An article that appeared in this weeks Campbelltown Macarthur Advertiser.
Could the fate of a $300 million real estate development spell the end of the Wests Tigers merger as we know it?
I CAN tell you that nobody in the Magpie camp and nobody in the Balmain camp ever wanted or desired to enter into joint-venture negotiations.
So said Jim Marsden, former Western Suburbs Rugby League Football Club chairman, in 1999 when the two foundation rugby league clubs merged to become a single entity.
But after a 12-year partnership that has included a premiership and two other finals appearances, the future of the Wests Tigers could be in jeopardy if a $300 million redevelopment of the Balmain Leagues Club at Rozelle is not approved.
Western Suburbs and Balmain Tigers both provide financial support to the Wests Tigers football club.
In May, Balmain Leagues chief executive Andy Timbs conceded should the development not go through, “it will be hard to get the revenue through the business that’s required to run the footy”.
“It’s $1.5 million a year we need to come up with a year for football and it’s hard to get that sort of revenue if you haven’t got the big enough business to support it,” he said.
While former Magpies chairman Mr Marsden still stood by his 1999 comment, he didn’t believe a Western Suburbs NRL revival should occur at the expense of the fellow foundation club.
“I wouldn’t like to see the resurgence of the Western Suburbs Magpies at the expense and death of the Balmain Tigers,” Mr Marsden said.
Mr Marsden said the existence of Wests Tigers should not be compromised even if Balmain weren’t able to provide the required funds.
"For my part, we have established a new brand and a very good brand — the West Tigers.
"And I know that will hurt a lot of diehard Magpies people.
"At the grand final in 2005 I was sitting next to a bloke and his son who was nine at the time.
"I asked what camp he was from and he replied ‘Balmain’.
“I then asked about his son and he said he was neither, he was Wests Tigers, and it was the only club he had ever known.”
Mr Marsden remains bitter about Super League and the merger.
"The choice was death like Norths or a joint venture. Prior to Super League, there is not a soul in the Magpies or Tigers camp who would have thought about a joint venture.
“Ninety-eight per cent of members voted yes because there was no other way to have any form of survival.”
Interesting article,i know there are contingency plans on both sides of the fence but what the future holds is any one’s guess,the point is Wests Tigers are 2 clubs and there are forces at work to make it one Western Suburbs club,whether that includes the Tiger as the emblem is another matter.Just my observations from scuttlebutt from the Balmain side of things.
The old guard are the ones who have the children dont forget!!
Whats that supppose to mean?
The old guard is irrelevant. Yeah, let’s not forget where we came from, but I’m far more interested in where we’re going, as I’m sure are all the kids out there who support Wests Tigers.
WT Brand wont be going anywhere….
WT ownership may (have to) change but the club and its recognition and brand will not be.
WT has more history than any other club in the NRL. 200 years of combined foundation club History.
WT Has a massive junior pool and 2 wealthy leagues clubs behind it
WT has Balmain running through its Blood and wears the Magpie heart on its sleeve.
WT is unique in its playing group, home grounds, merchandising and fan base.
WTFL = Wests Tigers For Life