15 October 2012

Sturt; What's It All About?

The debate about what the Sturt Football Club are doing, or not doing, has been hotly debated in the press of late. I read on Cr Michael Hudson's website (www.grumpyinunley.wordpress.com ) the following letter from their CEO Matt Benson. This seems to say it all.

Hi Mike,
Happy for you to put the following on your blog…
“The Sturt Football Club has been part of Unley for 111 years and wants to be part of it for the next 111 years. In the last two decades there has been acrimony between the club and some residents – we wish that wasn’t the case. The reality is that Sturt are not moving – we do not wish to move to Mt Barker or Wayville – but we wish to play 2 (two)_ games ONLY under lights at Norwood Oval.  Unley Oval is our home. The club had virtually no option in the 1980′s but to move to Adelaide Oval for league games due to a  (SANFL) ground rationalization strategy and significant financial pressure – the club however continued to be based, to train and to play junior games at  Unley. Is Port Power’s home AAMI Stadium or Alberton Oval? Please understand that the media will always endeavor to fire up a debate – we  are coincidentally dealing today with a fictitious headline that the Adelaide Football Club (the Crows) are taking us over. This is untrue. This is an unfortunate story on the 10th anniversary of the Bali bombings – where we lost two club stalwarts.
Mike Hudson has kindly offered me this opportunity – to place a comment on his blog page. I can therefore confirm unequivocally:
1. The club wishes to be part of Unley and Unley Oval for the next 111 years.
2. The club obviously supports the opportunity to contribute to a planning process that aims to significantly improve our facilities at Unley Oval;
3. The club does not expect  the Council to wholly pay for any upgrade, but wishes to work with the Council and other stakeholders to achieve funding and a mutually  beneficial   result.
4. The club believes that the Unley Oval should be a premium sporting facility that is uniquely available to the community when not being used for sport.
5.  The club uses half of its 700 hour annual occupation of Unley Oval for junior development programs – fact;
6. The club’s senior teams use Unley oval for approximately 350 hours per year – fact;
7. The club has a core (bank) debt of approx $2.2m which it is working to extinguish.
I respect Mike’s passion re the Unley Oval and its availability to residents. I have always however been miffed at the conflicting message re negativity about Sturt’s departure from Unley Oval for league games on the one hand (which resulted in the current layout and I assume is welcomed), and the somewhat aggressive approach in the defense of the layout that has resulted. Isn’t Sturt’s enforced departure in the 1980′s therefore a good thing? No? Yes? I am confused.
The Sturt Football Club will not steal your children – or have your kidney taken out in the middle of the night!! The club is part of Unley – wishes to work with our neighbours, wants the best for its players and members, and is focused on continuing as a positive and generous member of the local community. No cards up any sleeves- NONE! Of course we would be derelict in our duty not to want the best for our great and proud club-  but our view is that we are all in this together!
Thanks, Mike, once again – let’s work together on improving Unley Oval for everyone, as a community — because Sturt aren’t going anywhere”.
Matt Benson.

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