If the Sydney Swans football club was a business, it would be ‘liquid’ as fuck.
The team is simply overflowing with assets. Just take the midfield for example: names like Josh Kennedy, Daniel Hannebury and Kieren Jack lead the competition in basically every statistic imaginable – with young players like Tom Mitchell exploding onto the scene this year.
They’re so deep in the midfield that Jude Bolton, the club’s “heart and soul” and best midfielder over the past decade, has been moved to the half-forward line, where he’s hungrily racking up possessions like an investment banker on a bit of Tuesday night gear.
The Swans boast an enviable corporate culture, testament to their “everyone buys in” no dickheads philosophy. The club looks after its players/employees and, in turn, is able to generate amazing amounts of good-will that many clubs can only aspire to.
The Swans first became business-like under former coach Paul Roos, who implemented this club culture. He decided to create a “leadership group” – kind of a ‘C-suite’ executive tier – and made players accountable to everyone else for their actions. What’s more, Roos pursued atypical recruiting avenues, scouting players from (often overseas) basketball and rugby union backgrounds. He basically redefined the role of the modern AFL coach: approachable and innovative, with a strong business nous.
British chef Jamie Oliver had a documentary-style TV series a few years ago, Jamie’s Kitchen, in which he trained a group of disadvantaged youths with the end goal of offering them chef jobs at his high-profile eatery, Fifteen. By throwing these youngsters – many with drug problems – a career lifeline, Oliver was able to extract the best out of them at a time when everyone else had lost belief in them.
Similarly, it is amazing what the Sydney Swans’s collective mentally is able to bring out of its own recruits. The club has been effectively the Jamie’s Kitchen of the AFL world, bringing in troubled players such as Barry Hall and Kurt Tippett and having them “buy into” the Bloods culture – and having that gamble repaid in full.
Being appreciated at work is important for any employee. If your boss doesn’t give a shit about you and sees you as a commodity, you’re unlikely to put in your all for the organisation. That’s why the Swans have succeeded over the past decade to foster a strong blend of young, talented players and mid-career recruits. By treating everyone equally and putting no-one on a pedestal, the Swans’ corporate culture is rightly held up as industry standard.
Even though the Swans are currently missing a host of gun players – Adam Goodes, Lewis Jetta, Sam Reid, Lewis Roberts-Thompson, etc – you could be excused for not even noticing their absence. The faith that coach John Longmire has shown in fringe players like Jesse White, Dane Rampe and Jed Lamb is such that they are making a case for inclusion even when the injured players return.
The Swans share price continues to climb because analysts continue to rate the stock highly. The 12-month outlook is strong and the near-term gains outweigh the risks. HOLD.
By Dave Edwards