Stynes expects surge of fan support - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stynes expects surge of fan support

By Sam Lienert 09/06/2008 09:13:27 PM Comments (0)

The former Demons Brownlow Medallist, who is set to assume control of the club, accompanied by several new board members, said lifting the membership base was his group's first aim.

"It's going to create some momentum and always with change, you're going to get a bit of that," Stynes said.

"The big challenge for us will be sustaining it after a year or two. We'll take it up a cog, but we've got to maintain it and that becomes a new base.

"Our first target will be 30,000 - we've got to get above 30,000 members."

The club's membership currently sits slightly above 27,000, down from a record of 28,077 last year.

Stynes said that already in the few days since it had become public that he intended to take over the chairmanship, many supporters had personally told him they wanted to join.

"There's been a lot of people that have kind of lost their way a bit with the club and they want to get back on board and that's what we've got to do, we've got to galvanise all the supporters," he told the Ten Network.

"Because last year 18 per cent of our members didn't re-sign, that's one of the highest of all the clubs, so there's a lot of immediate things that we do to get a new surge in support."

Stynes' comments came after incumbent Paul Gardner used his pre-match speech to confirm he would stand down at Thursday's board meeting to enable a smooth transition.

It continues a year of huge change at the club, including the appointment of a new coach Dean Bailey, new football manager Chris Connolly, new chief executive Paul McNamee, and the recent retirement of captain David Neitz.

"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 said.

Stynes declined to give details on his plans or who he would be bringing onto the board.

"Three current board members will stay on and then we'll bring on a new group," he said.

"We'll make a decision between now and Thursday how many will come on because it's a big board, there's 11 at the moment, so long-term, we want to reduce it."

He said he would provide more information after the meeting on how he would deal with the club's financial issues, with the Demons heading towards a loss of more than $1 million this season, compounding a large existing debt.

"Thursday night if all goes well, then we'll start to roll out our plan and we'll let the members know what we're about," he said.

"But all I can say is we're in for an exciting time because we've got some great people that want to really help."

He ruled out merger or relocation under his leadership.

"You hear (Hawthorn president) Jeff Kennett when he says (Melbourne should go) to the Gold Coast, that's just crap," Stynes said.

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