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Focus on Footy group claim credit for Balme’s appointment at Tigerland

The group challenging to overthrow the current Richmond board has released a statement following the appointment of Neil Blame, claiming credit for the idea.

Employing Neil Balme to oversee the football department, was one of the linchpins of the Focus on Footy group’s strategy to rebuilding the football club.

The group’s challenge now appears to be on life support, with the face of their pitch already at Punt Road after accepting a position from the current board.

Read the full Focus on Footy statement below:

“We applaud the Richmond Football Club’s decision to appoint Neil Balme,” Dr. Martin Hiscock, President designate of the Focus on Footy Ticket said.

“He is back at Tigerland where we said we wanted him.

“We believe the instalment of Neil as General Manager – Football, like the CEO of Football role we envisaged, is one of the key initiatives that will resurrect Richmond.

“We spoke to him several times last week and understand why he has chosen the path of least resistance.

“The Board’s choice of Neil and their plans for him are a carbon copy of one component of our Focus on Footy Plan. They may not be talking to us, but they are certainly listening!

“Balme’s appointment is yet another predictable example of a Board motivated by self-preservation.

“On the footballers’ night of nights, the Club’s B&F last week, Damien Hardwick chose to blame the players and coaches: “The coaching staff and players take full responsibility,” he said.

“We say the blame ultimately rests with the Club’s Board. Success and failure always starts at the top.

“It is interesting to note that the Club made a number of decisions about the personnel and structure of its football department before the EY review was completed.

“The Focus on Footy team is calling on the Board to release the full report of the review, including its Terms of Reference.

“We are concerned the Board is hiding behind the report and has been making decisions on the run,” Hiscock said.