We’re 35 years into a 5 year plan!

Well, hell yeah!  Lines like that, straight from the Trump School of Rhetoric for Angry Rednecks, are sure to stir the latent homicidal axe-wielding maniac that apparently lurks within every superficially well-adjusted Richmond supporter.

In this annus horribilis, virtually every cliché associated with this proud but self-destructive club became awful reality, with the obvious exception of the coach getting the flick, (and plenty reckon that’s the one change that actually does need to happen). A boardroom challenge was really the only thing remaining to complete the “turmoil at Tigerland” checklist.  And now it’s happened.

Trouble is, it seems we can’t even do a decent, old-fashioned blood-letting any more.  That catchy slogan from the “Focus on Football” ticket was delivered with all the panache of Richmond’s glacial ball movement out of the back line.  I’m sure Martin Hiscock is an excellent cardiologist, but when it comes to impassioned speeches, Mark Antony he ain’t.  I’ve got fond (but fading) memories of Bryan Wood and Bruce Monteath – the 1980 versions – but frankly they and the other members of the group looked and acted, collectively, like a group of undertakers.

More significantly, the FOF team didn’t provide any substance to mask their lack of style.  There were a few more pithy remarks but they sounded rehearsed rather than from-the-heart.  There was the tired stunt of listing a team of star players that Richmond could have but didn’t draft (most of which pre-dated the current administration).  But when all was said and done, the bloody revolution outlined involved keeping the coach, keeping the CEO and…er…creating a new “CEO of Football” position, to be occupied by the great Neil Balme…except they haven’t actually talked to him yet.  Apart from this rather quaint-sounding title, it’s hard to distinguish which Richie Benaud jacket is being worn by the incumbent Board and the challenger.  Frankly, if this was meant to stir the hearts of the 72,000 members to rise up and storm the Punt Road Bastille, then I think I’ll stick with the ancien regime, thanks.

It’s easy to mock 5 year plans when they fall short, and I’ll readily agree there damn well needs to be some quick and decisive changes in the football department at Richmond.  But please, FOF, give us some credit for knowing our club’s history. These were attempts to create stability in a volatile industry at a club that desperately needed it.  I think you’ll find that Richmond’s slide from greatness to mediocrity was actually caused by the series of knee-jerk, hubris-driven, palace coups that burnt through coach after coach, delivered us off-field luminaries like Alan Bond and near bankruptcy.  The damage this did to the club’s culture has never been fully repaired.

If it hadn’t been such a limp-lettuce effort, the unedifying stunt we saw yesterday would have been eerily reminiscent of the bad old days that I’d hoped were long gone.

About Sam Steele

50 years a Richmond supporter. Enjoying a bounteous time after 37 years of drought. Should've been a farmer!


  1. Stainless it truly was bizarre and seemed to focus on the recruiting stuff ups well it could have focused on more recent ones and he says make no mistake,Richmonf FC are in crisis but we’re not really planning on changing any thing except oh yeah we aim to get,Neil Balme but we haven’t spoken to him yet say what ?
    It was weird to say the least

  2. Callum O'Connor says

    Does anyone else think this is a kneejerk? Recruitment and development staff in our football department need to go and to take the Board with them will just be disruptive and destructive.

  3. kath presdee says

    I was more struck by the “we’ve got to change our style of play” but they aren’t going to change the Coach.

    The more I think about it, there’s a touch of the underpants gnomes about them.

  4. Something has to happen. This isn’t it.

    Monteith being last Premiership skipper rankles with me, and this just reminded me of that.

    I thought Gerard Whately spoke well when he ran through the confusing messages from the club and especially the coach this year. Something has to happen. This is not it.

    Something spooked the leadership in the pre season. We should have been vengeful but wee soft as butter.

    Whether this was shame at the way some senior players wilted in the heat against the Roos in the final is anyone’s guess.

    I re-read my optimistic posts from October last night. Now or never. Our age structure is STILL solid despite the games given to a few older duds.

    But the players are lost and the culture is rancid and the coach is a cork on that ocean.

    I don’t think anyone reAlly knows how good our players are – Grimes, Astbury, Lennon etc. we have seen glimpses.

    And all the club can do is make excuses and point to how well we are doing off-field, as if we are all shareholders.

    That’s why something has to happen. This is not it.

    New coach. New skipper. Keep Vickery and Lennon. Back them in.

    It’s now or never…

  5. More five year plans than the Indian government ….. and didn’t Monteath sit on the bench for the majoity of the 1980 GF, even though he was the captain?

  6. Yes. Bourke Bartlett Keane Cloke Lee Weightman Wiley Rowlings Roach Wood among those NOT captain that day.

  7. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Oh well, at least Jack Dyer or Graeme Richmond weren’t mentioned. Mick Malthouse for coach? The ox is slow…

  8. I followed Richmond closely in the 70s and 80s not so closely now. After the ridiculous tit for tat trading with Collingwood the place became a circus changing coaches almost every year or two for more than a decade. To me the stability is important and worth the ups and down. Hardwick has taken Richmond from the bottom of the ladder to finals and at least competitive, apart from a few woeful displays this season. I would trade no one. Keep Vickery, Lennon. They would be guaranteed to be superstars if traded. Get the best draft pick possible. Keep the stability. If no significant improvement by end 2018 thank Damien for his services and use the money from all the members to buy the best coach available, preferably someone who likes to score lots of goals.

  9. Cat from the Country says

    I laughed when I saw the heading.
    Several years ago some one told me Richmond were 15 years into their five year plan. Now you are saying 35 years into your five year plan.
    I feel your frustrations

  10. Every person responsible for re-signing Damien Hardwick should stand down.
    And Kevin Bartlett can’t hide from this, using his pre-season SEN pulpit to urge the board to extend the coach’s contract.

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