Carlton chief Cain Liddle answered questions from members in an internet forum. Picture: AAP
Carlton chief Cain Liddle answered questions from members in an internet forum. Picture: AAP

Irate members lash Blues over Silvagni exit

CARLTON chief executive Cain Liddle has insisted Stephen Silvagni's conflict of interest hampered the club's football department, as members continue to vent their displeasure.

Liddle defended the failed recruitment of Richmond ­defender Brandon Ellis, saying the ­entire list management group was aware of Liddle using his links to the former Tiger to lure him to Ikon Park.

The Blues' hierarchy had gone to ground for five days, refusing to publicly discuss why it parted ways with Silvagni, apart from ­releasing a statement about his conflict of interest over his sons.

On Monday it finally used a members' internet forum, organised before the Silvagni decision, to try to explain.

The anger from members was palpable, some saying they were appalled by Silvagni's treatment and ­accusing the Blues of effectively sacking the club great.

But Liddle held the line, ­adamant Silvagni excusing himself from list management meetings had handcuffed the football department.

Liddle made it clear that all list management decisions were robustly discussed among the entire group, despite player agents believing the team was often not on the same page.

Stephen Silvagni was unable to take part in key list management discussions and decisions,  Blues chief Cain Liddle said. Picture: Michael Klein
Stephen Silvagni was unable to take part in key list management discussions and decisions, Blues chief Cain Liddle said. Picture: Michael Klein

Liddle said it was agreed by all in the list management group he would use his links to Ellis, through Richmond, Vic Metro and the Calder Cannons, to lure him across, before the club eventually abandoned its pursuit post-round 23.

Liddle said the list management group, chaired by director and club Chris Judd was on the same page with approaches to Tom Papley, Ellis, Josh Deluca and Jack Martin.

"All players who were approached from other clubs as part of our 2019 list management strategy were discussed and rigorously debated over the course of many months at list management," he said.

"Everyone on list management was very clear of the role I was playing with Brandon.

"We had individual plans in place for each of our target players that were regularly discussed at list management. I was one of Brandon's coaches both at the Calder Cannons and Vic Metro in the national championships, and I obviously spent a number of years with him at Richmond, so it was agreed that we would leverage that relationship in our discussions with Brandon, who was set to become a free agent."

Carlton tried to lure Brandon Ellis, who eventually went to Gold Coast.
Carlton tried to lure Brandon Ellis, who eventually went to Gold Coast.

But Carlton fans wanting more detail on Silvagni's departure were left sadly wanting.

"We were completely transparent with the messaging around Stephen's contract not being renewed," Liddle said.

"To have the club's most senior list management staff member not take part in key discussions and decisions regarding the playing list and the broader operations of the football department became an increasingly challenging issue that was not in the best interests of the Carlton Football Club.

"The easy decision would have been to let the situation continue which was not seeing the football department running at its optimal level. The much tougher decision is to bring someone else in who can play a part in all relevant decisions and discussions that take place within the football department."

On Monday more evidence of the confusing list management picture emerged when mid-season draftee Josh Deluca said he was "shocked and devastated" to be delisted.

He had been told by the club when it secured him in the mid-season draft he would likely be kept on in 2020, with speculation his recruitment did not have unanimous support at list management.

Earlier the club had released a beautiful set of numbers under CEO Liddle - a 47 per cent increase in home attendance, record membership (64,269) and a net profit of $2,492,164.

That figure swelled to $6.2 million when government grants for the club's Ikon Park redevelopment was factored in, with $2.4 million of debt written off.

News Corp Australia


Doctor found guilty of raping patient during pap smear

Premium Content Doctor found guilty of raping patient during pap smear

The Urraween doctor will be sentenced on Tuesday

‘Move on’: Ex-Qld Labor premier backs NSW in border wars

Premium Content ‘Move on’: Ex-Qld Labor premier backs NSW in border wars

Peter Beattie says Queensland must follow NSW’s lead

LOCAL NEWS MATTERS: $1 a week for first 12 weeks

Premium Content LOCAL NEWS MATTERS: $1 a week for first 12 weeks

Deal gives you access to local, regional and metro News sites