North Melbourne handed back to members - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

North Melbourne handed back to members

By Roger Vaughan 29/10/2008 09:35:37 PM Comments (0)

North Melbourne voted overwhelmingly to end more than two decades of shareholder ownership, returning the AFL club to its members.

Many of the 350 fans who attended the extraordinary general meeting at Telstra Dome gave a standing ovation as chairman James Brayshaw declared North was now "a club solely owned by its members".

The meeting was a series of five votes, needed to change the club's complex ownership structure.

Only one person present at the meeting voted against any of the five resolutions.

"This is a seminal day in North Melbourne's history, it was absolutely necessary that we return the club to the members," Brayshaw said.

"The best possible way forward structurally for this footy club was to be owned by the members and run by the members, the same as the other eight clubs in Melbourne."

In 1986, North launched a float to ensure the club's future.

The club will make 16 major shareholders, including former chairman Bob Ansett, patrons for life in recognition of their generosity and six of them will receive life membership.

Late last year, North rejected the AFL's efforts to relocate them to the Gold Coast.

The club then started negotiating with the major shareholders in January.

"Their contribution has been massive, but I will also say their recent behaviour in the last six or seven months has been unbelievable," Brayshaw said.

"They've been incredibly generous ... we couldn't have got to this spot without their cooperation."

Brayshaw said he was surprised meeting had gone so smoothly.

It took barely half an hour, with no questions before the almost-unanimous vote among those present.

"The response was unbelievable - unequivocal - and we're delighted," Brayshaw said.

"I honestly thought 'is there some twist in the tail here, is there some way that this is perhaps not going to work?' because it's been such a huge journey."

As part of the restructure, there will be no board elections for two years.

Brayshaw was confident the change would boost membership, saying some fans had thought members did not have enough input at the club because of the unique ownership structure.

The AFL had made it clear that future funding would rely on a return to full membership.

Brayshaw is also confident that the league is making progress on a new stadium agreement for the Melbourne-based clubs.

North in particular feel they do not gain enough return from their home games.

"It looks like from all I'm hearing out of the AFL, that the stadium economics are going to be fixed for the Melbourne clubs," he said.

"For the first time in my time in being involved either as a director or the chairman, the AFL are taking stadium economics in Victoria very seriously.

"Those noises have started, they're not quite jungle drums yet, but I am very confident ... the AFL will deliver on what they're talking about."

Earlier, AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou was confident North would return to full membership.

"I wish the club well and I think they can take a huge leap forward after tonight, with our support, because I think it's a positive move for the club," he said.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

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