Merge documentary

notliondown

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I only came to AFL a few years after the merger and watching that footage of the last year... I was almost in tears despite having no Fitzroy link, thinking how brutal it would be to lose the Lions now.
Yep, I had exactly the same reaction - and again with no direct link to Fitzroy. Yet I think that history makes us something incredibly special that just wouldn't exist had we remained the Bears - success or otherwise.

While I think there are times on here the bitterness needs to be tempered a little - this was after all no one here's doing, knowing the passion behind those posts and the obvious hurt some still harbour makes me understand just how gut wrenching losing Fitzroy was.

It's just so unfathomable to me to not have that Fitzroy history as part of our story. I hope that is some sort of solace to those so hurt.
 

Roylion

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They just didn't read the tea leaves.

Thought they were home and hosed and then failed to react when it became obvious that the Bears were going to trump them.
That is simply not true.

North did react by reducing their player request to 44 (when it was clear that the clubs were going to reject the AFL's own 50 players package) and matching Brisbane's financial offer. The Presidents of the clubs delegated the decision which of the two clubs Fitzroy should 'merge' to the Commission and the Fitzroy administrator. The commission decided on Brisbane for (in the words of Chairman John Kennedy to Ron Casey) "for strategic reasons, Ron." This decision was agreed to by the clubs shortly after, despite the Clubs and the Commission knowing that the player requests and the financial offers of both the Bears and North were equal.

The AFL Commission completely ignored the wishes of the elected Fitzroy directors who had struck a formal merger deal with North Melbourne earlier that day at 2 pm after settling the Nauru debt the day before.
 
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MacMum

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...but don't the AFL run the show and have final say as to what clubs do? Did Fitzroy just go ahead and make their own arrangements with Nth Melb without consultation with the AFL...

..your last sentence sounds like they did.
 

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CarterS

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To be honest, at the time I hated the merge, I loved the Bears and grew up with them, just as many Fitzroy supporters grew up with their side. Time has definitely changed that though.

Interesting to read about the North offer, sounds like it has been mischaracterised in the past because what I'd read was that all it involved was a small badge on the jumper, no name change or jumper change or anything. I still find it hard to believe that North would have given up their stripes.
 

Roylion

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...but don't the AFL run the show and have final say as to what clubs do? Did Fitzroy just go ahead and make their own arrangements with Nth Melb without consultation with the AFL...
The AFL do not own most AFL clubs, nor can they compel a club board of directors to merge with any other club. They issue licences for clubs to compete in the competition. The AFL was encouraging mergers of Victorian clubs and they had been supportive of Fitzroy and North to merge. The finalised deal is put to the AFL commission to ratify and then (in 1996) must be approved by a 2/3rds majority vote (now it's 75%) of the competing clubs to change the structure of the AFL competition.

However in this case, the AFL Commission dealt with the administrator of Fitzroy (appointed by Nauru when the AFL flagged that Nauru would not receive back their loan out of the merger monies) in order to get what they wanted.

In the end though all the AFL Commission did was withdraw the licence of Fitzroy Football Club to compete in the AFL competition (which is why Fitzroy continue to exist in their own right today) and allow the Brisbane Bears to rebrand their club (to be the Brisbane Lions) to more reflect Fitzroy. This allowed the AFL an excuse to give Brisbane money ($6 million), some Fitzroy players and hopefully increase their supporter base in Melbourne. The administrator of Fitzroy settled the Nauru debt (which had been negotiated by the Fitzroy directors) and sold some of Fitzroy's assets to the Brisbane Bears. The Bears tried to acquire the Fitzroy Club Hotel as well, but the attempt by the administrator to sell it to Brisbane to settle with Fitzroy's unsecured creditors failed in the Supreme Court.

That above was in fact branded as a 'merger', when in actual fact it wasn't.
 
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T Rick

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I watch the doco a couple of nights ago, with a mixture of sadness, anger and pride.

Cudos to the club for creating the documentary. To a certain extent, damned if you do by some, damned if you don't by some.
I'm a person from the Fitzroy side of the family, who is more than comfortable with the merger being with Brisbane rather than a Melbourne based club. I truly enjoyed watching the Bears as they developed, couldn't face barracking with a Melbourne-based team who we had an old rivalry with. It was the right result for me.

What I took away from it.....
The sadness. That last year was just horrendous. I truly don't think other supporters could know what it was like. Funnily enough, for those Richmond supporters attending the last game, they got to see the sadness in person, and I think that is when it dawned on non-Fitzroy people as to how difficult and sad this was. I saw Richmond people on that day taking in the magnitude of what they were seeing in front of them. For us, it felt like death. It was a funeral, where the person was still alive and you were watching them die.

The doco gave me more of an understanding of the Bears perspective as well. Important.

The anger. The lack of dignity provided by Oakley and the AFL. He needed to be interviewed for the doco, but his smugness was there for all to see. He never really got it. The end of Fitzroy was likely, and yet what he and his cronies never supplied, or even help supply, was dignity during those last times. Up Yours Oakley is still a valid sentiment today as it was then.

Noel Gordon certainly did the club no favours that day. I genuinely think it cost 5,000 likely members or supporters, in one drunken fell swoop. His performance that day was such a strategic error. It was a day and time that required dignity, thought and care. A fail. Including it in the doco was brave, and important. It would be wrong not to include it though. Well done Lions.

How good are Alan McConnell, Andrew Ireland, Wallsy and Browny as football "people". They came across so well in the doco. You can only do that if its genuine. It was. Full marks to all of them. Varied contributions to our club in its various forms, some short term some long term. Thank you to them - and thanks for being a part of the doco, as your words were important.

The pride. I genuinely think that apart from a handful of years of discontent, the club has done a sterling job of looking after us all (no matter where you came from in your journey to being a Brisbane Lions supporter). Winning premierships helps of course, but looking back over those years, it makes the awful years around the Paddlepop era just stand out like dogs proverbials..... There is no other club like us in the league. There likely never will be another one like us. Because of that fact, we need to have our own special culture. And I think we've done a pretty good job of delivering that.

Finally. If you could bottle up the spirit of Kevin Murray and where he now fits in to our club, and inject it in to every player - we'd never lose a game. I know its likely difficult for those of the Brisbane side of the family because he only played for the Fitzroy side of the family, but his spirit and love for the merged club has no peer. We should all take it in, and carry it with us.
Wonderful synopsis of the story and doco - well done!
 

WhiteLionFeva

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Have only just summoned the courage to watch it. Too many bad memories. As much as I love what the Lions have become, there will always be an underlying sense of sadness for me. Time does help but one thing that hasn't changed over the years and the video reminded me is that Oakley is a thoroughly unlikeable bloke.
 

philcara16

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I think most clubs are public companies, run by boards and directors. They all get money from the AFL.
I think you'll find all clubs are member owned, save for Fremantle and West Coast which are both owned by the West Australian Football Commission. West Coast was previously owned by Indian Pacific Limited - a listed (public) company.
 

footyfan78

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I thought they did a great job with the doco. Represented all three sides of the merger. Did it well.
Where can this be watched by someone that never been a Bears, Fitzroy or merged team supporter?
Always been curious how some of the Bears supporters took having their club merged as they so far away never known any in person.
 

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dlanod

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I think you'll find all clubs are member owned, save for Fremantle and West Coast which are both owned by the West Australian Football Commission. West Coast was previously owned by Indian Pacific Limited - a listed (public) company.
Sydney, GWS and Gold Coast are all owned by the AFL.
 

LionsMaw

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Where can this be watched by someone that never been a Bears, Fitzroy or merged team supporter?
Always been curious how some of the Bears supporters took having their club merged as they so far away never known any in person.
For myself I was extremely pissed off. Our club didn't need no ******* victorian club! How dare they get rid of a perfectly good club like The Bears.
 

Roylion

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According to your particular subjective set of criteria for change and continuity of a football club, yes. LionsMaw obviously saw it differently at the time.
In terms of "criteria", my summation and conclusion of the events of 1996 ticks quite a number of boxes. The Lions themselves argued much the same in 2010.
 

Scubaveg

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Where can this be watched by someone that never been a Bears, Fitzroy or merged team supporter?
Always been curious how some of the Bears supporters took having their club merged as they so far away never known any in person.
I found it on YouTube. As a Bears supporter I was as annoyed as the Fitzroy supporters at the time. Have grown to accept it though. That said to this day I think the club does far more acknowledging and celebrating the Fitzroy history then it does the Bears history. I understand why, it stills irks a tad though. That is a discussion for a different thread though.
The doco does a great job recounting what was a turbulent time for a lot of people.


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footyfan78

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For myself I was extremely pissed off. Our club didn't need no ******* victorian club! How dare they get rid of a perfectly good club like The Bears.
Well least you confirmed what I suspected that there were Bears supporters at the time, really upset but no real voice to be heard at the time.
Sadly, did not think this doco really gave a bit of direct voice either of how some of your fans that supported Bears in pioneer years, felt having your club merged without your concerns having any say in anything. Least, I never heard about it, if you were asked what you felt by types like Noel Gordon at the time.

I found it on YouTube. As a Bears support I was as annoyed as the Fitzroy supporters at the time. Have grown to accept it though. That said to this day I think the club does far more acknowledging and celebrating the Fitzroy history then it does the Bears history. I understand why, it stills irks a tad though. That me a discussion for a different thread though.
The doco does a great job recounting what was a turbulent time for a lot of people.
Having just watched it, I think the doco does a good job of recounting the story from outside and even from the players and people making decisions above them as admin or league level but Bears fans I do not think heard one word from directly which was hoping to hear from as those that invested a decade of following Bears in really tough times as pioneer club seem to have no say whatsoever in their club at the time.
There is a lot of misgivings but I think the Brisbane Lions has done as much as it could to connect some old Fitzroy people with something to follow as a team with Lions and song included. For some though, I know they felt for them, their days of following a team in the league was gone at end of 1996.
Sad story and although doco did not cover as much as I was curious about it was still a good doco recounting much of what went on back then.
 

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