If Port were a Melbourne club, they’d have been relocated by now. And nobody would bat an eyelid.
Thus said a friend who works in the footy industry to me over a beer on Saturday arvo.
And looking at the events of the last few days, it is hard to disagree. The loss to Greater Western Sydney was shattering, and enough to see club legend Matthew Primus effectively sacked and Garry Hocking named as caretaker coach while the search for a senior coach for 2013 is launched.
With all due respect to Garry Hocking, of the great midfielders of his era, his coaching record at the Peel Thunder, where he once set up with all 18 players in his back half, doesn’t fill one with huge amounts of enthusiasm.
Port are in a quandary now. The logical solution to their problem is to go for the new broom coach, an outsider, preferably one who has been working at another club, that can come in with fresh ideas and perspective.
The problem is there were two of them available when they last went through the coach replacement process in Chris Scott and Brendan McCartney who have since found jobs.
Is the pool of talented assistants really that deep?
Port are a proud old club who won a flag less than a decade ago. It might have been a shellacking, but they did play in a Grand Final five years ago. I don’t see them as having the kind of ingrained cultural problems that are retarding Melbourne.
But they have an immense amount of work to do. The first thing they need to do is build a new culture that, perversely, is based on the existing culture of the organisation while simultaneously bringing its own unique features.
Paul Roos did that at Sydney with his legendary “Bloods” which not only won the Swans their first flag in decades, but put in place the foundation that has seen John Longmire make a seamless transition to senior coach and enjoy immediate success.
Brad Scott spoke about re-defining the Shinboner Spirit at North Melbourne. While he has yet to lead his group to finals, let alone a flag, he can point to a culture that has retained all of the players targeted by the expansion clubs and sees others signing on ahead of time and speaking about an agreement within the group to stay together to achieve the ultimate success.
Port needs a person capable of taking the best of that club’s storied history and marrying it with the most modern trends in the game.
They need to find a person who can convince the likes of Travis Boak to stay the journey as the club rebuilds from its lowest ever on-field ebb.
That’s vital too – Boak staying would send a huge message to the playing group and the supporters. If Boak goes, then the message will be equally loud, but of a sinister nature.
If I were in charge of the coaching recruitment process for Port the name I’d have at the top of my list, circled and underlined heaps of times, would be Adam Simpson.
Simmo ticks all the boxes Port needs. He’s experienced the ultimate success as a player but was a workmanlike type who had to extract the best from his own limited talents. Those kind of blokes tend to be good coaches.
He understands the demands of being at a small club lacking the resources of a Collingwood. But he also knows what it is like to be at a small club that has expectations of regular success.
Crucially, he has spent the years since he retired working in the system alongside some of the best and brightest like Clarkson at Hawthorn. Clarko might have a fiery temper but he’s also got results.
If Port can convince Simpson to uproot his family and make the journey to Adelaide – and let’s not forget Dean Laidley’s efforts at Skypeing in as an assistant – it will have taken the first step into a brave new era.