Wow, what a huge week it has been for our campaign to convince the club to put your jumper to a vote. Almost too much for one blog post!
Stacks of attention from the media, club legends getting behind us. A hundred letters written to the club, ten thousand hits on our website, well over a thousand subscribers to this list and and of course some ‘intriguing’ reactions from our Club.
Lots of people have asked us about the club using the police to evict us from public land near the gabba at Friday night’s game. We will give you the facts.
And a wrap up of where things are at, what's next and what you can do to help.
Let's get started:
Then on Sunday Alastair Lynch added his voice to the growing chorus in his column in the Sunday Mail.
Here's hoping more jump on board as word of our campaign spreads further. Unfortunately so many of our former club champs are employed at other clubs and are therefore unable to comment publicly on the issue (as much as many of them have told us they would like to).
When queried in a press conference late last week, Lions CEO Malcolm Holmes said the current Lions jumper is locked in until the end of 2014 due to an AFL policy requiring jumper designs be worn for two year cycles.
This seems a bit strange as the end of 2014 would mark five years of the paddle-pop jumper.
So the idea that the club somehow cannot change the jumper this year because of the AFL rule just does not stack up.
While we're at it, here is how the Bulldogs decided their jumper by vote recently, setting a fantastic example of a club genuinely engaging their members and supporters.
...Isn't it interesting that all those examples the clubs abandoned their modern over-designed jumpers for much simpler, more traditional jumpers.
The other problem with the club’s stance is that it runs completely against our Members Charter. Our club adopted the Charter in what was supposedly a sign that the new administration was going to listen to its members more than the previous administration.
Specifically page 2 of the Charter:
CONSULTATION AND INFORMATION
“The Brisbane Lions will consult members on a regular basis through focus groups and surveys on significant issues affecting the club and/or members.“
We are not asking for a spill of the board. We are not asking for them to sack the coach. We are simply asking for the club to adhere to the member’s charter; to survey the members to see what we think. Given the support our campaign has received, this is clearly a significant issue affecting our members. Therefore the Lions Board simply must consult us.
Members are surveyed frequently by our Club about trivial matters such as keyrings and caps. But when it comes to something substantial like our jumper they almost seem hell-bent on not letting us have a say. We just don't understand why.
Does our Members Charter actually mean anything or is it really just empty words? What is the point of having a Members Charter if the club can simply ignore it when it suits them?
On Friday night before the Lions/Collingwood game our volunteers hit the streets to see how many other Gabba attendees wanted a voice on the issue.
We were overwhelmed by the sensational response we received from Lions supporters outside the ground (not such a great response from the Collingwood supporters).
So much goodwill was displayed to our volunteers with so many people wanting to share their stories and their frustration with the current jumper, and the club, on this issue. Last Friday night just reinforced to us that a huge majority of Lions supporters want the club to do something about this.
We don't have full control of the media, but we've been trying to keep our campaign as respectful to the club as possible. We wish to minimise potential damage or cost to our club.
It was with that in mind that we cleared our flyer plans with the Club, police and local council before the game. Despite that, a Gabba staff member approached some of our volunteers handing out flyers in the park near gate 2 with police in tow and asked them to move on. When our volunteers replied they had cleared it with the club, the Gabba staff member replied "it is the club who has asked us to move you on".
The police, also somewhat bemused because they knew the park to be public space, called over a female Lions staff member to get the Club's explanation. She explained the Lions had *just* passed a resolution giving them control over the park while the event was on.
At this point, still bemused but looking for a resolution, the police suggested to our volunteers that if they cross the road, they would ensure our team wouldn't be hassled any further. Our volunteers did so. We’re sure the others handing out leaflets in the park unchallenged (rowers asking for donations and a burger place handing out vouchers) appreciated the extra space.
In a very carefully worded statement on Sunday morning club CEO Malcolm Holmes said he did not believe anyone from the club was involved and he had received no reports of ejections.
Not believing anyone from the club was involved is not the same as actually denying that they were... And yes, technically, our people were not ejected from the park. They left after Club officials instructed police and security guards to ask them to leave under threat of ejection.
Police have confirmed that they did attend and did speak to "supporters" in the park. We're in the process of getting statutory declarations from our volunteers on the issue. Of course it would make this situation a whole lot simpler if the club just came clean and publicly set the record straight.
Sadly the club has made no binding commitment whatsoever to addressing the jumper issue. Malcolm has made one very brief and vague comment about ‘looking’ at it at the end of 2014 (we have no idea what 'looking' actually means). However Lions Chairman Angus Johnson went on ABC radio the very next day dismissing our campaign, while claiming the club had only received half a dozen letters and emails and that half of those supported the current jumper.
We can tell you, with certainty, that well over a thousand people signed up to our website within a week and more than 100 of them submitted letters to us.
We can’t explain the huge disparity in the figures. To eliminate any "confusion" about whether this is a significant issue we are going to hand deliver your letters to the club next week. We hope the club will recognise that it is in everyone's best interests to respect their members by giving a definitive response.
1) Getting your letter sent in to the club.
PO Box 1535
Coorparoo DC QLD 4151
2) Uploading your letter to our website. Get it to us by Monday night and we guarantee your letter gets to the club by hand delivering it!
3) Spreading the word.
Thanks so much for all your support!
Together we'll be heard!