If the AFL’s proposal to send North Melbourne to the Gold Coast had succeeded, the Kangaroos would be ‘celebrating’ a decade in their new home, with the club due to complete its relocation in 2010.
However, as history shows, North Melbourne has remained where it belongs, in North Melbourne.
10 years after his club was due to play as Gold Coast for the first time, former North Melbourne chief executive Eugene Arocca joined The Inner Sanctum to talk about how the club was saved in a four-part series called ‘Saving North Melbourne’.
Part Four: The Fans
Arocca had spent his life as a die-hard Collingwood fan, that was until he stepped foot at Arden Street.
While North Melbourne hasn’t had the best membership numbers in the AFL, their supporter base packs a powerful punch.
“In my opinion our members are the most valuable asset this club has ever had and for me, returning the club back to the members was another historic marker,” he said.
“It always seemed strange to me that such a diehard community club was no longer owned or controlled by the very members who had created it.
“They are the rightful owner of this club. It’s their club – they are
“Whilst we have the passionate level of support that the club has always enjoyed, we will be around forever.
“We may not be great in number and we will probably not get to 100,000 in my lifetime, but our members have always packed a mighty big punch.
“The passion they bring to the table is fairly unique. Other clubs may claim the same, but other clubs haven’t necessarily had the adversity we’ve had to overcome time and time again.
“Our members and supporters should always take great comfort that JB and I stood by our commitment to deliver the club back to the rightful owners and they alone are the people who can keep this club alive.
“Everything that the Club has done in the past 10 years suggests it’s in a pretty strong position and will continue to thrive.
“You don’t measure an organisation by its size, you measure it by its substance.
“That’s why when people ask, ‘why don’t you barrack for the Pies anymore?’ I respond by saying that ‘I fell in love with a club that means so much more to its supporters’, and that’s something that only we North Melbourne members would understand.”