From the Frankston Leader
Reported by Paul Amy
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Gary Buckenara at Frankston Football Club today.
And the Dolphins have set themselves to sign 1000 members — a league best — in the next three months to prove their community support.
The club says its ability to boost membership is a key point that AFL Victoria will consider as it weighs up Frankston’s bid to regain its VFL licence.
The Dolphins went into administration before the last match of the 2016 season with debts of more than $1.5 million.
It has been reduced to $410,000, to be paid off in the next four years.
New general manager and former Hawthorn star Gary Buckenara said the debt was “manageable’’ and the club was making good progress.
But he said it needed to harness the “emotion’’ surrounding AFL Victoria’s decision to keep Frankston out of the 2017 fixture.
More than 3000 people signed a petition calling for it to be reinstated and the Dolphins want to turn them into members.
“When it first happened there was a lot of emotion and people said, ‘Well, we can’t lose Frankston’ but now that emotion has died off to a degree,’’ Buckenara said.
“We need to create that emotion in the community and businesses, to bring back the Dolphins, which is the catchcry.
“We’ve got to present to AFL Victoria (on June 30) about the pillars that they have set us, which is governance, community engagement, sponsorship and membership figures. We’ve got to prove we can be a well-run club, sustainable, with a good football plan.
“We believe we’ll be able to present a compelling case in all of those areas. But the membership side of it needs work and that’s why we’re pushing it. Last year we had roughly 200 members. Our goal is to get it to a minimum of 1000.’’
Former Hawthorn and St Kilda marketing and merchandising manager David Friend has joined Frankston’s board.
He is developing a rewards program that will go with the $50 membership.
Friend said the club needed an “army of volunteers’’.
“That was the secret at Hawthorn and St Kilda. We had a lot of volunteers helping us,’’ he said.
“There are exciting things happening here but we’re under the radar. People mainly have in their heads the negative of what happened last November but we’re well past that stage.’’
Buckenara said AFL Victoria believed the peninsula region was integral to the Victorian football pathway and wanted Frankston to return. But he said the state authority had to be satisfied the Dolphins would be a long-term VFL affiliate.
Buckenara also said the Dolphins would soon appoint a manager to run the social club, which he described as “the best kept secret around’’.
Although the Frankston jumper won’t be seen at Frankston Park this year, more than 30 games will be held at the ground, including two VFL matches.
*To become a Frankston Dolphins member go to frankstonfc.com.au