The Parramatta Eels are a proud club, with the most passionate supporters in the NRL. This was true when I played for the club in the 1980s and it remains the cornerstone of our identity today. What has changed since then - and there is no avoiding it - is the successful culture that was built during that period.
While there are several reasons for this, I think it is pretty clear the biggest issue at the Parramatta Eels has been instability. It is an absolute priority of the Board to rectify this but in order to do so we had to review operations and make the necessary decisions to initiate positive change.
The recent administrative restructure is simply about getting the right people in the club to restore the spirit of Parramatta back into the Eels.
For too long politics and personal agendas have stood in the way of our progress. The new boards agenda is simple make this football club feel like a football club again.
While I hold the position of Chairman we will aim to be a club that fans want to support, people want to work for and players can believe in.
That is our charter, that is our vision and, while I realise as members you must be sick of the promises, it is our job to show you reasons why you can have faith in us.
Since being elected we have secured our immediate future at Parramatta Stadium, a promise that was made and kept. We have not only signed an agreement for the next 2 seasons (with an option for 2 more), but also played a large role in procuring a $30 million upgrade to the Stadium.
We stand strongly behind Head Coach Ricky Stuart and firmly believe he is the man to turn our fortunes around on the field. Like us he has had to make some tough decisions in recent times but it is clear to us that he and his recruitment staff are building a squad for the future that will compete with the competition heavyweights.
Players like Nathan Peats and William Hopoate, to name just two, will add so much to this club. They are winners and that attitude is infectious.
This week our membership reached 17,000, which is an incredible show of loyalty from members. What we need now is to see that sea of Blue and Gold at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday to help lift our boys during a pretty tough time.
It will be a great day out as we celebrate the 30-year anniversary of 1983 premiership triumph against Manly. I was fortunate enough to run out that day and have very fond memories.
By looking back on such a successful time for our team, we are provided with a reminder of what this football club is capable of. We know that united we can return the Eels to the top of the mountain but it cannot happen overnight. It is going to take hard work, dedication and strong leadership.
I hope to see you at the game on Saturday, along with legends like Ken Thornett, Brett Kenny, Nathan Cayless and many more who will be in attendance for our Players' Reunion. Lets all get behind the boys and serve it up to the old enemy, Manly.