Essendon President Paul Brasher has told members the Board will be “brutally honest” in reviewing opportunities to improve as preparations and planning continue ahead of the 2021 pre-season.
Following a scheduled Board meeting on Thursday evening, Brasher said he will continue to speak to a “sizeable sample” of personnel across the Bombers’ football department over the coming weeks.
“We had a disappointing season, and a particularly half a dozen last rounds. The coming weeks will be about listening and digging to understand exactly where we are,” Brasher said.
“Yesterday, we had a scheduled end-of-season football review Board meeting where the Board engaged at length with Ben (Rutten), Dan (Richardson), Adrian (Dodoro) and Xavier (Campbell) on a review of the season, and our strategy going forward.
“I have been talking to a lot of people within the club and outside to begin to get a feel for what is happening and where we are. While I don’t necessarily agree with everything I hear, I do listen and I, along with the Board, take it seriously.
“In the coming weeks, we will do much more of this. We can’t speak to everybody, but we will make sure we choose a sizeable sample right across our various demographics, including some players who have left the club. If any players or staff who are not included in the sample want to be heard, we will give them that opportunity to be heard.
“I will do as many interviews as I can personally and will involve other Board members as needed. In the case of football staff and players, I will have with me one of Sean Wellman, Simon Madden or Kevin Sheedy to pick up the nuances that I or other Board members might miss.
“I will also continue to talk to people outside the club as we go forward.”
Brasher said he would also extend his discussions to the broader organisation over the coming weeks.
“We can’t and won’t ignore the rest of the club, who are crucial to our success and in some cases are the critical front line of contact with our members and supporters,” Brasher said.
“We will be doing a temperature check talking to our people across the rest of the club.
“I don’t need to tell anybody how much COVID-19 has fractured peoples’ lives and our people have not been spared some of that pain. Like most businesses, we have had to cut back significantly on staff numbers, some people have had to go to reduced hours and everybody has had to take a haircut on their remuneration.
“The reason I’m talking to that, is not a ‘poor me’ on behalf of our people but just to make the point that we have some fantastic people in our club and they are committed to providing the same level of member services with significantly reduced numbers. If occasionally this leads to frustration in member interactions with the club, I would just ask members to be more patient and considerate of the effort they are putting in in these very difficult circumstances.”