Bombers want fans to help fund move - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bombers want fans to help fund move

By Roger Vaughan and John Salvado 11/05/2011 07:06:07 PM Comments (0)

Essendon aim to raise $15 million from supporters to help fund the AFL club's momentous shift from Windy Hill to near Melbourne Airport.

The Bombers' hierarchy used Wednesday's lunch for the Dick Reynolds Club, an important club coterie group, to start the fundraising drive.

They say the new training and administrative facility will cost $30 million, up from the $25 million they forecast last December when Essendon confirmed the move from their spiritual home would go ahead.

Coach James Hird, club chairman David Evans and Bombers chief executive Ian Robson spoke on Wednesday about how the success of the move was vital to the club.

"Frankly, failure isn't an option," Robson said.

Evans said the federal government ($6 million) and the AFL ($2-4 million) would contribute to the funding, with the Bombers negotiating with the state government for another $6-7 million.

The new headquarters, due to open in 2013, came about after the club's negotiations with the neighbouring bowls club broke down.

Essendon had wanted to take over the bowls club land as part of a ground redevelopment.

Evans and Hird said the Bombers had fallen behind the rest of the league with their training facilities.

"You need to provide a place where the players feel like they're professional athletes and we don't have that at the moment," Hird said.

"Essendon is a great club, but the facility there at the moment is, putting it nicely, second-rate.

"If I was a player at Essendon, I would wonder whether the club is totally serious - that's where we have to train.

"It is what it is and it's not going to stop us being successful in the next couple of years."

Also on Wednesday, Hird said the Bombers would persist with having three ruckmen in their team.

Hird explained that David Hille, Patrick Ryder and Tom Bellchambers could remain in the same team because they were so versatile.

"The majority of the time, if the three of them can play different roles, they can be really important for us," Hird said.

Meanwhile, assistant coach Mark Thompson said veteran full-back Dustin Fletcher and onballer Brent Stanton are in doubt for Saturday night's away match against Brisbane because of injury.

Thompson added Fletcher was more likely than Stanton to play.

"He (Stanton) is no certainty, but we're hoping that he does because he's a very, very important player for us," Thompson said.

Thompson also criticised a section of the Essendon crowd that jeered Stanton during Sunday's win over West Coast.

"It's just amazing really that our supporters can do that," Thompson said.

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