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Melbourne Football Club

Bartlett: It's a destination club

Inside Melbourne: Glen Bartlett In episode twenty-nine of Inside Melbourne, Clint Stanaway chats to chairman Glen Bartlett to recap the 2018 season. We discuss September's greatest moments (2:00), what Glen's most proud of (7:15), a successful Trade Period (13:20), the club's strong financial position (16:20) and the facilities project (18:00).

In episode twenty-nine of Inside Melbourne, Clint Stanaway chats to chairman Glen Bartlett to recap the 2018 season. We discuss September’s greatest moments (2:00), what Glen’s most proud of (7:15), a successful Trade Period (13:20), the club’s strong financial position (16:20) and the facilities project (18:00).

CHAIRMAN Glen Bartlett has reflected on Melbourne’s evolution over the past five years, deeming it a “destination club” in 2018.

Speaking on the Inside Melbourne podcast following October’s Trade Period, Bartlett said the recruitment of Steven May was just the latest in a series of momentous trades for the red and blue. 

“The fact that Steven May chose our club and had a number of clubs chasing him…five years ago, managers weren’t returning our calls,” he said.

“Bernie Vince coming here was a big step, and probably Jordan Lewis…it was a line in the sand moment.”

Bartlett’s statement comes after Melbourne recorded a substantial increase in crowd number and membership throughout 2018, increasing its appeal to big name players.

The Demons, who finished with 14 home-and-away wins and two finals victories, welcomed 1,060,261 fans to their games across the entire season, placing them the fourth best for attendance in the league.

A Finals campaign significantly boosted this tally, with 241,527 people flocking to watch the red and blue in September – the first time possible in 12 years.

Membership also surged this past season, with 2018’s figure of 45,177 members marking the highest in the club’s history.

While the increase was the third consecutive year Melbourne has broken its tally, Bartlett said it was just the beginning.

“The challenge for us now is to grow our membership further,” he said.

“There’s some significant upside in membership growth, particularly on the back of an exciting young team that’s looking to play in September on a regular basis.”

Fans celebrate during the finals series (Photo: Quinn Rooney)

While the chairman attributed the building numbers to the playing group’s on-field success, Bartlett also acknowledged the significant work off-field.

And the club’s financial position was one area he was most proud of.

“We are very well placed to record our fifth profit in a row,” Bartlett said.

In terms of sponsorship and profitability, we’re in as strong of a position as we’ve ever been.

The positive financial result comes after several advances in the past 12 months, including the signing of leading Australian insurer, Zurich, as Co-Principal Partner and luxury car brand, INFINITI, as a Major Partner.

With a well-earned independence and respect, Bartlett said the Demons were now in a position to make considerable calls; taking action to withdraw from the gaming industry a prime example.

“The decision to exit gaming was another watershed-type moment for our club,” he said.

“Personally, I would’ve loved to have exit gaming on day one as chairman. Financially, there was no way in the wide world - we were dependent on it.”

Melbourne announced its decision to exit the industry in April, backed by the sale of the Leighoak venue and the non-renewal of gaming entitlements at the Bentleigh Club.

Bartlett said the significant day was reflective of the club’s progress.

“I believe good things come from good decisions,” he said.

“We’ve managed to turn things around – we did two and a half years work on a strategy to exit gaming and then to execute on that.

“The club is in great shape financially, in terms of our asset base, profitability and football program.”