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From the CEO: July 12

Keith Thomas  July 12, 2013 8:00 PM

David Koch explains the club's position on our community, our junior development structure and our AFL 'Reserves' team
Keith Thomas-profile_246X315.jpg

Keith Thomas says Port Adelaide is committed and capable of growing its national presence while retaining a stake in its local community

Our Club is more than capable of growing its brand nationally and state wide through the Power, and maintaining our commitment to grassroots football through the Magpies.
Dear Members and Supporters,

Thanks for your enormous show of support to my letter (which you can still read below) this morning.

I would encourage you to check out our website and watch our chairman categorically declare that the Port Adelaide Football Club will not accept any proposition that would dismantle the Magpies junior structures and community links.

If such a scenario were to occur, the Club would simply opt for the status quo position in 2014.

We remain hopeful that our preferred option, as presented to the SANFL Clubs last week, will be viewed favourably and we will continue  to work with the the Clubs to find a suitable solution.  

Thanks again, 
KT

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Dear Members and Supporters,

Here we go again!

Why does SA footy always try to make things seem harder than they actually are?

In today’s newspaper, Michelangelo Rucci presents the argument that it’s time for the Port Adelaide Football Club to move on. He argues that Chairman David Koch can’t on the one hand present a vision for national growth and relevance for our Club, and then also fight to retain our traditional links to the local community through the Magpies.

Well, we would say…'Why the hell not?'

Let’s take another close look at what we are fighting for:

⇒ We would like all of our players, AFL and SANFL, playing for Port Adelaide every week.
⇒ Yes, there will be fewer opportunities for local lads to play league football for the Magpies, but the benefits to the development of our listed AFL Players playing for the Magpies would be significant, both culturally and in football terms.
⇒ Port Adelaide would also like to maintain its commitment to local SA footy, by continuing to field our junior teams and country academies.
⇒ We believe that this enables our Club to maintain our local community links, and continue to make a genuine contribution to game development in this state.
⇒ We have offered to do all of this at no cost to the SANFL.

It’s not that hard is it?

We are simply asking to retain our under-16's, 18's and reserves sides and a junior zone for the Magpies. I understand why that wouldn’t seem important to non-Port Adelaide people, but it’s important to us because that’s where our heart is! It’s what gives Port Adelaide soul and substance. It’s what makes us meaningful in the SANFL, and absolutely unique in the AFL.

I have never understood why some people have difficulty with the co-existence of the Power and the Magpies. We are Port Adelaide. We have an AFL team and an SANFL team. One plays on the national stage, and one plays locally.

We love them both.

If the SANFL Club Directors feel inclined, they may invite us to formally mix the two together to strengthen both Port Adelaide and their competition, whilst at the same time allowing the Crows into the SANFL. We think that would be an enlightened decision for football in this state.

But it should not need to come at the expense of our Club’s junior and community programs.

Michelangelo, our Club is more than capable of growing its brand nationally and state-wide through the Power, and maintaining our commitment to grassroots football through the Magpies.

I would boldly suggest, it’s already happening!

Mr Rucci also asked a few specific questions of David in his article. They are worth answering:

If AFL boss Andrew Demetriou tomorrow allowed the Power to wear the Magpies' traditional black and white jumper, would we accept?
This is a personal view that I expressed to Michelangelo during the week. Had we been provided with that opportunity in 1996, I’m sure we would have worn the traditional black and white guernsey into the AFL with pride. However, having spent the past 15 years establishing the Power and its own identity at the AFL level, my belief is that we would be best advised to politely reject Andrew’s offer and keep the ‘black and white’ exclusively for winning SANFL premierships.

Will the Magpies coach have total independence to recruit, select and direct his players to his own agenda?
It will be collaborative during the week, but independent on game day. With a mix of AFL and SANFL players in the team, the coaching group would have a shared vision for each player and their development needs. But on game day, there can only be one master and that would be the coach of the team.

Will the AFL Clubs allow the Power to have a recruiting zone?
No, and we are not asking for one.

Have we read the papers the former Power board wrote as recommendations on the Magpies?
I made the point to the SANFL Directors last week that I was probably the least qualified person in South Australia to talk about Port Adelaide’s past! What I can say categorically is that since September 2011 when I arrived at the Club, the PAFC Board has been nothing but absolutely committed to the One Club strategy which has, at its heart, a commitment to unite the entire Port Adelaide community.

Central to that plan is a strong Magpies in the SANFL and a strong Power in the AFL.

I would encourage you to ask as many questions as you like as this important issue plays out. We will answer them all.

Just email them through to this address: keiththomas@pafc.com.au

See you at the footy!
KT