When I flipped channels after the Hawthorn match to ready myself for the Carlton game, I knew we were never going to win, but what I wanted to see was heart. A determination that with every second of every minute of the game, a will to do the very best you could do would be forefront. Sadly, it was not during the second quarter, and we got thoroughly – whipped! Now I don’t like dissecting the game as others do. My intention is to look deeper into the game and the club as a whole.
All last night I kept asking myself what has happened to this once great club? What machinations are involved in sinking this great club into the depths that it is floundering? Seeing Adam Saad bent over on the bench distraught made me choke up. Now I do not pretend to assume why he was like that, and no one can except him – no one! But whatever it was, I felt it, and I got angry, not because of him being upset, nor really about us losing. No, I was more upset at what got us there to that point.
For me, and for many others, what has got us here is the sheer lack of respect from the powers that be at the top of the club – the Board and the senior administrators. Lack of respect towards its members, its staff, its coaches. This once great club is governed by an arrogance that is not indicative of the Carlton FC. What has got us to where we are now is because those that should be developing a culture of success are instead creating a culture of arrogance and blindness of what makes a great club both on the field and off.
Someone posted on social media that Carlton lacks those with football knowledge on the Board. Being on the Board of a sporting club does not make you a better representative if you have any football knowledge or not. It is about the mix, the right mix of people working together. We do not have that. So to prove my point, I went through some clubs Boards, and each of them proves my point. The calibre of the person and what they can bring to a club is paramount, and it matters not whether they have had any football experience.
What they have done is have utter and total respect for the members and what it will take to make their club a success. Cohesion, consistency, respect and support for each part of the club are their main aims.
Richmond’s Peggy O’Neal has had no football experience but is seen as a beacon for leadership in all that she does. She is approachable and respectful. As a Board, Richmond has ten members, of which four besides Peggy are females, and three have been ex-players. What makes this Board work is diversity and respect. They work together to create a culture of success within the club, which in turn breeds success on the field.
Richmond had a toxic culture that was rampant in their club, which has now been turned around. They have done this by ensuring that all facets of the club work together and support each other to achieve what they have ultimately achieved. Damian Hardwick contacted David Teague and told him that he was in the same boat once, but the club supported and backed him.
Without a doubt, Hawthorn’s Jeff Kennett is arrogant, and even though during his first stint as President he wanted Alistair Clarkson gone, he has never put his differences with a coach who is the greatest of our era get in the way of ensuring success at the club. Two of the Board have been involved in the AFL, one as a player, one as an umpire.
What they have on their Board is a diverse range of people who work together to make the club the success it has been and will be in the future. It has a culture forged by the strength of a belief and support of its coach despite its initial failures, no matter what. They supported their coach.
I could list other clubs, but the point is that if you look at the Board’s of other clubs, Carlton’s lacks something vital in its makeup because it is based on entitlement and arrogance. On our Board are members who have been a part of what is wrong with our club. They have been a part of the hiring and firing coaches in succession, breeding a toxic culture in the club both on the field and off. I cannot see it any other way. On our Board, we have the very people who were a part of the “intense and detailed” search for the correct senior coach. Yet, once this coach does not live up to the Board’s immediacy timeline in getting any success, they do what they have done in the past few years – sack yet another coach. There is no support, or if there is, we, the members, the stakeholders of the club are not privileged to see this. We are not entitled to see this because there is no respect.
There is no instilling pride to play for the navy blue in our players because there is no pride in our culture in our club. We don’t have it, and the only people who should take full responsibility for that is the Board. It is they who determine what this club stands for and whom they get to make that stand in the administration of the club, and getting the right coach and supporting them to fulfil what they have been hired to do. They have not.
I know some want to burn their membership to protest what is happening at the club, and I don’t blame you, but that is not the solution. By doing that, you lose your voice and your right to change anything. Being a member gives you a voice as you are a stakeholder in a club with a history that few sporting clubs can claim. Don’t lose your voice. Don’t lose your right to make a stand.
We cannot keep going down this path that we have been going down for the past seven years and more. We cannot be a success if those given the task of achieving this simply jump off the train when the going gets too bumpy.
Whatever happens to David Teague, I will be probably one of the few voices that actually believes he can achieve what we want. However, we will never become successful without the support from inside the club and without the need to stay on the train for the long haul; I don’t care who is brought in. Because if they can do that to one person, who’s to say they won’t do it again?
We, as members, have a right to say to the Board, you have failed. You have failed the players, the coaches and us, the members. It’s enough! You have been given a chance, and you have failed. Step away for the sake of the club and its soul.
I will always be a member of the Carlton FC and will now start pushing for accountability where it is needed. I have my voice, and I urge other members to do just that – use your voice to say enough! Carlton Now!