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Kennett critical of Lord’s bid for Hawthorn’s Presidency

Kennett critical of Lord’s bid for Hawthorn’s Presidency
October 29, 2011
Sport /

Retiring Hawthorn AFL President (and former Victorian Premier) Jeff Kennett is urging Club members not to elect Melbourne businessman Geoff Lord as his replacement.

Backing club director Andrew Newbold as his successor rather than former Club President Lord, Kennett has used the Club's official website to attack Lord's attempt to win the Presidential office.

Lord has released a submission to members outlining his plans for the club and denying he voted for a merger with the Melbourne Demons in 1996.

Kennett has disputed this, claiming Lord was still President in 1995.

Kennett stated "the annual report of 1995 shows Geoff as president where he chaired 20 meetings of the Club including the AGM, before he stood down as president at the AGM.

"Geoff had started negotiations with the Melbourne Football Club to merge the two clubs. However, his approaches to Melbourne were not sanctioned by the board, who when they found out were furious and moved a vote of no confidence in Geoff Lord."

Kennett said under Lord's leadership the Hawks were "almost financially insolvent and was considering merging with Melbourne."

Lord, whose Belgravia Group of companies has extensive investments in the leisure industry, including ownership of management company Belgravia Leisure, Genesis Health Clubs and The Fitness Generation, was also the founding Chairman of A-League club Melbourne Victory.

Lord told Melbourne newspaper the Herald Sun that, in spite of opposition from club powerbrokers, his challenge for the Hawks' Presidency is legitimate.

Hitting back at suggestions he played a part in the club's aborted merger with Melbourne in 1996, Lord told the Herald Sun "to say I was instrumental or involved in the merger is incorrect. To say I was even there (on the board) is incorrect - I voted against the merger."

Lord explained that he had the backing of senior Hawthorn figures in his bid to Andrew Newbold, at the club's annual general meeting in December, adding that "(the Club) talks about what a great job we have done. Yet in the last 20 years we've won one flag.

"It's also become an issue about whether members should be given a choice. And if the members would like Andrew, then so be it.

"At least they would have made a conscious decision. I don't like the handing of the baton to a new president without elections. Members own the club and should always be given a say and a choice.

"Kennett talks about a return to yesterday's era. Well, if it takes you back to an era where you win five flags then I'm happy to be there."

Lord wants Hawthorn to invest in its football department with a view to winning the premiership at least once every nine years.

Kennett regrets that the club had been forced into holding an election, disrupting his plans for what he had expected would be a "seamless transfer" of power from himself to Newbold.

The former Victorian Premier is also critical of the cost, stating that "the cost of conducting the election for the club will be approximately $50,000."



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