Monday, 17 June 2013

◄Guest Post► Get Jeffed! - A Melbourne Members View

There has been so much tumultuous activity at the competitions oldest club, that we and a good part of the public, find it hard to keep up. No sooner has the club installed Peter Jackson as its new CEO, we learn that the President Don McLardy is to step down. Pressure on Mr. McLardy has been about for quite some time, culminating in a recent campaign from former Victorian Premier and Hawthorn FC President, Jeff Kennett.

On Friday afternoon (14 June), came Don McLArdy's announcement of his resignation. And into our twitter feed on a lazy Sunday morning, came this tweet from ADK.

While we at the Institute resolutely hold our impartiality as one of our founding and core values, we were very interested in this tweet and three others were re-tweeted by us (and reproduced at the foot of the page). It sparked our interest in his further thoughts on this issue. The offer to write a guest post was accepted and the post submitted below for your consideration.

Notes on our guest poster:
ADK is a 37 year old father of two who currently surveys the damage at the Melbourne Football Club from Brisbane, after relocating there recently from Melbourne.
He is a 20 year Melbourne Football Club and Melbourne Cricket Club member, and his family are also all M.F.C. members. He was once a regular in the members reserve, going to all games when he lived in Melbourne.
Until this season he was also active in the "Melbourne Business Community", including the Club Lunch group for 3 years.

A resume that indicates that ADK is "the red and the blue", and very much Melbourne.

With thanks to ADK for his time, effort and passion, and also to Demonwiki, your Number One source for all things Melbourne.

Get Jeffed!

As a passionate Melbourne supporter, 2013 has been a good year to be living in Brisbane.  It's been a godsend not to be inundated with the SEN & Herald Sun (and now Age) garbage about how bad we are. However it couldn't be avoided when I first heard that Jeff Kennett wanted to be President of the Melbourne Football Club.

My initial reaction was like many who know the personality of Jeff Kennett.
Personality President, or Recycled Relevancy Deprivation Demon?
Former Victorian Premier & Hawthorn President with relevancy deprivation syndrome, and despite the odd guest slot on Neil Mitchell's drive program, no real vehicle to get his sometimes controversial opinions across.

This is the same man whose insight on MFC was to relocate to the the Gold Coast or merge with North Melbourne. My initial reaction was 'no fucking way'.

How can we as a club, already the laughing stock of the AFL, need an outsider from another club to help us out of the shit we're in?
Surely we have enough affluent, connected and capable leaders supporting our club that can put their hand up and and say "if there's time for a change then I'm the man who will lead our resurrection". Our board contains some serious heavy hitters, leading organisations such as Channel 10, Bank of Queensland & Deloittes.

We've got Don McLardy who single-handedly orchestrated the last man standing game that resulted in our Debt Demolition being a success.
McLardy: At the helm in tough times
But he's done more than he was capable of and after finally conceding the role was more than he could chew, he's gracefully stood down.

We've apparently got our interim President in Peter Spargo, who allegedly leaks like a sieve, feeding Caroline Wilson & Damien Barrett our regular board meeting updates.

Then there is our newly elected board member and anointed 'President in waiting' Geoff Freeman, who apparently has the numbers, but has health concerns delaying his intentions. He's currently holidaying in France weighing up his options while our club continues to be rudderless.
I'm sorry, but I was hoping for a bit more of a forthright "M.F.C. FUCK YEAH" attitude from the supposed new bloke.

So where else do we turn to? We've got all our Foundation Heroes who clearly are successful enough to financially donate hundreds of thousands as individuals to get us back in the black. Why the hell do we need a "yesterday's man" like Jeff Kennett 'helping out'?

Obviously there are some missing ingredients in leaders who support the Melbourne Football Club, that Presidents of the successful AFL clubs possess: Ambition, Passion, Action, and Ego. Unmistakably, these are qualities that Jeff possesses.
Alan Stockdale: Is he the powerbroker behind the Kennett campaign?
However, of these four qualities, they  are heavily skewed to the latter in this case. Jeff's ego is the key driver here. Sure, he's probably got M.F.C. mates like Alan Stockdale telling him how great it would be work together again and treat the M.F.C. as "Victoria 2.0", but in the end Jeff's putting his hand up because there's no other opportunity to be relevant.

Everyone seems to forget that despite Jeff being President of Hawthorn during their Premiership year of 2008, the foundations for this success were orchestrated by his predecessor, Ian Dicker, who struck the deals without any of the flamboyant showman 'dial a quote' qualities that Jeff brings.

So in the end, what is Jeff's real value? He'll be a recognizable face and voice who can respond when the media continues its submission of the M.F.C. being shit theme.
Nice thought, but really, it's meaningless talk when we continue to lose by 90 points every week.
Is that what we want from our President?
Is that what we need?

What we need is someone who can execute the right business model, both financially & operationally that channels on field success.
At the helm: Peter Jackson meets with Dees supporters.
This isn't in the hands of the President, but the CEO.
AND LOOK, we've got one!

Peter Jackson has been single-handedly picked by the AFL to fix our problems. He's been in the job for a month, and already has got the AFL on board to assist us with money & priority picks.

This is the man to lead our revolution. He wants to see the strategy out to fruition which is why he's extended his stay from 6 months to 18 months after just a few weeks.

With Jackson on board, the real value is ensuring our key stakeholder remains on side, which is the AFL. This is key to any fears of relocation, merging or disappearance. Therefore our requirement as supporters is to let the restructured business plan take its course. It's not going to happen overnight, so knee jerk reactions aren't the answer.

Supporting Jeff as President is effectively a knee jerk reaction. Our fabric as a club since 1964 is going for the quick win.
- Sacking then reinstating Norm Smith,
- cutting ties with the MCC,
- securing marquee players past their prime,
- voting for mergers,
- electing Joe Gutnick because he offered cash,
- and, maybe, electing Jeff Kennett because he's got a big mouth.
A quick win isn't the answer. Jeff won't save the Melbourne Football Club.
We'll eventually find the right President to lead a focused & harmonious board. We've already secured the right man in Peter Jackson who's only been around for a month.
Let the President & board remain an overseeing entity with the right values & passion with no compromise in keeping the club's interests at heart, and allow the gun for hire to sit in the CEO chair.

We've got our man, now all we need is patience to allow him to deliver.


Appendix: The tweets from ADK that prompted the guest post:


  1. I completely agree. How can we possibly say we can stand on our own two feet with a CEO appointed by the AFL and a President who isnt even a member of the club?

    BUT I am worried as hell that there aren't others pushing their way to the front to become president of our club.

    Very worrying times indeed.


    1. Thanks for the comments Doc5.
      We are a believer in supporting all the current clubs, in Melbourne and other markets. To have a proud club like this, or any club, struggling is not good for football.
      Lets hope they can steer clear of more trouble, because the AFL has other issues to resolve... GWS & Brisbane, to name only 2.

      Thanks for dropping by.