It’s exactly 10 years to the day (March 2, 2010) since Richmond players, coaches, staff and directors gathered in the Club’s gymnasium to hear CEO Brendon Gale outline the Tigers’ vision for building the next era of sustained Yellow and Black success. Here is an edited transcript of Gale’s speech . . .
“I’m a proud Richmond man.
All that I’ve been able to achieve in football – and after football – has come from what I have learned from the people, culture and history of this great club.
Everybody in this room has the same opportunity this club has given me, and I hope everybody in this room will do more – much more – with that opportunity.
I was privileged to have played 244 games for the Tigers from 1990-2001, a period in which we played in just two finals series.
From 1980 to 2010, we have had many, many fine contributors, both on and off the field, and indeed, we have been successful on a range of measures – but not on the measure that matters most. For a big, proud club that, historically, has been hard-wired for success, where premiership success is part of our DNA – collectively, we have been a failure.
Matthew Richardson is one of our greatest players, a Tiger through and through. He played 282 games from 1993, won the Jack Dyer Medal, kicked 800 goals, second on the all-time goalkicking list at Punt Road, and finished third in the Brownlow Medal in his second-last season. He played in just one finals series. A great career, for a club which failed him. I could go on, Campbell, Knights, Kellaway, Broderick, Free, Bowden, etc.
As much as it hurts me to say it, the fact is, we have been a collective failure.
In 2010, we have 16 players who have the chance to make their debut at our club this season – David Astbury, Pat Contin, Matt Dea, Mitch Farmer, Alroy Gilligan, David Gourdis Ben Griffiths, Dylan Grimes, Robert Hicks, Dustin Martin, Ben Nason, James O’Reilly, Relton Roberts, Troy Taylor, Jeromey Webberley and Nick Westhoff.
Twenty years ago, any of you could have been Tony Free, ‘Cambo’, or ‘Richo’ . . . excited to be joining a great club, a proud club, a club that had thrived on success.
Look at each other, and think – can you imagine the next 20 years playing at this club, AND PLAYING IN JUST TWO FINALS SERIES.
NEVER PLAYING IN A GRAND FINAL.
Can any of us imagine this – reaching 2030 with NO MORE PREMIERSHIPS!
It’s an intolerable thought, and one that only we, yes WE, can eliminate.
This room holds the future of the Richmond Football Club in its hand.
This room is not our present; this room is our future – and all of us, board members, administration, football department, players.
All that is missing are out members, our loyal and hungry members. But the truth is, they are helpless.
They can only rely on us. We cannot fail them.
2010 is year one in the application of a plan that is based not on hope, not on a wish, not on rhetoric, but a plan that defines who we are and what we stand for; a plan that puts the right people in the right places; a plan that is ambitious, but patient; a plan that relies on all of us to succeed; a plan with real goals, expectations and accountability.
Our plan is based on TRUTH – on the recent success of clubs like ours, clubs that have been through similar droughts, and have come through to be dominant forces in RAPID TIME.
We will do the same.
Our plan is not based on wondering why things have gone wrong, and then blaming those who have gone before us, but on knowing why things go right.
We all know of the success of Geelong over the last three years. Was that a fluke? Of course it wasn’t.
The backbone of Geelong’s success was put together in a room like this, with a group like this, with a plan like ours, at the start of this decade.
Think of these names, and when they, like you, stood before their mates and started their careers. Ling, Corey and Chapman debuted in 2000, Enright in 2001, Ablett, Bartel, Rooke, Kelly and Johnson in 2002.
At the end of the 2002 season, a season where Geelong finished 12th, the Cats had not won a premiership for 40 seasons.
At the start of the 2010 season, Richmond has not won a premiership for 30 seasons.
Geelong did it by applying simple processes to maximise the opportunity that all AFL clubs have.
The Cats planned for their success, they brought in good people, who worked together. They acted and made decisions in accordance with a strong set of values. They believed in themselves and their plan. They stuck to their plan and remained loyal to each other when the really tough questions were being asked of them.
At the Richmond Football Club we will establish and entrench a “brand” or “culture”, or simply a Richmond way of doing things, that both defines and binds us.
From this gathering on:
• We will be a UNITED Club and all of us will unite behind our team.
• We will be RELENTLESS – in pursuit of excellence, in sticking to our plan and never deviating, and in the way we apply ourselves to our goals.
• We will be PROUD of our past and what we have achieved, and we will be ambitious about our future and what we plan to achieve.
• We will be LEADERS – in terms of our thinking and people, and in terms of our relationship with our community.
These are the benchmarks that will make Richmond a POWERFUL and GLORIOUS place to be over the next decade.
Occasionally, you will be reminded of our successful past and see players and officials involved with that era in and around the Club. Some are with us today. They’re not people that provoke jealousy.
They represent what YOU will represent –they represent WINNING.
Our coach – who has come from successful, united clubs – represents WINNING.
So must WE.
I’ve had a gutful of representing an era of failure.
Many of you are tired of failure.
Many of you newcomers have never known failure.
And many of you newcomers must never know failure.
Together, our entire club is motivated by the vision of our future in 2020. It’s a vision of greatness and leadership that we describe as THE POWER and THE GLORY. By 2020, we aspire to have won our 13th Premiership; consistently provide the most exciting and powerful match-day experience in the competition; once again have the strongest support base in the nation, and enjoy the strongest emotional connection with our members and fans.
We acknowledge that we have an enormous amount of work to do, in the most competitive of competitions, in the most competitive era of our history, if we are to realise our vision. Therefore, the next five years is about building the capacity, or “horsepower” of our organisation, to deliver. Our plan features real goals with real measurements that need to be achieved along the way in order to succeed. These goals relate to our football performance, the strength of our relationship with our members, commercial popularity and financial strength.
If we could boil the whole plan to its fundamental essence, it means that by 2014 we expect to deliver 3-0-75
• 3 finals appearances (including 1 top 4 finish)
• zero debt
• 75,000 members
This is a plan that aligns the efforts and expectations of everyone associated with the Club. It is a plan to succeed.”