Gardner stands down as Demons boss - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gardner stands down as Demons boss

By Sam Lienert 09/06/2008 05:19:13 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne chairman Paul Gardner announced he was standing down from the position and endorsed former Demons Brownlow Medallist Jim Stynes as his successor.

Stynes has already publicly announced his desire to take over as chairman of the AFL's oldest club.

Gardner, who has been in the post since 2003, said it was time to bring new ideas and energy to the club and he wanted the transition to take place without any disruption.

"I believe it is time for ... someone new to take over the reins of our club, to bring some new thinking and energy to the board table," Gardner said in his pre-match speech before the Queen's Birthday clash with Collingwood.

"As such, I intend to stand down as chairman of the Melbourne Football Club at our next board meeting and help conclude what has been a sensible and non-disrupting coming together of all interested parties, in order to balance the needs of our club with the rights of our members and elected directors.

"The board and I are genuinely excited at this time of renewal and reinvigoration of our club.

"The election of a new chairman, following all those other senior appointments, will position our club to confront the many challenges facing us.

"I wish Jim Stynes all of the best in his endeavours and encourage others to follow his lead and help our club return itself to its former greatness."

Gardner will officially step down at Thursday's board meeting, with Stynes expected to be appointed to the role at the same time.

Several other directors are also expected to be replaced.

Gardner's resignation comes at a time when the club is struggling both on and off the field.

The Demons are heading for a loss of more than $1 million this season and are on the bottom of the ladder.

But Gardner said they had made some important recent changes, including the appointment of a new coach Dean Bailey, new chief executive Paul McNamee and new football manager Chris Connolly.

They have also put in place plans for a new training and administration base at Melbourne's Olympic Park precinct and a summer training base at Casey.

"It is now time to plan and look forward and I do not believe that people not intending to be here in the future should burden those who will be with any locked-in long-term plans," Gardner said. "In just the past 12 months we have changed virtually our entire football department, appointed a new CEO and new board members.

"We have worked closely with the state government, the AFL, the MCC and other stakeholders to develop a new strategic direction, to finalise our home at the wonderful rectangular stadium and to hopefully grab a slice of Australia's fastest growth corridor in the Casey precinct."

Gardner, who has been a Demons director for the past seven years, said at times it had been difficult to juggle his club responsibilities with family, career and community interests.

He said he was seeking to righting that "imbalance" and had informed the board last year that 2008 would be his final year in the job.

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