The AFL has shocked the nation by announcing that they are going to apologise for Perth being over 2700 kilometres from Melbourne.
The following statement was released to the media today.
We, the AFL, would like to profoundly apologise to the good people of Perth for us having founded you over 2700 kilometres away from Melbourne. Even though we didn’t actually found Perth, it’s obviously our fault, so we are sorry. In hindsight we should have moved Perth over to the parkland that adjoins the MCG.
Oh, speaking of the MCG, we also apologise for that too. In the absence of not moving Perth to Melbourne (sorry again) we would like to apologise from the bottom of our hearts that we didn’t put the MCG just off St Georges Terrace. That was our mistake. Decade after decade of complaining – which we today acknowledge as legitimate and totally above board – could have been avoided if the MCG was built there. Of course, we didn’t actually make that decision or found the MCG, but lest we be accused of any further Victorian bias, we accept total fault.
We also apologise for the lack of advancement in jet travel. Yes, we should have just moved Perth to Melbourne – indeed, perhaps even have moved Melbourne to Perth, or relocated the MCG to Perth – but we didn’t. We let you travel on planes. We apologise for not having invented a low-cost commercial version of the X-15, which would have reduced travel times to 25 minutes and given you guys a cracking view of the earth while at it. In fact, if we had built that plane (for your exclusive use, of course), it would have been faster for you to come to Melbourne than for Hawthorn to commute to the MCG. Our bad.
We apologise that we invited teams to voluntarily apply to join a primarily Victorian competition. While the decision to join the VFL was made freely by administrators, players and coaches of sound mind with no coercion, and were given (and still are) generous father-son concessions that go way and above what is offered to Victorian teams (or Sydney or the Brisbane Lions), a duopoly in market coverage of a city of two million people, the best home-and-away advantage in the AFL, and the knowledge that if you didn’t like any of that you could have left at any time, we now understand you didn’t leave because we obviously held you captive against your will. We apologise for the confusion. Once again, we reiterate, that if you want to leave and play in the WAFL, you are free to do so.
We would like to apologise for allowing both teams to play on a stadium for so many years whose dimensions were so comically out of sync with other grounds. You were given an incredible home-ground advantage, before we factor east coast teams travelling five hours to get to Perth instead of three and a half the other way. We strongly apologise for not making the MCG or the Dome 180 metres long with narrow wings, like Subi was, so you guys could feel like you were right at home in Melbourne. We let you down. Again, of course, a moot point if we had just moved the MCG to Perth. Sorry again. We apologise for CA sticking their nose in our business and unfortunately making Optus Stadium look more like a cricket ground and the MCG than that back-up airport runway that was Subiaco. Our bad.
We would like to apologise separately to each club.
To West Coast, we apologise for all of the above, and for your success both on and off the field. We apologise that you had total market domination for eight years when in that time you won two flags and finished minor premiers in another. We apologise that you were able to secure Chris Judd in the draft, and Nic Nat for that matter. We apologise for Peter Matera. He should have been better. We apologise for Matt Priddis. We apologise for Glen Jakovich. We apologise for you making the finals every year in the ’90s. We let you down there. You just weren’t given a fair shake. We also apologise for your 2006 and 2018 flags. We apologise for the other grand finals you made, but lost. We definitely acknowledge that if you played at the MCG more, you should have been able to beat Sydney in 2005, whose home ground we have now come to understand was the MCG. We thought it was the SCG. We were wrong. We feel we should have done much more and we got in the way. We are sorry.
To Fremantle, likewise with West Coast, we apologise for all of the above, but mostly, we apologise for you hiring Mark Harvey, Chris Connolly, Damien Drum and Gerard Neesham. Although we played no part whatsoever in the hiring of these coaches, it is clearly our fault and your sustained lack of success and continued mediocrity is due to us allowing you to hire those coaches. We are sorry. We should have intervened like we have done with no club, ever. With those men at the helm, we can see why you would choose to blame geographic isolation or limited opportunities to play at the MCG as why you are not successful, so we take full responsibility for your genuinely questionable coaching selections. We are sorry. We will send a separate letter taking full responsibility for your draft selections, recruitment strategy and club management in due course.
It is a national competition, but really we should have moved Perth to Melbourne. As the AFL, VFL and VFA, we’ve had over 150 years to make it happen, and yet we never did. That’s our fault.
We hope that by apologising for this, we can all move on. Even though we can’t move the MCG anymore, we are already in discussions with the Victorian and West Australian governments to allow the sovereignty of the MCG precinct to be transferred to Western Australia and then to the Perth City Council. Therefore, no Victorian team will ever have home-ground advantage at the MCG again.
We know we can’t fix everything, and indeed the Eagles may only win two or three more flags in the next 15 years while St Kilda and Melbourne will continue to win none, despite the latter playing on the MCG 15 times a year, but we hope this symbolic gesture is a sign of our faith to bridge the divide between east and west.