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‘It’s difficult, IMG have already relegated us’ – Mike Eccles honest take on London Broncos situation

London Broncos head coach Mike Eccles

London Broncos head coach Mike Eccles have given his opinion on his club’s sticky situation surrounding IMG.

The Broncos picked up their first win of the season this weekend, beating Hull FC 34-18 at Plough Lane.

This is the club’s first season in Super League since 2019, when they were relegated on points difference after finishing level with Hull KR after winning ten games that year.

This year, however, is a very different prospect, thanks to IMG’s impact on the sport.

Ahead of 2025, all clubs in the top three divisions – Super League, RFL Championship and RFL League One – will be given a grading based on five categories: On-Field Performance, Fandom, Finances, Stadium and Community.

When provisional gradings were released ahead of this season, London Broncos placed 24th, while only the top twelve are expected to be in Super League next year.

Head coach Mike Eccles opened up about how it feels to be in their position.

He said: “No one really knows what we’re actually going through and what we’ve been through since we got promoted.

“I had a good conversation with the owner a couple of weeks ago and what we’re really gutted about is that things happened the way it did, in terms of the decisions with the IMG and the way we have to then approach it in terms of spend.

“There’ll be more dark, tough days ahead and there’ll be some good days ahead too, because ultimately, we’re still a team of players that haven’t played Super League before, learning to be Super League players.”

The Broncos have scored the fewest number of points and have conceded the highest number of points of all Super League clubs in 2024, and have significantly less top-division experience in their ranks than other sides.

He continued: “We got promoted last year without a single Northern player in.

“It’s not necessarily that we did that on purpose – but we did it the right way, I felt.

“There’s 70% homegrown players and a sprinkling of overseas players. Then you get promoted, and you have a plan to build, and that gets taken away before you even go on your holidays, before you get time to decompress and go again.

“That’s tough.

“There’s no one in this room, no one in the game ever, no one in any sport has ever experienced that. The emotions you’re feeling and the strategy you’re trying to put together is brand new for everybody.

So that’s what I mean by no one knows what we’re going through.”

London Broncos finished fifth in the RFL Championship last year, eighteen points behind the league leaders, but defeated Sheffield Eagles and Featherstone Rovers in the playoffs on their way to a victory over Toulouse Olympique at Stade Ernest Wallon.

Does Super League need the London Broncos?

London Broncos and Catalans Dragons players walk out at Plough Lane in Wimbledon for Super League action.

Credit: Imago Images

It has been a tough season for Eccles’ side, but he sees the club as important to Super League.

He said: “Everyone sits at home and thinks ‘well why don’t London do this?’ Or, ‘there’s no point in London doing this’. And they’re all fair comments.

“But it’s great opportunity for the game, isn’t it?

“We need to keep building our fan base. But there’s a reasonable cradle today, a fantastic stadium. Getting results, we’re going to established Super League clubs.

“It’s difficult to accept that in October you’re essentially facing relegation already.”

Indeed, it seems crazy that, while trying to grow the game, a team in London (the largest city in the UK) is just allowed to drop out of Super League.

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