The AFL’s most controversial merger
Do you remember this incredible story? No Merger delves into the truth behind one of the AFL’s biggest and most controversial moments. Picture it. The entire Australian Football League was in a financial crisis, and was trying to broaden the game nationally. Two of the game’s iconic teams Melbourne and Hawthorn found themselves in discussions about merging. It came as a massive shock to the entire footy community, creating severe tension between the clubs and their fiercely loyal supporters. It was emotion versus business. What happened broke friendships and tarnished legacies forever. Hear the untold story of the failed merger from 1996. It captures the emotion and the backdoor dealings, leading into a historic vote night.
Episode 1 – Melbourne’s Merger Era
In the mid 80s, the AFL began to go through its most transformative period. The appointment of Ross Oakley as CEO, saw struggling Victorian clubs’ futures brought into question. Melbourne Football Club became embroiled in a number of these discussions, while Fitzroy were relocated and merged with the Brisbane Bears.
Episode 2 – Unhappy Hawks
Hawthorn Football Club are the most successful AFL team of the past six decades. Despite their dominance in the 80s and early 90s they were an organisation on their knees. It begs the question – how could such a star-studded team find themselves in such a position?
Episode 3 – The ‘Merger Match’
When the Herald Sun broke the story of a merger between Melbourne and Hawthorn it sent shockwaves through the football community. Anti-merger groups were formed and the battle lines to preserve the identity of two historic football clubs drawn. The battle between economic rationality and passion had begun.
Episode 4 – Vicious Vote Night
The Demon Alternative and Operation Payback scrambled to get last minute press ahead of the Members’ Vote Night. Wild scenes greeted the pro-merger Boards, as the merger descended into a night of utter chaos. Vicious taunts and toxicity pervaded the Dallas Brooks Hall and Camberwell Civic Centre, where both sets of supporters would decide upon the future of their football clubs.