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The Boys' Club Paperback – 26 May 2021
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A ferocious new book.--[ONLINE] The Guardian
It brings out emotions that turn otherwise staid, conservative, reasonable and rational beings into angry, unreasonable and irrational people.--NATIONAL [PRINT] The Australian [AUDIENCE: 3,716, ASR: AUD 12,796]
- Publisher : Hachette Australia; 1st edition (26 May 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0733644945
- ISBN-13 : 978-0733644948
- Dimensions : 15.4 x 3.4 x 23.4 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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I will be up front and say that I am an Essendon supporter and Michael Warner is one of few journalists telling the truth about the supplements saga, a truth that 99% of media refuse to tell the fans.
With the AFL it's their way or the highway, proven by the treatment of James Hird, Dean Bailey and Grant Thomas to name a few.
It reveals the lies and cover ups in the AFL and fans need to take a stand to make them accountable for their actions including eliminating the "Boys Club" culture.
An ESSENTIAL read for all parents with children being encouraged to play in this cesspool
Michael Warner has done a great job weaving his way through the myriad of scandals, cover-ups and downright shonky deals that have been allowed to happen on Demetriou's and Mclachlan's watches. He calls for an independent review, but essentially he's already written that in the form of this book. It's a great starting place to get it right in the future.
Thoroughly enjoyed reading it, couldn't put it down.
Top reviews from other countries
The Crawford report back in 1984 envisaged an organizational structure for the competition that more closely reflected the governance and accountability structures and practices of the corporate world - the CEO and management team implement the strategy approved by the Board which is, in turn, elected by the shareholders. It started out this way but somewhere along the line (i.e. when Mike Fitzpatrick took over the Chairman's role) the Executive team sidelined the Board's role and there has been a gradual emasculation of the role of the Commission and the member clubs in decision making since that point (in no small part because of their reliance on the cash hand outs from the AFL).
Warner does a very thorough job of recounting the various crises that have consumed the AFL over the past few decades. In each case it seems that the AFL management simply believed it could micro-manage the problem to a better outcome than an independent and more transparent process could do. That may be true most of the time but it's going to blow up in your face periodically - just ask Essendon. It is certainly sad to read about how some great football people have been thrown under the bus in the interest of resolving embarrassing episodes - not least of whom - James Hird, suffered immensely.
This really gets to the heart of the book - the AFL's willingness to protect (and reward) their mates and leave the rest lying on the scrapheap. Melbourne is a big city - but a small town. It is inevitable that the city's movers and shakers will be involved in the AFL in some capacity and the potential for a conflict of interest (or appearance thereof) is real. Is this all a bad thing? Sometimes a benevolent dictatorship gets the best results regardless of some shortcuts along the way. The league now has great facilities, valuable TV rights, well paid professional players and a passionate audience - no wonder it is now referred to as the AFL industry. Warner outlines a number of steps that should be considered to improve the shortcomings he outlines in the book. Probably not all would see the light of day - but to my somewhat naive eye - they seem pretty reasonable. It all gets back to the Crawford vision of 40 years ago - ensuring that there is proper governance and transparency in place so the fans can trust the product on display on a Saturday afternoon (or Saturday night, or Sunday, or Monday or Thursday or Friday).