In 2001 the MFC instituted a Hall of Fame. It was all very much in the clouds as even though they kept putting people in it as far as I know there were never plans for any actual memorabilia collection or permanent tribute to those who were put in.
Between 2001 and 2008 there were 41 people named to the Hall - 23 in 2001, five in 2003, seven in 2006 and six in 2008 yet our website doesn't acknowledge that it exists other than a list of names that hasn't even been updated to include the '08 inductees. It deserves better, and in a roundabout way that involves tearing it all up and starting again that's what I'm proposing.
Now admittedly that 41 covers pretty much everybody up to this point in time who deserves to be named, but given that the original Hall was generally abandoned in the midst of the disarray which surrounded the switch between the Gardner/Stynes administrations and the far more important task of saving the club I think it's time to start talking about the Hall again. Wasting the last three years on Demonwiki has given me a great appreciation of the history of this club and it deserves to be told to a wider audience, and to allow the fans of today to share in their own piece of it.
And with that I present to you the Demonblog plan for a new Hall of Fame. Firstly it should be pointed out that the idea is shamelessly stolen from the Baseball Hall of Fame and its induction procedures.
First an explanatory note - I'm going to pretend for the sake of what follows that we forget the first Hall ever existed and start from scratch. Realistically de-inducting people (uninducting?) might be too politically sensitive to consider, but equally I doubt anyone, probably including the inductees themselves, would actually remember it taking place anyway. There's scope to start again but this time to include the fans and make a big deal out of it. If we're not going to win anything in the modern era (yet...) let's at least wave around what we have done in the past and the many great figures who have been involved with us.
Plenty of clubs have a Hall Of Fame (unless you're an AFL propped up franchise with ten minutes of history) but how many of them include the fans on the selection process? Time to engage the fanbase with our history rather than just giving them drips of it here and there. So much the better if we end up with some kind of permanent exhibition - preferably at the MCG itself - about the history of the club.
So as discussed the major downside is that to start with a fresh hall you have to empty the original one. I can understand that the club might not want to run the risk of upsetting the living and the families of the dead so I'm proposing that this be labelled as a "Fan's Hall of Fame". The club runs the voting on behalf of the fans but its made clear that they're not really making any of the decisions and that the people inducted into the original Hall are still there doing whatever it is they do when they're in a forgotten Hall of Fame.
Alternatively they could just restart the existing version when somebody is worthy of being let in but I'm going for interactivity here. It works something like this:
- Players, coaches and administrators to become eligible for election five years after they stop playing, coaching or administrating.
- Voting will be weighted 70/30 between members and a special Hall of Fame panel consisting of current administrators, historians, prominent fans etc.. This means that the 'fans' still have the overall numbers but that there are some checks against bizarro voting and mass hysteria.
- All players with over 100 games go on the ballot as well as administrators, coaches and other players at the discretion of the Hall of Fame panel. To ensure quality control on the first ballot the HoF panel will only choose additional names from the 150 Heroes named in 2008.
- All people inducted into the original Hall will appear on the first ballot along with anybody else who becomes eligible at the end of that first year (if it starts at the end of 2012 then the players to have retired or left five years previous with 100+ games are Nathan Brown, Daniel Ward, Travis Johnstone and Clint Bizzell along with Neale Daniher. Nothing to see here as far as Hall inductees I'd have thought but some years will be better than others).
- In October every year all adult members will receive access to a website where each potential nominee will be profiled. They can then cast five votes for their chosen candidates. After the first few years this could increase to five mandatory votes + five optional votes or ten optional votes. To be decided in the event that this wacky scheme somehow gets up.
- For the first five years the top three vote getters will be elected to the Hall. After that it will be anybody who is chosen on at least 75% of ballots based on the weighting.
- After the first five years anybody who gets less than 5% of the vote in a year will be removed from the ballot permanently. There will be no limit to the amount of people who are allowed on the ballot as long as they meet the entry criteria and haven't been excluded for not meeting the 5% mark.
- As a sample lets say that Norm Smith, Ron Barassi and Robbie Flower are the top three inductees at the end of Year 1. They would all be inducted and their names removed from the 2013 ballot to be replaced by Adem Yze, Jeff White and any other players with over 100 games who played their last match at the end of 2008.
- The process continues over the first four years. After the fifth year (2016) anybody who doesn't appear on 5% of ballots is removed, so for instance if Yze's figures went 12%, 20%, 9%, 7%, 3% he would then be removed. There is no limit to how long somebody can stay on the ballot as long as they keep earning the required 5%.
- From the fifth year onwards nobody will be inducted unless they appear on 75% of ballots, this will ensure only quality makes the Hall.
Aside from highlighting three (to start with) of the greatest figures the club has ever had every year it adds something new to the conversation amongst our fans. Is Aaron Davey Hall worthy? Would you vote for Brad Green? At what point did Neitz become a solid gold certainty for induction? It adds an extra layer of debate and buzz around the club and online, the lobbying for people to get their chosen players up and the excitement about the inductees being named.
Feel free to pick holes in this concept, and I don't in any way expect that it will be taken up by the club, but it irks me that we've totally forgotten about the Hall of Fame that does (in theory) exist and anything that adds to the conversation about bringing some sort of recognition back can't hurt.