Melbourne chairman Glen Bartlett has hailed the club’s list as top four quality and forecast a host of football department changes in the coming weeks.
But these changes won’t include Simon Goodwin, who Bartlett believes is the right man to lead the club to its 13th flag.
Bartlett opened up in a revealing interview with Nita Rao and Kiran Iyer of the Deeluded podcast, declaring finals a non-negotiable in 2021 and pouring cold water on Clayton Oliver trade rumours.
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Demons chief executive Gary Pert is finalising his “deep dive” internal review, which is expected to recommend key adjustments within the coaching ranks.
A requirement to slash $3 million of football department spending coupled with a desire to be “ruthless” in the pursuit of success will see the club reshuffle many of its senior lieutenants in the near future.
Bartlett, who made headlines with a scathing attack on the team after a loss to Port Adelaide in the winter, also didn’t rule out further “feedback” for Goodwin after a second straight season with no finals action.
“I’m not going to speculate (on Goodwin’s future beyond 2021),” Bartlett said on Deeluded.
“Simon is contracted to coach us. He‘s the coach. I haven’t got the report yet, but I anticipate (other) changes coming out of the review.
“We‘re very mindful and environment as well where there are cuts, significant cuts, mental health issues, a lot of pressure.
“What we‘re going to do is we’re reviewing it to really make the changes and there may be feedback for Simon out of this process but make the necessary changes our best chance of success.
“I believe it is actually getting around Simon and supporting him and getting the right people and making sure we are driving standards in a ruthless way across the club.”
Bartlett said Pert’s review would not “blow up” the football program, highlighting the faith Richmond, Collingwood and West Coast showed in their coaches as demonstrations of stability over sackings.
“Even West Coast got wobbly on (Adam) Simpson at one point,” he said.
“But the expectation is I don’t want us to just make the numbers up, either.
“I think we have more capability than that. But it‘s one thing to talk about it, it’s another thing to deliver it. And there’s a lot of standards and stuff to address behind the scenes, and you guys will see the finished product.
“…I think we’ve got a top four list, most people you talk to in footy …top four to top six.”
Improved finances since Bartlett arrived in 2013 has him expecting the Demons to be debt-free by the end of the year, despite significant speed bumps due to COVID-19.
According to Bartlett, Melbourne has the fourth best balance sheet in the competition.
“I think 12 clubs are now assisted and there are only six that are unassisted and we know one of those six,” he said.
“Whilst we work with the AFL and that‘s part of what we need to do, we are not so keen to have an administrative office situation where all your decisions, financial decisions are kind of out of your hands (so) you have to report.
“You have to produce all these reports from these things in the past. We don‘t want to be in that world preferably. And it’s important, I think, for our supporters and mindset to be financially strong, and independent.”
On Oliver, who has been rumoured to be unhappy and on the radar of Carlton, Bartlett gave the strongest indication yet the midfielder would be at the Demons next year and reaffirmed the club’s interest in Ben Brown.
”Clarry will be playing for Melbourne,” he said.
“We love Clayton Oliver… I hope we can get Brown to the club, but at the end of the day, they (the list management team) make the call.
“And what I‘ve seen over the last seven years is, I think they’ve been a very professional group, and pretty much got it right, there’s always going to be different opinions.
“I strongly believe we‘re on the cusp, we need to steer the course, get through this review, make the right changes and full steam into 2021.
“There‘s a few areas that need to be sorted and we’ll do that and we’ll attack 2021 like there’s no tomorrow.”