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Transcript: Buckley Q & A

August 10, 2017 3:27 PM

North Melbourne Chairman Ben Buckley answered questions from fans on Facebook as part of the club's new Fan Forum feature.

If you missed the live Q & A, read the full transcript of the conversation below.

Keep an eye out in the coming weeks for information on our next Fan Forum, with GM of Football Cameron Joyce.

Shilo Desira: Hi Ben. If we continue to struggle is there a possibility we will have to go to Tasmania? I don't want to see that happen.
Ben Buckley: We will remain a North Melbourne based club under my leadership.

Robert Sirr: Hey, I live in Canberra - why shouldn't I leave supporting the kangaroos for the giants?
Ben Buckley: Because true Shinboners are loyal forever.

Candace Jordan: Hi Ben. I'm a Schimma platinum member with a reserved seat on level 2 at Etihad. On Saturday night we had several groups of Collingwood supporters sitting around us. I realise the club on sells these tickets at times to increase revenue but as a member who contributes more than $700 a year to the club I don't appreciate having to put up with opposition supporters. I have five other immediate family members who sit with me as well as several other extended family members that sit in this section. Is this something the club will continue to do in the future? I would like to think my $700 a year is more important than a one off payment for a reserved seat. Thanks!
Ben Buckley: We are aware of this issue. I've spoken to the membership department and the arrangement's under review. Currently, any unsold seats in this area are handed back to Ticketmaster for re-sale to the general public. From next year, we want to make sure that Schimma Club members have this area exclusively for them and their guests.

Jarred Reaby: Hey Ben how is our debt now? Are we nearly finished paying our debt off?
Ben Buckley: We're really proud of the club that we had $8 million of debt and now we have less than $1 million which is very manageable. Thanks to all the supporters for helping us out along the way and a great job by James Brayshaw and the previous board for helping us get to this position.

Brett Chard: Could we play some more games at MCG .... Reckon our game style suits the G. 
Ben Buckley: We have a deal with Etihad Stadium as our home ground, so it's unlikely we'd be playing any more games at the MCG.

Dion Alessi: Gday Ben, when will we ever have facilities like Collingwood and Essendon!?
Ben Buckley: With the future development of the Arden precinct, we are looking to further develop and expand our facility. The potential in this area is huge and plans recently published on various news sites showed us increasing our footprint substantially. We're working closely with the local council, government and the AFL to bring these plans to fruition.

Judith Watson: Evening Ben. I have been following North for around 50 years. I must admit it is getting a little frustrating watching they boys this year. They just don't appear to be enjoying the game or play with the old 'shinboner' spirit. Just wondering how can the club lift this and put a bit of this back into the playing group.
Ben Buckley: Hey Judith. Congratulations on 50 years of support. Other than a couple of games, we've been super-competitive and I think we can all be proud of the efforts of a young, relatively inexperienced team.

David Thiele: Howdy Ben how's the investment into. Tassie going with the academy and is there any good players there that kangaroos could get ???
Ben Buckley: Pleased to report that we had record numbers for our Next Generation Academies again this year. There's a tremendous amount of talent. We've been delighted with the response to our commitment to develop talent in Tasmania.

Peter Moorer: I'm worried the AFLW team being called Tasmanian Kangaroos is a step along the path to re-location not under your tenure but in the longer term. Why should North supporters back a Tasmanian team?
Ben Buckley: I've publicly stated that North Melbourne will always have its home at Arden Street under this board and under my leadership. Our partnership with Tassie on the AFL Women's license bid is a way for North to help grow women's footy in Tassie.

Christian Trumble: Hi Ben! What are the clubs main goals for this off season in terms of on field and off field? Where do you hope to see North Melbourne next year?
Ben Buckley: Clearly we are very active in the free agency market. We are hopeful of recruiting the most elite talent available and we are leaving no stone unturned in this area, but it's challenging.  We want to be playing competitive football every week and seeing both individuals and the team improve and develop.

Brad Roo: Greetings Ben, does our current Etihad contract require us to pay out income in the event of smaller crowd numbers vs interstate sides, and if so, when will we be renegotiating this contract? BTW, it is great to have you back at Arden Street. I have strong faith that you will deliver our 5th premiership. Thanks.
Ben Buckley: Our current agreement at Etihad is not satisfactory. We have been very public about that in the past. We are working with all the tenant clubs at Etihad and the AFL to get a better deal and ensure we are on an even footing with other clubs financially.

Ethan Reeves: How hard are we trying to land a big name player in the offseason and how successful do you believe it may be? Cheers.
Ben Buckley: We'll leave no stone unturned in order to improve our list, Ethan.

Matti Schwarz: Any news on resigning some of the out of contract young blokes? Been especially impressed with Dec Mountford and Dan Nielsen since they've had their opportunity.
Ben Buckley: There might be some good news in the next couple of weeks on that front.

Amos Langford: Hi Ben, Josh Kelly aside, will North be trying to get a few high picks in the draft? Or targeting a ready made player or 2?
Ben Buckley: Amos, I can't speak for the footy department, but the media team is aiming to have GM of Football Cameron Joyce sit in this chair in the next few weeks to answer all your questions about on-field related matters.

Marcus Gianchino: Hey Ben, wondering what you have thought of our kids so far.. are they showing really positive signs? Will they bond together with the new north VFL next year?
Ben Buckley: We're really excited about having a standalone VFL side next year and believe that it will be key to fast-tracking the development of our younger players. Our alignment with Werribee has been fantastic, but the future for us in this space is enormous and will only help to make our players grow.

Josh Barnstable: Will the club ask for another JLT Community Series match at Arden Street for 2018, after the highly-successful game against Hawthorn this year?
Ben Buckley: Yes, it was absolutely brilliant to be back at Arden Street. We are hopeful we can play many more JLT games in future years, as well as our VFL team, and hopefully our AFLW team. We want to bring footy back to Arden Street.

Michael Ciavarella: Hi Ben, great to have you at the club! What are the top 3 objectives for the club (off field) for 2018?
Ben Buckley: Re-develop Arden Street, get to 50,000 members over the next 3-5 years and launch our VFL standalone team and AFLW team.

Jarred Reaby: What would be our membership target in the next couple of years to come?
Ben Buckley: We broke 40,000 again this year, thanks to all our members. Our next goal is to get to 45,000 again. Hope you all come out and support.

Terri Pollard: We fought very hard to stay a Victorian Team are we go to stay that way
Ben Buckley: Absolutely! 

Emma Mapley: After the won games what do you do besides sing the song? Daniel Age 9.
Ben Buckley: Hi Daniel. Thanks for your question. Long celebrations with my sons who are about the same age as you.

Martin Fitzmaurice: Hi Ben, will we be requesting more MCG games next year and perhaps a few more Friday night games?
Ben Buckley: We'd always like more Friday night games, as we were the club that introduced it to the competition.

Jarred Reaby: Are we still going to upgrade our Arden st facilities? What's the news on that? Have u guys been given the green light to do it?
Ben Buckley: Huge plans for the redevelopment of the Arden precinct. We are working with developers and government to build an even better facility than we currently have as part of that redevelopment. Important that we keep up with other clubs and have room for standalone VFL side and potential AFLW team in future.

Omar Youssef: Hi Ben, have we been given any indication on whether we will keep the Good Friday game next year?
Ben Buckley: No guarantees, but it was an outstanding success this year. I know the AFL were very, very happy with the way the club supported the Royal Children's Hospital Appeal and made it a very special occasion beyond just being a footy game. We are doing everything we can to make it a permanent fixture.

Vito Milana: Will Brad Scott be coaching the Roos next year?
Ben Buckley: Brad is contracted for next year. We think he's done a terrific job this year in resetting the team for the future. We've blooded 11 new players and we've given opportunity to a number of others. Brad has been instrumental in leading the process and has met all our expectations this year.

Alex Devine: Who is your favourite player at the club?
Ben Buckley: That's like picking your favourite child, but I love the way Jack Ziebell plays footy.