Results 1 to 3 of 3
AFL Forum | This Is AFL | North Melbourne | Gold Coast week on The Shinblogger
- 7th December 2011 09:40 AM #1
- Join Date
- May 2011
- SAS, MVFC
Array Rep Power:       16 Reputation:       2980
Gold Coast week on The Shinblogger
Because yesterday marked four years to the date since everyone converged on Dallas Brooks Hall and the relocation offer was officially knocked back, on the blog I've decided to make a whole week of it attempting to cover the whole story. Yesterday was here, and here's today's post:
#44 – Gold Coast Week, Part 3: Rock Bottom
If you missed Part 2 of Gold Coast week, you can check the post out here. Yesterday we finished with the board meeting that took place in early October and it’s from the conclusion of that where we begin again.
Graham Duff – the chairman at the time of the board meeting as well as the main subject of this entertaining story – just so happened to be presiding over the two most hostile and image tarnished boards of the country at this point, Racing Victoria being the other. Thankfully he stepped down due to – shock horror – problems at Racing Victoria that were more important.
And while he doesn’t play too much of a role for the rest of the story, it’s important to take a moment to step back and look at the persona he was reflecting onto North Melbourne. Even in the area that he was attempting to nourish for the move, he was telling supporters where to go – to put it politely. Yet he was chairman of the club for about two years, and it was almost too late to reverse the damage he had inflicted.
From there, we go to Andrew Carter. His name is especially relevant given that earlier this year he reared his bitter head pondering over what could have been if he’d successfully been a part of killing an AFL club with a rich heritage. His utter ineptness surrounding it all can be summed up by this quote:
"Some said ‘well, if it’s not called North Melbourne, it [the club] is gone’. But if it’s the same jumper and same logo and you have a bit of yellow piping around the jumper – I could have lived with that."
Do I need to go on any further, or does that show just how little of a clue he had?
“Hey guys, now there’s this club that has been around for a really, really long time. But because we can, we’re going to move it up to the Gold Coast, completely strip it of anything that would appeal to anyone and make sure we completely disenfranchise all the old supporters of that club. But hey, the weather is really good and we even get to wear close to the same jumper! How about it?!”
Then, disappointingly, we have Mark Brayshaw. Why was he a disappointing one? Not simply because of the fact he thought the Gold Coast was the number one option, but because he came to that conclusion without fighting the good fight. It’s baffling that at a family gathering he’ll look across the dinner table to see a man that took it into his own hands to save the club when everyone else said no-one could do it, while he attempted to take the easy road out at the time. But more on that as the week progresses.
So as October drew to a close with most of the board not offering anything in terms of a spine for one reason or another, the general feeling was one of hopelessness from the supporter base. This was never more evident than in this thread on BigFooty, where some posters who ended up as active figures in the fight to keep North south were openly lamenting the lack of options available to help the club. One or two snippets from other posts include:
"We’re not done yet folks, but we are getting close to that point where all looks lost"
"The way things are going a petition with 20,000 signatures and an Arden St camp out may achieve little. It sounds like this is being fought and won in the boardroom with everything else just noise."
And the one that takes the cake for the perfect summary:
"Pretty depressing shit"
Of course this wasn’t helped by the majority of the media piling the misery on at every possible opportunity, nothing being off-limits to take a shot at. Jon Ralph had the following to say:
"Yet the Kangaroos are considered over the line to agree to a new home for the 2010 season, and we haven’t heard a whimper from the fans.
No rage and no protests. Nothing.
Perhaps it is because there is a sense of fatalism about the Kangaroos.
Move and they retain some Melbourne presence, stay full-time and they may cease to exist within half a decade.
Where once there was raw passion with little accompanying reasoning from the fans, now there is an understanding that, in their present form, the Kangaroos simply can’t survive in Victoria."
Just in case this wasn’t bad enough in isolation, it comes from the same journalist that had incorrect content about a player and a friend of his that had recently passed away. The club of the player in question took offence to that information, showed Ralph that it was wrong, specifically asked Ralph not to post it. Yet he did anyway. Class act.
Scott Gullan also took the opportunity for the worst kind of rumour mongering:
The problem for the Kangaroos is that everyone knows that in two years’ time they will be going to the Gold Coast, one source said.
I mean, ‘one source said’? Really? Hey, Scott, one of my sources says that’s a woeful attempt at a cheap shot. The source also says that everyone knows you have no idea about football. What? Back it up? I don’t have to.
Then we head over to The Shinblogger’s favourite journalist, and she had this to say:
"The club’s players and coaching staff, including Dean Laidley, are understood to strongly support the relocation in the belief they would no longer be forced to operate using relatively substandard training conditions."
Once you get past the fact of how mind-bogglingly wrong that is, the first thing that comes to mind is how easy that fact can be checked. It would take one phone call – just one – to confirm that wasn’t the case and yet the chief football writer of a national newspaper decided to pass something off as a fact when in reality it was the complete opposite.
Due to it now being out of action, many people never were able to see the excellent work of a website entitled, Gold Coast Truth. Never fear, because I have managed to find the archive with the help of trawling through old articles from Roo Beauty. Here’s all you need to know about Caroline Wilson’s stake in the issue.
However, despite the above three quotes all illustrating the perilous position the North Melbourne football club ‘enjoyed’ in the media, it was the following quote from Bob Ansell that really painted the picture of how hopeless a situation the informed supporter was in (in relation to members having a say on a potential Gold Coast move):
“I think that the members should have a view…I don’t know whether technically that can influence the outcome…”
Because of the shareholder issue, members had no say about the Gold Coast. That bears repeating: in a case where a football club could be moved away to die, the lifeblood behind it had absolutely no voice and no avenue to create one.
Yet that was about to change.
That brings to an end the swing day for the week. As you could see from the end of today’s post, there’s a sneak peek that things are about to start changing. Tomorrow will bring more detail as to how that managed to happen when forces were attempting to conspire against it.
I'll post the next two parts in here in the next two days.
- 7th December 2011 09:40 AM # ADSThis Is AFL | AFL Forum
- Join Date
- Apr 2011
- Over 9000!
8th December 2011 10:43 AM #2
- Join Date
- May 2011
- SAS, MVFC
Array Rep Power:       16 Reputation:       2980
Part 4 today. Had a record number of views for a single day yesterday which I'm happy about.
#45 – Gold Coast Week, Part 4: Repression & Revivals
Before I get into today’s post, I was genuinely stunned by the readership yesterday. Record numbers for a single day and it wasn’t even close to previous highs. Add that to the feedback I’ve received and the positive adjectives to describe how well this is going would take up too many a page. So simply: Thanks.
And with that out of the way: Here. We. Go.
On the 29th of October, a group known as ‘We Are North Melbourne’ released the following media statement to the public (scroll to the bottom). On the surface it seems fairly basic; just a few short paragraphs detailing that a supporter group would be attempting to change a couple of things. Yet it was the last sentence that summed everything up perfectly:
“We will work to make sure their voice is heard”
And with that, everything flew into motion. In just shy of the next 48 hours morale in the supporter base was lifted enormously. All of a sudden the consensus had shifted from the worst possible outcome to believing that there was every chance of convincing North Melbourne to stay at Arden St (This is 2007. It’s still called Arden St.).
The airwaves at SEN were bombarded with an ad imploring members to sign up for the ’08 season and YouTube was even the home for home-made videos attempting to gather the rank-and-file after the damage that had been inflicted by the mainstream media. Everything was looking great and there were even claims that the war had been won.
Then – just as everything was looking increasingly positive – came the board meeting to close out October. Where the news was expected to be upbeat, instead we as the supporters were treated to this:
“The Kangaroos put forward a hybrid option of committing to Melbourne as our home, but playing a number of games on the Gold Coast.
As a result of the meeting, the AFL clearly stated that nothing but relocation was an option in relation to the Gold Coast.
The Kangaroos Board intends to continue discussions with the AFL over the next few weeks.”
Just a few hours after that statement, the news broke that the AFL had given North Melbourne 30 days to make a final decision on the Gold Coast matter. Now here is where it gets interesting because the AFL were forced into a position they never wanted to take, further cemented by this astounding public comment by Demetriou.
The best comparison to easily sum this up is to look at the incredibly real sport of professional wrestling. You have Wrestler X (North Melbourne), a good guy that’s easily misled. His new best friend in Wrestler Y (Demetriou) claims to know what’s best for him and will help X get what will put him in a great position. As this goes on from week to week on the show it’s clear as hell that Y really has no interest in helping X out and just wants what’s best for him (i.e. a nice, big, fat paycheck).
It gets to the big moment where Y is about to push X over the edge into what Y claims is the best possible opportunity for him. As X takes a couple of steps ahead of Y to the precipice of a major change, he realises that it’s not all it cracked up to be. He starts to realise this isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and as he opens his mouth, says this and turns around...he’s met with a steel chair in the face.
Demetriou’s comment about 70% of revenue being provided by the AFL was the figurative steel chair in the face, as if to say how dare you mess with me in my high powered executive position while I attempt to think of the next cheap rule change that can infuriate as many people as possible. Make no mistake, from here on out it was war.
An incredibly emotional post kicked it off, and in the first half of November it was all about point scoring – which side could land the most blows in the eyes of the football public?
It was – no surprises now when looking back – James Brayshaw that fired the first shots. If there were days upon days to slowly wind this story out, here would be the point where there’s a 10,000 word segway on the incredible rise of JB to a position of power. In the space of just a few short weeks, he turned from just another media guy into the almighty lord and saviour at board level. Too far? Nope. When the chairman of We Are North Melbourne sees fit to proclaim, “You ******* beauty JB” then anything is possible.
But when someone with a significant media profile uses it for good, there will always be someone with the complete opposite objective. The spokeswoman for the AFL in Caroline Wilson then wrote a piece essentially in response to the above comments. It contained this now-classic line:
“Should the Kangaroos choose to remain at Arden Street — and the smart money is on Demetriou getting his way and overseeing a relocation”
Yep. So if I had smart money I’d put it on an outcome that was growing less likely by the day. What doesn’t make sense about that? It was a glimpse to how the tone of her propaganda pieces were growing steadily more desperate – where at one point it was simple, basic articles that contained nothing out of the ordinary in terms of predictions, it now veered into the territory of a youngster endeavouring wilder exploits to get attention. Look at me! Look at what I’m saying!
However, while our favourite Caro was whittling away feverishly and the AFL was dragging others out of the woodwork before attempting to undermine North Melbourne themself, it was the efforts of WANM in shooting down the pre-conceived notions of the uneducated general public that was gaining real traction.
Here is where I delve into personal experience. As someone who had just finished Year 12 and was practically known as, ‘that guy who goes for North Melbourne’ (good thing or a bad thing? I still don’t even know), I ended up being the target for cheap jibes about the situation. Yet in these first couple of weeks of November, the worm slowly started to turn.
Where at one point I would be greeted with any unimaginative Gold Coast line under the sun (pun not intended unfortunately), it now began to change tack to comments detailing that they didn’t know about Fact X or that they thought Myth Y was real for the longest time. Even though a bunch of 18 year olds hardly represented the wider public, it was a sign that things were trending towards the good guys.
While WANM were doing fantastic work, the efforts of another group started to share the spotlight. Known as ‘Roosistence’, work had been undertaken to set up a concert where all funds and proceeds would go to the North Melbourne Football Club. The gig itself had been announced early in the month, but it was towards the end of the second week of November that it really started to gather momentum. With artists such as You Am I, The Wrights, Something for Kate and more, a simple concert had set the stage to deliver a massive blow to the small pro-Gold Coast section of the supporter base.
That is that for Part 4. This stage could have been stretched out into a whole week of posts, but in the interests of not becoming too long winded it will be kept at that. Tomorrow will be all about the final stretch: last minute moves, the Roosistence concert and of course Dallas Brooks Hall.
9th December 2011 09:54 AM #3
- Join Date
- May 2011
- SAS, MVFC
Array Rep Power:       16 Reputation:       2980
And Part 5 to finish off. Almost killed myself getting this done.
#46 – Gold Coast Week, Part 5: The Finale
So after a week of heavy research, extremely late nights, no sleep and figuring out how on earth to condense the most important time of North Melbourne’s history into four posts, we’ve arrived at the final day of Gold Coast week.
The Roosistence concert was momentarily pushed to the back-burner just a couple of days after the posters for it were widely circulated; a board meeting on the 16th of November marked the perfect mid-point to the dreaded 30 days of doom. It was in the aftermath of this that the now infamous $100 million offer was presented by the AFL.
In the coming days that offer would be reported as gospel by the journalists too lazy to do their own research into the matter. It was actually closer to $30 million, as was documented here. All of a sudden it doesn’t seem so impressive, and the fact that to this day people still mention the $100 million figure shows how effective the AFL were with their PR machine.
It was from here on out that the efforts of both James Brayshaw and the North supporters took centre stage. This showed the effort that everyone was willing to go to, and it only grew from there. While there were still articles about the Gold Coast being published, it now was met with an immediate reaction shooting down the incorrect assumptions being made.
And it was the days immediately before the Roosistence gig that momentum really started to flow. Patrick Smith – someone I’m reluctant to mention heavily due to complete indifference – published an article in The Australian that was akin to Wilson’s worst articles multiplied by hundreds due to its sheer ineptitude (that’s a good word).
However it was the response from Mark Fine of SEN that really brought home how sentiment had changed. In what was – by all reports at the time – an explosive diatribe, Fine unleashed on Smith, pointing out just how little credibility he had to be making such comments. The link says it all.
With a big slice of the footballing radio market openly supporting North staying south; it was up to Damian Barrett to continue that trend in the print media. His balanced and fair article about the developments late in November summed the AFL up perfectly with one sentence:
“FOR an organisation that can spin-doctor with the best of the politicians, the AFL has been far from convincing in the Gold Coast debate"
Because the general tone of the article was unbiased and not dealing with mysterious incorrect sources, it gave Barrett an air of respectability that certain other journalists didn’t have. It was further shown just how positive the mood was when the inevitable negative articles prompted responses like this:
“When she (Wilson) printed rubbish over the past few years about this subject it was damaging and upsetting. At this point, it's pretty amusing.”
So everything was looking upwards on the night of November 29th, when the Roosistence benefit concert took place at Prince of Wales. The lead in to the event was massive, and obviously the gig itself didn’t disappoint. All of the photos you could ever want from the night are here, while this one interview of many summed up the general feel of the night:
If that wasn’t enough, Tim Rogers of You Am I ran himself into the ground helping prepare for the night, and his comments, while so simple, laid it out in plain view why the Gold Coast would have been a disaster for supporters:
"Being a North Melbourne person is a large part of my identity — it's completely informed the way I am. The thought of having that taken out of my life, and other North peoples' lives, it just breaks hearts. I don't want my daughter to ask in 20 years' time: 'What was that footy club you used to barrack for?"
In the washup from the night, positive publicity was everywhere. However, as it spread across Melbourne, bigger news trumped it: the 30 day deadline had mysteriously been dropped, leading to a potentially explosive night at Dallas Brooks Hall on the 6th of December.
The lead-up to the night started straight away, with more vile spilling out from the pen of the AFL spokeswoman:
“Although the club is pushing for another season in a bid to make up its mind about a Gold Coast move, the truth is that fewer and fewer North Melbourne people believe the club can survive in its current form.”
Remember, the opposite was true.
However, as the day drew ever closer, madness from all tables started to set in. Not knowing who to trust and what information was correct led to rapidly changing stories. It all started with no idea what the plans were on Thursday night, as you can see by this, and this.
But even though it was chaos just before December 6th, the early working hours of the day itself were something else. In the space of just three hours, the following unravelled:
The Gold Coast deal was as good as done according to many
The AFL had told the club that the Gold Coast option was only on the table for one more week
The board had backflipped multiple times on which side of the debate had the majority vote
“The Kangaroos defiantly turned their backs on the AFL's multi-million dollar Gold Coast proposal, vowing to secure their long-term future in Melbourne.”
Just like that, it was all over. That was the cue for what could have been an uneasy meeting at Dallas Brooks Hall to turn into a setting that was the most enjoyable night I’ve ever had as a North Melbourne supporter.
It was an atmosphere unlike anything I had experienced at the time. Despite the hardship that everyone had suffered over the previous 6-8 weeks while the saga dragged on, there was no bitterness (that was saved for a little later on) outside on the steps. Everyone – most of whom I would assume hadn’t met before – were carrying on like the best of mates.
The news reporters outside the ground were besieged with jubilant supporters willing to share their tale for that night’s editions. Placards were being held up, figures that had cast negative light on the club were being booed back to where they came from as they walked past the throng into the building, and passionate renditions of Hearts to Hearts were all the rage.
Inside Dallas Brooks Hall, it was a merely a continuation of the above, the party mood of the supporters there continuing. Astoundingly, Caroline Wilson didn’t even show up after claiming she would, meaning that Caroline Wilson can’t even use Caroline Wilson as a reputable source.
Regardless of whatever negativity was shown during the lead up to the decision, Patrick Smith showed up and copped his deserving whack by virtue of the packed house booing him unmercifully. For that I can respect him even if I dislike his journalistic skills.
However, Caroline Wilson – the worst of the lot – didn’t have the stones to admit she was blatantly wrong on everything she had published, and didn’t even bother to show up to make a token gesture of acceptance. That is why I will never, ever respect her – and the constant bleating of an anti-North Melbourne agenda in the months following that just sunk it in further.
But to finish on a positive, even researching everything four years later the memories are still vibrant and strong. While it may be a token gesture this far removed from the event, everyone – from the Roosistence crew to We Are North Melbourne and all in between – from the bottom of my heart, I can’t thank you enough. Without you guys, I wouldn’t be able to continue supporting the club I love.