Following the suspension of the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership Season, and cancellation of the 2020 NAB AFL Women’s season, all players have now ceased club commitments and we are officially in survival mode as a football club.
This club generates its revenue from games of football. It is as simple as that.
Sponsors, corporate partners, members and spectators make up 73 per cent of total revenue.
If you can’t watch your beloved team battle it out on the football field, then naturally these revenue streams are in jeopardy.
As a result, yesterday was the darkest day in our club’s history as we moved to significantly and drastically cut operating costs to help save the club.
More than 75 per cent of our staff, across every operational area of the club, were stood down until further notice.
A skeleton crew of staff will now work on severely reduced hours to ensure the club remains operational during the suspension period, which is due to run until at least 31 May.
These extremely tough decisions were made with one hope in mind… that we will rebound at some point in the future and have these people, who mean so much to us, come back in to our Freo family.
These people deliver your game day experiences, they deliver programs to our local schools, they answer your membership calls, they sell you your purple merchandise.
They look after our facility, they manage our accounts. They look after our players mindsets, health sets, heart sets… and boots.
They look after valuable, long-standing partnerships. They make sure our fans know the how, what, when and why via regular and informative communications.
They are wonderful people who, for the time being, cannot do what they love doing most… which is working hard for this football club.
This is why yesterday was such a tough day.
We feel, and hope, that by addressing our expenditure immediately, we can minimise the future toll the COVID-19 crisis will have on our football club.
But more work will need to be done.
We will now shift our focus to our revenue streams and establish a framework to enable our key stakeholders – members, corporate partners and sponsors - to support their club if they are in a position to do so.
We understand and respect that everyone’s personal circumstances are different, and we will work through such frameworks with this in mind.
We are hurting, but we know these hardships are widespread. It’s much bigger than us.
So please know our purple hearts are with you all.
Take care of yourselves and we will get through this together.
I’ve been thinking a little bit about the previous Freo admin today, and what their legacy is as the club commences its fight for survival. On the one hand, and if I’m being generous, they leveraged a lot of external funding to get the facilities built at Cockburn, which likely saved the club millions of dollars. That has to help when finances are tight like they will be now.
The counter, of course, is that they did things like move the club to Cockburn, and generally created a fair bit of distance between the ‘seat-renters’ and the ‘product’.
But overall, the thing I keep thinking about is that it didn’t have to be a choice between maximising financial stability and embracing members as part of the club, but the previous admin seemed always to think it did.
Garlick seems like cares about that connection between club and supporters, and helpfully speaks like a real person. I fear that he is year too late though, and people who might otherwise have dug deep to help the club will rightfully feel a bit jaded and instead direct that money where its needed more.
Or maybe I don’t fear that – maybe that’s the right thing. I don’t know.
What he said in that statement was interesting, it was all about the problems the club and supporters face. It had none of the PR guru marketing speak, it spoke about the workers around the club and how they will be affected .
Unlike Gil, there was no poor me in it, the references to financial loss were in respect to all involved in the club, from the kids club members to the top.
And it also acknowledged that what sport is going through is minor compared to what every citizen in the world is going through right now.
As far as I'm concerened Freo has taken a giant step forward in its history and culture today.
I don’t think I defended Rosich or Harris that often, in fact I was very critical of them for the most part (including when they re-signed Lyon). I reckon in almost every material way they set the club back.
The Cockburn HQ was a cheap option. Being part of a Council Community Complex. Compared the WC's Laithlain HQ ours is new duplex in Lathlain on Orrong Road. Stupid decision of no logic. Just a stand off by egos which has cost us dearly.
As for tough times with asking for players to take pay cuts, they are lucky they are being asked to take pay cuts!
Contact or no contact from my dealings with HR in the past weeks when the company has done the sums..
Football players should sit back and reflect on how they got were they are and how they where supported by club and supporter.
Maybe its the manager is in their ear so they still get their percentage.
Maybe its the AFL needs to show the books sooner not later.
As the staff of several large companies have outline there is NO CHOICE but to go home and we will contact you in the future, even for the person telling them the news.