Heart And Soul

Much loved and sadly departed membership manager at the Port Adelaide Football Club Ben Demertzis once said “our members are the heart and soul of our football club, and they are at the core of everything we do”.

Current president David Koch reflecting on the Covid period said “we only survived last year because of the loyalty of our members….we will be eternally grateful to our members for standing by us.”

But are these sentiments reflected in the actions of the club?

A club that allows its senior coach Ken Hinkley to refer to members demanding success as “white noise” and ‘outsiders”. A club that allows senior player Charlie Dixon to refer to members demanding success as “idiots”. A club that allows senior commentator Gerard Healy to refer to members demanding success as the “lunatic fringe”, without any comeback from those inside the club walls.

So are these members still “the core of everything we do”? Or has that vision been lost somewhere along the way as the club changed its focus from “existing to win premierships” and towards “making the community proud”?

And what role has the loss of member control at the PAFC played in this loss of direction?

Is it any wonder that a club that refers to its members in such a way has shown no desire to return the control of the club to its membership, and restore the structure that led to it being the most successful club in Australia. The only non-Victorian state league club to raise themselves to the National stage.

In fact these heart and soul “members” are members in name only. Like cross town rival Adelaide the real “members” of the PAFC are in fact those at head office of AFL house who hold the role of members in the PAFC constitution (https://s.afl.com.au/staticfile/AFL%20Tenant/PortAdelaide/Links%20and%20Files/PAFCconstitution.pdf). Thus retaining the ability to elect directors to the PAFC board and even veto the 2 selections that are made by the PAFC “members”.

Yet even cross town rivals Adelaide, who has never been a member controlled club, have taken more steps to become so. Enshrined in the Adelaide constitution (https://s.afl.com.au/staticfile/AFL%20Tenant/AdelaideCrows/Club%20HQ/Constitution%20of%20Adelaide%20Football%20Club%20Limited%20-%20Finalafc.pdf) is the “cessation of AFL membership”, scheduled to occur at the “grant completion date” when they pay off their license on the 31st of October 2028.

How can a club that claims it’s members are the “heart and soul” of the club fail to ensure equal considerations are included in its own constitution?

Even more damningly, how can club president David Koch, at the clubs AGM, not even know of this discrepancy when asked a question by the “white noise” membership?

Are members really the core of everything we do at Port Adelaide?

If so, maybe it is time to move on from fluffy platitudes and start demanding control of the club be returned to its “heart and soul” base.






One response to “Heart And Soul”

  1. Nick R Avatar
    Nick R

    Being the person that raised these constitutional issues for both SA clubs at the February 2023 AGM, I’m glad that someone else has picked up the issue and written about it.

    Have enjoyed reading your 6 articles you have written so far. Haven’t seen anything I disagree with.

    If you want any further info to help with your articles, send me an email.

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