Secondly, I must declare that I am a Collingwood season ticket holder.
Thirdly, there's one thing that I really want to do, and that's get away from the topic du jour, so I can write about the recent Worlds of Football Conference hosted by Victoria University, even if the interest in that will only be a fraction of the recent goings on.
But that doesn't look like it's going to happen any time soon, especially when even the Herald Sun has decided to join the fray. And then in all likelihood, back to 3XY tomorrow...
Anyway, the article included in this blog entry is from this link, but due to the News Limited paywall, there's probably no point in clicking on it. The best to get around it is to Google the article, then visit their site from there, as for some reason that seems to get around it.
Insofar as 'smell the fear' articles go, this one I don't personally think is too bad, though who can definitively say who the dog whistling will reach?
It's biggest failing is in the details it is missing. One of these is the alleged (by rank and file athletics supporters) interference of the Collingwood triumvirate of Eddie McGuire (both Collingwood president and board member of Athletics Australia), John Brumby (then Victorian premier and noted Collingwood supporter) and Robin Fildes (former decathlete and Collingwood player, then of Athletics Victoria, now of Athletics Australia), to get the deal done for Collingwood's benefit.
While certainly understanding how such a view could be constructed, no one has ever found the smoking gun to definitely prove that there was collusion between these parties to force Athletics Victoria out of Olympic Park (and wouldn't there be fireworks if there was!).
I sympathise with the Victorian athletics community who wanted to stay there - it was their home and it had history that has been trampled on. Remembering also that Collingwood had left Victoria Park in a terrible state, and many Collingwood supporters are still very uncomfortable about having left at all. And while I'm not disappointed with the new facilities, which South supporter wouldn't have preferred to be playing at an upgraded Lakeside Stadium that was purpose built for soccer, as it was originally intended?
And at the same time, Olympic Park had had very little work done on it for about two decades. As crap as this situation is for many of the parties (except Collingwood for some reason), well at least athletics got some nice new facilities (they would never have received otherwise) and South gets to survive for another five minutes until we get sent broke by the ingrained mismanagement of the club, and the vultures - you know who you are - can swoop in and do what they've always wanted to do to us.
Here's some other things to take umbrage at:
- It's not a building of a social club, it's a redevelopment of the social club. The social club is already there.
- They've given money to upgrade the rest of Lakeside Stadium, so leaving our social club out of those plans would be kind of stupid.
- The redeveloped social club will, it is hoped and planned for anyway, be able to provide an income independent of the government stipend, which will end eventually.
- The redevelopment money is apparently required to be used for football purposes, so the community, via the futsal court, will have access to it (as is the case with much of the rest of the facility).
- Unlike Olympic Park, which will be for the exclusive use of Collingwood (as one would expect) the $50 million spent on the facility benefits three tenants and the community at large.
- As has also been noted, it's a crappy headline, which ignore the huge state and federal grants given to Collingwood to redevelop Olympic Park, which dwarf what South is getting.
- It also ignores the entirety of what South to give up in exchange for this apparently 'free' money. This included income derived from other parts of the stadium, as well a cut of our (now admittedly meager) gate takings.
- A bit more detail on the details of the court case would be nice. The club have sent out media releases on the matter. The phrasing in the article makes us look a bit more shabby then we probably are.
And I'm glad that negotiations were viewed by the Labor Government as difficult. South had something they badly needed. Why wouldn't South do its homework in terms of ascertaining the worth of its lease, and then going for the jugular?
Taxpayers fund $4 million soccer deal as part of plan to give Collingwood Football Club control of Olympic ParkBy James Campbell
TAXPAYERS are shelling out almost $4.5 million to a Victorian Premier League soccer club under a secret deal agreed to by the Brumby government, as part of its plan to give the Collingwood Football Club exclusive control of Olympic Park.
The payments - which run for 15 years and cost taxpayers up to $300,000 a year - were signed off by then sports minister James Merlino in return for South Melbourne FC, formerly known as Hellas, giving up its exclusive lease at the Bob Jane Stadium in South Melbourne.
When the deal was signed in 2009 the Brumby government was keen for a reluctant Athletics Victoria to move to the stadium so Olympic Park could be given to Collingwood.
The payments have come to light through documents filed in a court case that could see a receiver appointed to South Melbourne FC over a $120,000 loan it was given by supporters in 2004 and which it has never repaid.
The County Court will be asked next month to decide if South Melbourne FC is liable to repay Wellington Investments for the loan it was given at the time the club was in administration after failing to be admitted to the A-League.
The club told the court "the majority of its income, more than $300,000 per annum, is paid to it by the State Sport Centres Trust pursuant to a memorandum of understanding ... involving the Victorian State Government".
It also told the court it is "receiving the sum of $950,000 from the State Government" to build a social club within its exclusive space at the redeveloped Lakeside Oval.
Sources familiar with the deal said it requires the Government to pay the club $300,000 for five years and then $200,000 for another 10 years after that, in addition to the $950,000 for the redeveloped social club.
Club chairman Nick Galatas declined to discuss the court case, but said the money was fair and reasonable compensation for giving up its exclusive rights to the old Bob Jane Stadium.
He rejected suggestions that the club's lease on Bob Jane Stadium had been for a peppercorn rent.
"It wasn't a commercial rent, but it wasn't a dollar a year," he said.
Mr Merlino said the court case was an internal dispute within the soccer club.
"I hope it gets resolved for all the players and members of the public," he said.
He said Labor government negotiations with the club had been difficult.
"I'm proud of the transformation of sport in the City of Melbourne during the last term of our government,"he said.
"Melbourne now has two world-class sporting precincts, where most cities in the world would be lucky to have one."
A spokeswoman for incumbent Sports Minister Hugh Delahunty confirmed the existence of the deal but declined to comment, citing commercial-in-confidence.