The Last Hurrah

Brett Charlesworth

My full final report is in the Annual Report and it’s more about the LAST 16 YEARS and about the FUTURE than it is about this season. I’ve left this season for all my colleagues to report on from all their different perspectives which they’ve all done wonderfully well.

I’ll warn you my bit is long (10 pages) but 8 of those pages are devoted to thanking and recognising many of the amazing and most influential people (past and present) I have worked with at our Club over 16 years.

So many people have played a role in that time, in taking us from where we were to where we are today, and I wanted to acknowledge and show my deep appreciation to those people.

And where we are today is undoubtedly the strongest, most successful, most respected Club in our League…and that was our ultimate goal all those years ago.

Please have a read of this part of my report so you too can share in that appreciation of those people.

About 2 pages of my report were devoted to the future of our Club and what I think we should be doing to make it the best future it can possibly be.

If you don’t read it in the report I’d like you to read it here…

OUR FUTURE
“I can’t complete my tenure comfortably without turning an eye on the future. So here goes.

People often say to me, “Did you ever believe that we’d win 3 A Grade premierships in a row?”…or “Did you ever think we’d win 4 individual premierships in 3 consecutive years?” …or “Can you believe we won the SFL Club of the Year 3 times on the trot?” or any number of similar questions.

My answer, hand on heart, is “YES” I did believe all those things were possible and more. Maybe not the exact specifics but certainly the magnitude of those achievements. And that’s the key to it. You have to believe…and you have to keep on believing…NO MATTER WHAT.

We were talking about being the best Club in the League…about being a powerhouse Club…about building a dynasty…from the very early days when most people, including many within our Club, thought it was a pipe dream. We described what that dynasty looked like and made it quite clear that while A Grade premierships were essential to that goal they weren’t going to be enough. We had to have strength, unity and success across all grades and all areas of the Club, not just the A Grade, to be the absolute best. And it needed to be a consistent success.

It’s vital for our future that we understand that our success is not about a “cycle” and it wasn’t just “our turn”. We achieved success because we believed…we kept on believing…and we never stop believing no matter what obstacles got in our way and no matter what temporary setbacks we endured.

We had challenges, we had tough times and we had more than our share of kicks in the guts. We had divisive issues occur within the Club that threatened our strength and unity at times, but we met those challenges, addressed them honestly, fairly and positively, and stayed true to our values and true to our goals. We never took the easy road…we took the right road.

The belief is what gives you the strength to keep trying, to keep improving, to keep overcoming, to keep finding the answers, to never giving up until you achieve your goal.

We did that. And we need to keep doing that.

We haven’t arrived at our destination. We never will. We are still on the journey. We need to keep re-setting our goals. We need to keep redefining what our “best ever year” looks like and believe we can achieve it.

There are ALWAYS new goals. There are always higher mountains to climb. We don’t have to look elsewhere for those challenges. We’ve never won more than four premierships across all grades in a single year. Four A Grade premierships in a row is better than three…and five is better than four. No-one in our league has ever won five in a row. Let’s be the first. We haven’t won a Girls premiership yet…why not 2019? The list of goals yet to be achieved goes on and on. There are ALWAYS higher mountains to climb.

We have lost a few Senior players this year who are seeking out new challenges. That’s their right but they are mistaken to think there weren’t bigger challenges here than what they have taken on.

We are now in a position to achieve things that most other Clubs can barely dream about. Why lower our sights and our standards now?

It doesn’t matter we have lost those guys for now, it doesn’t matter that our skipper and spiritual leader is out for a year with a knee recon (although I wish he wasn’t)…they are just obstacles and setbacks for us to overcome yet again. We just find ways of turning those negatives into positives like we’ve done so many times before. Our success proves we can do it.

I am supremely confident about our future. Our Club is our people. Our people have made our Club the great success that it is…and our people will lead us into an even more successful future.

For stability at the top, we have 2 exceptional people in Deb and Grant continuing on in their roles plus a raft of other experienced committee members continuing on to support them.

We have a new President, Neil who will bring in freshness and excitement and I am confident will also treasure the values and philosophies we hold dear.

Within the President’s role, there are many tasks to perform, but the single most important role of the president is to promote, protect and enhance our culture and I believe these men will strive to do just that.

Our Senior program will be led by Darren Vanzetta who has been at Mitty’s side, contributing to our A Grade success to date and who will now stamp his own brand on the program to ensure we keep moving ahead and are never stagnant. Alongside him is Don Aldridge as Senior Footy Director, but so much more. Don is a great footy man, family man and an exceptional administrator. I have no doubt he will play a pivotal role in our future success. I’m looking forward to seeing what Bill Kelsey and Julianne Mitchell bring to their key roles as Junior Footy Director and Secretary respectively. I believe they each have a huge amount to offer.

Importantly Mel Haslam continues in her vital role as Sub Junior Coordinator. A number of other key positions have opened up though that will attract more new, high quality people to them.

Many of the exceptional leaders and senior players we have across our grades will still be there continuing to set the example to their team mates and acting as role models for our juniors.

We are entering a transformational and very exciting time for our Club.

A Club is just another name for a group of people. People have brought us to this high point…and people will lead the way forward to even higher points.

EVERYONE has a role to play. EVERYONE has strengths to bring to the table. Together we have come this far…together we will go further.

May the Flagstaff Hill Football Club be forever “Strong & United”…

…and may there be many more “Best Years Ever” to come.

Thank you from the bottom of heart for the absolute honour and privilege of being your president these last 16 years. Keep soaring higher.”

Author: Kate Williams