The New England Nomads Can Learn from the Lessons of History and Be Great

Celebrating 50 years of AFL at UNE logoPaul Nankivell of UNEANFC reflects on the revolutionary methods used by City and City United in the ’70s
The mighty City of 1974 and 1976 and City United of 1975 were truly revolutionary and their regime has been unashamedly copied by successful AFL clubs. The Nomads can too. Let’s look at modern footy regimes and how City United and City developed and applied the performance and those other buggers copied us.

A complete on and off the field system of performance improvement was required and we had it. It was the Performance Improvement, Solidarity and Strengthening (PISS) model. The elements of the system that we developed and perfected and relevant examples are presented below.

Effective spiritual leader: the lifelong patron Jack Patrick Makeham, supported by an assortment of highly intelligent dogs, played this role to perfection. His model was not of the Gandhi mould but built around a belief in wagering markets that was the forerunner of the online betting caper. He was a practical spiritual leader was JPM and that suited the application of the PISS model given his appreciation of the frothies.

Innovative and binding team leadership structures: We had co-captains years before the AFL even existed. We had players groups too. They certainly helped with funds collection and allowed the secret weapons (see below) to achieve their comparative advantage.

Coaches that led based on a deeply rooted understanding of their charges: Billy Taylor 74 and Doc Murdoch 75-6 were inspiring leaders. Their pre-match and within game addresses stirred us deeply and helped unlock our skills. Blunt and perfunctory assessments were the centrepiece of their style. Gems such as “you’re playing like s*&t” and “you couldn’t get a kick in a yard full of weaners” helped us greatly and lifted our games at critical points.

Reliance on scientific game plans and incentive systems: At the heart of the PISS model was precise application of proven business tools. The operating system was based on the scientific application of the writings of Merle P Martin, Emeritius Professor of Sacramento State University IT and Accounting Faculty who preached that “if it generally known what one is supposed to be doing then someone will expect him to do it”. We were also guided by the well-known Hungarian philosopher Ludvig Zipf and his law that states: ” in any situation the most will do the least and the least will do the most”. We applied these assiduously and it gave us the clarity on the field that left Robb and other scrubbers in our wake.

Used team incentive structures that are copied today: Our incentives were market based and years ahead of those now routinely applied. We had JPM and, in 74, were blessed with Jackie Esler who was the sometime stringer for sports wagering for the sadly departed Melbourne Truth that covered all four legged animals and the VFL. He is also reputed to be the creative writer of that centrepiece Heart Balm but would not be drawn on his creative role in sorting out the sexual peccadilloes of his readers. Their application of proven risk management strategies was a great help to the on-field execution of our PISS model and it is copied slavishly today. As could be expected our strategic results driven approach to the game required a full appreciation of markets and risk. In some of our games we deemed that shorting was the go in order to maximise the triple bottom line benefit. Up at half time and lose by a reasonable and calculated margin developed in consultation with JPM. Teddy Edwards picked this United Short strategy up quickly and applied it in Uralla, the home of bushrangers. They would be well up at half time and lose by 50 points and many free cold ones at the Captain Starlight after the game. The social preference module of the PISS platform had been applied.

Effective mentoring of younger players: The PISS model was central to bringing the new arrivals into the culture of the group. We applied it successfully to the nurturing of Coach and JMoro so that they understood and applied the model on and off the field. I can remember the mid week strategy sessions at the Railway Hotel before the Robb games and how the new boys became men once they understood the framework. They were inculcated into the ethos of the froth and understood the deeply life-changing scope of the model. Coach and JMoro went to Uralla in 79 and successfully applied model to the Uralla Wanderers. I believe J Moro and Coach understood the implications and flogged the platform to Geelong and Brisbane Bears. The Victorians got is straight away but the Queenslanders quite frankly did not grasp the totality of the PISS platform. I was impressed with their wider application of the platform as a life-guiding ethos based on markets and adaptive expectations. The two young lads learnt from the older seasoned PISS model men and became successful capitalists servicing the resources sectors in fringe states of Australia.

We had secret weapons that we used brilliantly: Our PISS model allowed the unleashing of key players’ brilliant range of skills. We had Billy Malcolm’s towering grabs and thumping dobs that are copied by Tommie Hawkins and Cloke today. We had Rick Lacey’s strategic boot which was deceptive as the opposition rightly believed that more than 25 yards off the toe could be expected. We knew the secret and Lacey’s work was pivotal in our brilliant short game that is copied today. We had Rocket’s limited speed that resulted in opponents overrunning him and allowing the execution of blinding turns usually with the carrot top in full voice and resulting in penetration out of the centres that you see from Daisy and Juddy today.

We had a fervour for the game and the team: We would do anything to get to the game and in any condition. During the 74 Intervarsity in Canberra we were in Billy Taylor’s car and were slipping along at about 100kph to the game when picked up by a constable. Billy, the driver, was unlicensed at the time (he had parked his vehicle on the railway line near the underpass in Armidale after a night at the golf club) and presented Jackie Elser’s licence. Jackie was in the back and became immediately pre-occupied with perusing the form guide as he was about 5’2″with greasy black hair and no moustache and Bill was nearly 6′ and with a sandy coloured mop and a Zapata style thing under his nose. The copper was seduced by Bill’s eloquence that was driven by the- get-to-the-game-at-all-costs mentality that pervaded the team. It nearly came undone when the copper asked Jackie who he was and he replied Bill Taylor. They even knew their alter ego’s birthdays. It was teamwork and solidarity at its finest.

Nomads you can learn from our innovative and scientific approach to the game that the mighty City United developed and applied. Get your model going at the Wicklow and apply it for every success during the season.

Go the Nomads.

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