First, I hope you are managing as best as possible during these trying times. Your loyalty and support during the pandemic has been extraordinary and on behalf of the Board, management, players, coaches and staff, we sincerely thank you.

I felt it was important to write to you and address a number of issues that have arisen in light of our form over recent weeks.

Clearly our performances have been nothing but disappointing. While we have been severely impacted by injury and we are fielding a team missing many of our best and most important players, we are a club that demands competitiveness and success.  Regardless of which players are on the park, there’s a level of endeavour and a North Melbourne brand of football we’ve come to expect and are committed to.

Our game is tough with many variables that contribute to wins and losses. I can assure you each player and staff member is doing everything in their power to resurrect the season. As someone with a long history in this game, I know our team of people will be more critical of themselves than anyone can be of them.

In light of where we stand at this point in the season, it’s important to not only state where we currently sit, but to provide assurances as to where we are going.

It’s no secret to any of you that our club underwent a significant transformation last year following a two month review by KPMG.

The changes that were made following that review were designed to set the club on a new path and to lay the foundations for a new era. These changes were difficult to make, but we are highly confident they were the right ones and expect the results to be realised in due course.

However, it’s important to note it is only the beginning and those that have been entrusted with the task of turning our club’s fortunes around and securing our fifth flag, need time as it will not happen overnight.

Following the review we assembled a group of highly respected and professional operators who have developed a detailed strategic plan for the football department and the wider club. That plan was presented to and approved by the Board in recent months. The key elements of that plan are currently being implemented and have one goal in mind; to win premierships.

After an exceptional run as caretaker coach and an impressive body of work behind the scenes, Rhyce Shaw displayed all the attributes and values we were looking for in a new leader for our football team. The coaching group was refreshed, and we headhunted Brady Rawlings to return as head of football after he gained invaluable experience at West Coast over six seasons.

We restructured our list management team and recruiting department with Scott Clayton taking on the role of head of player personnel, and Glenn Luff was promoted to the position of list manager. Finally, Ben Amarfio took the reins as our new CEO and bolstered his executive team and is already making an impact.

These critical appointments are significant and we are committed to them and the direction they are taking us in. We know this group will build something special, but they need time to do it. No individual can do it alone, it will be a team effort.

On the playing front we have a strong hand in the upcoming draft with two first-round picks and the flexibility to add more talent to our list through the Draft, free agency and the trade period. Our team are laser focused on this.

We should not forget that in the last year we celebrated four Rising Star nominations and picked up another this year in Curtis Taylor. We are getting valuable games into our young players and have an excellent group of senior stars. When fit and with a full complement available, our list is more than competitive but it needs support, depth and additional talent which we will aggressively pursue and add to over the course of the next two-to-three years.

While it’s ok to get angry and frustrated at where we currently sit, let’s stick together and ride the bumps. That’s the Shinboner way.

We are 151 years old and have confronted challenges before and have always found a way to dig deep and come out the other side in better shape.

We ask for your trust and patience as we build towards a bright future. I, and others on our Board and management team, will be in regular communication to keep you updated.

I wish you and your families well as we battle Covid-19. Stay safe and once again, thank you for your loyalty and commitment.

Ben Buckley, Chairman