By Mick Griffiths
WAKEFIELD — On April 12 a historic meeting was organised as rival fans from all three local rugby league teams in the Wakefield district joined forces in what we hope will only have to be a temporary alliance.
Supporters of Castleford, Featherstone Rovers and Wakefield Trinity packed the Coach House club in Wakefield to set up a campaign to prevent implementation of the Rugby League's decision to impose a merger of our three clubs.
Rupert "Megabucks" Murdoch has stuffed a massive cash advance into the hands of the Rugby League's administration to buy the game for Sky TV, and he doesn't care how many communities he wrecks in the process. His proposed Super League would end 13 teams which are being forced into mergers.
It is claimed that this will take the game forward by concentrating the best players into fewer teams in order to create a more attractive and therefore better supported game. In reality, Murdoch is not interested in the supporters who have stood on the terraces for generation after generation. He is investing for profit. If that means to hell with the players and supporters of the teams that will perish, then so be it.
At the fans' meeting, speaker after speaker called for a campaign of opposition to the merger. Veteran Trinity follower Gerry Wright asked what had happened to all the money invested into the Wakefield team since it had become a limited company and called for the books to be opened for inspection.
Featherstone Rovers supporters are fortunate that their team is not a limited company. They declared that their members will not support a merger and intend to vote to continue as Featherstone. Paul Holmes pointed out that the clubs were not ours to sell; just as generations of supporters had built and raised finances in hard times to keep the teams alive, it was our duty now to physically prevent their destruction.
Other speakers called upon our communities to rally round in the same way as we did in the 1984-85 miners' strike. We were reminded that it was the likes of Murdoch and the millionaire-owned and controlled media that had labelled the striking miners "the enemy within".
We all know what Murdoch thinks of the working class. Before 1984-85 there were 5500 miners employed within the seven pits in the Wakefield district. Now they are all closed bar one.
As one speaker said: "They've taken our jobs; now they want to take away our leisure as well". Another called on everyone who had Sky TV to send back their dishes. Murdoch, in his pursuit of profit, is trying to destroy our community spirit and the local pride that is centred on the three local rugby league teams.
We, the supporters, are determined that this rich, parasitic, capitalist creature will not succeed. No to the merger. People, power and community action can bring him down!
[From the British Militant.]