Norm Smith Medallist
- Sep 21, 2012
- AFL Club
The past week has seen discussion around Gumbies FFC and its leadership reach fever pitch. Club penalties and low activity have flamed the fires of a perception of low stature and irrelevance: perceptions that led to multiple pieces of media last weekend promoting rumours of change and hostile takeovers.
But as often is the case in life as it is in the Sweet FA, the way things appear and the way things really are often sit a fair distance from each other. So I caught up with Gumbies veteran StFly to have a candid and real conversation about how things really are behind the walls at the House of Gumby right now.
M411: G’day mate. Obviously things could be easier or better at the club, but how far off is this talk? I’ve read the media reports, rumours and heard the shit talk all season.
StFly: I'm used to the general populace screaming that we'll be folded, though I did query with Golumless given Cloud_'s comments since season start to now [whether] it's filtered through committee level. As if that was the case then there are issues. Having been assured [that this is not the case], we've 4-5 plans in the works atm, testing waters and have been for months. Others have simply come forward but I've never pushed people to the SFA or Gumbies specifically, [rather] been more a facilitator to know the person as a person instead. So [recruitment wise, it] is a slower process than "hey, SFA? Join my team, insert link".
M411: So the folding rumours are just that at the moment, but change is on the cards. Do you think that much needs to change? Do you believe outside help is needed (league wide?)
StFly: For me the change needs to happen in the SFA (for instance, some rules in place that are at least 6 years old). That nothing better has been thought of is an indictment on everyone who has tried, myself included that we're still saying "put this here, include this, so we can collate it somewhere else entirely" as a good idea.
The SFA has shown that it is capable of getting together and focusing on the larger picture. I just haven't been in this iteration of the SFA to know if the people currently running things are the right people to do it. Based on what I've seen, the answer is ‘no’ as they're primarily quick to judge and throw shame; then quick to throw up walls and deflect from failings; as based on the commentary about my posts to Cloud and what occurred since then.
[In this case, I] wasn't asking anything for instance, [I was merely] stating that the OP was wrong; stating why things occurred; and that if Cloud_ didn't basically cite the right thing, then I'd call the committee and claim "this rule, not that one, because he's a dumbarse". Tribunal is then open despite me stating no several times because it was apparently disputed? It’s all confusing to me.
I would say that someone else does need to do the leg work, because I don't really care for the SFA like I did and really my time should be up trying to be the leading man. Simply, no one else is really looking at the noise and noticing that the people arguing about it are largely idiots.
M411: In terms of the Gumbies Captaincy, do you believe a change at the top is needed? Would you step up again if called upon?
StFly: We've all at times this season, said no and that it's not worth it. Golums in it - not like Noob who was pretty much out the door; or Willo at the same time, where you could see that it was 1 and done. The only reason for me to step up again is to shout down at people really, and I don't have the time or desire to batch recruit and fly the flag. But if people wanted to fight per say, then I'd kick their arse appropriately and gladly. Golum is in the same boat (time poor wise) which is arguably why we all pretty much said no at one point.
M411: When you talk about 'The SFA has shown that it is capable of getting together and focusing on the larger picture' - what'd you mean exactly?
StFly: The bigger picture is that if the SFA gives a damn about retaining people that have interest in the forum, they've got it arse end about, because they actively drive people away at the same time.
[There is] utterly no point in bringing people here to play for the Gumbies if they all end up saying "I'm sick of the SFA" or "I've had enough". And it's the reason why people leave and why those in LG have to stipulate seasonally "go the player not the person". Except in our case, [the rhetoric is that] we're shit players and people for apparently not caring about the club or the SFA - not judged on our playing ability or the fact that I'm a premiership captain and 3x SFA record holder through my efforts. [Apparently, we’re] just that a shit club filled with shit people.
M411: My own experience is obviously limited and I’m a more compassionate type, but it’s hard not to hear that and not empathise a little bit.
Another thing I was keen to get your thoughts on was what could be done to help create a more balanced and equitable recruitment philosophy (SFA wide). Is a draft a serious option or has it been tried and failed before?
StFly: The draft is only a serious option if people are on the same page - all clubs - and they actually work through how it's going to work. The very second they look at it with a half-arsed approach, all it would do is alienate people and cause division, which is why it hasn't at last been tried in my time and left to people to bring in other people.
It doesn't mean individuals like myself appreciate being told to F off, paraded around to anyone to who would listen and name dropped to mods simply for using the then PM system to say "hello" to a random person either. Probably need something else, but what that would be, I dunno at this stage.
M411: Damn that’s a lot to take in mate. Would you accept an opposition poster coming as captain or would it cause team wide discontent?
StFly: I'd accept anyone who looks at the Gumby name of the club and thinks "fun" instead of "shit".
Because that's what I pushed as captain: if you didn't enjoy your time as a Gumby, leave. Find it elsewhere. We'll find someone who wants to be here and wants to enjoy a 50's Claymation show reference and have fun.
That is the Gumbies to me. Which is why I will fight anyone who wants to tarnish the Gumby name as = shit or something that needs to go, because they don't know. They can't with that sort of negativity.
M411: Love your passion mate and that you’re standing by what you believe in. Good to see - probably not enough of that around here: Gumbies, Wonders, Warriors, Bombers - every team has a few.
Cheers to StFly for his time and candour. Say what you want about the Gumbies and club, but this guy has plenty of passion and the disillusionment in his words is rough. I fully believe that change does need to happen – it’s a constant.
But perhaps rather than rolling out aged perceptions, it may pay to know the full story first. The mid-season survey showed a consensus in terms of what the most important quality of the Sweet FA is: fun. We’re all here for the same reason, including StFly and the Gumbies.
So don’t be a dick; stay classy; and dial it back a little people. Unless it’s Purge Night, in which case – go nuts.