Thanks to our friends at Wakefield Press, here is a sneak peek into Port Adelaide to Shanghai – Taking Australia’s game to the world, written by Andrew Hunter, with Tom Jonas and Michelangelo Rucci.
When someone asks me about playing a game of footy in China, my natural response is ‘I love playing there. We’re undefeated.’ Our three games in China have been an undisputed success on field; we’ve taken home the four premiership points each time. This answer feels superficial in respect to the club’s investment and achievement in China. I think it’s indicative, however, of the way the whole of the Port Adelaide Football Club has embraced the challenge.
Our executive, led by Keith Thomas and the board of directors, could easily have re-invented a domestic business strategy, rehashing old plans and hoping for the best in a crowded market. Our sponsors could have put their dollars behind sporting teams in tried-and-tested markets, with significant and stable viewership. Our fans could have refused to travel to support the team, reasoning that it was too hard to traverse the globe to watch a game of footy. The players could have shouldered arms, complaining of the inconvenience, the heat, air quality, travel, and the time away from family, when the alternative was to play a simple away fixture in Victoria where our record is nowhere as convincing.
I may be naive, but from the moment Thomas announced the plan to take the Port Adelaide Football Club to China, I was 100 per cent behind him. The way that Thomas, Matthew Richardson and the team assembled beneath them approached the task inspired a sense of excitement, trust and possibility in what the club was setting out to achieve. It fitted with everything we were doing on the footy field under Ken. It was daring. We were taking the bull by the horns, taking it up to the rest of the competition rather than sitting and waiting for something to happen. Beyond the club, the naysayers were abundant, sprouting all of the reasons listed above and more against adopting such a bold strategy. This also appealed to the Port Adelaide spirit of not giving a shit what others thought, and not taking no for an answer. It was quintessential Port Adelaide, just in a different incarnation.
To continue reading, head into your local bookstore of visit Wakefield Press to secure your own copy!