CHRIS KIRWAN: Bitterness highlights the need for pro game to be set free in Wales

THERE'S nothing wrong with a bit of loathing in sport; watching your rivals fail comes a close second to seeing your own team succeed.

It has been written this week that there will be a dilemma for Everton supporters on Saturday: if their side deny Manchester City victory at Goodison Park then Liverpool's Premier League title destiny is back in their own hands.

Rubbish. There is no quandary now that the Blues' Champions League hopes have gone up in smoke.

The neutrals that say 'it'd be good for the city' or 'nobody deserves it more than Stevie G' haven't got a clue.

They won't be the ones suffering from agoraphobia courtesy of Kopite gloating, having to shelter behind closed curtains in their front room while Gerrard dances with the trophy on a double decker bus as wildly as he does to No Jacket Required.

Liverpool fans like to refer to Evertonians as 'Bitters', although they would be wise to cast their minds back to 1995 when they cheered on Blackburn at Anfield or 2010 when they wanted Chelsea to be victorious, all so that Manchester United would fail in their title challenge.

But this is not something exclusive to sport – we are all bitter.

Be honest, have you never resented your pal getting a promotion at work? Never smirked when a dream move overseas didn't quite turn out to be quite so wonderful? Have you never gone to a party hoping it's not as much fun as yours? Surely you have enjoyed French strike action disrupting the plans of holiday makers?

I hope you have, otherwise I'm painting myself in a pretty bad light.

But resentment is a big problem that will hold back Welsh rugby; so many people are still hurt by the way that the regions have panned out.

Nowhere is this more evident that at Sardis Road where Pontypridd exist in no man's land, hating both the Welsh Rugby Union and Regional Rugby Wales.

Ponty's passion is admirable and they are frustrated they are confronted by a glass ceiling despite recent success.

There is nothing wrong with ambition, although it would be wise to point out the cyclical nature of sport and that Neath before them were just as dominant.

Their dreams initially led to them backing Valleys Rugby, a proposed fifth region based at a revamped Sardis Road.

It seems the penny has dropped that such an enterprise would not satisfy them – Valleys Rugby would not be Pontypridd.

So, if they've not got what they feel they are entitled to then they don't want anyone else to prosper. "I will never be a Blue" and all that.

It's similar at plenty of clubs throughout Gwent, there may not be the same acerbic dismissal of regional rugby but plenty of folk just don't care for it.

A team could be called Monmouthshire A4042s but if they play at Rodney Parade they will always be viewed by many as Newport Black and Ambers.

Is it worth even trying to convince the naysayers?

These people will never be won over and plenty of them enjoy seeing the regions struggle; they relish the quartet being underfunded by the WRU and cheer their European humblings.

Worse still is the leap of logic that somehow points the finger of blame at the 'superclubs' for the struggles of the community game.

But one thing is obvious now that a new era of European rugby is fast approaching with next season's Champions Cup: the professional game needs to be separated from the amateur game in Wales.

The destiny of the four regions – stakeholders in the new Euro tournaments – cannot continue to be shaped by those that don't care for them.

If bitterness further holds back the professional game then the alarming decline of rugby at all levels in Wales will accelerate.

Comments (6)

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1:45pm Thu 1 May 14

The People's Republic of Newp says...

Hear, hear. Seeing Newport Black and Ambers in print gave me a delicious shudder. We all know the Dragons are endeavouring to be all things to all men and are failing in the efforts.
Hear, hear. Seeing Newport Black and Ambers in print gave me a delicious shudder. We all know the Dragons are endeavouring to be all things to all men and are failing in the efforts. The People's Republic of Newp
  • Score: 0

2:38pm Thu 1 May 14

Walter Devereux says...

Monmouthshire A4042s sounds pretty good actually! ;)
Monmouthshire A4042s sounds pretty good actually! ;) Walter Devereux
  • Score: 0

5:23pm Thu 1 May 14

Zootopian says...

Region which finishes lowest in the Pro 12 each year to be replaced by the winning club from the national league.

Sorted (ignoring the slight matter of financial issues, obviously).
Region which finishes lowest in the Pro 12 each year to be replaced by the winning club from the national league. Sorted (ignoring the slight matter of financial issues, obviously). Zootopian
  • Score: 1

7:48pm Thu 1 May 14

blackandamber says...

"And the scales fell from my eyes and I could see again".
Chris Kirwan 1st May 2014
"And the scales fell from my eyes and I could see again". Chris Kirwan 1st May 2014 blackandamber
  • Score: -3

5:12pm Fri 2 May 14

Ollie254 says...

They are going to fail then. I think that what most people have forgotten is that the welsh rugby supporter is loyal. When Pontypool played Australia at the park, we as kids were given an afternoon off school to watch without our Mam's giving us a clip for bunking off. Anyone who could get you an afternoon off school with impunity achieved life long loyalty. Going to Rodney Parade is like stealing off your parents, taboo , uncomfortable, you just don't do it and it is this type of ingrained belief in your team that the architects of regional rugby haven't and perhaps couldn't have understood. I guess that the business men who run welsh rugby find that ridiculous but despite that, it just is and the only way to gain the support of the region for a regional team is to take it away from the old teams grounds and bases. The alternative is to stand alone and hope that the revenue stream from what is a club fan base is sufficient to fund a professional team. Good luck.
They are going to fail then. I think that what most people have forgotten is that the welsh rugby supporter is loyal. When Pontypool played Australia at the park, we as kids were given an afternoon off school to watch without our Mam's giving us a clip for bunking off. Anyone who could get you an afternoon off school with impunity achieved life long loyalty. Going to Rodney Parade is like stealing off your parents, taboo , uncomfortable, you just don't do it and it is this type of ingrained belief in your team that the architects of regional rugby haven't and perhaps couldn't have understood. I guess that the business men who run welsh rugby find that ridiculous but despite that, it just is and the only way to gain the support of the region for a regional team is to take it away from the old teams grounds and bases. The alternative is to stand alone and hope that the revenue stream from what is a club fan base is sufficient to fund a professional team. Good luck. Ollie254
  • Score: 4

1:23pm Sat 3 May 14

Melvyn The Milk says...

Ollie254 wrote:
They are going to fail then. I think that what most people have forgotten is that the welsh rugby supporter is loyal. When Pontypool played Australia at the park, we as kids were given an afternoon off school to watch without our Mam's giving us a clip for bunking off. Anyone who could get you an afternoon off school with impunity achieved life long loyalty. Going to Rodney Parade is like stealing off your parents, taboo , uncomfortable, you just don't do it and it is this type of ingrained belief in your team that the architects of regional rugby haven't and perhaps couldn't have understood. I guess that the business men who run welsh rugby find that ridiculous but despite that, it just is and the only way to gain the support of the region for a regional team is to take it away from the old teams grounds and bases. The alternative is to stand alone and hope that the revenue stream from what is a club fan base is sufficient to fund a professional team. Good luck.
Absolutely spot on. Let them have their 'dogs' back (most of whom come from the Gwent valleys anyway). Either a true region away from RP or back to struggling clubs (if they can struggle any more that is). And yeah, we are, from Blaenafon to Gorseinon, bitter for the way it was done. The only patch of success Newport had in over 40 years was funded by a man from Bisley in Surrey.
[quote][p][bold]Ollie254[/bold] wrote: They are going to fail then. I think that what most people have forgotten is that the welsh rugby supporter is loyal. When Pontypool played Australia at the park, we as kids were given an afternoon off school to watch without our Mam's giving us a clip for bunking off. Anyone who could get you an afternoon off school with impunity achieved life long loyalty. Going to Rodney Parade is like stealing off your parents, taboo , uncomfortable, you just don't do it and it is this type of ingrained belief in your team that the architects of regional rugby haven't and perhaps couldn't have understood. I guess that the business men who run welsh rugby find that ridiculous but despite that, it just is and the only way to gain the support of the region for a regional team is to take it away from the old teams grounds and bases. The alternative is to stand alone and hope that the revenue stream from what is a club fan base is sufficient to fund a professional team. Good luck.[/p][/quote]Absolutely spot on. Let them have their 'dogs' back (most of whom come from the Gwent valleys anyway). Either a true region away from RP or back to struggling clubs (if they can struggle any more that is). And yeah, we are, from Blaenafon to Gorseinon, bitter for the way it was done. The only patch of success Newport had in over 40 years was funded by a man from Bisley in Surrey. Melvyn The Milk
  • Score: 2

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