Monday, 1 August 2011

The Bailey Debacle: Late Update

All of a sudden the smell of fish is starting to waft out of AAMI Park. Just when you thought we could get on with our lives it turns out that the allegedly brave face and united club forged by Jim Stynes after his ascension to the presidency has turned out to be a bit of a shame and actually every second person at the club hates each other.

Now, if you believe Gerard Healy (and you'll note that he's not getting the same kind of 'come back and save us' push as Lyon..) and his article on the following happened since we got rolled by Hawthorn last Sunday.

- Brad Green goes On The Couch and can barely contain the fact that there's behind the scenes issues.
- With Stynes absent Don McLardy meets with Green and players the next day and is "shocked" to find out that "the players" (how many, who, senior/junior - none of this explained) have a serious problem with "senior administrators", whom we can only imagine equals Cameron Schwab because who else could it be if it wasn't Stynes or Don himself?
- Stynes returns to meet with the players himself, and with the clock ticking on Schwab's contract extension option date the board decide to give him the boot
- Bailey is denied the option of taking the team to Geelong on Friday because it would cost too much. In one last (as it turns out) quality act he pulls out his credit card and offers to pay for it himself.

And at 2.10pm Saturday - the apocalypse. Nice way for the players to say thanks for his offer of putting them up (albeit probably at the Norlane Motel, he wasn't exactly on Collingwood money), by knifing him in the back with the second worst performance in league history. He made mistakes in the tactical setup and Geelong were ruthless but is there any realistic suggestion that the players were actually mentally distressed? Unless they were putting a brave face on it during the warmup the players hardly looked as if they were about to run out the door, across the park and into traffic.

So, we all know what happened next - and I'm still in the position of thinking that he had to go, but there's no doubt that the whole thing has been botched. I didn't expect him to walk after that, but I didn't expect the club to axe him either - let alone the next day and via a phone call.

Now that the emotion has subsided - and I'd like to think that if I was on the board of a footy club and not just some fatty with a keyboard I'd probably never have got overly emotional to start with - I'd have preferred them to have him front the board and then tell him that they weren't going to renew his contract at the end of the year. If he wanted to walk then everybody shakes hands and Todd Viney gets the job without Bails having to yank a dagger out of his back. If he wanted to go on then at least they can openly go and sniff around other coaches and not be "out of the race" when it comes to finding a new coach.

It took me until about 20 minutes ago to actually see the press conference rather than just listen to it on the radio, and what struck me was the bush league way they took down the sponsor messages after Stynes/McLardy spoke and left Bailey sitting there in front of a blank wall like he was doing his press conference from a utility room. Ok, so he wasn't the coach anymore so it wouldn't have been entirely apt to have the names up there but why put it up there in the first place then? If Hankook/Kaspersky etc.. wouldn't want their name associated with a depressing moment then it didn't help them that they were up there in lights while a man's death sentence was read out.

Now, explain this to me. If the players convinced Stynes/McLardy that they were anti-Schwab (for whatever reason) and he was effectively out the door based on their recommendation then how does the club getting tonked by 31 goals somehow save him? How does he walk into work tomorrow knowing that he wasn't wanted until some miracle conversion late on Sunday night ended with him getting a one year extension despite the fact that much of the week was spent with the players convincing the President(s) to piss him off?

What happens to him now? Do they pull off some Leading Teams/360/Deep Heat ad style bullshit to try and get everyone to link arms and sing kumbaya before the year is over? They'd better, because he's not going anywhere without a payout now - and if we waste money paying somebody that they could have gotten rid of for free I'll kick something in half. Or is he going to end up the latterday George Costanza at Play Now when he had a job but they didn't want him so they kept putting him in increasingly shit offices to try and convince him to quit off his own bat. He'll know it's not going to end well if the doors swing open tomorrow and his desk has been relocated into Yarra Park.

I don't understand why one of the two had to stay. If Bailey had to go there and then, messily as it turned out, why couldn't they both go if that's what they wanted? Fear that they wouldn't be able to get anybody else half decent after sacking the third consecutive CEO (not to mention coach) in a row? Worried they'd have to see if Paul McNamee could fit us in again during mixed doubles matches at Flushing Meadow. Surely there's a world of businessmen out there who could be our CEO - if that's the case again I'll smash something.

And what about the players? Do they have valid concerns? Are there any rifts in that group? When will they be back on Twitter telling the public that they like honking onto a chicken parma and playing FIFA? If they were all so in love with Bails but for some reason didn't bother to show it on Saturday how are they going to react to the news that the guy they were whinging about is likely to be a fixture at the club for at least another year? Who knew the boring old MFC could have so many different angles running at the same time.

Then there's Lyon on Footy Classified. He's said that he won't be coaching next time or ever so many times that if you want to have money on it happening this year then please call me and I'll be happy to take your cash and invest it in the future hosting costs of Demon Wiki because you'll just be throwing it away otherwise. He's pledged to "help in any way he can" which screams out to me that there'll be a token contribution just to get everybody off his back - perhaps as a stand-in president while Jim takes some time off - but that he's really doing it out of sufferance.

Funny that somebody (you know who you are) sent me an email before the season saying that with the departure of Wellman suddenly Bailey was isolated in a sea of MFC Old Boys and that if it went wrong he'd be buggered. It went wrong and he was.

And now, Dean Bailey. If you're reading (and I know you are. Not really) and want to tell your side of the story in football terms rather than waffle about politics and who hates who I'm here for you. Email me via and we'll set it up to ask what the real fans want to know. Why is Juice is still playing for us, would you still have played Jurrah on the wing, what in the name of buggery is wrong with Cale Morton and is Maric really a massive emo? You'll get nothing of quality from the journos, come to us instead and let's do it properly over cafe latte in my loungeroom.


  1. So has this debacle just put us back a few years or more? Will a new coach come in and clean house and will we then need to wait another 3 years just to look good again?

    If we bring in another First time coach I will start breaking shit and might even go a little Richmond style and bring out the manure.

    Rightio back to the snow. Pip Pip.

  2. How the hell Schwab stayed is beyond me - he must have compromising pictures of somebody.

    I'm really dissapointed about the way the club has handled things behind the scenes, the more I hear the more I wonder what kind of culture exists off the field (we all know about the on-field culture). It just strikes me as a shame that scheming and all of this rubbish is blemishing the work that the Styne's regime has done for our club.
    I have had a mild mancrush on Stynes ever since his playing days but I'm starting to wonder if the off-field rubbish is his doing or because he isn't a strong enough leader to stop it from occuring. Obviously with his health the latter is understandable but neither bodes well for the clubs future.

  3. I guess the bright side is that no matter how dark things look currently, Richmond are, and will remain, the yardstick for dysfunctional club culture and fanatical "eat your own young" supporters.

  4. It's now pretty obvious Bailey, Mr Nice Guy, had to go. The Nuremberg Defence is no excuse whatsoever. 'Dean pull the trigger. Dean pull the trigger. DEAN PULL THE TRIGGER!!! Dean you've shot him?” The players may have liked him but obviously they didn't like where his orders were coming from.

    Another year for Cameron Schwabb: does this mean he is in the clear? Or does this mean he knows where the bodies are buried? Or where the black money is in the second set of books? (We've been down that path in recent times.)

    And Chrissy Connolly has completely disappeared off the radar. Latest reports have Gary Lyon becoming the acting General Manager of Football and that he is making remarks about two facedindividuals who undermine the club with their duplicitous behaviour.

    The board seems to have been sidelined with the mastermind taking advantage of Jim Stynes hands on approach that was slipping due to his ill health.

    So who is the puppet master in the centre of this web of intrigue? Who is the individual who wants to make the MFC the dominant club in the AFL? Who wants to be the key to this emerging powerhouse?

    As a long suffering supporter who firmly believes that they have one of the best lists going around, that they have a huge potential, that they have been underperforming this season, this whole business is a huge distraction. How did we end up almost at the end of the season to find this out? The on field performance has obviously been infected by this malaise and here we are left feeling very small, powerless and isolated just as we were at Geelong. Those with the power need to take control and correct this with the utmost speed.

  5. The catalyst for this latest MFC debacle is the appalling treatment dished out to James McDonald at the conclusion of last season. He should never have been sacked. McDonald was highly respected and probably loved by the players. He displayed dignity and courage and was a genuine leader of men. In my 45 years of following Melbourne, with the exception of brief periods of success and unity under Northey and Daniher, the club has been fractured, selected the wrong people for administrative positions and struggled to cope with the rigours of the post modern football landscape.