Letter to Hawthorn Members Friday 12th June 2020 


There is a saying “everything is worth waiting for, or something like that! 

Tonight, the brown and gold is back doing what we do best, playing football. 

Down atand against, Geelong. Not only a team against whom we have a great rivalry, but a team and club for whom we have a great respect. 

There is no other team in my opinion which competes as well with Hawthorn on issues of governance and culture. 

No doubt wherever you reside you will, like me, be watching with great interest tonight. 

May the best team win and the game be injury free. 

Last night AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan announced he has secured broadcasting deal with the media that broadcast our games, Channel 7 and Foxtel. Gill and his team deserve our congratulations for achieving such a good deal, including extending the broadcasting arrangement with Channel 7 by two years to 2024. 

That said, it does not reduce the need for the AFL Commission and the AFL to be substantially restructured to be reduced in size and cost, in the same way that the club’s expenditure is being significantly reduced. 

The rivers of gold that have flowed to the AFL have finished. We must reduce our costs, not only to limit the draw down on the debt facility secured, but to position ourselves for a future unexpected event. 

Whether we are an Assisted or Unassisted Club we must all work together with the AFL to secure our future. 

I hope that in the not too distant future we can agree on a set of KPIs for all clubs, which in part will ensure an improvement for all clubs, and the AFL’s financial position. 

The timeline for these KPIs should be three years with an evaluation taking place in the third year of performance. If clubs and their Boards do not meet the KPIs set, they should be relegated to the VFL. 

No longer can non-performance be supported. This is not directed at any club and is only prospective. Emotion alone is not sufficient a reason for non-performance.  

The AFL must take a more commercial view to the conduct of our code. 

Please remember in 1996, Hawthorn, Geelong and Collingwood were in serious financial trouble. Each was able to rebuild. The same opportunity exists for every club, and every club must improve its current position. 

But enough of that for the moment. Suffice to saythe whole code is going to be involved in structural change in the years ahead. 

Can I thank all members for their ongoing support during these most unusual times. Very few have requested changes to their membership, and we accept that the times have placed unexpected financial burdens on some families. You our members are our focus and reason for existing. 

Finally, but really it should have led this letter. 

Our great clubman, player, coach and administrator, John Kennedy Snr, was recently made a Legend of the AFL. 

Your Board, in nominating John was surprisedas I am sure many of you were, that he was not already a Legend. 

There has been no more complete’ person in VFL/AFL history. 

At Hawthorn he helped deliver our firstsecond and third (1961, 1971 and 1976) Premierships. He laid so much of the foundations of our culture. He became the first Chairman of the AFL, and please do not forget he was a very respected teacher and administrator within the Victorian education system. 

Importantly, his personal values set a standard for all of us. Perhaps the most important being humility. Such a successful individual, but one who never sought recognition. Always the team player. 

We congratulate John on this personal honour. 

So tonight, our season begins again. Enjoy the evening. Stay well. 


Go Hawks

Jeff Kennett