North Melbourne Football Club has a fascinating 12 months ahead of them off the field. At the NMFC Annual General Meeting (AGM) last night, we got a taste for what the club has in store. Here’s a summary:
James Brayshaw opened proceedings, acknowledging the great work of the team in posting a profit, despite a GFC, a poor stadium deal and the team finishing 13th. Looking forward, he said that while North is the envy of the competition when it comes to culture, brand, courage and people, our attendances aren’t good enough. It affects our revenue (total of $77,000 net in match receipts for 2009) as well as our draw. An increase in attendance of 10,000 per match would net an additional $1-1.5m revenue every year. Bigger crowds would also result in a better draw (more Friday nights) and more free-to-air coverage. We need to acknowledge there’s a problem and fix it. That said, our best people are working on this as we speak.
Eugene Arocca then presented the 2009 accounts. The key challenges he outlined for 2010 were:
- Aiming for $1m profit plus debt reduction (see below):
- Looking to develop non-football related revenue, but very reluctant to go down the gaming path
- Continued increase in membership and sponsorship revenue
- $1.3m increase in AFL and stadium (match reciepts) revenue
- Grow match day attendance:
- Looking at investing a staff position in “fan development”
- Learning and Life Centre may contribute to growing the supporter-base
- Cited footage of GF week training session at Arden St in 1998 where 5-7,000 people attended – need to get those fans back
- Reduce debt:
- Currently around $4.35m
- In relation to other clubs/businesses, it is a small debt considering the $15m asset we just bought
- Wanted to create something tangible and build a vision for the club (primarily through the re-development) before calling on people to financially contribute to the club
- Hopes to make a big dent in the debt this year – aiming to at least halve it
- Doesn’t want to use the term “debt demolition” and doesn’t want to simply ask people to put their hands in their pockets for the club – hopes to have a better plan than that
Overall, Arocca doesn’t underestimate the challenges, but reckons we’re on the “cusp of something great”.
JB presented a “Special Service Award” to June Stevenson for 15 years voluntary service in membership and merchandise (been a member since 1974). It was a lovely acceptance speech by the senior lady.
JB presented a Life Membership Award to Bill Lowerson, recruiting officer (1982-92) and room stewart (basically the match day door bitch; 1996-2009). Again, well deserved and a humble acceptance speech.
Mark Brayshaw presented Life Membership Awards to Roger Moore (1989-2009) and Gordon McDonald (1989-2009) for their work as part-time physios. Both told some fascinating stories about players playing through injury during matches.
I loved how the club made a big effort to acknowledge these people, as well as all the people involved in the club. JB said a number of times how North was special because of its people, and it only attracts the finest. It was a nice moment. I’d like to pass on my personal thanks to those award recipients, and all the people involved in the club for acknowledging them.
It was a brilliant off the cuff speech which implored all loyal North supporters to start talking about the team “in glowing terms”. For too long people have talked down the club, and Scott wants it to stop. He also talked about redefining what it means to be a North Melbourne person, as well as the Shinboner Spirit.
Proceedings soon wrapped up after a few brief questions.
All in all, it was another fascinating look inside the workings of what truly is a very special football club.