Life's very tough for the Blues: Pagan - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Life's very tough for the Blues: Pagan

By Sam Lienert 17/05/2006 05:52:18 PM Comments (0)

Carlton coach Denis Pagan says no-one understands how tough it is for the Blues working through their combination of off-field and on-field difficulties.

Pagan was accustomed to club financial constraints, from his time as a dual AFL premiership coach of the Kangaroos.

But he said on Wednesday the difficulty of turning Carlton into a successful club on the field was beyond most people's comprehension.

"No-one will ever know what we've been through and it's hard work," Pagan said.

"If it was easy I'm sure everyone would have a crack at it, everybody thinks they can do it.

"No-one really understands the scenario that AFL coaches are in when things are going ordinary, 24-7 involvement and you do take your work home with you every day.

"But we're tough, hardened campaigners, you know what has to be done.

"I know what has to be done, I just wish I could quicken it up a bit, I can't do that."

Pagan said he left the off-field problems to the board, which on Wednesday met with the AFL Commission to discuss its dire financial situation.

The Blues are about $7 million in debt, with president Graham Smorgon having said last week the club would not make it through to the end of the year without financial help.

"You'd love the club to be very rich and have some of the things other clubs have got," Pagan said.

"But it's been nothing different for me ever since I started in this caper in a previous life (with the Kangaroos) and the life I'm in now."

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou said after the meeting the league wanted to help the Blues out of their troubles.

"Any time a football club comes to the AFL ... and gives us an idea of where they are financially and the club shows some concern the AFL is concerned," Demetriou said.

"As we've done in the past (with other clubs), we want to help."

He said the possibility of the AFL taking over the lease of Carlton's training base MC Labour Park had been discussed.

The Blues want the AFL to lease the ground for $6 million, as well as contributing $2.5 million towards a new elite training facility, then rent it back to the club.

"There needs to be an incredible amount of work done on ascertaining costs and maintenance costs and evaluation," Demetriou said.

"We didn't come here to do that today, we came here to sit down with Graham and the board and understand where they're at and make sure our commission and executive got a full picture."

Smorgon said the board would now decide whether to formally request financial assistance from the AFL.

"We have to do things quickly because the time has come for the club to put its finances in a good position," he said.

"We've discussed that with Andrew and we're going to try to fit in with their timing.

"The board will consider all of the issues which were raised today and then make a decision.

"Until that decision's made I'm not going to preempt it."

The board is scheduled to meet next Tuesday night.

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