Universal Love From The CEO 2021

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Aug 26, 2004
AFL Club
Other Teams
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Dear Aph :tearsofjoy:

I hope 2021 has got off to a good start for you and your family. After such a difficult 2020, it’s great to be getting back to normality and it’s been so incredibly exciting seeing our Victorian fans back at the footy cheering on our AFL, AFLW and VFLW teams.

As of this Saturday, our club will make history when our Carlton Reserves team opens its 2021 VFL season campaign at IKON Park.
For the first time since 2001, Carlton will field a standalone side in the fresh-look competition consisting of teams from Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

In what will be an historic day for the Club, we will now, for the first time in our 157-year history, have Carlton teams entered into the AFL, AFLW, VFL and VFLW competitions.

Entering our own teams within the respective second-tier leagues provides us complete control over the development of our players, their coaching and the conditioning programs they are provided. It ensures we leave no stone unturned in providing the very best environment for our players to perform at their optimum level.

Financially, having teams entered in all four competitions has quite simply never been an option for the Club. With the enormous support of our members, especially over the last 18 months, we are now in a financial position to pull every possible lever to improve our football performance. For that, we again say thank you.

The Carlton Reserves will kick off the season against the Southport Sharks in the new-look VFL competition this Saturday 17 April at 2pm at IKON Park, with up to 5,000 fans permitted to watch all the action at the Blues’ spiritual home. It would be great to see as many Carlton members and supporters at our home ground to witness this historical moment, before heading to the MCG to watch our AFL team take on Port Adelaide. Members can redeem and secure tickets here.

On the topic of crowds, our AFL team has two big home games coming up in the next two weeks – Port Adelaide at the MCG and Brisbane Lions at Marvel Stadium. I would ask all our members to do everything possible to get along to these two games. We have an opportunity to gain a significant home ground advantage, much the same as both Port Adelaide and Brisbane enjoy when they play in their home states. If this week’s game was in Adelaide, we would have 40,000 screaming South Australians to deal with. We need 40,000 loud Carlton supporters at the MCG on Saturday night. Make no mistake, our players feed off your energy at our games and they would love to see the stands full of Navy Blue. If you haven’t already, be sure to secure your tickets to the game here.

We understand that some members have experienced difficulties with getting access to tickets early this season, and while we appreciate this can at times be frustrating, it’s important that we continue to follow all the necessary protocols to ensure the health and safety of all our members and supporters. If you are experiencing problems with getting access to tickets for this weekend’s game against Port Adelaide, please contact our Membership team on 1300 227 586, so we can help get these issues sorted out for you.

From an AFLW perspective, I think our Senior Coach Daniel Harford best summed up the year when he said, “It was basically 12 minutes of footy that cost us a finals berth — seven minutes against the Pies, four minutes against the Dogs and one minute against Freo; that’s the summary of our season.” After finishing top four in the two previous seasons, we feel 2021 has been a missed opportunity, however we have every intention of using the lessons of this season to propel us forward again in 2022. We have great confidence in our players and coaches so we will dust ourselves off and immediately turn our attention to season 2022.

We farewell club stalwarts and inaugural Game Changers, Katie Loynes and Alison Downie.

Katie has had arguably as big an impact as any on the Game Changers since the AFLW competition began in 2017. The 35-year-old played 36 games in the Navy Blue guernsey, every one of them typified by her infectious style of play; resilient, tough and physical. Those characteristics underpinned her captaincy style, which saw her lead the Club with distinction over the last two seasons, alongside Kerryn Harrington.

Katie was the Blues’ 2018 joint Best and Fairest winner, during a season in which she was also nominated for the AFL Players’ MVP award as well as the Most Courageous award.

Alison is one of only two Carlton players to have played in all 39 games for the Club since the competition’s inception. She has been the side’s primary ruck for most of her career, fulfilling that role with supreme consistency and professionalism. Alison was a top-three finisher in the Club’s 2017 Best and Fairest count, and in 2020 was promoted to the leadership group. Alison has not missed a single game in AFLW history.

We thank both players for their contributions to the Carlton Football Club, along with Jess Edwards, who after 14 games across three seasons for the Game Changers, will depart the Club. We thank each of these players for what they have done in helping to establish our AFLW program, which has us in a great position for years to come.

From a commercial perspective and against an incredibly challenging 2020 backdrop, we have in recent times seen a partnership growth of almost 20 per cent across AFLW and AFL, which wouldn’t be possible without all partners committing to the Club, as well as the launch of our new partnerships with TripADeal and Domestos.

The Club made a significant signing on the eve of the 2021 AFL season, with TripADeal putting pen to paper on a long-term partnership.
The Australian owned and operated, Byron Bay-based online travel agent has joined the Blues as an AFL and AFLW Platinum partner for the next three years.

In a multi-faceted partnership, Domestos joined the Carlton family as an awareness-raising partner of Carlton Respects, with the partnership also extending to the Club’s corporate network, becoming a Platinum partner of the esteemed Carlton IN Business program.

Our Carlton IN Business program continues to grow, closing in on 150 members, along with a full suite of commercial partners. Carlton IN Business continues to enhance our club’s position as one of the strongest corporate networks on the Australian sporting landscape, delivering significant returns for our CIB partners and members.

The Carlton College of Sport (CCoS) welcomed its third cohort of tertiary students to IKON Park in March, having grown again to over 100 semester one enrolments. Members can expect to see students back in the thick of the action completing their practical learning at club events, game days and trainings.

Extending its offering in 2021, CCoS introduced a football development program, where aspiring footballers can combine their first year of university study with an AFL style training and development program, delivered by Carlton coaches and high-performance staff. More details on this program can be found here.

We are also excited to launch Stage 1 of the IKON Park Masterplan, which will be completed by the end of this month. This IKON Park redevelopment will see the Carlton Football Club become the first AFL club to host fully integrated facilities, whereby our male and female athletes will have total equality in the provision of facilities. Our brand-new men’s and women’s changerooms, side by side and of the same size and quality, provide a strong physical representation of our commitment to gender equality.

Of equal importance, the completion of Stage 1 of the Masterplan will also see our entire club reunite as one for the first time since March 2020. Our Administration staff have been working remotely for 13 months now and I want to congratulate each and every one of them on the outstanding results they have been able to produce for our club. Stay tuned for more information on the redevelopment to come from our President Mark LoGiudice in the coming weeks.

In closing, it gives me great pleasure to confirm that we have now surpassed 80,000 members for the first time in the Club’s history. At the end of 2018, with little more than 50,000 members, we set ourselves an ambitious goal to sign 100,000 members by 2023. Entirely thanks to you and all your fellow members, we remain well on track to achieve that goal – great work Bluebaggers!

Once again, thank you for your ongoing support of the Blues.

Cain Liddle
Chief Executive
Member ID: 21499500

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