It is 10 years since Richmond launched the pivotal Fighting Tiger Fund. The aim of the FTF was to erase the Club’s sizeable debt and then significantly bolster the football department’s resources. In the article below that appeared on Richmond’s website at the time, Tigers Chief Executive Officer Brendon Gale emphasised the importance of the Fighting Tiger Fund for the Club’s future.
Richmond could become the best club in the AFL if it can reduce its debt, according to CEO Brendon Gale.
Speaking at the launch of the Fighting Tiger Fund on Thursday afternoon, Gale said Richmond had forfeited its status as one of Melbourne's 'big four' AFL clubs along with Essendon, Collingwood and Carlton, but it could rise again to become a powerhouse.
"I think we certainly have the capacity to be a big club," Gale said.
"We've been the biggest club, on and off the field in any measure. But the facts are, we are not now. We have surrendered that.
"But that is in the past. It's about the future and what that tells us is we have the capacity to get there again if we make the get the right people, make the right decisions at the right times and we have the money to invest at the right time.
"I'm confident if we get those things in place and we tick those boxes, we can be the best. After all, that's what we're all about, but it's going to take time."
The fund was introduced with the aim of wiping off Richmond's $4.5 million debt and raising $1.5 million to develop an under-resourced football department.
"There is a clear correlation between the amount you are prepared to invest in your football department and your likelihood of success on field. We are at a stage now where we need to invest in our football club and we need to grow our football club," Gale said.
"If we invest and we are intelligent and rational we will get the results we are looking for. I am absolutely confident in that."
Gale said the fundraising initiative was different to the Save Our Skins campaign in 1990.
That campaign was introduced to prevent the club from extinction, whereas the Fighting Tiger Fund was designed largely to bring the football department up to speed with the best-resourced clubs in the AFL.
While admitting it was ambitious to aim for $6 million in 12 months, Gale said that figure was achievable and it was crucial that the club moved as quickly as it could to develop its football department.
"One thing has become apparent over the last six to 12 months and that is that we're at a critical juncture in our football club," he said.
"Unless we take very significant steps right now to build our financial strength, we are unlikely to deliver our football club with critical resources that they need to build a side and a program that can go on to win premierships."
Given the impact of COVID-19, and our ambition to remain at the forefront of Australian sporting clubs, the Fighting Tiger Fund is no less important today. The coming years will be critical to ensure that we do not forfeit our hard-earned position of strength and our ability to pursue our strategic priorities that will underpin Premiership success. If you'd like to make a contribution please visit the Fighting Tiger Fund homepage.