Open Letter to Richmond Football Club

Open Letter to Richmond Football Club

Dear RFC,

I have been a supporter of the Richmond Football Club for as long as I can remember, I am in my mid 30’s, so that puts my time following this club at somewhere around the 3 decade mark.

I am passionate, one eyed and loyal. I love the Yellow and Black. I loved Jeff Hogg, and as a kid, I cried countless times when we lost games back in the late 80s.

Ive been through many years of pre season anticipation as a Tiger Fan. I love watching us play at the MCG, and equally love sitting at home watching when I can’t make a game.

I have broken remotes in frustration. Screamed abuse at my TV after close losses. Walked out from games at half time due to not being able to stomach seeing us lose. I get involved as a spectator, and I love the effect that following this once great club has on me, and has on other Tiger supporters.  We are emotional. We are vocal. We are passionate.

Being a tiger is frustrating…but now, that has reached a point where its gone beyond that. Now its become painful.

My memory doesn’t stretch far enough back to remember the glory days of the late 70s and early 80s.

It does stretch far enough back to remember the hurt of the 80s and 90s however.

The domination of Ablett and Dunstall, at our expense still makes me shudder.

My “glory days” refer to our handful of finals appearances in the last 30 years.

I admit, I shed a tear at the MCG last year during the loss to Carlton. Along with 1000’s of other fans I am sure.

I have spent the last couple of years at wits end with this club, just when we seem to be approaching a peak, and maybe will truly compete with the top clubs in this competition…we reach 2014, and what is suddenly a nightmare.

2014 will be yet another year of disappointment and heartache.

A year that feels like so many past for us passionate Tiger Fans.

I am at a loss for words when it comes to where we are as a football club.

This year should have seen us push for top 4. Yet in reality on field, we look nothing above bottom 4.

We are a rabble at times during games. Our so called “star” players make simple skill errors.

Our midrange players would struggle to even get a game in any of the top echelon sides.

Our fringe players..well, they aren’t even worth mentioning.

We seem to constantly field a side of players with attitudes and mentality you would expect from a player of Gary Ablett or Chris Judds calibre…but without the ability, and more importantly, without the work ethic to match it.

Players like Judd and Ablett obviously ooze natural talent…but  the difference they have above our side, is that they work hard. They train hard…and they don’t expect things to come to them on a silver platter. So why is it so obvious to all Richmond fans that our players do expect things to come easy?

Instead of lifting and fighting when things go wrong during a game, they sulk on the ground like spoilt brats, drop heads and get blown off the park.

Instead of burying a side when things are going well, a feeling of smugness, even arrogance appears and we get overrun.

There is a culture at this club…and it has been present for a long time…of over confidence and an attitude of being more talented or more deserving of adoration from fans than is warranted by the on field performances.

The attitude doesn’t just stop there. Its very obvious off the field as well.

I recently lived less than a block from Bridge Road, in Richmond. I have seen first hand the arrogance of our team around the Melbourne streets and cafe scene.

Admittedly, it may not be all players in the side, but the vast majority of the playing list seem think they have “made it” at AFL level, simply because they are playing for one of the Big Victorian Clubs. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

In all honesty, we are probably the most unsuccessful AFL side over the last 30 years. That is the mantle our players should be wearing, and that mantle shouldn’t be worn with pride.

Sure, maybe financially we are going ok. Maybe we have 60k members this year. But when it comes to what has been done on the field…we are bottom 3 in performance.

Why is that case?

Why do players in the Yellow Black have such over confidence in their ability?

Why have sides like Geelong, Hawthorn, Collingwood or North Melbourne been through ups and downs over the last 3 decades…yet Richmond Football Club have been horribly under performed.

Why are we yet again facing a season of disappointment, frustration and let down?

I dont blame our coach, and I don’t like it when the media does but there is something rotten in this club, and when you look at the cold, hard truth…it is the responsibility of the Coach to lift a side, change mentality and get results.

Its becoming more and more obvious this year that Hardwick doesn’t seem to be able to do that.

The dropping of Vickery two weeks ago was a good sign, and gave me some hope, yet all of a sudden, we go 3 steps backwards and an under performing player, with a horrible attitude, is back in the side because he has an “ok” game in the twos.

Why not persist with Griffith?

Why not blood young McBean?

Why step back to a player that has had ample opportunity, yet only ever produced mediocrity.

We are never going to succeed against clubs with the right attitudes, regardless of our skill levels, until something changes in the mentality of our club.

The sad thing in my opinion is that this doesn’t look to be something that is going to happen in the short term, and with Gold Coast and GWS set to dominate the next decade or so, our small window of opportunity seems to have already slammed shut, ending our 2014 season…and probably ending a lot of fans belief in the Yellow and Black.

Sincerely yours,

A Tiger Fan,