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The smell of death is around the Melbourne Football Club

Posted by: Neil Mitchell | 8 April, 2013 - 8:54 AM
Neil Mitchell says Melbourne was 'genuinely awful' in their 148-point loss to Essendon. <i>(Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty Images)</i>

If you care about sport and care about football, you must care about this: There is the smell of death around Melbourne and it is time for the AFL to step in.

It is time to save the Melbourne Football Club - it is that serious, and the first thing they should do is sack the chief executive, Cameron Schwab.

Certainly there are some around football who believe this is the only way to go, and that includes some in very high places.

I think it will happen. I think the AFL is already involved. And I have no doubt they will want to dump Schwab.

You have to; He has had enough time enough chances and there is a problem with the culture at Melbourne.

Many people around football are discussing it openly and saying you must start at the top. So, they must sack Schwab and then the AFL should move in and oversee the club, get it back on a firm footing and move out.

They must do it. Melbourne must thrive for a national competition to be serious. You need a club called Melbourne and if it is any good, it builds blockbusters. Melbourne versus Sydney, Melbourne versus Adelaide; City to city, head to head.

That is why the AFL must step in. That, and because if it does not, this football club will continue to be a pathetic excuse for a competitor.

Sad, but true.

The number of supporters from other clubs who have been expressing their concern to me is staggering. They really seem to feel for us and they’re not gloating. That is probably because we are no longer a threat to anybody.

So the simple question: Should the AFL move in on Melbourne? Should the AFL effectively take over Melbourne and sort it out?

I think it is the only chance to save the club now. We are a joke. We are dying.

I’m like any Melbourne supporter. It hurt a great deal to watch them humiliated and at times, they seemed not to be trying. I was particularly tuned in to it because I spent Saturday and Sunday behind the scenes with Mick Malthouse and Carlton. I was in the player meetings, in the box and the rest.

But Melbourne was genuinely awful.

I hated the booing - supporters booing their club is not the way to go. Be angry, be upset, but these public displays of disgust achieve nothing.

So what needs to be done?

One: shave off the beards. This is an awful symbol; a beard-growing competition when they can’t compete on the field is ridiculous.

Two: bring in the AFL. Melbourne gets AFL money, so the league can - and should - step in. Hopefully the board will approve that. If not, it should happen anyway. But the board can ask for AFL help and should at once.

Three: Sack Schwab. It is his second time at the club. He has been there since 2008 and he has not had a premiership in his time in football. That is not the culture of success - it is the culture of failure.

The AFL should move in. It will take years to fix, but if it does not happen we are finished.

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Blog comments Your Say

  • No this city doesn't need a team called 'Melbourne' for the national competition to thrive. Perth seems to do just fine with West Coast and Fremantle. It is a particular conceit on the part of Melbourne supporters that simply because of their name, that some how their club is special and has a God given right to be in the competition as opposed to North or the Western Bulldogs. You're a poorly supported little club that got away with tanking and whom no doubt will be looking for further handouts at the end of the season, including draft concessions at the expense of the rest of the competition.
    Tired of you, sick of you, stand on your own two feet or if you can't have the dignity to fold or relocate.

    John Thursday 11 April, 2013 - 8:00 AM
  • Congrats Neil on your support for MFC in these difficult times. I concur with the need for AFL involvement. There is clearly a case for the Board and President to leave, following Cam's exit yesterday. A "clean sweep" supports a healthy renewal effort and demonstrates a serious commitment to resurrect a once mighty club.
    All the best. ;)

    Gary Wednesday 10 April, 2013 - 7:28 AM
  • It's all very well saying the AFL should step in but this problem is very much of the league's own making. Its desperate push to impact on rugby league's heartland and ram football down the throats of people who didn't particularly want it - Gold Coast and especially Western Sydney - was inevitably going to have casualties. It meant the country's top young talent was denied to the established clubs which needed to draft them most. I'm a Collingwood supporter and I think Melbourne has been treated very poorly. It's threadbare playing list is as much the AFL's fault as it is the Demons' recruiters.

    Kit Galer Tuesday 9 April, 2013 - 4:21 PM
  • Sick to death of hearing about Melbourne "tanking". Hello people they were found NOT GUILTY so give it a rest. I am a proud supporter of the Demons and will always follow them. Yes im extremely disappointed with their performances but they are my team and I will continue to support them. The pen pushers need to go. The selectors need to go (passing on Ollie Wines was a STUPID move.)
    I have faith that Melbourne can work its way back up. Less booing and more support is needed. Lift the players not stomp them into the ground. No i am not a member as i cant afford it and I live 2 hours away from Melb but thats irrelevant. GO DEES

    Leeanne Tuesday 9 April, 2013 - 11:14 AM
  • Thanks Neil, for being a strong supporter by supporting the Club, if not its management. I am a diehard Melbourne supporter (as is my entire family) and it is absolutely devastating to see our beloved club in such a state. We are currently living overseas and try to keep up with the goings-on of our club and are, indeed, members. After only 2 rounds of the 2013 season, with such appalling results, it is very hard to have any enthusiasm for the game at all. My two children are loyal Demons but even they are becoming so disheartened with it all that it is just sad. What is going to change this situation? Who knows, but whatever it is, do it quickly. I want to be able to enjoy the footy season once more, be proud of my team and show my kids what it feels like to be part of a strong and successful club. Go Dees!!! (Please!!!)

    Mardi Laurie Tuesday 9 April, 2013 - 10:29 AM
  • Think back to when Michael Voss (post loss) predicted Melbourne would be the next powerhouse in the AFL.....the Stynes response was almost prophetic. Loss ought to build character within a group,,,likewise the habit of winning is learnt as a group. Round three Dees!!!

    Harry Graham's line Tuesday 9 April, 2013 - 10:26 AM

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