I have not seen the Carlton FC be in this position since the salary cap issues. We are a divided group. We are not one that comes together to ensure that Carlton will be a successful club, but we are at a point in our journey that is fraught no matter what transpires, with so much uncertainty and division, that I don’t see a way out for a long time. The reason is that some treat those issues that divide us with disdain, disrespect and a sheer lack of empathy. How an organization, and we are an organization, deal with conflict is tantamount to the very culture of that organization. Keeping silent by the powers at that organization creates even more discontent among its members and shows the true character of those very powerful people. Let me explain a bit.
Since the bye, Carlton members in Victoria have not been able to attend any games. Last year, when we could not attend any game in Victoria since the beginning of the season, we were contacted by the club and given a choice of whether to keep our memberships or not. We were given options, we were communicated to throughout the year. Where has this been since the bye? What has the club told us, the members of what options will be given to us since we have not been able to fulfil the packages that we have signed up for and paid? Where has there been any communication to reassure members that the club understands what is going on and will be letting us know their intentions with regards to their memberships? We have heard nothing. Irrespective of whether the review was being held from that time on, the club has a duty to its members to keep them informed in this regard; they have not.
The polarizing opinions on who should coach the club is emotive and passionate. Nothing wrong with that, but here is a dilemma. Apparently, some on the Board do not want Ross Lyon based on what he said this month about a “hypothetical” question he answered and his proven issue at Fremantle that resulted in him leaving. There are those supporters who believe that Ross Lyon is the man for the job, irrespective of what he has done in the past, as he would have learned from his mistake.
Here is my issue. As a commentator, Wayne Carey has been accepted into the fold in that regard because surely he has learned from his past. His past saw him arrested in the USA after kicking a police officer after a complaint was made from his girlfriend that he smashed a glass on her face.
Before that, he pleaded guilty to an indecent assault. Has he changed? Has he become a better person because of the lessons he has learned from his past? I don’t know. But the point is that some believe that he should still not be in the media as a commentator. Yet these very same people want Ross Lyon as senior coach at Carlton, and he was implicated in a sexual assault by a Freemantle ex-employee. A settlement was reached between the parties, and the question is, whether you believe him or not, there has to have been some essence of truth in the accusation for a settlement to have occurred. So we don’t want Carey in the media, but we want Lyon as a coach?
Then there is the question of David Teague. Irrespective of whether he stays or goes, do you really think the way the media and the club have treated him is a great cultural look for the club? He has been treated abysmally by the club. There has been no support from the club, and in his last press conference, he has come out and said this. In yesterday’s On The Couch, Nick Riewoldt said that irrespective of what happens, you don’t treat people in your organization like that. I agree.
Then there is the issue of those pushing for David Teague to be sacked and bring in either Alistair Clarkson or Ross Lyon. Now, if Clarko said no, and Lyon is not even considered, will those who bagged Teague now support him? And what happens to those who do not want Lyon, but he becomes the coach, where will they stand? If David Teague stays, will the Board and the club support him? Or will we see another season of a culture that is rampant at our club?
I have spoken many times about the club’s culture and how it is eroded because of the lack of leadership from those that should, well, lead. It is time for the members of the club to put their foot down and say enough! It is our club. We are the stakeholders and what is going on is just not acceptable anymore. It can’t be if we want a long-term goal of success. Changing one small part of a group that has been a part of what has happened at our club over the years will not change the club’s culture.
We are unfortunately heading towards a time at the club that occurred after the salary cap issues. We are governed by those who are taking us, the members, for granted and are not prepared to see the issues on every level, including the Board. For the most part, we, the members, need to get our voices back and let the club know that we are not prepared to once more sink this club into a quagmire that occurred all those years ago. We have to say enough! Because we have to do better than what is going on now.
In any organization, conflict will always occur, but it is how it is dealt with that illustrates the culture of any group. It is how those that disagree can still stand together as a group and show support. I have not seen this at the club. It is enough!