Stynes becomes new Demons chairman - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stynes becomes new Demons chairman

12/06/2008 09:44:50 PM Comments (0)

New Melbourne chairman Jim Stynes has warned supporters there is no easy fix to the AFL club's problems and his revamped board will have to act quickly to ward off the threat of relocation.

An emotional Stynes was one of seven new directors installed, joining three incumbents, with another eight board members resigning immediately to pave the way for Stynes' team to take over.

While the Irish-born former Brownlow Medallist was confident he and his new board could lift the club out of debt and ramp up the flagging supporter base, he said it would be a difficult task.

"It's no news to anyone that the Melbourne Football Club is in a precarious position," Stynes told reporters at the MCG after the handover.

"According to some reports, we could lose as much as $1.5-$2 million this year, be relocated to the Gold Coast and be in danger of losing our blockbuster against the Magpies on the Queen's Birthday weekend.

"The reality is that all of this is possible if we don't turn things around and do it quickly.

"However, no one standing here alongside me (in the new board) is underestimating the task ahead of us.

"Unfortunately there is no panacea or easy fix."

Stynes declined to unveil his strategies for solving the club's problems as yet, because he wanted several business executives he had recruited to the board to examine the Demons' financial records to learn the full extent of the situation first.

But he said his first aim was to rouse supporters into an "army" of members who would stick with the club through good and bad, ensuring Melbourne was profitable even in poor seasons such as the current one, in which they sit on the bottom of the ladder.

"In simplistic terms we lack supporter numbers and supporter numbers equate to revenue and revenue increasingly dictates how successful you will be on the field," he said.

"Clearly then our number one priority and focus has to be to grow this club."

Stynes said a key priority was to change Melbourne's "brand" from that of an "establishment" club to one that appealed to all sections of the community.

The 42-year-old said he took the job because he wanted to ensure the Demons survived in Melbourne for future generations.

"I would like to watch the football without a worrying eye on the crowd numbers and in the knowledge that the Melbourne faithful have become an army that turns out to watch their team week in, week out," he said.

"I would like to go and watch the Melbourne Football Club with my son, knowing that one day he will watch his beloved Demons run out onto the MCG sitting alongside his own children," he said between pauses to choke back tears.

"You never know, he might even have played for his beloved Demons, every father's dream."

He said former team-mates Garry Lyon and Greg Healy would be part of a group of advisers.

Asked how his latest challenge compared with that he faced when he arrived from Ireland in 1985 to take up football, he said he was much more confident now.

"Back then I actually didn't believe that I was ever going to make it at AFL level whereas coming into this position I actually believe that we can build this club back to being a really strong club, that's the big difference," he said.

Stynes played 264 games for Melbourne from 1987-98, and won four club best and fairest awards, alongside the 1991 Brownlow.

The new board will have to be ratified by a vote of members at the club's AGM in December.

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