Analysis what is the most important role at a footy club?

Howard Moon

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Dec 14, 2008
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First off i want to start by saying im not really in tune with these types of things, i dont take a lot of notice, i dont really know how the structures work ect, so im more asking out of curiosity than making grand statements. Im happy to be corrected/educated. But seeing our structures change since the saga has maybe made me take a little more notice, especially of late there seems to have been a concerted cleanout and/or change of culture direction, but are they changing the right people? Also i feel like we have had the profits v footy tradition balance off lately.. I was in a healthy debate yesterday in my group chat about who is the most powerful person at a footy club. Clearly a perfectly functional footy club probably dosent allow absolute power to a single person (see sheedy) , furthermore, when all the moving parts are working in harmony, thats probably when you hit your sweet spot and magic happens, maybe thats the elusive window everybody is looking for, more so than just players reaching a certain age.. anyhow, the most important role at a footy club, what is it?

My first point of reference is generally European soccer clubs, it would seem that we are generally a few decades behind but somewhat aim to emulate what happens over there..

In a nutshell succeeding on the ground needs to be complimented by efforts off the ground to build a 'brand'. The most popular clubs are big brands and commercial entites looking to make profits so they probably mirror other industries corporate setups to a point

the general structure over there is

chairman (owner?)
/
board of directors
/
CEO
/
Director of football-Finance-HR-Marketing
/
Manager/Coach
/
Backroom staff-Medical dept-scouts

The chairman works with the board in shaping the direction of the club, the CEO is nominally the most important person who oversees the functioning of the organisation, the manager of-course is hugely important, its not often in the business world that a position lower than a CEO can have such influence over a business, but this is a sports club, not a corporate business. Which brings us to the director of football, the conduit between the manager/coach and the CEO/board. Its arguable that the most important person in this tree is the director of football, the glue that binds the business and the sport. This person is usually a former player who club person with a business acumen.

anyway, enough soccer..

how does it compare to a typical AFL set up? or more importantly, ours?

ive tried to find a tree, it dosent seem to have a home anywhere on our website, (tin foil) so im kind of guessing.. am probably wildly off

President tanner
/
Board of directors
/
CEO Xav
/
gm of football richardson-gm list managment dodoro- gm marketing rodski-...various other managers of arms i dont know...
/
head coach worsfold-high performance manager-murphy
/
assistant coaches-medical staff

had a stab at it, who knows how close, but again that crucial conduit between business and footy lies probably with Richardson but hes not going anywhere without the cattle, ie Dodoro. The man, the myth to my mind is probably high on the tree of importance. Maybe highest. Without the players doses anything function? are we winning? is anyone making money? Hes been here decades, but how is he held to account? By what measures? if a player is a star you get the kudos, but if he fails.. it could be any number of other factors at play.. seems like a golden fail free role :p

My mate is adamant the board is the most important function of a footy club, they set the direction, make key appointments, set culture, works closely with the CEO who inturn works closely with the coach. Clearly harmony between all three is paramount, which dosent seem totally in sync with us. Also if the board becomes a boys club of former players.. then what? see the carltons of the footy world

One might argue media and spin now makes the world go round, where does it rank in importance?

in the end the most stable off field clubs have had the most success of late Gee, Haw, Syd ect. Dosent bode well for us really...

so in your mind, what is the most important role of a footy club?, how do you create harmony between profits and heart and soul on field footy and tradition?
 

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eth-dog

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Football Operations Manager. The one who oversees the entire department. When the saga happened, it was mostly a failure of the Footy Ops Manager at the time. Yes the coach is the most public figure and is seen by many as the "head" of the football department but that's not the way it works.
 

Howard Moon

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Football Operations Manager. The one who oversees the entire department. When the saga happened, it was mostly a failure of the Footy Ops Manager at the time. Yes the coach is the most public figure and is seen by many as the "head" of the football department but that's not the way it works.
who was it at the time? do we have the right one now?
 

Howard Moon

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I can't remember actually. Richo hasn't filled me with confidence though, but I don't know a lot about it.
maybe if the identified role is the most important of a footy club - Neil Balme by extension becomes the most powerful man in footy, seems to have made the role his own and brought success to a couple of clubs
 

Bunk Moreland

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Sep 22, 2011
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Board is elected (mostly). They appoint the CEO and have a say over other senior appointment (GMs).

Difference with most footy clubs is the board also appoints the coach, which makes things a bit messier. The coach is such an important figure with so much power and say over how the core business operates and how the club is viewed externally that they need to appoint them I guess.

So it makes for a grey area in terms of structure and reporting lines. Technically the coach would report to the GM of Footy, but they basically report to the CEO and Board, really. I’d say at a minimum, a coach has as much say on anything football as a Footy GM. Different dynamics depending on the club and the individuals involved.

For us, Hird was obviously a revered and very powerful figure (along with having Bomber there too), which might be different to a club with a stronger and more senior GM of Footy and a less powerful coach.

Most important? Coach imo. He has the biggest say how the team operates and that’s what matters most and dictates how everything else goes. But yeah, you’ve got to have basic governance measures in place elsewhere - we didn’t.
 

Dave

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who was it at the time? do we have the right one now?
Paul Hamilton mainly, Danny Corcoran also had the position but his wife had passed away at the end of 2011 and he wasn’t really doing much. It was a bit of a shit show in terms of who had responsibility for what.
 

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Rustyrich

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The captain is and the leadership group in general. If that is toxic then attitude and performance will drop. Team sport isn't like individuals, you can't have mini factions. All or nothing
 

Cold Sober

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I should be, John would be back in WA with his family, Hird would be back coaching with Caracella his assist.
 
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