Triple Blue - How Norwood gave Sturt the Blues

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Post by Chambo Off To Work We Go on Sat Jan 07, 2017 12:41 pm

A post was raised in the 'Recruits' thread about the 1978 Grand Final and its place in SANFL folklore.
In 2002 there was a book written about it and how the outcome had a factor in the woes that befell upon Sturt Footy Club for the next 17 years.

The seeds of disconent at Sturt
Quite a bit has been written about the number of players who transferred from Sturt to Norwood in the period following the 1978 GF.
Mike Nunan had a place in this and was the first one to leave midway through the 78 season.

In the early part of 1978 Nunan went on a 3 month around the world trip as Sports Development Officer for the Dept of Tourism. He looked at how sport was organised in Europe and even the Eastern Block countries. Nunan felt it was worth missing half a season for. Jack Oatey did not agree and when Sturt was sitting pretty on top of the table in June, when Nunan returned he was on the outer and Oatey did not guarantee his spot in the side. You would need to understand that with the Oatey success between 1966-1976, it was his way or the highway.

Nunan had been outspoken the previous year in 1977 about playing methods and also regarding player payments. Apparently upon his June return Nunan was told he was no longer required and apparently stormed out of training. Within a week he was in the red and blue and Oatey had unwittingly given Norwood the keys to his centre square structure.

Nunan's departure sowed the seeds of an undercurrent of discontent that was happening within the club. This was probably masked by the on field success that was occurring during the season. A number of players from 1977 were starting to question the payment structure and divisions even in the team were forming. It was said that administration was not providing the players with honest answers.

By the middle of 78 Nelson, Greenslade, Whelan, Giles and Klomp had left or leaving the club for varying reasons. Quite a lot considering players didn't move around en masse back then. Colin Casey recounted;

"I can remember going into the shower and all of a sudden voices would stop and the same faces would keep cropping up. I later found out that there were 3 groups in the club, Nunan's, Oatey's and the rest of us who didn't know which way to go"

Another who was becoming increasingly disgruntled was reliable defender Bruce Winter. Oatey had long been critical of his playing style in how often he went to ground and nicknamed him "Autumn Leaves". Winter injured his knee in the 76 semi final but had to play on because of other injuries (no interchange then) and as a result missed the 76 GF. A further insult was his omission in being invited to the sanfl premiership dinner. He was also unhappy with the player payments and felt if $40,000 could be spent on Gary Hardeman from Melbourne, then he was entitled to a bit more. It also became known that Davies was on a largish financial arrangement and that Sturt would just about do anything to keep him. By the end of 78, negotiations between Winter and the club had fallen through. He transferred to Norwood and took Rob Barton with him.

There was a reasonably public spat between Sturt and Norwood regarding player pirating. The conflict wasn't helped by Norwood throwing darts at Sturt's management and administration being in the dark ages.

it is amazing that Sturt was as dominant in 1978 (except for the last 30 minutes of the season) as it was given all of this rumbling under the surface.

As an aside for nearly a decade after Nunan left Sturt, he and Oatey only communicated through a third party. When Nunan had success at North in 1987 as a coach, Oatey sent him a photo of the pair of them when they were on better terms and captioned it with;

"Congratulations. There is still no substitute for skills as witnessed in the 1987 Grand Final."

The photo was sent as some form of reconciliation. Not too sure if it worked.


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Post by Lee on Sat Jan 07, 2017 12:56 pm

Thanks for posting that, Chambo.

Fascinating stuff.

There's always a story when there are mass departures. 1964, when Kerls went to South, was a major one that set West back for a long time.
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Post by bayman on Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:02 pm

all that stuff no matter what club is fascinating, probably the most famous one comes from over the border with Norm Smith leaving Melbourne & i'm not sure who said it but i remember reading that at the time it was reported that (someone) said ''they wont win another premiership now'' still proven correct
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Post by Chambo Off To Work We Go on Sat Jan 07, 2017 4:14 pm

The Wynne - Oatey Incident

At the time this incident that occurred at the 18 minute mark of the third quarter was regarded with extreme infamy. How could Norwood's strongman have the audacity to ruffle up the little master.

But today it almost seems somewhat comical like an "Abbott and Costello" sketch.

This is how it went....
At the 18 minute mark Wynne deliberately collided heavily with Phil Sanders on the members side of the oval. Bob Scholefield the reserve umpire said at the time that it was the most ferocious attack he had witnessed in 300 games and the worst thing he had seen on a football field. Wynne then proceeded to fling an elbow at Sturt Ruckman Trevor Sims. And that is when he proceeded to continue over the boundary line and into the Sturt Coaches box. All the Sturt officials rose to fend Wynne away from Oatey. The ensuing struggle caused Norwood follower Chris Finneman to be dragged into the box. The only report out of all this mayhem was Sturt Team Manager, Teddy Langridge for punching Finneman. A charge of which he was later aquitted.

There is a report that later Wynne fessed up that the "attack" was premeditated and he concocted the idea after learning of Oatey's dislike of "meatheads" a term Oatey used quite often for the competition's strongmen. Apparently Wynne became aware of Oatey's opinions after talking to Sturt Runner, Daffy Edwards and former captain Bob Shearman. So maybe in a slightly warped way, Sturt was itself to blame for the incident.

It is uncertain whether Norwood officialdom knew of Wynne's plan, but maybe those in the inner sanctum of the club may know more. When Wally Miller Norwood's Supremo was asked about it, he just smiled, raised his eyebrows and said "nothing John Wynne does surprises me".

Maybe Wynne's tactic worked its magic as there are reports from Ross Tuohy (Sturt boss), Tony Clarkson (doctor) among others that say it definitely rattled Oatey to the point that perhaps he wasn't able to concentrate on making critical moves in the last quarter.

I was there at the game that day, but don't have a big recollection of the incident as I was too far away. Wynne was certainly an enigma and had an aura that captured people's attention. I reckon he could probably mesmerize people by just buying chewing gum.
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Post by rocket_rooster on Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:05 am

Chambo Off To Work We Go wrote:


As an aside for nearly a decade after Nunan left Sturt, he and Oatey only communicated through a third party. When Nunan had success at North in 1987 as a coach, Oatey sent him a photo of the pair of them when they were on better terms and captioned it with;

"Congratulations. There is still no substitute for skills as witnessed in the 1987 Grand Final."

The photo was sent as some form of reconciliation. Not too sure if it worked.

The photo that Nunan received from Oatey was actually a picture of Oatey and Nunan sitting together at Adelaide Oval in 1985 watching their mutual friend, Rick Davies coach South Adelaide after he had been sacked by Mervyn Keane at Sturt. You are correct about the wording on the photo but they had clearly reconciled a couple of years before the 1987 premiership.

At the NAFC premiership dinner Nunan paid tribute to Kim Klomp by saying Jack Oatey had rang Nunan up to specifically to tell him that he couldn't believe the improvement that Klomp had made under Nunan. The way Nunan conveyed that message left no doubt that he idolised Oatey and that the rift had been healed.

Nunan only ever kept one photo on his desk and that was the one of Oatey and him together with Oatey's congratulatory comments.

History repeated itself with Andrew Jarman and Nunan clashing and once again Norwood being the beneficiary. Incredibly after playing under other coaches Jarman realised how much he had learnt from Nunan and when Jarman coached Nunan was his mentor. Jarman now is fulsome in his praising of Nunan.

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Post by Lee on Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:59 am

I was a trainer at a State game that Nunan coached.

That was an interesting lesson about coaching and player management for me.

Had the privilege of seeing a lot of coaches up close through State and AFL games - Cornes, Clarkson, Ebert, Cahill, Joyce, Watson and many others.
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Post by rocket_rooster on Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:13 am

Please tell us more about the state game experience with Nunan. Was it in 1988 or in the late 90s?
I can never work out whether he was a great coach or just got lucky with an extraordinary group of players many of whom he managed to get off side.
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Post by Lee on Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:52 am

Must have been late 90's, RR.

I was struck by his player management. For State games, game style isn't an issue, as it's just a few weeks, so coaches are often a bit relaxed on the surface, but serious at training and the game.

Nunan's obviously an intelligent bloke, but he's either a terrible speller, or made a number of deliberate mistakes writing up a team to appear more 'blokey' than 'above the players'.

Pretty sure it was the latter and it got a lot of laughs and broke the tension.

I may have that wrong, but I was struck by the approach at the time.

Can't remember if we won or lost.
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Post by rocket_rooster on Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:42 am

I don't think he ever lost a state game in his second stint as state coach in 1997, 1998 and 1999.
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Post by Chambo Off To Work We Go on Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:42 am

rocket_rooster wrote:
Chambo Off To Work We Go wrote:


As an aside for nearly a decade after Nunan left Sturt, he and Oatey only communicated through a third party. When Nunan had success at North in 1987 as a coach, Oatey sent him a photo of the pair of them when they were on better terms and captioned it with;

"Congratulations. There is still no substitute for skills as witnessed in the 1987 Grand Final."

The photo was sent as some form of reconciliation. Not too sure if it worked.

The photo that Nunan received from Oatey was actually a picture of Oatey and Nunan sitting together at Adelaide Oval in 1985 watching their mutual friend, Rick Davies coach South Adelaide after he had been sacked by Mervyn Keane at Sturt. You are correct about the wording on the photo but they had clearly reconciled a couple of years before the 1987 premiership.

At the NAFC premiership dinner Nunan paid tribute to Kim Klomp by saying Jack Oatey had rang Nunan up to specifically to tell him that he couldn't believe the improvement that Klomp had made under Nunan. The way Nunan conveyed that message left no doubt that he idolised Oatey and that the rift had been healed.

Nunan only ever kept one photo on his desk and that was the one of Oatey and him together with Oatey's congratulatory comments.

History repeated itself with Andrew Jarman and Nunan clashing and once again Norwood being the beneficiary. Incredibly after playing under other coaches Jarman realised how much he had learnt from Nunan and when Jarman coached Nunan was his mentor. Jarman now is fulsome in his praising of Nunan.


Thanks RR, my book doesn't really go into much latter detail about their relationship. It does refer to the photo being the only one Nunan kept.
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Post by Scrappy on Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:49 am

1978

Richmond Oval
WA 13-12
ST 9-14

Football Park
ST 11-10
NM 20-12

Football Park [Grand Final]
ST 14-26
NW 16-15

They were the 3 times Sturt lost games played in Adelaide
Malcolm Blight kicked 11 goals playing for NM in that scratch match
I reckon Gary Hardeman injured his ankle , and subsequently missed the 1978 Grand Final

Both ST + NM were worried about their respective preparations leading into their Grand Finals
Both teams lost the Grand Finals they played in
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Post by Scrappy on Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:06 am

rocket_rooster wrote:
Chambo Off To Work We Go wrote:


As an aside for nearly a decade after Nunan left Sturt, he and Oatey only communicated through a third party. When Nunan had success at North in 1987 as a coach, Oatey sent him a photo of the pair of them when they were on better terms and captioned it with;

"Congratulations. There is still no substitute for skills as witnessed in the 1987 Grand Final."

The photo was sent as some form of reconciliation. Not too sure if it worked.

The photo that Nunan received from Oatey was actually a picture of Oatey and Nunan sitting together at Adelaide Oval in 1985 watching their mutual friend, Rick Davies coach South Adelaide after he had been sacked by Mervyn Keane at Sturt. You are correct about the wording on the photo but they had clearly reconciled a couple of years before the 1987 premiership.

At the NAFC premiership dinner Nunan paid tribute to Kim Klomp by saying Jack Oatey had rang Nunan up to specifically to tell him that he couldn't believe the improvement that Klomp had made under Nunan. The way Nunan conveyed that message left no doubt that he idolised Oatey and that the rift had been healed.

Nunan only ever kept one photo on his desk and that was the one of Oatey and him together with Oatey's congratulatory comments.

History repeated itself with Andrew Jarman and Nunan clashing and once again Norwood being the beneficiary. Incredibly after playing under other coaches Jarman realised how much he had learnt from Nunan and when Jarman coached Nunan was his mentor. Jarman now is fulsome in his praising of Nunan.


Mick Nunan missed half a season on a work related matter
He had gone overseas
On returning , it has been said, that Jack Oatey told Mick Nunan that he was no certainty to play in the League team , and that Mick would have to play in the seconds
Soon after Mick Nunan became a redleg , and played in a premiership team

IF
IF being a BIG word
IF Nunan and Hardeman lined up against Norwood in the 1978 Grand Final .....
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Post by rocket_rooster on Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:21 pm

A Norwood friend of mine is adamant that Nunan shouldn't have made Norwood's side in 1978 and that he was a liability in the Grand Final. My friend has always believed that David Palm should have played. Palm who later played state football for WA and I think VFL football with Richmond was s surprise omission from Norwood's league side in the 1978 Grand Final.


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Post by Scrunch on Sun Jan 08, 2017 6:02 pm

Yet another great topic Chambo, and great info from all contributors.


rocket_rooster wrote:Please tell us more about the state game experience with Nunan. Was it in 1988 or in the late 90s?
I can never work out whether he was a great coach or just got lucky with an extraordinary group of players many of whom he managed to get off side.

I'm no expert on North RR, but I was always under the impression that Nunan was pivotal in the development of the talent there. The message you mentioned from Oatey regarding Klomp perhaps adds to that theory? Once that talent was established at Prospect, they seemed to play with a lot of belief.
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Post by Scrunch on Sun Jan 08, 2017 6:05 pm

rocket_rooster wrote:A Norwood friend of mine is adamant that Nunan shouldn't have made Norwood's side in 1978 and that he was a liability in the Grand Final. My friiend has always believed that David Palm should have played. Palm who later played state football for WA and I think VFL football with Richmond was s surprise omission from Norwood's league side in the 1978 Grand Final.

Marginally before my time, but my father is a Norwood man and never rated Nunan too highly as a player, but he had a very strong opinion on David Palm so I would imagine he for one would agree with that.

Just on Nunan, did he have a falling out at Norwood when he was overlooked as the replacement for Bob Hammond?
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Post by Chambo Off To Work We Go on Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:16 am

What number was Palm? Will add him to the Numbers thread if we missed it.
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Post by Scrunch on Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:21 am

Chambo Off To Work We Go wrote:What number was Palm? Will add him to the Numbers thread if we missed it.

Number 6 I think Chambo (although not totally sure)
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Post by bayman on Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:51 pm

Scrunch wrote:
Chambo Off To Work We Go wrote:What number was Palm? Will add him to the Numbers thread if we missed it.

Number 6 I think Chambo (although not totally sure)

Your probably right, I immediately thought 5 or 6
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Post by Chambo Off To Work We Go on Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:57 pm

David PALM

Guernsey Number: 19
Career: 1976 to 1979
NFC Games: 65
NFC Goals: 79
Debut: v West Adelaide (Norwood) 5th June 1976
Finale: v South Adelaide (Football Park) 16th September 1979

VFL/AFL Clubs: Richmond

Originally from Kensington Gardens, David Palm was a member of South Australia's Under 16 squad in 1974, and played 21 games for Norwood's Under 17's in the same year. The following season he moved up to the Under 19's and also played his first Reserves match.

Palm made his League debut in mid 1976, and his nine senior games that season included Norwood's 106 point win over Carlton in the Wills Cup, night competition.

Hard, aggressive and skilful, Palm played 22 and 21 games in 1977 and 1979 respectively, and was named in the 22 man squad for the 1978 Grand Final. However, Michael Olsen and Palm were the unlucky two to miss out once the final 20 was announced. Playing in the Reserves decider instead, both players were outstanding in the Redlegs 40 point win against West Adelaide.

Transferring to Western Australia, Palm played for West Perth from 1980 to 1982, before being drafted by Richmond in an early form of the "National Draft". The mid-sized utility played 104 games for the Tigers between 1983 and 1988, including all 22 games in his debut season.

In 1989 he transferred to the Springvale Football Club, and also represented the Victorian Football Association during the year. Palm then returned to West Perth in 1990, and after winning the club's Best and Fairest, was appointed captain in 1991. He totalled 88 games for West Perth, and played 2 State games for Western Australia.


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Post by Chambo Off To Work We Go on Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:10 pm

Another conundrum....

Wayne PHILLIS' career at Norwood....
(I had forgotten about his transfer to the Legs)

Guernsey Number: 36
Career: 1978 to 1979
NFC Games: 38
NFC Goals: 27
Debut: v North Adelaide (Prospect) 13th May 1978
Finale: v South Adelaide (Football Park) 16th September 1979

Premierships: 1978
South Australian Games: 5

Wayne "Butch" Phillis made his league debut for Glenelg in 1967. Strong and aggressive, he became one of the best tall defenders in the SANFL. Playing at centre half back, he was high in Glenelg's best players in its 1973 Grand Final win against North Adelaide.

Phillis also played in five losing Grand Finals, including the 1975 premiership decider against Norwood at Football Park.

His last game for Glenelg was as acting captain in the 1977 Grand Final, in the absence of the injured Peter Marker.

After 218 games for the Tigers, he somewhat controversially requested a transfer to the Parade early in the 1978 season and was a welcome addition to Norwood's powerful ruck division, which already included Neil Button and John Wynne.

Norwood had recruited heavily in its centenary year and Phillis was joined by Brian Adamson (West Perth), David Armour (East Perth/Geelong) and Mike Nunan (Sturt) in winning a flag in their first season at the club - a memorable, come from behind, one point victory against Sturt.

Phillis played on in 1979, but announced his retirement after Norwood's loss to South Adelaide, in that years' first Semi-Final.

A persistent left ankle injury forced him into giving the game away, whilst only 29 years old.

So anyone know why he wanted out from Tigerland?
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Post by Scrunch on Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:01 pm

After reading that I think I may have my David's mixed up and it was actually Armour that wore 6
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Post by Chambo Off To Work We Go on Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:01 pm

Sunday October 1, 1978 - The Aftermath

What the boffins said.......

The Advertiser
Happy One Hundredth birthday Norwood and never in this century have you had a happier or prouder moment than yesterday. It was the gutsiest, some say greatest grand final win in history

South Coach Haydn Bunton
I would have moved Reed off Adamson, Graham to the centre and kept Bagshaw in the forward line and used Mutton and Lloyd. But when you're in front particularly in a grand final and you've got faith in a combination like Sturt that has put your club there with only 1 loss in the season, you're reluctant to make decisions that could turn out to be hasty and unsettling. The loss was not Oatey's fault

KG Cunningham was not as diplomatic
Why oh why was Reed left on Adamson. Jack I know you're loath to make moves but the boy was slaughtered...the talented Gary Mutton was getting splinters on the bench when 2 or 3 others couldn't find their legs...why was th ebest big man in Australia (Davies) left languishing in a forward pocket?

Davies was resting due to a shoulder injury sustained in the 3rd quarter.

Two decades later Nunan offered comment (after North's embarrassing loss to Port in 1989)
Jack has to accept the responsibility that either he wasn't good enough on the day or he pulled some things on the day that didn't work or for some reason or other his planning or his program for his team didn't work.

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Post by Scrappy on Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:07 pm

A lot of discussion over the years about Gary Hardemans injury being costly
He recovered from that late 1978 injury to have a great year in 1979 for Sturt
He finished 3rd in the Magarey Medal in 1979 , won by John Duckworth

What about this great defender for Sturt
Phillip Sandy Nelson was most likely  to play in 1978 but was injured pre-season
Maybe, just maybe , he might have made a difference in the 78 GF if he was fit and firing ?
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Post by Chambo Off To Work We Go on Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:57 am

There are so many maybes and I guess this game has had probably more than its share of forensic analysis.

Moving Forward

What is a general consensus is that in 1978 Sturt was at the peak of its form amidst some telling signs (to those who were looking) that the Oatey style and its administration style had not moved forward with the changing times.

Players were moving interstate to the VFL more commonly, clubs were becoming more commercial with sponsorship playing a high profile role and the administration of the game moving up a notch to capitalise on the potential of greater returns.

Sturt was becoming heavily factionalised and it was only the desperate attempts by those around Oatey to keep the tried and tested ways that probably kept the club relatively competitive. 1979 was a bottoming out as a result of the fall out from the 1978 loss and the movement of quite a few players as mentioned above. Sturt did not heavily recruit to counter the loss of 17 players since 1977. The club finished 9th in 1979 (its lowest position under Oatey). However, that was only 1 game and percentage out of the five.

1980 3rd
1981 6th (no Davies who was at Hawthorn)
1982 3rd

Sturt only won 1 out of 5 finals in that period.

1982 being the last time Oatey coached and had considerable time off with a hip replacement. John McInnes took over as caretaker and did a good job in Oatey's absence. However, the finals campaign ended with successive losses to Norwood and Glenelg. Oatey then bowed out and retired.

With Oatey now out of the picture, the factions in the club upped the ante. There were still the "Oatey way" disciples in both the playing and admin areas. But there were people who needed a change of direction.

John Halbert had had 4 relatively successful coaching years at the Bays without winning a flag (2 runners up) and entered the fray at the helm of Sturt in 1983. He was probably a stop gap solution. A new man in charge for more than 20 years but an Oatey product. Perhaps the club hoped it was going to be all ok. In 1983 it mostly was all ok, at least on the field.

There had been new blood into the club after the previous losses of very established players. Enter, Motley, Paech, Whittlesea and add experienced players like Craig, Fry and Spiel.

Halbert almost got them the prize but for a rampant West Adelaide in 1983. 1984 Sturt dropped to 7th and the knives were out. I read a report that a Sturt official asked an Advertiser journalist to print a story that Halbert wasn't going well. The factions had started to white-ant him before season's end.

After Halbert was dismissed, the new-wave faction maybe had its way when Sturt appointed the ex-Richmond player Merv Keane. It was a completely new direction and a departure from tradition when Merv cleared out a few players like the revered Rick Davies, a move that rankled all of the traditionalists in the club. Remember Davies still kicked 100 goals in 1984.

However, the changes Keane was making and his lack of succumbing to management preferences saw him too on the outer after 3 seasons. Keane's sacking too caused much anger around the club as many could see that his style was having positive effect on a new and young breed of players.

And after that you could say the seeds had been sewn and Sturt finished bottom for the next 7 years culminating in near collapse amongst its well documented financial woes.n

In reality (at least mine), the 1978 GF loss didn't cause all of that. It was going to happen anyway. Whether it accelerated the process, who knows?

Chambo Off To Work We Go
Chambo Off To Work We Go

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Triple Blue - How Norwood gave Sturt the Blues Empty Re: Triple Blue - How Norwood gave Sturt the Blues

Post by C.K on Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:24 am

I know a couple of players at the club during the Keane era, both in different " camps" and to say his philosophy caused division is a big understatement. The culture at the time he was trying ti implement was just too much for one group unfortunately
C.K
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