Port thwarted on plan to save Magpies - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Port thwarted on plan to save Magpies

By Daniel Brettig 10/02/2010 08:11:11 PM Comments (0)

Angry Port Adelaide president Brett Duncanson has all but conceded the SANFL have signed the death warrant for the AFL club's local offshoot the Magpies.

The Power had proposed to merge with the Magpies, who they were forced to separate from upon entering the AFL in 1997, in order to save the SANFL club from financial oblivion.

However they found strong opposition to the gambit from other SANFL clubs plus crosstown AFL rivals Adelaide and in a meeting at AAMI Stadium on Tuesday night the directors of the local clubs chose to block the proposal.

That decision was endorsed by the league commission on Wednesday morning, and Duncanson said the option of a merger was in his mind the only viable solution to the problems engulfing the Magpies.

"The club has done everything in its grasp to actually find a solution for the Magpies," Duncanson said.

"It will now be up to them and we will work closely with them and assist where we can to find a solution, but we believe last night was the only solution."

Duncanson, a former president of the Magpies, said the directors of the other eight SANFL clubs had not given any negative indications to the Port Adelaide delegation when presented with merger plans, instead saving their true intentions for discussions after Port had left the room.

"We presented, we took questions from a number of clubs, we were then asked to leave the room, I think the debate went on for another hour and a half," he said.

"There were no major concerns when we were in the room.

"I think our case was compelling from a financial point of view.

"There were no questions to our face that we thought brought up any negatives."

There is a long history of bitterness between the Port Magpies and the rest of the SANFL, stemming in part from Port's domination of the league, winning 34 premierships before joining the AFL, but also due to an attempt by Port to secretly enter the AFL in 1990.

This led indirectly to the creation of the composite team the Adelaide Crows, and caused anger around the league that has festered for years.

Asked whether or not the SANFL's decision was purely a matter of business, Duncanson was diplomatic.

"That's a question for them," he said.

"We would hope that anyone who sits around the league directors table understands their role and makes their decision in the best interests of footy in this state."

The one positive of the meeting for Port Adelaide was acknowledgement from the SANFL of the problems of stadium yield, which appear to have held the Power back from growing into a financially strong club.

Port's deal with the SANFL for matches at AAMI Stadium has created a multi-million dollar hole in the Power's budgets, and the terms of a more equitable deal are still being fought over.

"What was really encouraging last night was the stadium debate was raised," said Duncanson.

"What we have stated and will continue to state is that we're 16th by some $1.8 million, and some $4.8 million behind the industry average on stadium yield.

"Put $4.5 million down to our bottom line each year and we're a very viable football club."

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