Same, it happened to me once, without merry men skill. Then never again.For Merry Men perk, at one point I had gotten the option to recruit some looters despite not having the perk, though it has yet to happen since.
+1Tournament tiers. How much you can bet should escalate with each tier.
First tier tournaments should be open to all and have no less than Tier 2 (or 3) troops in it.
Second tier tournaments should require a certain amount of renown, or a tier 1 tournament win, and should be tier 4+ troops. Maybe require an entry fee at this point.
Third tier should definitely require an entry fee, which contributes to a pot reward at the end (on top of whatever other reward), and be highest level troops and named NPCs only.
Companions should be able to join based on their own personal skills and if they win the reward should go to the clan. If it is an entry fee tournament, perhaps have to opt to pay their way in.
Another nice small improvement would be allowing each clan their own sigil colour, different than their king. So you can still see which troops belong to whom on the battlefield/world map, but still can recognise faction allegiance.
+1And in the future maybe third and fourth colour to choose ? Trim? Two-coloured pattern for background? Complex sigil?
Maybe you start with single coloured banner, and each clan level allows making it more complex?