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'Melbourne must get Sheedy'

Damian Barrett  April 8, 2013 9:23 PM

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Appointing Kevin Sheedy would make Melbourne's future much brighter, Damian Barrett argues

MELBOURNE Football Club's problems are so widespread and entrenched that only a sustained series of new measures will aid recovery.

But there is one project which should be pursued immediately: Get Sheedy.

Don't worry about the fact the man is 65 years of age, embrace it. Don't fear that his best days in football are behind him, instead create a platform which would allow for the possibility that those days may actually be still to come.

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Installing Kevin Sheedy in a position of real power, be that head of football, general manager of players, maybe even coach, would not be a magic wand, but it would at least sell hope and belief, the two crucial qualities the Demons so sadly lack right now.

Sheedy, four-time premiership coach and now in his 29th – and as it stands final - year as a senior coach, would almost certainly entertain the approach.

It is up to Melbourne to make that approach. Failure to make it, or at least something similarly bold, would be to concede failure. Mind you, such a state and mindset has pervaded all facets of the Demons that they probably won't be capable or courageous enough to do anything meaningful to arrest their plight.

This remember, is a club run by a board which was so weak in 2011 that in the space of three days it overturned its own decision to part with chief executive officer Cameron Schwab and reappoint him and instead sack coach Dean Bailey.

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This, you will recall, is a club which has pathetically patted itself on the back for convincing the AFL to not lay match fixing charges against it, yet happily copped a half-million dollar fine in the same judgment.
This is a club which has botched way too many player decisions, including an embarrassing and delusional scattergun approach to last year's trade period.

So out of touch has Melbourne become with what is required to be relevant in the AFL that it now sits embarrassingly near Fitzroy of the mid-1990s and Sydney Swans of the early 1990s.

We know what happened to Fitzroy, and we know that the appointment of a then-57-year-old Ron Barassi as coach ultimately transformed the fate of the Swans.

Sheedy looms to Melbourne as Barassi did to the Swans. In fact, he is probably more gettable. Barassi had long retired, and needed cajoling from the AFL and his good mate Ron Joseph to accept the role.

Sheedy never wanted his coaching career stopped. He has accepted that 2013 will be his last year as head of GWS, but not that he will never coach again in the AFL.

He is not a man to look back on life, but he can hold a grudge. He still hurts at the disrespectful (his choice of word) way he was treated by Melbourne when in late 2007 he applied for the coaching job which was given to Bailey.

"I actually went and interviewed Melbourne (in 2007) - they thought they were interviewing me - and you could see the problems coming," Sheedy recalled last year.

"(I thought) they've got to get their act together better. That was five years ago.

"Look, you couldn't say that you were interviewed by the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest committee, but I just wasn't really thinking that they were the right guys … it was a Clayton's interview. But that's OK."

If Melbourne doesn't think big, it won't be around for the long haul. That is not emotion-driven speculation, simply fact. Slip the lasso of truth around anyone who matters at AFL headquarters, and you'll realise the club's plight right now is frightening at best.

At the very least, a future with Sheedy would make it significantly brighter.

Dees, just go and get him. Make the call today. Make it happen.