Dear Member and Supporters,
I suspect you wonder some days whether your footy Club is listening to you.
And each time a concern or frustration is raised and seemingly ignored, the overwhelming urge is to protest louder.
I think 2019 will be marked as the year of the deafening roar.
The rumbling from our core has rolled steadily through the disappointments of failed campaigns in 2015/16, to the moment West Coast broke our collective hearts in overtime in 2017, before spilling over following our inability to capitalise on the powerful start to the 2018 season.
The anger and frustration has been broadly and colourfully distributed but appears now squarely focused on the Senior Coach and the Norwood flog who employed him!!
You see, not every piece of information has gone through to the keeper!
Coach bashing appears to be standard fare in world sport these days, and whilst often harsh, we do operate in a high performance environment. Success is expected.
All coaches understand this, and Ken is no different.
Don’t think he doesn’t hear the criticism or feel the disappointment of his players and our members. He does.
He’s not seeking understanding or respite. He’s simply getting on with the job of navigating a young group through the perils of inconsistency and a brutally tight competition.
Saturday night was a fierce example of how close it is, and another opportunity to step through the door awaits us in Melbourne this week.
We can’t wait to get there.
But I don’t want to focus on the footy in this note.
I think we have a bigger problem, and I am to blame not the footy department.
Back in 2014, the Port Adelaide Football Club was lauded.
We had arrived at Adelaide Oval playing an exciting brand of football, and we were winning consistently.
But that wasn’t all.
We were also independently recognised as having the some of the most engaged supporters in world sport.
We were operating in this glorious sweet spot where our on field performances were mirroring the values our community expected of its football Club.
Fast, aggressive, Never Ever Give Up footy…and a Club mindset that always put our community first.
I remember our team putting 30,000 T Shirts on the seats of Adelaide Oval, the local vibe of the Game Day Village, and pounding our way through the railway station on the March from the Mall.
We encouraged our players to interact more, have more fun with the kids. We encouraged our young recruits to give before you take, and not get sucked into the selfish industry that AFL football has become. And most importantly of all…we did it together.
As we doubled in size in the ensuing 5 years there were moments where our member community felt as tight and close as anyone could imagine possible. I personally will never forget the Phil Walsh tribute night against Collingwood, where we stood as one in the candle lit darkness and reflected on the life of one of our great mates. There have been many others.
The point is, we don’t feel like that today.
Somewhere along the road to greater growth and prosperity…I’ve allowed us to drop the ball.
It hasn’t been a huge shift in mindset. The Club is still filled and surrounded by people who care a lot.
But it’s there. I know it and more importantly, you know it.
And we’ve got to fix it.
This is about more than how we play each week.
It’s about putting our members back at the heart of our Club.
To talk less and listen more.
We’re not going to agree on everything, and we’re not always going to be able to do everything we want to do.
But Port Adelaide is about winning and it’s about its putting its community first.
I promise you, we’re going to do more of that.
So stay tuned.
Right now, we’ve got 4 games to win, a finals campaign and a Magpies premiership push to look forward to.
Let’s get it done.
See you at the footy!