JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

The $600,000 man

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Demons aren't saying goodbye to coach

After a lengthy board meeting yesterday, Melbourne Demons have stuck with coach Mark Neeld despite a string of heavy losses this season.

PT0M0S 620 349

A proposed move by the Melbourne Football Club board to swiftly remove Mark Neeld from the most miserable position in football and temporarily replace him with Neil Craig was derailed at Monday's lengthy board meeting by the Demons' new chief executive, Peter Jackson.

To sack Neeld now would cost the Demons an estimated $600,000 and the club does not have that amount at its disposal, although the prevailing view on Monday was that timing, and not the club's ailing bank balance, handed Neeld what can only be described as a reprieve. The board remains virtually united that Neeld must go but Monday's meeting saw support for the coach from Craig, who was clearly not pushing to step in. The reality is that Neeld's sacking is no longer a decision but a negotiation.

Jackson, who outlined his vision to redesign the club's dysfunctional football operation with a clear priority to appoint a new football operations boss, was also cautious about a move on the coach. But the football operations appointment - complete with AFL endorsement - should come within weeks and potentially as soon as next week after Monday's Queen's Birthday clash with Collingwood.

Under the pump: Mark Neeld drives away from the MCG.

Under the pump: Mark Neeld drives away from the MCG. Photo: Joe Armao

And yet Neeld remains on tenterhooks in a position which can only be described as untenable. After yet another ritual belting on Sunday he spoke of the pressure on his recruiters to get it right at the end of 2013 when clearly he will not be in the job. He is no certainty to coach beyond Monday and president Don McLardy could not even guarantee that.

Monday's board meeting came one month after Jackson took over and the new CEO outlined to the board the radical restructure required to make the club - and not just the football department - functional and potentially successful. A request for special funding from the AFL will be formalised over the coming weeks and the AFL's money will not come without specific guarantees.

The statement released by McLardy was hardly an endorsement for Neeld. It read: ''Our on-field performances have not met expectations this year and everyone in the football department continues to face ongoing assessment in their roles as do those employed in other areas of the club. The club will make no further comment at this time, in relation to the senior coach position.'' In other words the board could not back the coach and he remains under review.

McLardy's decision to sack Cameron Schwab some eight months after recontracting him for three years proved costly and came as a result of the team's worst MCG loss - to Essendon. Like Dean Bailey's sacking it had been on the cards but knee-jerk. Reading the form, Neeld could still go any day now.

Jackson has repeatedly made it clear that the coach alone cannot shoulder the blame for the on-field shambles and needed some clear air to be adequately judged. But clear air is not something the Melbourne Football Club can afford any more than it cannot afford an immediate payout of $600,000.

Should financial relief come it will come from the AFL and the league is not in the business of paying out coaches. The AFL has within its power the potential to remove boards and Melbourne's must demonstrate it means to change.

Perhaps Jackson on Monday managed to persuade the board just how small a part of the problem is the coach. Neeld's reprieve ultimately appears symbolic as much as anything. And certainly short term.

26 comments so far

  • Well well well. They should just kick him in the balls and roll him off a cliff.

    Commenter
    big gaz
    Date and time
    June 04, 2013, 9:48AM
    • What rubbish. This and other articles in The Age today were written on the expectation that Neeld would be sacked. It didn't happen but that didn't stop the articles - because it doesn't sell newspapers. Unprofessional journalism and poor editing at best. Read the Herald Sun to get a, surprisingly, much more accurate and journalistic description of the facts.

      Commenter
      Kevin Armstrong
      Date and time
      June 04, 2013, 10:03AM
      • Yep, certainly Jesse Hogan's 'article' which read like a eulogy was.

        Commenter
        Rohan J. Carringbush
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        June 04, 2013, 10:58AM
    • so if Mark Neeld is worth $600K based on his results i think it's time i asked for an raise as i'm actually good at what i do...

      what a high salary for an unproven coach!!!

      Commenter
      Wigmus
      Date and time
      June 04, 2013, 10:25AM
      • It's not his salary, it's the cost of getting rid of him. Again Caro has been very misleading on this, although I'm not 100% sure if the author chooses the headline.

        This aside, it's embarrassing how bad Caro is. I now read her articles for more of a laugh, I just don't treat it seriously anymore. It annoyed me too much when I did, and I can't justify treating it seriously either.

        Commenter
        Mr Environment
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        June 04, 2013, 11:09AM
      • Yes, a high salary indeed but mere chickenfeed compared to, say, a journalist who derives an income from print, radio AND television. Perhaps Neeld should have a career when they sack him if he wants to earn serious money..

        Commenter
        jeeves
        Date and time
        June 04, 2013, 12:08PM
    • Neeld is not a senior coach, and the club has gone beyond a joke.

      Commenter
      lindenwht
      Location
      Fitzroy
      Date and time
      June 04, 2013, 10:29AM
      • Four premierships in a row at Ocean Grove would suggest otherwise.

        Commenter
        Craig
        Location
        ocean grove
        Date and time
        June 04, 2013, 12:24PM
    • In my view, the club had no great expectations for the 2013 season... A down year if you like, and afterall, the coach still had 2 years on his contract. Why else would they pick young players who needed operations (Toumpas), or that could not play till the following year (Hogan) in 2013. As gap fillers they picked a number of experienced players, and with the exception of Daws, these guys have not performed. The reality is that its a tough competition and suddenly with the loss of players due to injury and suspension its more of a down year than anyone expected! The expected down year has quickly turned into a disaster for the team and the coach and the club, and they didn't have a strategy to for this situation... I'd expect now that this is Mark Neeld's end; but due to lack of $$ (resulting from the lack of membership and gate receipts), don't expect that to occur before the end of the season.

      Commenter
      Paul
      Location
      Moorabbin
      Date and time
      June 04, 2013, 10:34AM
      • Peter Jackson hey.....wonder if Frodo is available!

        Commenter
        Craig Xyz
        Date and time
        June 04, 2013, 10:35AM

        More comments

        Make a comment

        You are logged in as [Logout]

        All information entered below may be published.

        Error: Please enter your screen name.

        Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Please enter your comment.

        Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

        Post to

        You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

        Thank you

        Your comment has been submitted for approval.

        Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

        Related Coverage

        Demons aren't saying goodbye to coach (Thumbnail) Demons aren't saying goodbye to coach

        After a lengthy board meeting yesterday, Melbourne Demons have stuck with coach Mark Neeld despite a string of heavy losses this season.

        Loss of Frawley adds to Melbourne's woes

        Key defender to become the latest key player forced out through injury.

        A fire-proof coach would have job on toast

        Perhaps the most significant comment during soap opera came from chairman Don McLardy.

        Dees lack method in their madness

        Melbourne announced only what is patently obvious anyway, that it is in an unholy mess.

        Taskmaster made bold early calls

        Being liked by his players has never been a priority for Mark Neeld.

        Lyon warns Dees not to hesitate

        If Melbourne has decided to sack coach Mark Neeld, it should act now, says Garry Lyon.

        Related Coverage

        2014 Home and Away

        Round 1
        Fri, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
        COL 46 vs FRE 116 Report Stats
        Sat, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
        GWS 99 vs SYD 67 Report Report Stats
        GCF 87 vs RIC 69 Report Stats
        Sun, 16 MarTimes shown AEDT
        CAR 87 vs PTA 120 Report Stats
        Thu, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
        GEE 119 vs ADE 81 Report Stats
        Fri, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
        NTH 60 vs ESS 99 Report Stats
        Sat, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
        HAW 139 vs BRI 91 Stats
        STK 68 vs MEL 51 Report Stats
        Sun, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
        WCE 134 vs WBU 69 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 2
        Thu, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
        RIC 98 vs CAR 86 Report Stats
        Fri, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
        ESS 86 vs HAW 90 Report Stats
        Sat, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
        STK 95 vs GWS 88 Stats
        PTA 127 vs ADE 73 Report Stats
        FRE 87 vs GCF 39 Report Stats
        SYD 69 vs COL 89 Report Stats
        Sun, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
        BRI 68 vs GEE 93 Stats
        MEL 30 vs WCE 123 Report Stats
        WBU 54 vs NTH 83 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 3
        Fri, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
        HAW 137 vs FRE 79 Report Stats
        Sat, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
        WBU 100 vs RIC 98 Report Stats
        ADE 71 vs SYD 134 Report Stats
        GCF 114 vs BRI 61 Stats
        WCE 83 vs STK 58 Report Stats
        COL 76 vs GEE 87 Report Stats
        Sun, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
        GWS 79 vs MEL 47 Report Stats
        NTH 97 vs PTA 90 Report Stats
        ESS 138 vs CAR 57 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 4
        Fri, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
        RIC 72 vs COL 110 Report Stats
        Sat, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
        CAR 58 vs MEL 81 Report Stats
        PTA 159 vs BRI 46 Report Stats
        GWS 83 vs WBU 110 Report Stats
        GEE 107 vs WCE 32 Report Stats
        GCF 49 vs HAW 148 Report Stats
        Sun, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
        SYD 48 vs NTH 91 Report Stats
        STK 50 vs ADE 136 Report Stats
        FRE 113 vs ESS 60 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 5
        Thu, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
        BRI 63 vs RIC 106 Report Stats
        Sat, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
        COL 93 vs NTH 58 Report Stats
        SYD 92 vs FRE 75 Report Stats
        WCE 56 vs PTA 70 Report Stats
        ESS 65 vs STK 81 Report Stats
        Sun, 20 AprTimes shown AEST
        ADE 137 vs GWS 72 Report Stats
        MEL 78 vs GCF 86 Report Stats
        WBU 91 vs CAR 119 Report Stats
        Mon, 21 AprTimes shown AEST
        GEE 106 vs HAW 87 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 6
        Fri, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
        COL 83 vs ESS 60 Report Stats
        STK 79 vs BRI 82 Report Stats
        FRE 61 vs NTH 74 Report Stats
        Sat, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
        GCF 134 vs GWS 94 Report Stats
        CAR 92 vs WCE 89 Report Stats
        MEL 38 vs SYD 69 Report Stats
        Sun, 27 AprTimes shown AEST
        WBU 83 vs ADE 92 Report Stats
        RIC 52 vs HAW 118 Report Stats
        PTA 107 vs GEE 67 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 7
        Fri, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
        CAR 70 vs COL 104 Report Stats
        Sat, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
        HAW 175 vs STK 30 Report Stats
        GWS 97 vs PTA 132 Report Stats
        ADE 67 vs MEL 70 Report Stats
        BRI 44 vs SYD 123 Stats
        ESS 73 vs WBU 65 Report Stats
        Sun, 04 MayTimes shown AEST
        NTH 77 vs GCF 120 Report Stats
        GEE 81 vs RIC 76 Report Stats
        WCE 54 vs FRE 73 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 8
        Fri, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
        SYD 107 vs HAW 88 Report Stats
        Sat, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
        PTA 94 vs FRE 76 Report Stats
        BRI 57 vs ESS 65 Report Stats
        MEL 83 vs WBU 99 Report Stats
        Sun, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
        WCE 188 vs GWS 77 Report Stats
        Mon, 12 MayTimes shown AEST
        STK 69 vs CAR 101 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 9
        Thu, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
        ADE 76 vs COL 55 Report Stats
        Fri, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
        ESS 64 vs SYD 114 Report Stats
        Sat, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
        RIC 74 vs MEL 91 Report Stats
        NTH 125 vs BRI 38 Report Stats
        FRE 96 vs GEE 64 Report Stats
        Sun, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
        STK 87 vs GCF 125 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 10
        Fri, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
        GEE 111 vs NTH 91 Report Stats
        Sat, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
        GWS 41 vs RIC 154 Report Stats
        COL 109 vs WCE 101 Report Stats
        PTA 100 vs HAW 86 Report Stats
        Sun, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
        GCF 119 vs WBU 74 Report Stats
        CAR 81 vs ADE 76 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 11
        Thu, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
        SYD 148 vs GEE 38 Report Stats
        Fri, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
        STK 54 vs COL 140 Report Stats
        Sat, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
        MEL 75 vs PTA 95 Report Stats
        BRI 98 vs CAR 91 Report Stats
        ESS 104 vs RIC 54 Report Stats
        Sun, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
        ADE 109 vs GCF 77 Report Stats
        WBU 51 vs FRE 89 Report Stats
        HAW 94 vs GWS 87 Report Stats
        WCE 44 vs NTH 82 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 12
        Fri, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
        GEE 107 vs CAR 102 Report Stats
        Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
        HAW 123 vs WCE 79 Report Stats
        PTA 129 vs STK 59 Report Stats
        WBU 87 vs BRI 95 Report Stats
        GWS 66 vs ESS 81 Report Stats
        Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
        GCF 74 vs SYD 109 Report Stats
        FRE 90 vs ADE 50 Report Stats
        NTH 116 vs RIC 88 Report Stats
        Mon, 09 JunTimes shown AEST
        MEL 28 vs COL 61 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 13
        Fri, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
        CAR 90 vs HAW 118 Report Stats
        Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
        RIC 85 vs FRE 105 Report Stats
        SYD 98 vs PTA 94 Report Stats
        WCE 103 vs GCF 100 Report Stats
        BRI 80 vs GWS 125 Report Stats
        ADE 109 vs NTH 73 Report Stats
        Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
        GEE 133 vs STK 37 Report Stats
        COL 98 vs WBU 106 Report Stats
        ESS 77 vs MEL 78 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 14
        Fri, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
        RIC 51 vs SYD 62 Report Stats
        Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
        PTA 128 vs WBU 56 Report Stats
        HAW 115 vs COL 86 Report Stats
        GCF 118 vs GEE 78 Report Stats
        FRE 105 vs BRI 22 Report Stats
        ESS 101 vs ADE 92 Report Stats
        Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
        GWS 100 vs CAR 92 Report Stats
        STK 70 vs WCE 103 Report Stats
        MEL 66 vs NTH 107 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 15
        Fri, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
        GEE 89 vs ESS 80 Report Stats
        Sat, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
        HAW 116 vs GCF 63 Report Stats
        STK 73 vs RIC 117 Report Stats
        FRE 88 vs WCE 81 Report Stats
        SYD 106 vs GWS 60 Stats
        BRI 70 vs NTH 66 Report Stats
        Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
        WBU 91 vs MEL 85 Report Stats
        ADE 99 vs PTA 76 Report Stats
        COL 91 vs CAR 76 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 16
        Fri, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
        NTH 108 vs HAW 88 Report Stats
        Sat, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
        RIC 79 vs BRI 54 Stats
        GWS 72 vs ADE 140 Report Stats
        GCF 80 vs COL 75 Report Stats
        MEL 34 vs FRE 97 Report Stats
        PTA 60 vs ESS 62 Report Stats
        Sun, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
        CAR 151 vs STK 66 Report Stats
        WCE 51 vs SYD 79 Report Stats
        GEE 69 vs WBU 56 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 17
        Fri, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
        ADE 92 vs HAW 104 Report Stats
        Sat, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
        MEL 36 vs GEE 102 Report Stats
        NTH 92 vs STK 33 Report Stats
        WBU 94 vs GCF 66 Report Stats
        BRI 64 vs WCE 76 Report Stats
        SYD 122 vs CAR 51 Report Stats
        Sun, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
        RIC 126 vs PTA 106 Report Stats
        ESS 103 vs COL 39 Report Stats
        FRE 136 vs GWS 60 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 18
        Fri, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
        CAR 109 vs NTH 86 Report Stats
        Sat, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
        STK 118 vs FRE 60 Report Stats
        GWS 87 vs GEE 94 Report Stats
        Sun, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
        PTA 72 vs MEL 69 Report Stats
        WBU 94 vs ESS 101 Report Stats
        Fri, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
        WCE 42 vs RIC 59 Report Stats
        Sat, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
        BRI 110 vs GCF 56 Report Stats
        HAW 104 vs SYD 94 Report Stats
        Sun, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
        COL 82 vs ADE 98 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 19
        Thu, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
        FRE 83 vs CAR 78 Report Stats
        Fri, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
        SYD 79 vs ESS 57 Report Stats
        Sat, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
        ADE 105 vs WCE 136 Report Stats
        RIC 89 vs GWS 62 Report Stats
        GCF 117 vs STK 64 Report Stats
        NTH 79 vs GEE 111 Report Stats
        Sun, 03 AugTimes shown AEST
        MEL 51 vs BRI 74 Stats
        HAW 107 vs WBU 45 Report Stats
        COL 76 vs PTA 70 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 20
        Fri, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
        RIC 95 vs ESS 77 Report Stats
        Sat, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
        GWS 51 vs NTH 126 Report Stats
        CAR 97 vs GCF 58 Report Stats
        HAW 115 vs MEL 65 Report Stats
        PTA 58 vs SYD 84 Report Stats
        GEE 81 vs FRE 79 Report Stats
        Sun, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
        BRI 63 vs ADE 168 Report Stats
        STK 99 vs WBU 122 Report Stats
        WCE 126 vs COL 66 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 21
        Fri, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
        CAR 76 vs GEE 82 Report Stats
        Sat, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
        SYD 127 vs STK 56 Stats
        GCF 47 vs PTA 56 Report Stats
        ESS 77 vs WCE 74 Report Stats
        COL 56 vs BRI 123 Report Stats
        ADE 69 vs RIC 79 Report Stats
        Sun, 17 AugTimes shown AEST
        NTH 111 vs WBU 61 Report Stats
        MEL 34 vs GWS 98 Report Stats
        FRE 110 vs HAW 91 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 22
        Fri, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
        PTA 140 vs CAR 37 Report Stats
        Sat, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
        NTH 101 vs ADE 94 Report Stats
        ESS 108 vs GCF 89 Report Stats
        GWS 67 vs COL 75 Report Stats
        WCE 119 vs MEL 53 Report Stats
        HAW 94 vs GEE 71 Report Stats
        Sun, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
        BRI 48 vs FRE 106 Report Stats
        WBU 67 vs SYD 130 Report Stats
        RIC 98 vs STK 72 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 23
        Fri, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
        COL 56 vs HAW 121 Stats
        Sat, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
        CAR 90 vs ESS 90 Stats
        FRE 105 vs PTA 97 Stats
        SYD 65 vs RIC 68 Stats
        NTH 123 vs MEL 93 Stats
        GEE 143 vs BRI 81 Stats
        Sun, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
        GCF 99 vs WCE 151 Stats
        ADE 141 vs STK 62 Stats
        WBU 109 vs GWS 115 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        AFL Finals Round 1
        Fri, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
        HAW 104 vs GEE 68 Report Stats
        Sat, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
        SYD 93 vs FRE 69 Stats
        NTH 93 vs ESS 81 Report Stats
        Sun, 07 SepTimes shown AEST
        PTA 132 vs RIC 75 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        AFL Finals Round 2
        Fri, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
        GEE 92 vs NTH 98 Stats
        Sat, 13 SepTimes shown AEST
        FRE 83 vs PTA 105 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        AFL Finals Round 3
        Fri, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
        SYD 136 vs NTH 65 Report Stats
        Sat, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
        HAW 97 vs PTA 94 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        AFL Finals Round 4
        Sat, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
        SYD 74 vs HAW 137 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        AFL Home and Away
        Overall standings
        Team P W L D % Pts
        Sydney Swans 22 17 5 0 142.88 68
        Hawthorn 22 17 5 0 140.78 68
        Geelong Cats 22 17 5 0 113.77 68
        Fremantle 22 16 6 0 130.40 64
        Port Adelaide 22 14 8 0 129.92 56
        North Melbourne 22 14 8 0 117.04 56
        Essendon 22 12 9 1 106.34 50
        Richmond 22 12 10 0 105.77 48
        View all
         
        Featured advertisers