the championship,there are several.Leigh won the second flight a few times and were denied promotion as their ground was deemed unsuitable.Now Leigh have a great stadium they can’t get three years protected from relegation unlike catalase and Salford.Rugby League people at the top have got their priorities all wrong,and meanwhile the national team is no nearer beating Australia in a best of three which they last did half a century ago.

  7. Why should French teams get special treatment leigh was never given 3 yrs dispensation neither have other clubs so stop talking crap

  8. As a new season ticket holder for Leigh, I am a lifelong West Ham fan (I now live in Leigh. Aside from the usual reasons, small town, fans loathe to pay what it would cost to sustain a top flight sports team, the real issue, as I see it, is the rugby authorities’ refusal to allow Leigh a proper youth development squad to compete against the established clubs. It is nothing short of protectionism and ensures the Centurions will forever be unable to develop a home core group of players so will always need to buy in which is way too expensive to be sustainable

  9. Keep Tolouse up and also move Leigh, Featherstone, Barrow and Halifax into the Super League. Lets get it going again with a fresh feel. Stop all this playing teams 3 times its boring. Keep that for 3 years in year 4 go back to 1 up 1 down.

  10. Lee, what is it with the French sides in the English Leagues. Put the money into the English teams and have a European competition as rugby union do. The money could be used to help the likes of Barrow,Workington, Whitehaven Swinton etc.
    Yes, Derek Beaumont has been Leigh Centurions saviour but that shows what money can do if spent wisely. Ten teams in each league is not the answer!!!!

  11. I disagree that there is enough players for a 14 team structure,the players are out there, they just need the opertunity to play at that level, 14 team structure would end the farce of some teams having to play opposition 3 times, and keep an even home and away fixture for all teams.

    Why ho why the fixation of bring overseas teams in, let them build their own leagues and then have an international competition, at present we have to look at empty stands because their fans don’t travel, thuse loosing revenue for the home teams, while we do travel to follow our teams, so uneven, also lots of fans, like myself who are pensioners or on low incomes are financially preventing from attending.

    With Regards to the likes of Leigh and others who have penifactores with deep pockets this grossly unfair on the rest of the teams in there leagues, promotion should be based on skill and effort not how deep your pockets are, ether all teams below Super League have squads on full time contracts on none,let’s have a level and equal playing feild.

    Time for RFL and Super League [Sky] to listen to the fans, and not just pay lip service to them, they could do more to televise games and not just at Super League level, fans want to see more games at all levels, also there is a greater need for more free to view games shown, not every dedicated fan can afford to pay subscriptions, compare the amount of free to view football matches are broadcast to what air time our games get, if show the games the audience will be there and grow.

  12. What is it with the French at all . Give leigh or Featherstone etc ( need I go on ) 3 years protection & see them flourish . Mr Briers needs to think before opening is trap . Leigh are up / down because they are not protected for 3 years .As for French rugby league, there wasn’t a great amount of fans on Thursday night for the local Derby in comparison to a Hull v Hull KR or Saints v Wigan 🤔

  13. Would Wire and Huddersfield be bust without Simon Moran and Ken Davy putting in their money every year? Quite possibly. Not just Leigh where one man keeps a club alive. Yes every championship club would love a Beaumont but as he is a one off, his presence has ruined the competition. Every Leigh game is a foregone conclusion, regarding the result so there is no real contest. Not Leigh or Beaumont’s fault, but would he be able to sign as many overseas players in SL? I suspect not. If its not appropriate for the for SL how can it be appropriate for the Championship?The Leigh situation has created a non competition in the Championship this year. There needs to be a cap on money spent on overseas signings.

  14. Why is there such an obsession with including french teams in our leagues?they bring next to no fans over.television money is not increasing which means less money where it is needed in our game.let the french develop their own game then maybe we could have an anglo/french competition.expanding our game to far flung areas has never worked.

  15. Let the French play in their own League how are they growing the game on the UK? Look at Featherstone runners up 2 years running and in with a shout this year. A club run in a sustainable way wirh income generated away from RL. Surely this is a blueprint for a well run club.

  16. Heard it all before when will everyone realise we are a northern game and lets promote that rather than all this bull, We cannot even compete with womens cricket or tiddlywinks. Briers forgot to mention Degsy spits his dummy out and sacks the team when things don’t go his way. Not many would want him as a chairman the guys a loose cannon.

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