The forthcoming North Melbourne Football Club board elections continue to be played out in the media. It’s fair to say that James Brayshaw has handled it poorly. But he deserves our support.
When Peter de Rauch entered the election mix, James Brayshaw choose to publicly fight him. It was the wrong option. After successfully uniting the club he didn’t need to fight de Rauch. He could’ve embraced the challenge in the spirit of NMFC’s renewed democracy and rested on his laurels. Instead, he waged a winless war and the media cashed in.
But while Brayshaw is no politician, he is a worthy President who deserves re-election. His achievements are significant and hardly need recounting: record membership, three consecutive profits, increased sponsorship, the Arden St re-development. And this election wouldn’t even be happening if he hadn’t returned the club to the members!
And while JB is not the “heavy hitter” that Caroline Wilson thinks he should be, she ignores Brayshaw’s greatest achievement to-date: the new NMFC executive. Ever since JB’s appointment of Eugene Arocca in early 2008, NMFC has rebuilt its administration into a professional and efficient enterprise. It’s the reason North has achieved year-on-year profits, built an innovative Learning & Life Centre and made the savvy appointment of Brad Scott. Brayshaw has overseen the appointment of an exceptional executive and chooses to give it room to do its job – heavy hitting would be counterproductive. And frankly, as much as Kennett and McGuire might disagree, it’s not his job.
The Board’s job is, and always will be, to provide the club with a vision. To this end, Brayshaw has not wavered since his emotional speech at Dallas Brooks Hall in December 2007: a boutique club which embraces its past, embraces its community and thrives in its heartland. But he also acknowledged that North remains a small club which needs to explore secondary markets. While attempted forays into Perth, Tasmania and Ballarat have all been scuttled to-date, JB remains committed to finding a workable solution. (A summary of the current strategic direction of NMFC is found in the 2010 Annual Report on page 4 under Objectives and Strategies.)
Yep, Brayshaw has made mistakes. And I’m sure he will make more. But as President of this unique and amazing club, he and his mates have outlined a vision I fully subscribe to, and so far, have delivered in spades. For this they have my full support – they’ve earned it.
I reckon the membership will see it the same way.