Melbourne FC: Don McLardy’s Open Letter To Members & Supporters

As Melbourne Football Club members we should stand shoulder to shoulder in such trying times. I remember sitting in the Dallas Brooks Hall in 1996 holding up a ‘NO MERGER’ sign, the most horrifying feeling any football supporter can go through your club tinkering on non-existence. Now, we have another critical situation where the club needs our support. 
President Don McLardy has this morning sent this open letter to all Melbourne Football Club members and supporters.

To our members and supporters:

The last two weeks have been extremely disappointing for everyone associated with our football club, and the team’s on field performance is clearly unacceptable.

We do not believe that the results to date are a true reflection of the quality of our playing list, or the effort and improvement they have shown over a tough and demanding pre-season campaign.

The administration, the sponsors, our board, our members and those who come to watch the team play have all worked hard to provide the football department with the resources and personnel they require. They want for nothing, are not making excuses, and I am sure that the improved work ethic displayed will – in time – pay dividends.

Our club has endured extremely tough times recently, and has dealt with critical issues with professionalism and resilience. This is another of those times.  Despite temptation and outside pressures looking for us to make radical changes, these will not occur.

Just over a year ago, we made some strong decisions regarding our ability to compete consistently. The team put in place at that time – including Mark Neeld, Neil Craig, David Misson and a range of back up personnel – were given full support to implement an elite, uncompromising training regime that would challenge all our players and set a standard to achieve consistent on field success.

Our drafting and recruiting were designed to support this plan with players who could meet the levels required.  However, we realised that this was a long term process, and may take several seasons to evolve. Recruiting Jesse Hogan despite him not being able to influence this season is a prime example of this evolution.

 We will be using every internal and external resource available to us in the short term to make improvements as rapidly as possible.  However, we highly value internal stability – the lack of which has been a downfall of our club in the past – and we will not bow to the external elements that try to destabilise our club at times such as these.

At this difficult time, we continue to seek support from all our supporters and members for the long term good of the Melbourne Football Club.  We understand that some of you will be angry and disillusioned, that some will say we have heard all this before, and that some will lose heart and temporarily give up.

My message to you is that a club is only as strong as its supporters. Our ability to hold together at this time, while recognising that there are critical issues to address, and seeking input from all true Demons, will ultimately determine whether we have the strong base required to go forward effectively.

I look forward to seeing you all next week at the MCG for our game against West Coast.

Don McLardy

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