Gary will be fans’ choice but he’s got little chance

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THERE isn’t all the ballyhoo that surrounded the England football manager’s appointment but the top job in Rugby League is vacant and a decision needs to be taken – and quickly.

The finances of many clubs – in the Super League and Championship – look about as healthy as a squirrel squashed by a Stobart truck.

The Championship is being revamped next season but it’s still a mystery which of the club’s from development areas will be joining the semi-pro ranks.

And although you won’t have heard about it there’s a Rugby League World Cup next year in the UK.

I know the game is still battling on. Maurice Watkins, who also sits on the Manchester United board, has stepped in as interim chairman. Chief Executive Nigel Wood and Ralph Rimmer (Eagles fans may remember him running the office down at Don Valley before the ‘Shuddersfield merger’) are making sure Red Hall doesn’t run out of paper clips.

Finding a new chairman is not just about filling the biggest parking place at the RFL headquarters. We need more than just a nodding dog – someone with a passion for the game who will take it forward at every level.

St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus is calling for a person of ‘national standing’ from outside the game to help: who does he want? Tony Blair?

Get real, this is rugby league – we need someone who knows and cares about the game. We’ve just had years of a former Davis Cup player Richard Lewis in the top job. He’s gone off to cut the grass at Wimbledon or whatever the chief executive of the All England Lawn Tennis club does as he waits for his knighthood.

Watkins is said to be doing the rounds of the Super League chairman seeking their views. You would like to think that he might be calling in at Don Valley or Post Office Road but the cash and the power is with the Super League clubs.

Look around at the CVs of the men who run the game’s top clubs and Gary Hetherington stands out. A former player who founded Sheffield Eagles nearly three decades ago he’s gone on to make Leeds Rhinos arguably the biggest club in the game.

Hetherington will be many fans choice but you can already see the roadblocks being put up by the other club bosses.

Meanwhile back to the day job. Off to York tomorrow night with the hope that the Eagles can stop collecting losing bonus points.

There’s only so many times you can write about a team ‘bouncing back.’ The referee made sure those hopes turned into a belly flop with the penalty decision that saw the Eagle lose 34-23 to Leigh.

But like an Owls fan you can always enjoy the ‘other’ team’s problems. Featherstone Rovers, who have ruled the roost in the Championship for two seasons, went down 60-12 to Halifax at home. That makes a bonus point welcome!