CRIPPLED by debt, Frankston Football Club has gone into voluntary administration.
Only a few weeks after holding a major function at their new social club to celebrate their 50th year in the VFA/VFL, the Dolphins have called in an administrator to work through their financial situation and deal with creditors.
Worrells Solvency and Forensic Accountants of Frankston has been appointed administrator.But league sources suggest the Dolphins are determined to deal with their problems and play on in the state league.
The club is the only one in the VFL to have never been aligned with an AFL side. It has produced a number of AFL players over the years including Bulldog Matthew Boyd, Tiger Sam Lloyd and Essendon pair Mark Baguley and in-demand Michael Hibberd.
AFL great and Port Melbourne coach Gary Ayres said this morning he was “shocked and saddened’’ at Frankston’s “current dire predicament’’.
He said he hoped the AFL and State Government would intervene and support the club.
“As a Victorian football community we need all the stand-alone clubs to be successful and competitive, and in the case of Frankston, with that whole region on their doorstep, I would think AFL Victoria would see them as extremely important,’’ he said.
Ayres said Frankston had played its part in the elite pathway by providing a string of draftees in the past decade.
Officials informed coach Patrick Hill of the decision last night, and Hill told the players at 8.30am today as they boarded a bus for their final-round match against North Ballarat.
There is speculation the club owes as much as $800,000, much of it relating to licence fees for poker machines.
Frankston closed its gaming venue earlier in the year, with general manager Brett Angwin saying it was losing more than $1600 on them each week. “They’re not the cash cows people think they are,” he said. “We have to surrender our gaming licence and the machines to the state.’’
Angwin resigned in July, less than 12 months into the job. He has not been replaced.
The Dollies have struggled for off-field stability in the past two years, with a succession of presidents and board members coming and going.
Former champion player John Georgiou joined the board this year and has stepped in to help with the day-to-day running of the club.
Frankston last played in the finals in 2008 and went through 2015 without winning a game. It improved slightly this year, collecting two wins.
In a statement this morning, AFL Victoria CEO Steve Reaper said: “AFL Victoria has been briefed regarding Frankston’s current financial situation, and we will work with the club through this process to help them move forward. Frankston has made a positive step in addressing its current circumstances, with the future of the club a key priority in their move to hand over to administrators.’’