Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Members Speech at the Information Meeting

Rugby League is about giving opportunities to people of all classes. It isn't elitist like some other codes. Rugby League has always been about judging players on character and talent, not wealth status.

Stephen Humpheries has made comments that players need dedication to make it in the NRL and we do not disagree with this.

However there is dedication, and there is reality.

We need to make sure the vast amounts of talent in the lower socioeconomic groups of the Macarthur district, OUR district, have as much access to the NRL as does those that can financially afford to travel to Concord 3 or 4 times a week for training.

Dedication is important, but working full time, putting food on the table, paying bills, rising fuel costs and even purchasing train tickets is another reality Wests Tigers would like us to disregard.

The Magpies Club has survived for over 104 years as the battlers club, a club for everyone, where anyone from any walk of life can feel welcomed. The Wests Tigers should cherish this history and our ability to be inclusive as the Magpies are one of the last living treasures in the game that goes back to day 1.

By agreeing to Wests Tigers proposal to remove the Western Suburbs Magpies from the NSW Cup, we will essential send our club down a road that will lead to its certain death.

We will have Life Members who will soon be life members of nothing.

We will have players who have spilt blood, sweat and tears for a club that soon wont exist

Life long volunteers and supporters efforts will have all been in vein.

We have been told the Magpies jersey will live on through the Wests Tigers NSW Cup team, they couldn't even keep the Magpie on the NRL teams shoulder.

We have been told the Campbelltown area is of great importance, yet the Wests Tigers don't train there, and only play a measly  4  NRL games there.

Do not believe the promises. They have a history of breaking them.

And don't be fooled that this is about saving the club $400,000. This is about control.

The Wests Tigers want the Magpies gone. They want me and you gone. They don't like us being the thorn in their side, reminding them that the Macarthur area deserves better, reminding them that the joint venture is not just a reincarnation of Balmain. Reminding them it is 50 / 50 joint venture made up of TWO foundation clubs.

Wests Tigers colours are not just Black and Gold. They are Black, WHITE and Gold.

I find it an insult on the local communities intelligence to say people don't know who the Magpies are. Players from the area know exactly who the Magpies are. They are their pathway to the NRL. Their pathway to the Wests Tigers.

Our 104 year old club deserves the respect it has earnt through the good years, and through the tough years.

The future of Wests Magpies and Wests Tigers is in the South West of Sydney. We need to integrate better into the community, into the local Rugby League grassroots of the Wests Junior League and Group 6 if we are ever going to survive long term. Taking everything to Concord goes completely against this.

The Western Suburbs Magpies therefor still has a very important part to play. They should be providing local junior and senior representative sides to an area crying out for recognition. Providing that Pathway to Success for the local players, coaches and trainers as they have been since 1987, no matter what their financial status is.

Just because Balmain can no longer pay its bills, does not mean the Magpies and the district it represents should suffer for it.

Finally I want everyone to remember the Western Suburbs Magpies is the members club. It is a democracy.

We agreed to the Joint Venture back in 1999 by a democratic vote. As part of that agreement with members, the board entered into the Joint Venture on condition that the Magpies retain their role as a fully functioning football club, with Magpie sides in the NSWRL competitions at  ALL  LEVELS  including the Reserve Grade, which is now known as the NSW Cup.

To go against that decision made by the members in 1999 it must be voted on at a correctly called General Meeting.

A group of members have produced the required signatures demanding that any decision to remove the Magpies from the NSW Cup must be voted on by members.

If the board does indeed decide to go ahead and kill-off the Magpies NSW Cup side, I urge that the board allows the rights of members be formally acknowledged as requested and that a proper Extraordinary General Meeting be called, and a vote taken on this very important matter.

If we members vote to continue in the NSW Cup, the ball is now in Wests Ashfields court for funding, and they have published in the media that they will ALWAYS fund the Magpies. We will then put those words to the test. But if we as a football club kill off the Magpies, then Wests Ashfield can simply wipe their hands of the issue claiming it was the football clubs decision.

So remember it is the members run this club, not the boards. Don't let them forget it.

Magpies Forever.


Anonymous said...

Awesome speech.

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% The procrastination and delays have affected the ability to build for 2013 and its going to be a struggle again, but when has in not been? Some things are worth fighting for.
Ashfield and Campbelltown leagues clubs should definitely be funding the magpies teams, it’s the reason for their existence. However the WSDRLFC must put some serious effort in securing as much sponsorship as possible to take some of the dollar burden off the leagues clubs. This is as important as player recruitment or any other issues imo. We need to become more self sufficient.

Anonymous said...

Could not agree more with the issues raised in this speech. In particular I am in full agreement with the view that the merged team WT is not Balmain, a view which is quite often perpetuated in the media. That really gets up my ghoulies. Also, the fact (as detailed in the SMH)that Balmain cannot afford to meet it's debts is in the least worrying and at worst shambolic.