New Sydney FC boss committed to brand

by AAP on May 20, 2011

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Incoming Sydney FC chief executive officer Dirk Melton is committed to making the A-League glamour franchise a leading brand off the field as much as a power on the pitch.

Melton, chief operating officer with the Canterbury-Bankstown NRL club, will start his new position on June 20.

Watch Dirk Melton's Press Conference

In a media conference to announce his appointment, the words "brand" or "brands" were used 17 times in as many minutes by Melton and Sydney vice-chairman Scott Barlow.

Melton was appointed ahead of more than 100 other applicants from Australia and overseas, some of whom were also from other sports.

Melton said he was starting at a crucial time in the club's evolution, and how they connected with their fans in a very congested and competitive Sydney sporting landscape was critical.

He apologised for using "brand", which he recognised supporters disliked, but made it clear off-field success was every bit as important as victories on the field.

Melton cited the example of AFL powerhouse Collingwood as Australia's best-known sporting brand, despite their relative lack of premiership success until last season.

"Collingwood have won up until last year one premiership in 30 years. The on-field part is very important to people's enjoyment but, at the end of the day, we need to have a brand that is resilient to poor team performance and something that people want to belong to," Melton told reporters on Friday.

Barlow said the Sydney board were impressed by Melton's drive and his focus on high-performance teams.

"When you look closely at what has been achieved at the Bulldogs in recent times, it's a real positive story and Dirk was pretty central to a lot of that," Barlow said.

Supporters were likely to get their say about Sydney FC's direction, as Melton experienced and supported fan forums while he was at the Bulldogs and, before that, St George Illawarra.

Barlow reiterated Sydney's long-term goal was to become the pre-eminent football club in Australia and one of the leaders in Asia.

"The board recognise Sydney FC has huge potential as a football club and as a brand, both domestically and internationally, and we are very confident that Dirk's experience and skill set will enable him to be successful in the pursuit of that goal," Barlow said.

Melton will be Sydney's sixth CEO during their short history, and they have experienced almost as much flux in the coaching department.

Barlow said stability was important, but the most important thing was getting the right personnel.

"There is no point in having stability for stability's sake. Dirk is joining us (and I am) very confident he's the right guy, and we look forward to working with him for a long time and bringing stability to the club," Barlow said.

He said Sydney still had up to three spots remaining on their 2012/13 roster, including a visa spot, with one player likely to be added to the defence, midfield and forward areas.