New Melbourne president Don McLardy stated his desire for the Demons to take their “rightful place” as a power in the AFL as he started the impossible task of filling the void left by outgoing leader Jim Stynes.
McLardy took over from his mentor at Wednesday night’s annual general meeting when Stynes’ resignation was confirmed.
“They are big shoes to fill, but you can’t fill them,” McLardy said at the AGM shortly after reading out a statement from Stynes, who was absent due to another operation in his battle with cancer.
McLardy said his immediate focus would be on credibility and competitiveness, as he aims to continue the Melbourne mantra laid out by Stynes.
“I’ve worked with Jim for a long time. I’m very aware of what his values, and the things he was trying to achieve with the footy club, are.
“As all our board are, and we’ll just continue to do that.
“I think we’ve just got to get our credibility back.”
McLardy, who worked alongside Stynes helping Victoria’s directionless youth through the Irishman’s charity the Reach Foundation, admitted 2011 had been a disappointing season on many fronts for Melbourne.
“I think we look across our club and we let ourselves down in a few areas last year,” he said.
“I’m not making any excuses for that. That’s what this business is about. It’s extremely competitive, it’s ruthless – and we’re ready for that.
“We want to take Melbourne back to what we see as its rightful place as a power in the AFL.
“And we’re really going to be competitive.
“…On the way you’re going to have some ups and downs, but I think predominantly we’re going up and we’re very determined to keep that going.”
While Stynes is no longer officially at the club, McLardy suggested the inspirational 45-year-old’s wisdom would still hold sway.
“He’s going to concentrate on his family and his health.
“I’ll keep in regular contact with Jim and I can tell you now, he’ll be advising me on what’s happening and what I should be thinking about.
“Any major decisions around the club, we would certainly involve Jim in, and hopefully we’ll keep him in an ambassadorial role.”