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Update on Cove – Club Meeting 12/2/14


As many of you know we met with the club last night as a result of our protest and actions last Saturday.

We had an open and honest discussion with the club about our concerns. Our next step is to assess the information we were given and share our thoughts with the rest of The Cove. We are committed to continued dialogue with the club on all matters.

In the meantime, we’ll be there in full force on Saturday, supporting the team and looking for a win against Perth Glory.


Fellow coveites,

We want to explain the process that we are going through to raise and address our concerns.

After long discussions about the events of Saturday and the triggers for the protest, we identified that our deepest concerns were with the Leadership and Vision at the club. We felt that individual events were symptoms of issues, not the true issues themselves and based on this we compiled a set of questions which we felt reflected our concerns.

This was sent to the club the evening before the meeting. We did not share this publicly because we felt that it was only fair give the club the opportunity to address our concerns before making them public.

We met with the club last night. As you can guess from the questions, we received a huge amount of information, feedback and commentary.

Due to the complexity and potentially sensitive nature of those discussions, we feel that it’s appropriate to let the club describe their responses.

Once we’ve had time to digest and discuss this information, we’ll respond both directly to the club and on here for anyone to see.

We won’t be discussing our reactions until we are ready, nor our next steps.

We did not do this lightly.

Below are the questions exactly as presented to the club. Please share your opinions, whether you agree with us or not, but please keep it civil. One of our aims is public debate, ours is not the only opinion that matters, everyone who cares for this club should weigh in.

Click Here to View the Questions


1. Sydney FC’s Football Department

a. There is a widely held perception that the club doesn’t have a football philosophy and lacks a clearly defined plan to develop a winning and attractive football style, this in turn leaves the club lacking a football ‘identity’ how does the club respond to this?

b. From the outside, player and football staff hiring appears haphazard, poorly planned in the context of a football philosophy, and often reactive, player and staff turnover is high compared to other HAL clubs and stability has been an issue as long as the club has existed. Can the club walk us through the current process for player and staff selection, describe to us who is involved, what role they play and what specific process is used to review and validate the success of these activities?

c. Can the club tell us how long the current distribution of recruitment responsibility has been in place and whether they believe it has been successful. What changes, if any, are required?

d. Three years ago the club had a well-staffed highly respected sports science department, with a dedicated recovery programme. There is a perception that has dwindled to a fitness coach and one and a bit Physios. Rumours abound that players at all levels regularly use external physiotherapy and recovery resources against the club’s wishes and without the club’s knowledge. What is the club’s view of this, and what specific plans in place to address any such issues?

2. Sydney FC’s Ambitions

a. Since the club won the A-League in 2009/10 (glorious day) our senior men’s squad have failed to make the finals twice and have been bundled out in the first round once, this season seems likely to follow suit, a level of performance that is deeply disappointing. What does the club see as the main causes of that lack of on-field success and what specific actions are being taken to address those issues?

b. We have often heard from club personnel in the past two years that the goal is to “make the finals” or occasionally “top four” This has led to a perception that club personnel lack the ambition appropriate for an organisation with Sydney FC’s potential. What are the club’s specific short and medium-term football success goals across all teams and what specific, actionable plans are in place to deliver those outcomes?

c. What is the process within the club for measuring progress towards achieving their ambitions? What timeframes have been set? What action will the club take if we continue to fail to achieve those stated goals?

d. Does the club firmly believe that the board and senior management of the club has all of the capabilities required to deliver on the potential of Sydney FC? Has the club considered bringing in additional proven globally successful football club expertise to assist in realising its ambitions?

e. We have been advised that Sydney FC spends less on administration staff than any club in the HAL, which stands in stark contrast to the most expensive squad in Australian Domestic football history. Can the club comment on its non-football staff spending and whether it impacts the ability of the club to achieve its ambitions?

3. Fans, crowds and communications

a. There is a perception that the fan-facing social media elements of the club lack the resources to be effective. Overall Social Media presence, fan engagement and communication appear unstructured and haphazard, in contrast to specific highly successful activities like the #sydneyfcfanchat. Does the club have a detailed social media strategy?, is there a fan communications via social media strategy in place and if so what is the plan to exploit social media?

b. The club has, by some measures had a successful year, record Memberships, record attendances and record sponsorship. However, there is a very common perception that this is due to the ‘ADP Effect’ and that the club will face significant downturns in those numbers when ADP leaves. To what degree does the club agree with this assessment and what specific, actionable plans are in place to address this?

c. Following on from the previous question, the signing of Del Piero was a coup, brought in fans, and gained the club a global profile. There is a perception that in some aspects there were opportunities missed, particularly on-field, but also in developing valuable relationships globally. Can the club tell us whether they feel that they were successful in exploiting the opportunities that came with such a signing and what the legacy of his time with the club will be?

d. The club has stated publicly that communications to fans have not been as good as they should have been. What is the club’s view on why that is, what specific plans and strategies are in place to address it and how will improvement be measured?

e. There is a perception that senior management at the club are quick to condem their own active supporters publicly when there are issues and quick to praise opponents and rivals. Similar behaviour is not observed from their equivalents at other clubs. While this may seem trivial it is perceived as a lack of understanding of the rivalries that lie at the heart of football support. How does the club respond to this?

f. Communication of the club’s plans for the future to fans have been poor, the perception is that the club did not consult any fans, active or otherwise in developing the plan, thereby excluding one of the key stakeholders from the process, shared the plan with the press without any thought of sharing it with fans, and only decided to do so when faced with significant demands from fans. Does the club believe that the exclusion of fans in such an important process was appropriate, and what specific, actionable steps are in place to ensure that fans are a primary audience for such activities in future and not treated in a manner that suggests they were an afterthought in the process?


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