Fitzroy Football Club: Great football, Great community, Great culture.

2020 Annual Report




Report of the 2020 Financial Year Activities

November 2019 to October 2020

By Fitzroy President, Joan Eddy




What can be said of 2020 that hasnt already been said?! Nothing could have prepared us for the year that delivered us a pandemic, the impacts of which are still very real and dangerous. After initial delays and postponement of the season, then a glimmer of hope with return to training in winter, and the subsequent cancelling of the 2020 season for all our teams after Melbournes second wave, nothing has been more devastating to see in my time as President. Losing on the field hurts, but not being able to give our players, coaches and community a season of footy to come together as a Club hurt a whole lot more in 2020.

However, despite the disappointment and heartbreak of not hitting the park, the Fitzroy spirit we know and love was never diminished. Throughout 2020, I have never been prouder of our players and leadership groups, our coaches and our Board. For everyone to continue working together through multiple changes to restrictions and planning scenarios, forming working groups to manage the impacts on the club in many, many Zoom meetings, and securing grants and funding to keep us going, ensuring the health and wellbeing of our people was always the utmost priority. Everyone has shown absolute care, compassion and community spirit in the most trying of times.

Because of all this hard work, our club is in a strong position to recover from 2020. It will still be hard work, and weve got plenty more to do, but when we hit the field in 2021, it will be with the knowledge that our future is bright, and our community is brighter.

Go Roys!



The Club is pleased to announce an operating profit of $33.6k for the financial year ended 31 October 2020. Our Treasurer will detail the key points of the result at the AGM.



In a season where no football was played, you would think we would be hard pressed to list any on-field highlights. On the contrary. For the times weve been able to train for a few weeks in winter between the two lockdowns, and as restrictions eased towards the end of 2020 where weve been able to start our 2021 preseason weve seen the dedication of our people shine. Every training session has had to be meticulously managed to comply with the State Governments COVID-19 restrictions and AFL Victoria Return to Train protocols. This has been no easy task as rules have constantly changed with the ever-changing pandemic. Players have been split into groups, details recorded for contact tracing, each session has required COVID Safety Officers to ensure all social distancing and cleaning requirements are met. All this has been achieved with no breeches, no complications and no complaints. Our people have put the safety of our club and community first and there has been nothing but respect shown from our playing groups in following the rules.

A special thanks must go to club Secretary and Football Operations Director Sharon Torney for carrying the load of managing the implementation of club protocols, liaising with the VAFA to ensure the club had the most accurate and up-to-date information. This included many, many forms, spreadsheets, surveys, lists, and sourcing of hand sanitiser. A mountain of work to keep everyone safe and compliant with the rules.

Looking forward to the 2021season, the electronic scoreboard at the Brunswick Street Oval is installed and ready to go. This amazing achievement was made possible by working with our sporting colleagues who share Brunswick Street Oval the Fitzroy Junior Football Club and Edinburgh Cricket Club. It was a pretty long and at times complicated process, but we got there in the end and are now only waiting for the finishing touches like training volunteers and club officials how to use it and pruning some tree branches to maximise a clear view of the scoreboard around the ground. A special thanks to Director Gabrielle Murphy for all her hard work on this project.

Directors Kate Nolan and Michael Pickering have also been working hard to look at programs and policies for our playing group and club to ensure Fitzroy offers as much support as possible across player welfare, wellbeing and community responsibility. A new player wellbeing program has been launched and work has begun to start scoping out the Respectful Relationships program.

We also welcomed some new coaches in 2020.

John Mustafa appointed as the Senior Coach of the Fitzroy-ACU women's team in December 2019 and saw the women's squad through early pre-season and then into lockdown. John made the decision to return to playing football in 2021; we thank him for his work during a hard season. We're delighted to have appointed Bronte Ryan as Senior Women's Coach for the 2021 season.

Danny Hecker joined Fitzroy as the U19s coach, enjoying a good pre-season and then lockdown hit. Danny unfortunately decided to step away from the position during the year and Silvano Inserra stepped up into the role during 2020 and the Board didn't hesitate in re-appointing him for the 2021 season.

Luke Mahoney signed a contract extension to see him coaching through season 2021. We also saw the following renew their involvement with the club:

  • Bernie Carter, Reserves Coach (Senior Mens)
  • Trent Coleman, Thirds Coach
  • Karl Jackson, Assistant Coach (Senior Mens)
  • Michael Manley, Senior Assistant Coach (Senior Mens)
  • Andrew Pettigrove, Assistant Coach (Senior Mens)




    During 2020, the Club introduced several new merchandise items to drive revenue in creative ways. The introduction of the Fitzroy Forever T-shirts in collaboration with our friends at League Tees was one example. These shirts have proven very popular and continue to sell and provide an excellent fundraising stream for the club. Additionally,

    Fitzroy guernseys for sale through the Club Merchandise Shop have proven to be a real winner. This is the first time in some years we have had guernseys for sale and supporters are clearly enjoying their availability. The guernseys are available in both the current Fitzroy standard guernsey (red, blue with yellow FFC) and the Fitzroy Heritage style (maroon, blue with white FFC). The Heritage guernseys, in particular, are proving to be big sellers.

    Another major exercise was the huge job of picking, packing and mailing our Fitzroy Football Club facemasks.

    When compulsory facemasks were introduced in Victoria, our jumper supplier StarSub suggested the idea of FFC facemasks. We originally thought we might sell 5000 masks and have sold over 800. The full mailout coincided with the second lockdown and Director David Leydon took on the task of mailing these to our supporters.

    This happened out of the back room at his home with several late nights finishing at 3am just to get the orders out. Once again this was a major fundraising success for the club in 2020 and made possible by the creativity and dedication of our Directors.



    We owe a huge thank you to our existing club sponsors for your open and honest conversations with the club as we worked through the economic impact of COVID-19.

    Several sponsors were able to honor their pre-COVID commitments to the club, in particular ACU and Fitzroy IT, while others were able to provide support to the best of their abilities in the circumstances. It says a lot about the quality of our great sponsors that they all continually checked in with the club during the year, looking at ways to support the FFC community when they were in need of support themselves. It is this spirit of looking out for each other that makes our commercial partnerships so special.

    The club would also like to acknowledge the support provided by COVID-19 specific relief grants we received from The Community Bank Clifton Hill North Fitzroy (Bendigo Bank), in addition to their generous support from their Spring and Autumn grant allocations, the Federal Governments Cash Flow Boost Scheme, and the Victorian Government Community Sport Sector COVID-19 Short-term Survival Grants. Director Rob Olneys energy and enthusiasm to find new sponsorship opportunities as well as supporting our current sponsors has been outstanding and very much appreciated.



    Uncertain times required the club to look at different ways to fundraise to support the club and we would like to highlight two fundraising ventures that were successfully launched in 2020.

  • Australian Sports Foundation (ASF) Fitzroy Operations Fund. In 2019 FFC established a fund with ASF and this was expanded in 2020 with the launch of the Fitzroy Operations Fund. Thank you to all members of the FFC community who made tax deductible donations. The total funds received meant that we effectively gained a new platinum sponsor of the club! The Fitzroy Operations Fund will continue in 2021 as a major fundraising initiative.
  • Major raffle. The lockdown meant that we were not able to hold the traditional FFC raffle and instead we took part in the Toyota Good for Football online raffle. Thank you to all members of the FFC community, and their friends, who purchased tickets and made this a great fundraising success. It is our intention that the Toyota Good for Football raffle will be the clubs Major Raffle in season 2021.
  • Season 2021 has already seen our major sponsors re-commit to the club for this season thank you for your ongoing support! Several new sponsors have already come on board for 2021 look out for announcements in RedRoy Mail and on our social media channels during the preseason. We encourage all the FFC community to support the great sponsors that support us!



    In 2020, the Club secured a Change Our Game Community Activation Grant to support a Pride Game celebration featuring our Senior Womens team against Melbourne University Womens Football Club. This grant is important in contributing to the ongoing work the club is doing to elevate and celebrate our womens football program as well as further connect with the diverse communities we are connected with. Work is well underway as the game was delayed due to COVID-19. Director Kate Nolan has worked with members of the womens senior leadership team to coordinate development and approval of a Fitzroy Pride Jumper to be worn in 2021 which looks fantastic. Director Kasey Symons is also working closely with Melbourne University Womens Football Club to bring the celebration to life.



    It was great to finish off last season with our annual pre-Christmas training session and barbeque with players and volunteers at Victoria Park in December 2019. And then, almost before we knew it, the pandemic hit! Although we couldnt get together personally in 2020, we kept in contact with our fabulous band of loyal volunteers through the RedRoy newsletter and in a phone ring-around to them by Directors and players later on in the year. Even though we couldnt enjoy our usual happy get togethers for games and after, we felt the love of those who serve and support the Roys, and hope our volunteers felt ours for them!



    Despite COVID and a few delays it caused, work on refurbishment of the Edinburgh Gardens sporting precinct including building new club rooms and community facilities has continued throughout the year and is on track to deliver a great outcome for us, and for our footy, cricket and tennis colleagues.

    The redevelopment of lighting at Ramsden Street Oval is now complete and was tested out during early season training under COVID-safe protocols. Now that we have the standard of lighting required to play twilight and night games on the ground, all we need is a scoreboard! Weve started negotiations with the City of Yarra to investigate how to best go about this and are working with colleagues from the Clifton Hill Cricket Club to achieve this long-awaited and much needed asset.



    While we have been kept apart by COVID-19, we have built strong communications processes and kept the content coming across all our club platforms to keep our community engaged, entertained and across all news and updates as it came to hand.

    Director Kasey Symons kept our regular means of communication, The RedRoy newsletter, going throughout the year, and with no footy to report on, was able to be creative and collaborate with the Board to find stories to bring some joy and keep everyone connected.

    Some of the content highlights have been some superb pieces from Directors David Leydon and Gabrielle Murphy who have revisited the archives and reached out to the community. These articles included a celebration of the 65th anniversary of Kevin Murrays first game for Fitzroy, remembering the 125th anniversary of the clubs first Premiership in 1895, memories of some famous Queens Birthday long weekend wins over the years, a look back at the occasion the Royals visited the MCG in 1970 for the famous Fitzroy victory over Richmond on its 50th Anniversary, and a recognition of old Fitzroys last captain, the courageous and honourable Brad Boyd. It was also very pleasing to get such a positive reaction to the article about the wonderful Roygirls finals series of 2016.

    When club legend Bill Stephen passed away this year, his guiding hand in creating the famous Fitzroy theme song was revealed to many of our faithful supporters for the first time. In recognition of the great mans legacy, we enlisted the time and expertise of one of our fabulous volunteers videographer Paul Burston to direct some of our players to put their own spin on our beloved song. Were sure youll agree that the result is engaging, funny and inspirational all at the same time and join us in thanking Paul for so generously giving us his time and expertise.

    Additionally, Director Kate Nolan has started the process with Fitzroy IT to migrate the FFC website to a new content management system and make some improvements to the search function, events and reporting, so that it continues to support our business needs. Were looking forward to sharing a brand-new website with our community in 2021.



    As part of our annual Good Sports Accreditation, the Club has added an Illegal Drugs Policy to our existing Alcohol Management, Safe Transport and Smoke Free policies. A Child Safety Policy and commitment were also adopted and a Child Safety Officer appointed. All policies can be found on our website at



    Congratulations to the nominees for life membership this year, Trent Coleman and Jack Dalton



    Thanks to our wonderful, supportive sponsors; we cant do what we do without your financial and in-kind backing:

  • APS Benefits Group
  • Australian Catholic University
  • Bontempo Pizza
  • Brisbane Lions
  • CGU Clifton Hill/North Fitzroy Community Bank Branch of the Bendigo Bank
  • Fitzroy IT
  • Fitzroy Victoria Bowling and Sports Club
  • Jellis Craig
  • Royal Derby Hotel
  • The Reds Foundation
  • Universal Traveller
  • VIC Medical Doctors
  • And all player sponsors.


    Wed like to express our gratitude and admiration for all our coaches Bernie Carter, Trent Coleman, Danny Hecker, Silvano Inserra, Simon Jackson, Luke Mahoney, Michael Manley, John Mustafa, Bronte Ryan, Mel Story and the assistants who supported them, on and off the field.

    Wed like to wish John and Danny all the best in their future coaching careers after they stepped down during 2020.




    Finally, I want to pay special thanks to the Fitzroy Board. This year we had our full quota of Directors and while it was a shame not to have a season for them to deliver their skills and expertise, they have gone above and beyond to fight for the clubs future beyond this pandemic. Just because there has been no footy, doesnt mean there wasnt work to do. And our Directors stepped up.

    Weve laughed together, cursed the virus together, spent too much time on Zoom together, worked together, had a few respectful tussles, and together, joined forces to represent the club in the VAFA and the wider community, to keep Fitzroy healthy and thriving for the good of us all. Our future is strong, and exciting.

    Id like to say thank you to everyone who has been involved with the Club this year coaches, players and their families, members, life members, supporters and everyone involved in our wonderful Fitzroy community. Youve all played your part and we couldnt have done it without you.


    Joan Eddy, President

    On behalf of the Directors of the Fitzroy Football Club (incorporating the Fitzroy Reds)


    Get our Newsletter

    Are you a Member?