WHEN Tim Silvers joined Hawthorn's administration in 2004, the club was embarking on significant change. Coach Alastair Clarkson was about to start his tenure, football manager Mark Evans had taken over the reins, Ian Robson had begun as the club's chief executive and Jeff Kennett's presidency was in its infancy.
Silvers this year departed the Hawks, where he had most recently been its second-in-charge as chief operating officer, to join Adelaide as its new chief executive, replacing the outgoing Andrew Fagan in March. And as Silvers begins his stint as the Crows' boss, he is taking inspiration from the Hawks' ascent from ground zero.
"They reset the club and rebuilt it sort of from the ground up and I see my experience coming into Adelaide as something similar," Silvers told AFL.com.au.
"Matty Nicks has been around for 18 months, our GM of footy Adam Kelly similar, the chair (John Olsen) has been around for six months and I'm the new kid on the block. I see this reset as something similar to what Hawthorn did and we just have to commit to it being a reset and a rebuild for a reason.
"This club has been in existence for 30 years and had some success, but the decision has been made to rebuild and I'm part of that journey. I can see [that with] the key pillars, if we're all aligned, we'll have success."
Silvers is part of the sweeping change that has washed through Adelaide since its 2017 Grand Final defeat, with the club working through a significant rebuild of its list under Nicks. This season started with three wins from the first four games but has thudded back to earth with four straight losses, including last week's Showdown defeat to Port Adelaide.
Silvers, who was approached to take on the role at Adelaide after Fagan resigned, said this season was about growing the foundations of their game style, with emerging midfielder Lachie Sholl this week becoming the 10th Crow to re-sign at the club so far in 2021.
"These things take time. It's going to be a journey and I don't want to put a time on it. My piece is that we want to see effort and intensity from the young players and development. And we want to see a semblance of a strong game plan," Silvers said.
"They're the four key planks that I want to see first and foremost over the next one to two years as we grow. We want to play a brand of footy that makes our members and fans proud.
"Last year we took a bit of a hit and had some massive challenges, but making the members proud of our performance is first and foremost and just getting games into the young kids and growing them."
As well as finishing last on the ladder in 2020, the Crows shrunk their workforce by nearly 40 per cent after the football industry was ravaged by the impact of COVID-19. Silvers knew those challenges, having helped steer the Hawks through the same period.
Adelaide has been the focus of criticism in recent years about its culture and connection to fans, but the understated Silvers, who has a focus on leading a football-driven strategic build, said he had not seen that since stepping into the role.
"There was a little perception from people in Melbourne that I was coming into somewhat of an arrogant club, but once I got my feet under the desk and got to know the people and the values, I think that perception is not a reality," he said.
"There's some really good people here, we've got good leaders in the right positions and the women’s program has been something that I haven't experienced at the elite level. It's been great for me and they've embraced me."
NEW CROWS BOSS TIM SILVERS ON…
Adelaide's move from its West Lakes headquarters
"It will happen. There's no doubt about that. It's one of the priorities of the club, the chair and now it's been incorporated by me as CEO. West Lakes has been a great home for the club for a period of time, but ... within the past seven years we've got two extra teams, we've got more people. We need to house an elite training and admin facility for our men’s and women’s programs, we'd like to get closer to the city, we need a home for our AFLW team and potentially our SANFL team. At the moment West Lakes is out of town and doesn't have the adequate facilities, but [we need] a place for our members and fans to congregate as a group."
His impressions of coach Matthew Nicks
"A really good and well-respected leader. He has the players on side, he's built really good relationships with his players and he's brought in a new coaching group over the last six months and they seemed to have gelled really well. There's a focus on teaching, development and preparing for a strong game plan. He's setting up a really good environment and a really good culture."
Taylor Walker's contract for 2022
"With Taylor he's one of a few veterans coming out of contract this year and I think we'd probably like to group them together and review it mid-season. But what I would say about Tex is his season so far has been outstanding, the way he's led the group has been fantastic, his form is doing all the right things that indicate another season would definitely be warranted and something we'll discuss with him in the middle of the year."
The Adelaide bubble
"I thought I knew how big footy was here before I got here, but it's bigger than I thought. There's a real intensity to it, and a spotlight, and I enjoy it. I see it as an opportunity for our club to continue to grow our members, supporters and brand. But I probably didn't realise until I got here how big a club we were and how much media exposure we got."