I hope you and those close to you are keeping well. There is no doubt this continues to be a challenging time for us all.
In recent weeks, pleasingly we have made positive progress as a community, and with phased restrictions beginning to be lifted, working closely with the relevant state governments and health authorities, the AFL is now close to announcing a path forward to resume the season.
Over the coming days we expect to receive a detailed plan regarding a return to training and the operational protocols each club will be required to adhere to. We also expect to be provided with key information relating to the format and timing of the recommencement the 2020 home and away season.
But a return to play will not mean a complete return to business as usual. For our industry, the prospect of crowds attending games during the first half of the season remains remote and all clubs will be continuing to operate at reduced staffing levels across both the administration and football departments to appropriately manage their cost base.
The economic challenge that our club faces continues to be real. With so much uncertainty, the club has been scenario-planning and putting in place a series of measures to ensure we are in the best possible position, both on and off the field, to be ready for when footy returns.
Make no mistake, we are well planned and prepared. Our management team are experienced in managing through complexities and I have confidence this will greatly assist us in our recovery.
A big part of this planning has been focused on our members, the heart and soul of the Essendon Football Club.
The messages of support and continued loyalty of our proud and passionate members through this period has been truly humbling and overwhelming.
We know this football club means so much to so many.
For me, this club has been a special part of my life for more than 50 years, and I now have the privilege of serving our members as President. I have fond memories of standing on a milk crate as a kid watching our heroes at Windy Hill, the start of a lifelong passion for my team and club.
Through this challenging period, in between the endless conference calls, that nostalgia has never felt so strong, watching with my young daughters great Bombers videos from the past, like when we defeated the Blues in 1998 after they were 25 points up halfway through the last quarter. I was at that game those many years ago but watching it again in lockdown last week reminded me it was always great to watch a victory over the old arch rival.
While we know football won’t be the same without our members in the stands for the short-term, we also want you to know how much your continued support means to your club at this time. It’s paramount and without it, our club would be in a much more difficult position with a less certain future.
Over the coming week, you will receive direct communication from the club with regards to your membership in 2020.
As a club, we are committed to providing our members with flexible ways to continue supporting the club through this period.
The most impactful way you can support our club is to maintain your membership in 2020.
As an acknowledgement, if you maintain your membership for 2020, members will receive a complimentary upgrade for 2021 or a free Essendon guernsey signed by a player. This will be determined by your membership product.
Alternatively, you will have the option to convert your membership to a tax-deductible donation, which we will facilitate through the Australian Sports Foundation on your behalf.
By maintaining your membership with the club, you will be helping to protect our future and keep us independent from the AFL as an unassisted club.
If, as a result of your individual circumstances, you are unable to maintain your membership with the club, we will be able to discuss alternative arrangements with you, including the option of a future credit or refund on your membership.
As we know it is important to members, the Board has also resolved that consecutive years of membership will be honoured, reserved seats will be protected and membership prices will not be increased next season.
Further information regarding all of these options will be provided to members in the coming week.
Finally, in a new initiative, we will be launching the Back a Bomber membership campaign for members to financially support their fellow members doing it tough. Our football club has always supported our people, supported one another. It’s the Essendon way. If you are in a position to help another member, please click here for more details. All funds donated to the Back a Bomber campaign will be directed to support other members in financial hardship.
Our membership team will be in contact over the coming week with more information regarding your membership options. Due to the sheer size of our incredible membership base, we will be required to phase communications to our members so please be aware there may be a slight delay in receiving your tailored email. Should you not receive this update by mid-June, please contact our membership team via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once again, thank you to each and every one of our members for your continued support of the Mighty Bombers.
It has been a hard few months for everyone. We could all do with some normality to our lives again and it will come. From a football perspective, the imminent announcement of the 2020 AFL home and away season returning excites us all and we eagerly await the AFL’s announcement on their return-to-play guidelines.
Together, we have been tested before, and will be tested again, but it is the loyalty of our membership over many generations that continues to be the strength of our club.
There is no denying that the road ahead will be challenging, but we will get through this together.
Please continue to look after one another.