Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Mixed feelings about merger between Hobart Zebras and Clarence United

Hobart Zebras and Clarence United have proposed a merger to take effect before the 2020 NPL Tasmania season.

Members of both clubs will vote on the proposal on 17 September.

Football Tasmania has no objections to the proposed merger.

Zebras president Nick Di Giovanni and Clarence president Ronnie Bolton are both in favour and see benefits for the merged club, which will be known as Clarence Zebras.

I have mixed feelings about the proposed merger.

I have seen mergers before and the weaker club eventually disappears with little or no trace.

When I played for Caledonians in 1968, we merged with the weaker Hobart-based Scottish club at the time, Rangers.

Rangers disappeared without trace, but I guess they had no other choice but to merge.  If they hadn’t merged with Calies, they would have disappeared anyway.

Rapid was another club I played for.  It was one of the most successful clubs in Tasmanian football history but there is little trace of it now.

Once the supporter base evaporated, the writing was on the wall.

Rapid was destroyed not by a merger, but by the stupid decision by the national authority to ban ethnic names.

Rapid became Kingston Cannons and then had to merge to attempt to retain its identity.

It merged with Christian United and is now Southern FC, but no-one even seems to know the whereabouts of all the trophies that Rapid won.

There are other examples to indicate that mergers favour the stronger club in the deal.

The other downside to mergers is that one club is removed from the total number of clubs operating in Tasmania, and that is a retrograde move for game.  I’ve always believed that the more clubs there are, the better.

What does Clarence have to gain from this proposed merger?

At senior level, they’ve hit rock bottom, as the current NPL Tasmania league standings indicate.

They’re going nowhere at that level of the game.

I know their Women’s Super League side are also struggling and have suffered some heavy defeats this season.

Clarence’s junior sides have a mixed record, I think.

So what do they gain?  Continued existence in some form, I suppose.

And, according to the proposal, they will get their name in lights as it’ll be Clarence Zebras and not Zebras Clarence.

What do Zebras have to gain from this merger?

Very little at the senior level as I can’t think of many senior Clarence players who would get a run in the Zebras NPL side.

I reckon some Zebras supporters will be tossing that one over in their minds as it’s generally the weaker club whose name comes second.  It’s the second name that often gets the chop farther down the track.

The only real benefit Zebras might gain is Wentworth Park as a home ground.  But, that may not be all that it’s cracked up to be.

Remember that other sports are played there and the local council wouldn’t let Clarence use the ground until the season had started and Clarence had to play their earlier games at KGV Park, the current home of Hobart Zebras.

More juniors, and volunteers to share the load, are other supposed benefits.  We’ll have to wait and see about that one as some people may actually leave the clubs rather than go along with the merger.

Zebras have the more illustrious history of the two clubs and some would argue that they would lose some of that tradition by merging.

There was talk a  few short years ago of a merger between Zebras and Beachside, but nothing eventuated.

Nothing may come of this proposal, either.

I’ll just wait and see what the respective members of the two clubs decide.

I just hope that all issues are considered and all angles covered.

If the merger does go ahead, Tasmanian football loses another club.  If that happens, the new merged club had better be good, and one would hope that it is better than either of the merging clubs was.


Anonymous said...

I think that Clarence have their name 1st because that's about all they have left. The culture will change. Zebras get a home base , Clarence keep their name and the Eastern shore gets a decent football team next to Nelson. Exciting times ahead.

Anonymous said...

One thing is for certain here-Clarence is finished. Whether this merger gets up or not Clarence is gone. Sad days ahead.
Zebras will consume Clarence like hyenas in the wild. But, at the same time, I believe the Zebras identity will change too. They will struggle to hold on to their heritage.
It is a shame the Clarence board could not get the commercial/private sponsorship needed to stay afloat. I wonder if Clarence have any unpaid debts that the Zebras will have to pick up?
The body language of both club presidents on the TV show that they are tired and out of options. New vibrant blood needed at both clubs.
Can't wait for the s$#@ to hit the fan post vote. How many members/players will be hoodwinked!

Anonymous said...

Why don't they just go back to the name Juventus and play out of Wentworth Park? Juventus strip for home games and AC Milans strip for away games.
Clarence Juventus or Juventus United!

Anonymous said...

MMMmmm are you trying to get a bite from the Warriors, I think they are still busy trying to appeal 3 points that will do them no good at all.

Anonymous said...

The only possible reason (in my opinion) Zebra's would merge is for the home ground. There can not possibly be another reason. For what was once a proud club, everything will be gone. I imagine a few members from the Juve days will be upset.

In contrast, why would Clarence accept it either? As anonymous 8:01 AM said, Clarence will be consumed, and surely they know that? Again, once a proud club - gone. If I were at Clarence, I would rather sink trying to rebuild, than to merge. Then again, I guess Clarence have had the chance to rebuild for years now and they haven't... Maybe if Clarence knew how to manage youth and player development, they would have retained some of the players who have moved to other clubs and playing NPL.

Will be interesting to see if it even goes ahead, after the decision in 2014 to merge with Beachside flopped.

Anonymous said...

Southern Tasmanian senior soccer is at an all time low. I can't recall the morale being so bad amoungst supporters of our game.

Anonymous said...

If this goes ahead I hope those that make the decision have the balls
to accept all responsibility when it fails, because it will fail.
There are some short term advantages , yes, but disadvantages
outweigh these. Maybe Zebras should have placed more effort into
development and growth of the club in the past rather than
spending thousands over many years looking for the quick fix .
Now these people want to merge with another?
Easy way out in my opinion.
Good luck to them. They will need it.

Anonymous said...

Football in this State has being run like a circus and has turned into one never has the game being at a lower point .

Anonymous said...

So does the Italian club now move to Wentworth Park?

Anonymous said...

Good story Walter
Both sets of supporters think very carefully as you will lose your identities forever - no matter what the spin
History gone. Shame particularly for a once proud club like Zebras
Clarence have nothing to gain - this is a takeover plain and simple. Zebras gain your ground

Anonymous said...

Interesting comments above.

Zebras gain the ability to have a half-decent training facility and to get out of KGV which is a disaster.
Clarence has been very badly run for a number of years and it has long been apparent that the current admin does not want to rebuild the club so they are opting for an easy solution.
Whoever said above that the name is all Clarence has left to offer is about right. The club has been a dead man walking for a long time and can now be gently laid to rest amongst fallen comrades like Rapid and Callies.

Anonymous said...

Clarence have had no interest in trying to build on or maintain
what they had as a club.
This is an easy way out for them . They retain their name first and Zebras second.
Be careful Zebras there are smart people at Clarence that can pull your pants down
before you know what has happened.
This is a worse scenario than the Beachside one.

Anonymous said...

Why would Clarence choose this over rebuilding in the Sthn Championship? Men and women.
Although it's probably hard to build a strong junior program for a non NPL club.
Beachside is really the only non NPL club who regularly finish at the top in multiple divisions year in year out.
The merger with Beachside would have been a better option for Zebras.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that Clarence have had to come to this, but if they wish to remain in the NPL, this is about the only chance they'll have. Personally, I don't see why they joined after missing out the first time though, as it's been boys v men ever since.

FFT are firstly to blame to what has happened to Clarence, as it'd be a very different story if they were in the NPL from the start and didn't lose all their players whilst their club was at a peak.

Secondly, I have no idea what the current board etc. have been doing at Clarence, but from the outside they appear to be ran as a social club at best, and from a development side, they also haven't had a decent striker or goalkeeper in several years, so I have no idea what's happening there.

Zebras have several ex-Clarence players, men and women, so I'm curious on their thoughts. I did see a lot of angry reactions from the female ones on Facebook...

Anonymous said...

Lets be truthful - this is not a merger. This is clearly a Zebras takeover

In a merger both parties benefit

Bye Clarence

Anonymous said...

One way to go a small way in correcting the lopsided competitions we get fed every year by FT. Just eliminate Clarence !!

Anonymous said...

Wentworth Park is a shocking facility.
KGV in present state is far better.

Anonymous said...

12:33 You must not get out much. I think your very wrong.

Anonymous said...

3.46. I do get out quite a bit actually. I think you are wrong.
Wentworth Park ....,,No cover, little seating, windy most of the time , freezing cold at night , small ground.
KGV.......,, none of the above most of the time.
Can’t disagree with that. They are fact.
That will all lead to reduced crowd and support!
But we have a kiosk.,.... which will be open and no one there to buy anything.

Anonymous said...

I don't even know where to start... How could KGV that hardly passes safety regulations for both players and spectators be a "far better" state than a home with 4 fields, an onsite club room (large) male and female changing rooms with working hot showers with flushing toilets (unlike KGV)

Anonymous said...

Clearly a few Olympia people on here scared of what the merger will bring. Talking absolute crap about things they know nothing about.
Bring on the merger and watch Olympia get reduced to the 3rd side on the Eastern shore.

Anonymous said...

Just like Warrior park. Bugger all shelter, bugger all seating and as cold as a witches @#$. Only one difference, WWP has grass. If I had to choose it wouldn't be plastic park.

Anonymous said...

Surely a massive opportunity for Knights, South even Eagles and Beachside to swoop in and grab juniors from the traditional Zebras recruiting zones if they pack up and move to the Eastern Shore.
Parents won't drive over the bridge at peak hour for training if they don't have to.
Then they'll have to fight Olympia who have been established for 8-10 years for the Eastern Shore kids.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3.24 pm makes some good points especially in relation
to juniors. Hopefully Zebras in particular take note and wake up
to themselves. Sick and tired I hearing people at Zebras who have
been there 5 minutes saying :
-It’s a good move
-We will have our own ground
- we will gave own kiosk
- blah blah.

These people have no idea and the history of the club they would
not know about.
The council will decide when the ground can be used and for what sports.
The council will decide when to close the ground due to poor weather.
The council will decide who else can use the ground .
It takes year for any development to occur if that is another item to tick off.
BIG mistake if it goes ahead.