With 30 months to run on his contract, Simon Goodwin‘s job is not safe.
Just ask Melbourne chairman Glen Bartlett.
The conventional wisdom was there would be no coach sackings this year.
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A slashed soft cap would make it financially irresponsible, or so we thought.
But Melbourne chairman Glen Bartlett’s comments in the Herald Sun have placed Goodwin and the rest of the football department on notice.
Make no mistake, these words were chosen deliberately.
“It was disgraceful,” Bartlett said of Thursday night‘s loss to Port Adelaide in an interview with Jon Ralph.
“When you pull on a Melbourne jumper, we don’t give them out in Weeties packets.”
“…It was an insipid performance. It wasn’t Melbourne-like and it won’t be tolerated going forward.”
The Demons have won three and lost five with games against Adelaide and North Melbourne to come. They should be 5-5 after Round 11, which is hardly a position to panic from.
A couple of easy kills could propel the Demons into finals contention, but it could also paper over the cracks.
Front and centre in all of this is the coach, Simon Goodwin. He’s remained calm despite some ordinary performances since the 2018 preliminary final, but he would know the only currency that matters now is results.
He is contracted until the end of 2022. It would cost the club (conservatively) $1.4 million to sack him at the end of the year and closer to $2 million if it pulled the trigger earlier.
The soft cap is likely to be around $6 million for 2021. Would a club be willing to spend a third of that on a person no longer working for them?
According to Mark Robinson on Saturday Countdown, the answer is yes they would. “Goodwin is on notice,” Robinson said.
If the Demons raise $1 million by Christmas, they will be one of the few unassisted clubs in the league. Foxfooty.com.auunderstands they are more than halfway to their target.
Financially, the club has probably never been in a better position. The books have been balanced and all that remains is to find a training base the encompasses football and administration.
But does the cost of keeping a coach you’ve lost faith in outweigh the cost of cutting him loose?
And how large does Ross Lyon’s shadow loom? Or Michael Voss’? Or even Alastair Clarkson? The Demons board has not lost faith yet, but Goodwin – like many of his colleagues and players – cannot afford another bad misstep. Bartlett’s candid language proves it.
Melbourne underwent a dramatic football department restructure after finishing 17th last year. They paid big money to lure Darren Burgess to head up the fitness program, signed Alan Richardson on a long-term deal and had 17 personnel changes.
Experienced assistants Craig Jennings and Brendan McCartney left at the end of their contracts, while Jade Rawlings departed mid-contract to North Melbourne.
Bartlett’s comments were even more piercing because he’s traditionally been a huge public supporter of the football program. He hasn’t been one to fly off the handle like some of his fellow chairmen.
Saturday’s scathing remarks reflect a man who is restless and potentially more ruthless than anyone previously thought. It’s worth noting Bartlett’s reputation in the WAFL was as a brutal competitor. He’s not the highest profile chairman, but he’s also no pushover.
“I am sure they had a tough review but we just can’t serve up that kind of rubbish for our fans and supporters and for footy in general,” he continued.
“We pride ourselves on a tough, competitive brand of footy and on providing entertainment in the way we play. We were on the right track in the last three weeks and that was as soft as butter.”
Sacking Goodwin with more than two years left on a deal he penned 15 months ago would be a mammoth call and still appears far-fetched and highly improbable.
But when the chairman puts it on firmly on the agenda so openly and with such vigour, it’s only reasonable to conclude it’s now part of the conversation around Melbourne’s board table.