Retiring AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick has come clean on an expletive-laden tirade directed at former Sydney Swans boss Richard Colless, in the wake of the Swans recruiting Lance Franklin.
Taking the reigns from the biggest narcissist in AFL football Andrew Demetriou, Mike displayed relentless brevity in decision making, and a penchant for the dramatic in many baffling public announcements and confusing press releases.
One to never shy from a scrap with the Swans, even when he risked looking like he was out of touch, he opened up about his private “conversation” with Colless.
“If you are in footy for any length of time you will have a series of robust conversations,” Fitzpatrick said of the Colless phone call.
Colless, proving that he had a spine, hit back on Wednesday in the Herald Sun
“If Mike was surprised that it was made public, I was surprised that he behaved like a thug and a bully.
“It was more like dealing with a Mafia Don than a football head. I thought it said a lot about the individual and the way he operated.”
Sensibly, he didn’t offer a comment when asked about Mike’s legacy to the game. Of course, why would he, you know need to look at the facts. Looked completely out of touch when his staunch defence for the Swans backflipped with his obscenity riddled tirade, privately and publicly directed at the Swans, accusing them of cheating. The Swans were later stripped of the COLA, but still managed to make the 2016 grand final without it. Go figure.
“There was no warm-up, no introduction — the opening pleasantries were the ‘F’ bomb and the ‘C’ bomb,” Colless said of the Fitzpatrick spray.
“I must admit I was taken aback. It went on for about 10 minutes and it was basically just a torrent of abuse.
“I was at home when the phone rang. Mike’s number came up and my wife just happened to be standing where the phone was. I didn’t put it on loud speaker, so she didn’t hear every word of it, but she got the thrust of it pretty well.
“It got to a point where he said to me, and I’m paraphrasing: ‘If any of this gets out to the press — this conversation — I’ll know where it came from and you watch out’. To which I think I said: ‘Mike — get f…..’.
“I have never been so offended and I said if you ever speak like this again to me you are the one that will have something to consider.”
Fitzpatrick’s legacy is being more than questioned, it’s being dragged through the mud, with his shambolic history since 2007 coming into view.
- Overseeing two expansion clubs, one an absolute basked case
- Playing AFL football at a stadium that he owns
- Misled and completely misunderstood COLA stripping and the Franklin saga
- Failure to deal with the Goodes incident, general racism and selfish statements
- Trying to work around the Essendon saga using the old boy network
- Refusal to introduce new commissioners
- Generally running the game incompetently
Ron Evans left the AFL is a great state, the same cannot be said for Mike.