In the latest of a series of regular columns, Richmond President Peggy O’Neal answers questions from Richmond members and supporters.
Dear fellow Tigers,
This will be my last column for 2018, and I wanted to start by thanking you all for your on-going support of the mighty Tigers. Your loyalty and passion is our strength on and off the field.
While the 2018 season didn’t finish the way we would have liked, there is still a sense of pride in the enormous commitment our coaches and players made in defending our 2017 Premiership. The players are now back on the training track and I know they have a burning desire to put us back in a position to experience the ultimate success once again.
There are many new faces on the track which is all part of the continual on-field evolution. I welcome them all to the Richmond Football Club and I know that we all wish them well. We will provide them every support on and off the field so that they can get the most out of themselves as footballers but, more importantly, as people.
As always, there is much happening around the Club away from football. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have, and they can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Congratulations on the recent financial result. It is so great to see the Club financially strong. I do want to know if this means we can now get out of the poker machine business?
The Club has a Gaming Committee that regularly considers what our future involvement might look like. It has met several times this year. We are unable to make any decisions in the short-term as we are working through a dispute regarding our current lease arrangements. Once this is resolved we will be in a position to make decisions with all the relevant facts in front of us.
Our financial result was really pleasing and a credit to the management and staff of the Club. We are in a very different financial position to that of just a few short years ago but it is a hard-earned position that isn’t taken for granted. The Board and management will continue to look for opportunities to grow to ensure future generations have a strong and bold football club to support.
What are we doing to ensure our facilities don’t fall behind other clubs again? We worked hard to get back to a level playing field and I don’t want to see us lose ground.
This is certainly a major priority for the Club right now. We have continued to work hard with Federal, State and Local governments and have received some encouraging feedback. Naturally, the final funding mix and the amount of that funding will dictate the shape of the redevelopment masterplan and timing. We anticipate being able to share a significant update with members and supporters in the first half next year.
In the meantime, we are likely to add some portable office space behind the goals at Punt Road Oval to accommodate our growing administration needs but importantly, to give the football department access to additional space that will enable them to best prepare our AFL, VFL and VFLW teams in 2019, and of course, our AFLW team in 2020.
This is more a comment than a question, but I wanted to say how proud I am the Club made such a significant donation to the Alannah and Madeline Foundation recently. They are a great charity.
I would like to thank our members and supporters who enable us to make such a significant contribution to keep children safe from violence and bullying. To donate $235,672 to help protect children is a wonderful thing for our Club to be able to do. The money was largely raised via our AMF memberships, AMF match day and 5% of net retails profits.
We think, as a Club, it is important that we support organisations and causes that reflect our values.
In another example, we recently had two players – Jack Graham and Nick Vlastuin – visit Sumatra as part of our conservation partnership with the WWF. There are now fewer than 4000 tigers left in the wild globally. As an animal that is obviously close to our hearts, we wanted to raise awareness, and support the actions of the WWF, to protect the Tigers long-term in the wild.
I am still unhappy about Level 2 reserved seat changes for Premiership Circle memberships. I want to be in the seat my family has always had – why won’t you listen to us?
Change is not always easy, but we have thoroughly considered this decision, and will proceed with the changes. We have listened and do understand some members have concerns; many were expressed very clearly at the recent members’ forum.
There are two key reasons for these changes. First, we want to provide the opportunity for other members to experience watching football from Level 2 seating. These changes give us the chance to fill the best seats, which often went unfilled according to our data. Many other clubs are taking exactly the same approach.
Secondly, this will create revenue opportunities that will further strengthen the Club financially. I think it is important to be transparent about that with our members. As we shared with supporters when we established the Fighting Tiger Fund eight years ago, financial strength enables us to invest in football and that gives us the best opportunity to succeed on-field.
It is important to note that all Premiership Club members with Level 2 reserved seats will always be accommodated in those bays. You will still be able to watch your team from the best seats.
Rob Dalton has done a great job on the Board. I know his term expires at the AGM this year and he can’t continue as a director. Is there any way the Club can keep him involved?
I agree wholeheartedly. Rob has been an important part of our Board over a long period of time and we thank him for his efforts. Some of you may know that Rob is the chair of our subsidiary business Aligned Leisure, a business that continues to go from strength to strength. Rob will continue in that capacity and we will undoubtedly see him at the football regularly. He has, and will continue, to give many volunteer hours to the Club.
Again, thank you for your support and I look forward to hearing the Tiger Army roar at the MCG in 2019. I wish all of you a safe and happy holiday season.