Crikey. People who know me are fully aware of my sporting allegiances, especially rugby league.
I’ve been a loyal South Sydney Rabbitoh’s supporter since about 1966.
I recently renewed my membership and got my Gold Membership.
My wife is a member. She wasn’t always a Souths supporter, but decided if she wanted to see me at all during the winter months, she might as well join.
Both my children are members, even my daughter who lives in London.
My wife and I went on the Souths Members Cruise to Moreton Island in May of this year.
I’m a fan. A huge fan, who went 43 long years during which for the most part we were barely competitive, so much so that the governing body actually excluded us.
We had to appeal to the Supreme Court to be readmitted.
Russell Crowe bought into the club and we started looking like a competitive team again.
We attracted some of the best players in the game, like Roy Asotasi, Sam Burgess and Greg Inglis.
We had great juniors like Adam Reynolds, John Sutton and Alex Johnston to name a few.
We recruited outstanding young players.
We built a competitive team.
Then news today that one of our best young players, Angus Crichton, has signed a three-year deal with the Sydney Roosters for a reported $1 million per season.
Let’s for a moment forget about asking how many players the Roosters have signed for a million plus per season.
Let’s ignore the fact the Roosters have recently signed Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco on million-dollar contracts.
Let’s forget the Roosters seem to be able to fit as many players as they want under the salary cap.
The question that has to be asked is how did Souths allow a young gun like Angus to leave?
Crichton is contracted to Souths until the end of 2018, which means rival clubs were not allowed to negotiate with him until after November 1 this year.
Souths would have Crichton on a smallish contract and had all year to extend and increase his contract but didn’t.
I can only see two possibilities.
First is that Souths didn’t have sufficient funds under the salary cap to retain Crichton. This is certainly a dilemma that most clubs go through.
The problem with this theory is that Souths have signed other players, such as Robbie Farah, which would impact on our cap.
When I went on the members cruise earlier this year, I had a conversation with Blake Solly, Souths CEO.
I commented on how important it was for Souths to lock in Angus to a long-term contract.
Blake responded that Crichton, Cameron Murray and Campbell Graham were the future of the club, so the club clearly wanted to retain Angus.
The second possibility is that Angus showed loyalty to Michael Maguire, the recently sacked Souths coach.
It was Maguire who convinced Angus to defect from Rugby to League, who gave Angus his first shot at the big time.
Could it be that when Angus saw the lack of respect Souths showed to Maguire, that was the end of his time at Souths.
If either of these scenarios turn out to be true, it will reflect poorly on the club administration.
I’m sure I wont be the only member calling for answers.
I have already sent an (unanswered) email two weeks ago asking why we hadn’t already signed Crichton?
Souths members are known for their passion.
Solly and the rest of the board may find out just how passionate they are.
And remember there’s no such thing as too much sport!