Would footy be better without national expansion?

Rob

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yeah. I know what happened. This is more an alternative thought by all parties in hindsight.
The VFL would not have wanted 18 clubs, those leagues would not have wanted to pay licences. St.Kilda would not want to re-locate etc etc. What needed to happen was all parties involved be shaken up by a different thought patterns to work together. As a result of not doing that, we are where we are at.
I think this would have been a better outcome for virtually all except St.Kilda.
Hard to know whether the WA and SA clubs would have been sustainable. Port Adelaide was really the only club across both states that would have had the supporter base to compete with the big Melbourne clubs, and even they were probably more like a mid tier club. The next 5 or 6 from WA and SA would have been roughly similar to North or Fitzroy at the time. Perhaps they could have grown their support base, but they would really have needed a long period at the top level to do that which would have been extremely difficult to achieve.
Consequently it would not have surprised me to see the bottom 4 - the relegation zone in your model - consistently filled mainly by those WA and SA clubs. They then get replaced by other WA and SA clubs and the problems remain.

Personally I like the Elliott model if we're going to look back in hindsight. Basically the biggest half a dozen Melbourne teams + composite teams from other states. It would have been a far more balanced league than what we ended up with.
 

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footyfan78

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Hard to know whether the WA and SA clubs would have been sustainable. Port Adelaide was really the only club across both states that would have had the supporter base to compete with the big Melbourne clubs, and even they were probably more like a mid tier club. The next 5 or 6 from WA and SA would have been roughly similar to North or Fitzroy at the time. Perhaps they could have grown their support base, but they would really have needed a long period at the top level to do that which would have been extremely difficult to achieve.
Consequently it would not have surprised me to see the bottom 4 - the relegation zone in your model - consistently filled mainly by those WA and SA clubs. They then get replaced by other WA and SA clubs and the problems remain.

Personally I like the Elliott model if we're going to look back in hindsight. Basically the biggest half a dozen Melbourne teams + composite teams from other states. It would have been a far more balanced league than what we ended up with.

I am a bit skeptical about any models Elliott proposed as he seemed to change year to year what he thought both needed by my club and a league. I've heard about 4 or 5 different things from him over years. I am not sure he had any one model for more the one month at a time.

But getting back to the alternative of being more inclusive to clubs from other leagues. Yes there would be some challenges to initial support base and strength of teams. But then again, is not that part of the fun and opportunity of being a sporting club trying to grow your whole club to something bigger? It is probably a problem more for clubs not able to get themselves elevated out of WAFL into premier league which probably leads them no worse position than they are now.

But this alternative I believe would leave more scope for local fans to still follow WAFL more than they do now and the ones promoted to premier league really grow their support base with newer generations. You would have a stronger standard of WAFL than you do now but still weaker than 60's when it probably still retained 90% of the best football talent from it's state. But that is all about what this thread title is posing as a question. Would footy be better without national expansion? The VFL was already drawing more and more players from those leagues so it was expanding anyway during late 70's and 80's to the point something was going to change. The question is more what type of expansion would have been better for VFL, VFA, SA, WA and Tasmanian leagues as a whole and the clubs that made those leagues what they were ?

This is only model I can think of that gives an opportunity for less harm to heritage of clubs and leagues on the whole and still make them relevant within each state. The challenge would be back then how to make the finances and funding work for all parties to still exist going forward. That part I have no clear answer but would have to assume if funds were raised back then to expand to 14 clubs overnight there maybe enough backers across the nation to see merit in helping out expanding to 18 clubs in one league from across all major football states and at least one each in the northern states too.

The origins of this league were a breakaway league from the Victoria league of late 1890's. It became the premier league. This would just be a further invitation to clubs beyond Victoria to join the premier league. If fans from other states deemed making composite teams a better model so be it. It is kind of how we got here anyway by hook or crook over late 1980's to 100th season of this premier league.

If I go back to my thinking of the time I am sure I was thinking of no more than 12 clubs in this league as that model was perfect for 22 round home and away season. But even if explore that situation you probably end up with only one club each from WA, SA, Tasmania, NSW and Queensland plus the seven most solvent Victoria based clubs of the time. Clubs like Richmond, Saints and Bulldogs would have certainly have joined Fitzroy out of business and possibly even Collingwood too. Then you still going to need a second club from SA and WA soon after to have at least one game in those traditional football states each weekend so even a 12 club model was going to be altered again sooner or later.

We can ask the questions but in truth I do not think anyone in any state had an answer to satisfy everyone going forward. Football fabric in each state was on a course of change no matter what way you look at it. There are so many changes I do not like in every state but we probably had it as good as we could have it in late 70's and early 80's before the finances caught up with all clubs in all leagues. There was costs in the changes and plenty of clubs and leagues have lost many things that made them thrive as a football community. There were better ways of expanding but did anyone have all the answers, vision and wisdom back then for the benefit of all? Seems unlikely. Even in hindsight we cannot all agree on what would have been best. They made it up as they went along and tried to balance the financial books as best as they could as they made it up each step of further expansion.
 
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Roylion

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Clubs like Richmond, Saints and Bulldogs would have certainly have joined Fitzroy out of business and possibly even Collingwood too.
The choices were clear for the smaller Victorian clubs in the 80s.

- Fight on independently without league support and hope you outlasted the others, until the league either relented or was satisfied
- Seek a merger with another Melbourne based club
- Relocate interstate
- Exit the AFL competition and play in a lower league such as the VFL / VFA or VAFA.

Fitzroy tried the first unsuccessfully, investigated several options for the second and came very close at least twice, considered the third at least twice and eventually did the fourth.
 

footyfan78

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The choices were clear for the smaller Victorian clubs in the 80s.

- Fight on independently without league support and hope you outlasted the others, until the league either relented or was satisfied
- Seek a merger with another Melbourne based club
- Relocate interstate
- Exit the AFL competition and play in a lower league such as the VFL / VFA or VAFA.

Fitzroy tried the first unsuccessfully, investigated several options for the second and came very close at least twice, considered the third at least twice and eventually did the fourth.
Yeah, Fitzroy tried everything. I think the players backed a re-location to Queensland in 1986. Cannot recall why that one fell through Maybe some overseas finance came through. I think heard Leon Wiegard talk about some of it on SEN in last year or two. Interview was fascinating. Sliders doors moment. In hindsight wish that had happened. Ross Oakley had it in for you and a few others. It is actually incredible you held on as long as you did before Oakley and his admin got their way.
 

Roylion

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Yeah, Fitzroy tried everything. I think the players backed a re-location to Queensland in 1986. Cannot recall why that one fell through Maybe some overseas finance came through.
Fitzroy-based company Hecron Pty Ltd announced a bid to buy the club and keep it in Melbourne; the VFL Board of Management rejected the Hecron purchase by a large 10–2 majority, but the company still sponsored the club. The club also raised $800,000 through a fundraising drive.

Sliders doors moment. In hindsight wish that had happened.
Why? What's in it for Fitzroy people? In hindsight I wish the Melbourne - Fitzroy merger had been adopted.

The jumper of the new team would have been essentially the traditional red and blue Melbourne jumper with a gold band separating the two colours, the gold Fitzroy lion logo featured on the front and a gold number on the back.


 
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footyfan78

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Fitzroy-based company Hecron Pty Ltd announced a bid to buy the club and keep it in Melbourne; the VFL Board of Management rejected the Hecron purchase by a large 10–2 majority, but the company still sponsored the club. The club also raised $800,000 through a fundraising drive.
Good info follow about Hecron.

Small weird thing of your post. Why are you quoting me of something to do with a Melbourne-Fitzroy merger when they are not from my post above?

Please be careful. My comments about sliding doors moment was about a Queensland re-location. But for some reason you have edited in some words not from my post above. Not cool mate.

Please remove it.
 

Roylion

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Small weird thing of your post. Why are you quoting me of something to do with a Melbourne-Fitzroy merger when they are not from my post above?
My comments about sliding doors moment was about a Queensland re-location. [/QUOTE]

Yes. You wished a Queensland relocation had happened.

But for some reason you have edited in some words not from my post above.
They're my words. I asked "What's in it (a Qld relocation) for Fitzroy people? The quote tag was in the wrong spot.
 

The_Wookie

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Fitzroy-based company Hecron Pty Ltd announced a bid to buy the club and keep it in Melbourne; the VFL Board of Management rejected the Hecron purchase by a large 10–2 majority, but the company still sponsored the club. The club also raised $800,000 through a fundraising drive.
Amongst other things the VFL expected Hecron to buy the license at the same rate the WAFL and QAFL/Cronin groups were.

Yeah, Fitzroy tried everything. I think the players backed a re-location to Queensland in 1986. Cannot recall why that one fell through Maybe some overseas finance came through. I think heard Leon Wiegard talk about some of it on SEN in last year or two. Interview was fascinating. Sliders doors moment. In hindsight wish that had happened. Ross Oakley had it in for you and a few others. It is actually incredible you held on as long as you did before Oakley and his admin got their way.
  • 1984 – May 23. The herald reports that Fitzroy is considering a merger with Melbourne. Fitzroy deny any such discussion is taking place.
  • 1985 – December 31. Aylett says that Fitzroy could merge with Melbourne.
  • 1986 – Fitzroy board approves an in principle move to Brisbane 5-3. It was later declared a “straw vote”. (Football limited pg. 157)
  • 1986 – April 17. Collingwood books a 2.9 million loss, president is fired. Richmond, Fitzroy and Footscray mentioned as having financial problems.
  • 1986 – June 26. Melbourne and Fitzroy are reported in merger talks.
  • 1986 – July 4. St Kilda and Fitzroy are reported as being in merger talks.
  • 1986 – August 5. Melbourne calls of merger talks with Fitzroy.
  • 1986 – September. Hecron offer 2.6 million to take control of Fitzroy. The Commission demands the same 4 million license fee that the new clubs would be paying. (The Phoenix Rises pg. 77)
  • 1986 – October 1. VFL board of directors rejects Hecrons proposed ownership stake in Fitzroy.
  • 1989 – October 3. The VFL Board of Directors was advised that an agreement had been reached between Footscray and Fitzroy. “Mr Oakley expressed the commission’s view that the Footscray Football Club Limited was currently insolvent and by continuing to trade and incur debt, the directors were, in the commission’s view, in breach of Section 556 of the Companies Code and if this situation was allowed to continue, then directors could be exposed to convictions, resulting in personal fines and/or jail sentences as well as ultimately becoming responsible on a personal basis for the club’s liabilities” (The Phoenix Rises pg 140)
  • 1989 – October 3. The Fitzroy Bulldogs is announced at 5pm The new club would be debt free, with the accumulated deficits of both Fitzroy and Footscray paid out by redeploying the allocations from the League that would otherwise have gone to Footscray. The Bulldogs would play in Fitzroy’s colours with a Bulldog symbol. The new team would be allowed to exceed the salary cap for two years until a new playing list bedded down that would be drawn from the 125 players at both clubs. The team would train at the Western Oval and play its home games at Princes Park, and the new coach would be Rod Austin. (The Phoenix Rises pg. 143)
  • 1989 – October 6. The Save the Dogs group takes the VFL to the Supreme Court.1989 – October 7. Footscray is given a three week reprieve by the VFL Commission. Collingwood offers to tip in money if they got got close to meeting the required amount, in return for being given Tony McGuiness. (The Phoenix Rises pg. 143).
  • 1994 – August. Dyson Hore-Lacy, who had taken over the presidency of Fitzroy from Leon Wiegard in 1992, and Ian Ridley of Melbourne fronted the commission with a proposal for a Fitzroy-Melbourne merger given Fitzroy’s debt, which was then revealed to the commission as $2 million but later that month became $2.6 million. (The Phoenix Rises pg 158)
  • 1994 – In 1994 outspoken Collingwood president Allan McAlister called for a three-way merger between Richmond, Melbourne and North. In August of the same year it was revealed that the name “Melbourne Lions” had been registered and speculation continued that the Demons would amalgamate with Fitzroy despite the Lions continually vowing to go it alone. The Lions were in massive financial trouble but still demanded the club be known as the Fitzroy-Melbourne Football Club. They were preciously short of bargaining chips and couldn’t bring financial benefits, a large fanbase or a training ground to the union. Other clubs also complained that Melbourne would be able to boost their list with the best six Lions players. (Demonwiki)
  • 1995 – May 27. Fitzroy plays their Round 9 home game in Canberra against West Coast
  • 1995 -June 15.Ian Collins publicly supports Fitzroy’s application to play four home games in Canberra in 1996, after application by Fitzroy was submitted (Malcolm Conn: The Australian)
  • 1995 – August 25. The AFL commission rejects Fitzroy’s application to play four home games in Canberra in Season 1996
  • 1995 – August 28. AFL Commissioner Ron Evans tells Dyson Hore-Lacy that if Fitzroy were prepared to play the majority of its home games in Canberra, the Commission might look at it.
  • 1995 – October. “AFL for Canberra” endeavours to meet with Fitzroy Football Club, the Ainslee Football Club, the ACT Chief Minister and the AFL commission to discuss a deal where Fitzroy (who had agreed) might play up to seven home games in Canberra. Request for meeting rejected by the AFL.
  • 1996 – February 21 – Ross Oakley informs Dyson Hore-Lacy that the AFL would not support any initiative for Fitzroy to play any home games in Canberra.
  • 1996 – March 6. Fitzroy board authorises board members Dyson Hore-Lacy, Elaine Findlay and Robert Johnstone to enter non-binding merger agreements with other AFL clubs.
  • 1996 – April 16. Fitzroy chief says future is secure.
  • 1996 – May 6. Fitzroy and North Melbourne hold first merger talks.
  • 1996 – May 11. A non-binding agreement to merge and the basic terms of name is struck between Fitzroy and North Melbourne. A Heads of Agreement document detailing the conditions of the merge in writing is signed.
  • 1996 – May 13. A Brisbane merger offer is formally rejected by the Fitzroy board.
  • 1996 – May 20. First Fitzroy shareholders’ meeting to explain the conditions of a North Melbourne – Fitzroy merge.
  • 1996 – June 18. A meeting between North and Fitzroy to execute the merger document canceled. Greg Miller, North Melbourne’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) tells Dyson Hore-Lacy that North Melbourne wanted to change the name of the merged club from the already agreed ‘Fitzroy-North Melbourne Kangaroos’ to ‘North Melbourne-Fitzroy Kangaroos’.
  • 1996 – June 20. The Fitzroy board rejects North Melbourne’s revised conditions.
  • 1996 – June 24. The Brisbane Bears are contacted by Fitzroy and advised to submit their best merger offer to Fitzroy for consideration.
  • 1996 – June 25. A compromise between North Melbourne and Fitzroy is reached.
  • 1996 – June 26. Fitzroy Football Club offers $550,000 plus $100,000 to be paid over the next two years to their only secured creditor the Nauru Insurance Company to settle their debt. This offer is rejected. Nauru wanted $750,000 by the end of August and $100,000 for the next three years to consider their debt settled.
  • 1996 – June 27. Nauru Insurance Company agrees to $750,000 by the end of August and $100,000 for the next two years and $50,000 for the third. North Melbourne board member and one of the chief merger negotiators Peter de Rauch says North Melbourne will not allow any more than $550,000 to be paid.
  • 1996 – June 28. Nauru Insurance Company appoints an administrator (Michael Brennan) to recover their debt.
  • 1996 – June 29. Fitzroy negotiates with Nauru to pay $550,000 by August 1996, $150,000 in 1997 and $100,000 in 1998. Peter de Rauch agrees to put that proposal to the North Melbourne board on Monday 1st July
  • 1996 – July 1. The Fitzroy board agrees to underwrite all monies owed to Nauru over the sum of $550,000. The AFL commission gives Fitzroy and North Melbourne until Friday 5th July to complete their merger.
  • 1996 – July 2. North Melbourne’s Greg Miller informs Dyson Hore-Lacy that North Melbourne now wants only four Fitzroy board members on the board of the merged club. Fitzroy refuses to accept that condition.
  • 1996 – July 3. North Melbourne backs down on their demand of 2nd July, but still wanted none of the current Fitzroy directors on the board. North Melbourne was asked by Dyson Hore-Lacy to give an undertaking to Fitzroy that there would be no more changes to the agreement of 25th June. No such undertaking was given.
  • 1996 – July 3. Nauru Insurance Company accepts $550,000 paid before August 31st, $350,000 paid before October 31st 1997 and the rest of the balance payable in $50,000 payments annually from 1998 onwards.
  • 1996 – July 3. The Fitzroy board re-opens merger discussions with the Brisbane Bears. The Bears are told that the merger door with Fitzroy is “open half an inch”
  • 1996 – July 3. Greg Miller the CEO of North Melbourne informs the media that without 54 players on their 1997 list there would be no merger with Fitzroy.
  • 1996 – July 4. Fitzroy is informed by the AFL that the merger would be rejected by the other AFL clubs if North Melbourne continued to demand 54 players. Dyson Hore-Lacy informs North Melbourne’s Ken Montgomery and Greg Miller of this fact.
  • 1996 – July 4. Fitzroy settles last niggling disputes in their proposed merger agreement with North Melbourne and signs a formal document setting out the merger in fine detail, which includes the new agreed name of the club to be the ‘North Fitzroy Kangaroos Football Club’. The merger agreement is set to be signed by the AFL on Friday morning (5th July) subject to the AFL clubs’ endorsement.
  • 1996 – July 4. AFL Presidents’ Meeting rejects the Fitzroy-North Melbourne merger. After a meeting between the administrator of Fitzroy and the AFL commission, the AFL commission recommends a Bears-Fitzroy merger. North Melbourne withdraws from the merger race. A reconvened AFL presidents’ meeting endorses the AFL commission’s recommendation of a Brisbane Bears-Fitzroy merger.
 

footyfan78

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Amongst other things the VFL expected Hecron to buy the license at the same rate the WAFL and QAFL/Cronin groups were.



That 1986 period in particular is just crazy times. Imagine have recordings of all the phone calls that went on then and how things could change day to day and even hour to hour at some points.

I can recall somewhere Fitzroy even considered a re-location to Sydney in late 70's even before South Melbourne did.

That is cheeky of league asking for Hecron to pay for a licence of a club that already existed as if a new franchise.
 
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That is cheeky of league asking for Hecron to pay for a licence of a club that already existed as if a new franchise.
That was standard practice in the 80's. The VFL sold the Swans licence twice within 4 years (1985 and 1988) to private ownership despite being one of the founding 6 clubs that started the league.
 

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rfctiger74

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They were trying to buy the club, including the licence...
Many contracts have clauses that allow a party to terminate if the ownership of the other party changes. I'd assume vfl/AFL licences had/have these, just to the AFL can ensure it has an effective veto against any unwanted takeover

Fwiw my company was sold not that long ago, and we had the fun of convincing our clients to stay onboard because we had put this clause in our deals years ago (never thinking it would be us who changed owners of course)
 
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