Keith Thomas to finish as PAFC CEO in 2020

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RussellEbertHandball

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Long piece for tomorrow's paper on KT's 9 year tenure starts off with NTUA, which I posted those opening paragraphs in that thread, the next bit is quoted below and acknowledges the hard stuff re AO had been done by others, but KT had to make sure we were still alive before we got there


Outgoing Port Adelaide chief executive Keith Thomas reflects on nine-years in the job and when he knew the Power were on the right track again

KEITH Thomas will never forget 4.39pm on March 29, 2014.
........

When Thomas arrived at Alberton the “hard fought” decision to move to Adelaide Oval had already been made, but there were little other positives about Port’s situation.

“The financial position of the club was perilous, the resources available to the football program were diminishing, on field performance was poor at every level and the club was divided after 15 years of the enforced separation of the AFL and SANFL programs,” he said.

“I had been watching the team play that year, and it was clear that all was not well.

“When I commenced, I found that we were having to Skype some of our coaching sessions in from Melbourne, we had an SANFL representative attending every Board meeting as a form of financial control and in my first week we lost our two major partners (My ATM and Soaring Securities). “Reality hit pretty quickly.”


A Norwood guy, or “flog” if you ask some more at the time blunt Port Adelaide supporters, despite being a fan of Port as a kid, Thomas - brought in as a “change agent” - knew a there was a significant challenge ahead for the Power to turn things around. The club was losing up to $7 million a year with sustained losses financially, membership was just 29,092 and the 2011 season average for home crowds at Football Park was 21,678.

But despite the wishes of then licence holders the SANFL, Thomas was adamant there was “no way we could save our way out of this position”.

“We needed to invest in the performance of our football program, which we did,” he said. “Proud footy clubs like Port Adelaide, don’t work unless you are playing good footy.

“(So) I spent most of season 2012 observing and reviewing. We had bolstered our football program a little, but were not convinced that without seismic change that we could create the sort of momentum that was going to be required to get to Adelaide Oval with a full head of steam.”

From August 2012 to the start of the 2013 season a flurry of changes came at Alberton.

Ken Hinkley was appointed as coach after club great Matthew Primus was sacked, David Koch became chairman when Brett Duncanson stepped down, Travis Boak was installed as captain and Darren Burgess was lured back to Port Adelaide from Liverpool as the Power started to plan how they would take advantage of the move to Adelaide Oval.

“Adelaide Oval was the beacon on the hill,” Thomas said. “We knew at the start of 2014 that we had a once in a career opportunity to change the fortunes of the club. “It inspired us all. Ken and Darren got the players really fit and playing an exciting brand of footy.
.......

It wasn’t just the big move to Adelaide Oval that Thomas said helped change Port’s fortunes around. Like the Power, the Port Adelaide Magpies had also been struggling with the fanbase divided between new and old. The decision had been made in 2010 to merge the Power and the Magpies, after the success of the ‘ONE PAFC’ campaign, but Port’s AFL-listed players would still have to play for other SANFL sides.

Three-years later the two football programs were merged, but it came at the expense of Port Adelaide’s traditional junior recruiting zones.

“It was unpopular, but the reality was that the Magpies were battling to be competitive under the recruitment and playing restrictions they were enduring,” Thomas said. “Our AFL players were playing for other SANFL teams, the football program was divided and it was creating division inside the club and with our members.

“Merging the football programs was in my view one of the most important decisions we have made in the past decade because it has enhanced the development of our AFL players, ensured that the Magpies could compete successfully again in the SANFL and it helped us to unify the club again after years of enforced separation and division.”
..........

goes on about getting independence from SANFL, China, Covid, 150th, Port members and fans, AFLW more about Covid financial impact, redevelopment of Alberton Oval precinct, and starting with the museum.

Koch has also penned a long letter of thanks in the article to the Port Adelaide family.
 
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Ford Fairlane

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Tredders just said Matthew Richardson will be announced as KT's replacement at the BnF tonight.
 

OneGreatClub

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Tredders just said Matthew Richardson will be announced as KT's replacement at the BnF tonight.
Haha await the melts.
I like Richo though.
 

Enviable Tradition

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Tredders just said Matthew Richardson will be announced as KT's replacement at the BnF tonight.
This is a mistake.

On SM-G960F using BigFooty.com mobile app
 

Andre

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Haha await the melts.
I like Richo though.
It's not so much about Richardson per se, but the club clearly needs fresh eyes that aren't tightly tied to Koch, Ken and KT. Is he going to stand up and start questioning why Ken was resigned in 2017? Or reign in Koch for lowering expectations instead of demanding success like Richmond did?
 

OneGreatClub

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It's not so much about Richardson per se, but the club clearly needs fresh eyes that aren't tightly tied to Koch, Ken and KT. Is he going to stand up and start questioning why Ken was resigned in 2017? Or reign in Koch for lowering expectations instead of demanding success like Richmond did?
At least they did due diligence by getting an external company in to source the replacement?
 

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tribey

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Kudos for 2004 Choco but in my eyes, neither he nor Hinkley in the same stratosphere as Jack.
I was just saying to mates the other day, I’m blown away at how young Jack was when we considered him too long in the tooth and pushed him out to make sure Choco didn’t leave for Collingwood.

He looked 75, but was only 58 when he coached his last game at AFL level.

Which is almost a year younger than Chris Fagan is now — and he looks set to coach for at least the next few years.
 

TeeKray

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I was just saying to mates the other day, I’m blown away at how young Jack was when we considered him too long in the tooth and pushed him out to make sure Choco didn’t leave for Collingwood.

He looked 75, but was only 58 when he coached his last game at AFL level.

Which is almost a year younger than Chris Fagan is now — and he looks set to coach for at least the next few years.
Assuming Tredders doesn't leave, how many flags do we win with our start up list if Jack remains and Choco stays 2IC?
 

Grave Danger

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I'd love to say a few but in reality, none

Damn Bowen Lockwood's crook back!
 

RussellEbertHandball

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Classy speech by KT tonight on his farewell. Great that he talked about the 2010-12 guys who had to do some incredibly hard yards to lay a solid foundation which we could build on, even though we were broke and under severe pressure to survive. That rescue package the AFL negotiated in June 2011 when the SANFL wanted to take us over, gave us 3 years to get our sh*t together and KT drove getting it together.

I've had plenty of chats and correspondence with KT, starting with the infamous post Melbourne game at AO in September 2011 with Eddie Dingle in the McLachlan Room, the day before he started officially as CEO.

2 of those chats will stand out in my memory for a long time.

Saying g'day to him after the game in Shanghai in 2017. He was walking along the boundary behind the goals, I was in the front row of the temporary stand, lent over and shook his hand and he was beaming with pride of what had just been accomplished. Congratulated him and his team and the club for a great effort. Then we started talking about some of the issues that come up with various China authorities the last few days before the game and the beaming smile left his face as he explained the heavy toll the game had taken on the club's staff. He said he was going to give them all a few days holiday - they had to go away and recharge.

The other one is the meeting October last year at the club with Richo, Steve Shirley which FishingRick04 organised for about 10 of us from Big Footy to meet with them, and KT decided to attend and sat in for the 2 hours it went for, after office hours. It was a different KT to the normal KT. He wanted to understand our frustrations. He listened. Some times the conversation was very hard for our club officials to listen to. This was a very earnest KT. It wasn't a surprise that 5 or 6 weeks later he announced he would finish up at the end of 2020. But it wasn't all serious, as he paid me out at the end of the meeting.

He leaves being able to say, he left the place in a hell of a lot better shape than what it was like when he arrived.
 
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Macca19

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Why do you say that? Was it anything to do with that spat with Mick Moylan and maybe the thought was Jack was starting to become focussed on externals?
No nothing like that. I think tactically there would have been a problem. Jack's gameplan was always very simple and I think in a fast becoming complex AFL world that simple style wouldn't have worked.

Don't get me wrong, I love Jack as much as anyone and would happily kiss his feet every time I meet him, and at the time I was incredibly pissed off at the way he was removed from the coaching position, but in hindsight, I don't think he would have won any more premierships than what Choco ended up doing.
 

PowerLil

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No nothing like that. I think tactically there would have been a problem. Jack's gameplan was always very simple and I think in a fast becoming complex AFL world that simple style wouldn't have worked.

Don't get me wrong, I love Jack as much as anyone and would happily kiss his feet every time I meet him, and at the time I was incredibly pissed off at the way he was removed from the coaching position, but in hindsight, I don't think he would have won any more premierships than what Choco ended up doing.
Jack's simple game plan? As opposed to Ken Hinkley's Mensa-like work harder for longer? Respectfully, I couldn't disagree with you more.
 

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