The night started off with an introduction from Mark LoGuidice which included a statement that this was not the AGM and so topics relating to that such as the financial state of the club would not be discussed. He then went through the club’s 2018 season, the changes in the club and the introduction of the panel which included Brad Lloyd, Cain Liddle, Nicole Graves, Thomas Crookes, and Daniel Giese. He made the point that Carlton’s membership this year exceeded all previous years which is quite a feat considering that we only won two games. He said that this was due to changes made at the club where a new era of positivism, growth and a culture in the club that encompasses the best things about footy – inclusion, respect, and integrity.
He then introduced Bolts and Docherty. Bolts made mention of Murph who approached him after the season’s end and says, we need to own the future and that means a change in leadership. This was met with thunderous applause for we know that Murph stood up during the tough times within the club. Bolts then introduced the new players for the club and what they will bring to the team. Both he and Docherty fielded questions from those that attended.
Then Daniel Harford and Brianna Davey, Head Coach and Captain of our women’s team, were brought out and introduced the new players. They also fielded questions from the crowd. A side note, there are some real ‘guns’ coming into the team.
Then came the general question time from those that attended. Here it got very heated and well predictable. There is a faction in the membership who basically read a statement that they had read last year. They said that the Board is basically corrupt with LoGuidice at the helm and that they need to step down and resign, together with Mathison and Pratt. That they have led Carlton to where they are now, with two wooden spoons and not even close to being in Premiership contention. They were met with a lot of boos and angry feedback. To his credit, LoGuidice did not flinch and answered with poise and dignity.
There was another guy, Joe, who was in essence quite rude and confronting and is part of this ‘faction’ in believing that the Board is corrupt. The funny thing was that he had more to say even though he was told that there were others who wanted to ask a question. He ignored that and refused to sit down until he was allowed to ask another question, which he finally did and was met again with more boos.
What was really interesting is that others stood up and applauded the club for the way they were going about getting this club back to where it belongs, on top by making some great comments and great questions. Those in the ‘faction’ said that they spoke on behalf of the members. I don’t remember giving them permission to speak on my behalf or on others for that matter.
What I don’t think they are understanding is that we are finally in a position of getting this club back to become successful and there are those who just don’t see that as they have their own agenda. They are too steeped in the successes of the past that have long gone. The new motto for the club is ‘honor the past and own the future’. They are not doing either. For they are not honoring the past, they are treating it as if the past should and must define us. They are not owning the future because to own the future means to understand the modern game, the environment and adapt and change and to put your footprint on it.
They don’t’ understand that we as a club and supporters must and do to honor the past and those that made the club a great one. We must regard those that made the club great with respect, but it must not define us now. Much water, and a lot of it, very muggy, dirty water, has gone under the bridge in the history of this great club and we must now let it go and look and concentrate on the future and what it will hold.
The club has the capacity, the personnel, the players and the coaches to get this club back to the top. One of the best questions asked was given the horrendous decisions made in the past with our coaches, and that the club used to ‘flick’ coaches aside with such ease, will the same thing apply to Bolts, who for this member, is the person to get this club back to the top. This was met with huge applause and cheers (not from those in the faction). The reply was each person, including those sitting on the panel and the Board’s role is based on performance and that alone will determine any decisions. That they knew that the road to the top will be a long one and that no-one is going to be ‘flicked’ out so casually as it was in the past.
The times have changed from the club that was before Bolts and SOS to what it is now. Before we were a fractionalized, disunified club, now we are a unified club in solidarity of what its purpose will be – winning games, winning a Premiership. But more than that, to create a culture both on and off-field that ensures that this purpose comes to fruition.
We don’t need those in the ‘faction’ who just want to push their own agenda and not look at what is in the best interests of the club as a whole. We shall always honor the past, but to own the future, we need to be where are today – a club that is on the right track to becoming a top one again. One that keeps looking to the possibilities of what is ahead, not looking over their shoulders of what was. The past is something where we must honor it, respect it, but it mustn’t define what is happening now at the club.