Dear Sando: a letter from the Crows’ board

September 2011

Dear Sando,

Welcome back home to Adelaide. Despite the Cats’ success, we hear Geelong is a provincial little backwater that is overly reliant on the dying automotive manufacturing industry. We’re sure you’ll enjoy the change here in Adelaide. We hope you have gotten over that little matter of us getting rid of you after six games as a player. Our staff management processes are much better these days and we don’t accept mediocrity at the Crows.

We hope you are as excited as we are by the list that Craigy and Bicks have left you. It is a young list with real and emerging stars on every line. Some things about the club to consider as you settle into the role:


Just as you get here it is possible that the young star in the making as your mobile third forward will hear his mother calling for him to come home. You’re probably going to have to trade him in a series of complex deals that see him and Tony Armstrong leave but brings in Josh Jenkins, Sam Kerridge, Cam Ellis-Yolmen and Lewis Johnston to the club. Swings and roundabouts – quantity beats quality doesn’t it?

Not to worry, you would still have two absolute guns in Tippett and Walker. We have a great side deal with Balfours to keep Kurt in Adelaide. We can’t see anything going wrong with it, but if it does you would probably lose him for absolutely no compensation, lose your first two draft picks for the next two years (you didn’t really want Salem, Broomhead, Dumont or Nick Graham did you?) and your CEO for six months. Not to worry, if that happens it’s clearly our fault – we wouldn’t blame you for it. We don’t accept mediocrity at the Crows.

Besides, you would still have Tex. Just on him, there’s always a danger when you become reliant on one key forward. It would be really unlucky if he was to do his knee and miss a whole season. In fact he probably wouldn’t be 100% for the entirety of the next season either. No worries, that wouldn’t be your fault so we’ll probably extend your contract to give you some certainty. Paying somebody $1.2 million not to be the coach of our club is not the sort of thing we do around here – that would be mediocre on our part.


Your midfield is solid. You have real stars in Danger and Sloaney and we are really happy with the deal we did to bring Brad Crouch to the club. Though he’s not the best player in the competition, Van Berlo has real influence as the captain and is a vital cog in the team. He’s really fit too so we’re sure nothing would happen like getting hit by some training equipment in the preseason, depriving you of your captain for the entire season. No problem, the last side to win a premiership without their captain playing was, um, that’s right, Port Adelaide. And we know what a rabble they are.

Coaches’ box

Now, noting you are brand new to senior coaching we are happy to provide you with a ‘strategy and innovation’ assistant to help out with all that leadership and game day tactics stuff. Dean Bailey is the perfect choice – he is a quality human being and will provide his wealth of wisdom to you around the club and on game day. Just a word of warning though – this whole ‘tanking’ thing at Melbourne seems to be gathering steam. The AFL doesn’t think he actually did it (mostly because they don’t seem to have worked out what ‘it’ actually is) so we think it unlikely that they’d suspend him for 16 weeks. Besides, should that, or something much, much worse happen to take Bails away from the club, we just wouldn’t leave you hanging for two years without that kind of support and blame you when your match day performance leaves a bit to be desired. You not having the support you need would be our fault, surely. We don’t accept mediocrity at the Crows.

List management

Matt Rendell is a gem. He got Sloaney for pick 44 – what a bargain! Some pretty deft footwork to bring Danger, Crouchy, Sauce and a few others to the club, too. However, while he is great at his job, well intentioned and raises potentially legitimate concerns about the retention of Indigenous players, the way he expresses himself can sometimes get himself into strife. If something happens and Andy D gets on the blower we will have to immediately fire him without any reasoned consideration of what actually happened. If we have to replace him and then need to move the replacement into two other jobs, we definitely wouldn’t leave the post vacant for an extended period of time. That would be one of those things again that’s our responsibility, wouldn’t it? We don’t accept mediocrity at the Crows.

Handling the press

Admittedly handling the press in Adelaide can be a bit tricky but we’re sure you can handle it. The chief football writer for the local rag occasionally hates the Crows with a passion and has a tendency to look for every opportunity to undermine the club but you’ll manage just fine. Occasionally we’ll wheel out Nigel Smart for the sensitive issues such as if we want to wear the state jumper against the Power – he’s a dab hand with the media is Nige. But we’ll take full responsibility for that because we don’t accept mediocrity at the Crows.

Managing the relationship with the AFL and reaffirming our position as SA’s top club

As you are aware the Crows are the team for all South Australians. As such, when it comes to positioning the club in the eyes of the AFL and in relation to our competition in Adelaide, we’ll take full responsibility for that. It should be pretty simple – the Power are a mess. They’ve even had to bring a bloke in from Norwood to be their CEO and their current president isn’t media savvy or high profile. We’ll make sure we get our fair share of key events such as the last game at Footy Park or the first game at Adelaide Oval. We’ll continue to provide a match day atmosphere that is nothing like the Power people get. We don’t accept mediocrity at the Crows.

So, once again, welcome back on board. We’re confident this will go well.

Yours sincerely

The Board of the Adelaide Football Club

About Dave Brown

Upholding the honour of the colony. "Play up Norwoods!"


  1. This is brilliant, brilliant satire. John Clarke and Bryan Dawe – eat your heart out

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Very very clever , Browny and unfortunately way too much truth in this article for my liking !

  3. I agree. Brilliant stuff!
    Whack whack whack…hitting nails on the head all over the place!
    Adelaide FC board would do well to read this!

  4. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    That is Navy, Red & Gold

  5. At least the Redlegs have their house in order….
    Something clearly a problem in-house at the Crows……who will take responsibility?

  6. Oh and Brenton, you’ll have to kiss Mark Ricciuto’s arse every time he walks into the club. Because he won a Brownlow and a premiership here.
    We all kiss his arse too because of other reasons, like he’s rich and owns pubs.
    We can show you how to kiss his arse properly too, because we don’t tolerate mediocrity at Adelaide…

  7. Skip of Skipton says

    You deserve free piss and tucker at the next Almanac lunch because this is the work of the season for me. So brilliant and so true. I got to the Dean Bailey reference and felt very sad, but ploughed on to the Rendell bit and so forth, such comedy/tragedy.

    I want to see Fat Tony ‘Don’ Ricciuto coach the Crows himself if it is true he was the powerbroker who sacked Sando. Not his little mate Goodwin, who seems as likeable as Ken Hinkley isn’t.

    I like Sando. He was and is the real shit. Only player in the AFL to spend every minute of every game on the field and never be interchanged in 2001 or 02?

  8. Skip of Skipton says

    Excuse me. I just read that Melbourne appointed Goodwin as Roos understudy/successor/hot potato/poisoned chalice.

    Someone like Leigh Tudor would be a top coach, but who’d want the Crows job with old Fat-Fingers breathing down your neck, watching every move.

    Adelaide needs a new Malcolm Blight to put a broom through it. Not the actual player list like ’97, but the board and administration. Been way too cosy for a long time. Port have got them very jittery.

  9. Not sure which I’m enjoying more – the Crows’ delusion or this piece.

    “We don’t accept mediocrity at the Crows” – the Almanac’s answer to Shakespeare’s “Brutus is an honourable man”. Brilliant.

  10. Nothing bites like satire. Brilliant.

    Mediocrity thrives in complacency; both in abundance at the Cows.

    I really hope they pull their act together, for all our sakes. Richmond will probably* go alright next year and if Rulebook doesn’t get to sledge the Tiges every fortnight he’ll be a very cranky man.

    *footnote redundant

  11. Dave

    Very very very good

    A Board member who is in business with senior players? No conflict there. The players he is in business with being blamed for the coach going, then vehemently denying it? That’s conflict.

    I imagine the rapid rise of the Power has contributed big to this too.

    Someone will take the job as people want to be senior coaches. But there’s no way an experienced coach will do it, so they will get an untried assistant. Lucky they don’t accept mediocrity

    Imagine the Brownlow reunion dinner for Bucks and Roo will be a tense one now. Goodes will sit between them I hope


  12. Standing ovation.

  13. Hilarious! And brilliantly written.
    I’m Loving the role reversal between Crows and Port !

  14. Dave- outstanding satire. Things are not going well down there, are they?

    Is this the lowest ebb since The Great Shark Hunter Era of 95-96?

    And of course it would be funny if it weren’t true.

  15. Couldn’t let this go without adding congratulations to all the others above. Deadset perfect, Dave.
    Not sure if I’ve got this exactly verbatim, but I think I heard Crows’ President Chapman on the radio say: “We don’t like making decisions…” and “We don’t like getting rid of excellent staff, but that’s the role of management!”
    Bizarre concept of ‘management’. OK, he was dithering, but there were probably some Freudian slips in there…

  16. Peter Crossing says

    Oh, how they flatter to deceive.

  17. Thanks for all the kind words – clearly I need to write with the grumpy pants on more often!

    Skip – now the deed is done Bassett / Neeld is my dream combination.

    Sean – absolutely. Roo needs to get out of the Alma ASAP. The potential for conflict of interest is just too great.

    Mickey – sure it’s a low point but other clubs would kill to have a low point like this. Largest home crowds in the comp this year. Possibility of setting up a home base across the road from Bob Neil 3 with the help of the Blacks. A decent list. A lot for the new coach to work with.

    Paul – yes, the tables have turned. Was reflecting on this today with a Port colleague as we discussed their silvertails playing the Redlegs battlers in the SANFL GF.

    Rob – absolutely! If not doing so already, it’s time to set up a sensible transition to a new chairman. Someone needs to take responsibility for the complacent and at times incompetent administration over the last few years.

  18. Earl O'Neill says

    Great stuff, funny and sharp.

  19. Brilliant. Great move to get rid of him with no back up plan.

  20. If the Crows board say they will not accept mediocrity then they should all stand down now.

  21. And Sando…. please bring over the tough love from the Cats that turned Gaz Jnr and their underachievers into a Dynasty. If a few veterans have a cry to ex-teammate Roo at the Alma, we’ll back you in as we haven’t won a flag in 16 years. We don’t accept mediocrity at the Crows.

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