At the weekend before France v Wales the Beeb spoke to Phillipe Saint Andre, he referenced his frustration in French Rugby and the tiny pool he had to select from when he was the International Coach due to the clubs now buying in french talent rather than breeding their own to continue making them successful in Europe.
There is an argument here that he started it. He was with the Head Coach of Sale Sharks back in 06 when they won then league and as much as we had our own men in Hanley, Cueto, Robinson, Wigglesworth, Hodgson, Sheridan he also dropped massive amounts of cash rumoured since to be over the cap on the likes of Fernandez Lobbe, Chabal, Bruno. In the winning 22 there was only 12 English players against 16 in the Tigers Squad, 16 of the biggest names in English Rugby.
Since PSA left Sale they seemed to go in a downward spiral, not only did PSA take the talent with him that he bought he also took some of the homegrown talent we had which then began the exodus of other players. PSA then continued to buy names from overseas at Toulon and this is where it all began... the downfall of French Rugby.
In the last few weeks Bristol have yet again been signing big names, today is Attwood. This is a bug bear for me. It's a constant for Bristol. Every season they're relegated, they compete in the league with a fresh and homegrown team, they get promoted, they release these players in favour of massive big money names, they don't compete, they're relegated, those players leave and they're back to square one.
Bristol currently sit at 10th in the league with 24 points. Chances are this season they're actually safe given the downfall of Falcons which is another story in itself. Knowing they're now likely safe they're dropping even more cash on giant names.
You go to Ashton Gate and everywhere is Bristol Sport, how sport is huge in Bristol and how they work hard to grow it.... why don't they do this in rugby?
People slate Saracens for their giant name players, really look into it and most of them are homegrown, Exeter do fine things, Gloucester have a fantastic academy, Tigers certainly always have but occasionally struggle to keep hold of them (thanks for Odogwu) and notibly and you can't not mention them when you discuss home grown and thats Sale Sharks.
So the first question was... Will buying a team ever make you successful? Ask PSA... he thinks not yet he started the trend... ask Bristol?
But me... no, it's bad for the growth of our sport..