Stynes poised for peaceful takeover - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stynes poised for peaceful takeover

By Adam Cooper 11/06/2008 08:03:22 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne great Jim Stynes has been urged to keep his eye on the ball to start transforming the fortunes of the embattled AFL club.

Stynes will on Thursday night earn an armchair ride to assume control of the Demons when he meets the board which served under outgoing chairman Paul Gardner.

In what looms as a peaceful takeover, Stynes needs only to present a sound business plan and an enthusiastic vision on how to lead the Demons out of the doldrums before he is endorsed as the club's new off-field figurehead.

But one of the possible figures standing in his way urged the 264-game former star to keep a large share of his focus on-field, despite the need to wipe off debt and scuttle speculation over relocation.

Board member Michael Coglin, one of the three directors Stynes must impress to be granted his wish to establish a board of his liking, said Melbourne's poor on-field form and lack of premiership success over 43 years were the crux of the club's problems.

While Gardner and four board members have all indicated they will stand down to usher in change, Coglin and fellow directors John Phillips and Anthony Starkins are awaiting a look at Stynes' business plan.

Stynes is understood to want three other directors - including former player Andrew Leoncelli - to remain on the board, joined by up to four new faces before the new board is ratified at the annual general meeting later this year.

Coglin said he would be happy to stand down if Stynes' vision was the much-needed good news Melbourne needed, hopeful a new board would devote everything it could to coach Dean Bailey's football department.

Melbourne are last on the ladder with one win and 10 losses and favourite to land the wooden spoon amid what has been a horror season, especially given the Demons are marking their 150th year.

Those woes continue a bleak period dating back to their last premiership in 1964.

Coglin said despite Melbourne's $1 million debt and constant speculation the club could be encouraged to relocate north, addressing their limited on-field success was the greatest challenge.

"Over that period a whole generation of supporters have grown old and grown progressively disillusioned, as a result we now have the smallest supporter base ... it actually threatens the very viability of our club," he said.

"On-field performances won't guarantee your future as the Kangaroos have shown.

"They were a fabulous, successful on-field side in the late 1990s and have encountered similar (financial/location) problems to us, so it's not the answer.

"But on the other hand it is very, very hard to sell memberships, sell hope, sell sponsorships and all those things that lead to commercial viability in the face of sustained poor footy."

Stynes could be forced into calling for an immediate spill of the board through an extraordinary general meeting if his plan is not well received, or Phillips, Coglin and Starkins decide to stay.

But Coglin expected the 1991 Brownlow medallist to present a strong case and would stand down "in a heartbeat" if it was the right thing for the club.

"If I hear Jim tomorrow night, meet his team, see what they can bring to the club and I believe that the club would be the better for all that, then what a terrific day for the Melbourne footy club," he said.

Stynes, who declined to comment today, retired from the AFL in 1998 but established himself outside of football by founding youth charity the Reach Foundation.

In a further on-field blow for the Demons, midfielder Brent Moloney was today ruled out for the rest of the season because of a shoulder injury he suffered in Monday's loss to Collingwood.

Defender Jared Rivers will miss Sunday's game against Richmond because of an abdominal strain.

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