AFL THURSDAY: COLLINGWOOD IN SHOCK
Thursday 11 December 2008
MAGPIES IN $8 MILLION DISASTER
Collingwood’s investment in two Melbourne pubs drained $8 million from the club's books in just 18 months, reveals The Herald Sun’s Damian Barrett. Leaseholds on the Beach Hotel, in Albert Park, and Diamond Creek Tavern have devastated the club's finances. The Collingwood board is bracing for hostile questions on the failed non-football venture at next Wednesday's annual general meeting at the MCG. While responsibility for the mess is a matter of intense conjecture, directors have vowed to repair the financial damage within three years. Collingwood chief executive officer Gary Pert said the club had already learnt from the failed investment. "Losing $8 million in that period (18 months) will have an effect on Collingwood, as it would on any club," Pert said. “But luckily, due to the cash reserves and investments we had built up since Eddie (McGuire, the club's president) has been in place, we have been able to use those reserves to absorb the loss. There is now a major focus on rebuilding our financial position and this has been in an environment of a substantially new level of scrutiny to ensure it is impossible for anything like this to ever happen again."
SWANS FORCED TO SPEND LESS
Sydney will be forced to reduce expenditure on its cutting-edge football department next season after a slump in membership, corporate support and attendances resulted in a significant financial loss over the past year, reports The Age. Swans chairman Richard Colless would not reveal the extent of the loss, which will be tabled at a board meeting tonight, saying: "It's not a life-threatening amount but it will eat into our modest reserves." He said that, having ploughed most of the proceeds from successive profits of $1.5 million in the past two years into football, it was almost certain spending on what was the AFL's second-most-expensive football department would be cut. "The reality is if there is any area to be cut, it would be football," he said. "But if you do that, then be it on your head because you are putting the most important aspect of the operation at some sort of risk." Despite reaching the finals for the sixth successive season, the Swans' total membership (including Sydney and Melbourne members) fell from a record of 32,400 last year to 26,700 this year.
ANGER AT TIGERS’ SPECIAL DRAFT BID
At least three AFL clubs are expected to oppose Richmond's request for a special draft concession that would effectively allow it to add Ben Cousins to its main playing list, reports The Herald Sun. Yesterday the Tigers formally asked the AFL for special permission to place Graham Polak, badly injured after being hit by a tram, on their rookie list for the 2009 season. If successful, Richmond would have two selections at Tuesday's pre-season draft, the second of which it is strongly considering using on Cousins. The Tigers board discussed Polak's situation two days ago, including the opening that could be created for Cousins. At least three clubs, one of them Collingwood, were last night preparing to oppose the Tigers' request if it meant Cousins would be selected. They argue that if Richmond wants Cousins, it should be forced to use the selection it already has in the pre-season draft, not via a pick to compensate for Polak.
PHYSICAL CHALLENGE FOR HOOPER
Rhan Hooper may have played his last game for Brisbane after coach Michael Voss said another apology wasn't enough to salvage his career, reports The Courier Mail. Hooper must return from his 28-day ban in the same physical condition as his teammates or his contract could be torn up. Brisbane's sports-science staff have calculated the fitness level Hooper would have achieved had he trained with the team during his ban. He will have physical examinations on the day of his return, including time trials, skinfold tests and possibly a beep test.
EPIS DUMPED FROM BOMBERS BOARD
Essendon premiership player Alec Epis has lost his seat at the club's board, reports The Herald Sun. Chairman Ray Horsburgh and another veteran board member, Kevin Egan, were re-elected. Jo-Anne Albert will replace Epis, joining Bev Knight as the women on the 11-member Bombers board. Epis has been a prominent figure at Windy Hill, playing 180 games for the Bombers over 11 years, including two premierships in the 1960s. He was a long-time club director and is a life member at Essendon. Epis has also been a specialist coach with young players. Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy, who was sacked last year after 27 years in the role, lashed out at Epis last month. Sheedy used the launch of his latest book to say he thought about running for the Essendon board, but he could not work with Epis.