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Bulldogs fans fight to bring back Belmore Oval

By Todd Balym

July 5, 2008 - Daily Telegraph

PASSIONATE Bulldogs supporters have called on the club to reclaim their history and resume the fight to return to Belmore.

With the NRL looking at taking more football games back to suburban grounds in the future, Bulldogs fans have called upon the club to rejoin the fight to get government funding to upgrade the dilapidated Belmore Sports Ground.

Bulldogs chief executive Todd Greenberg says returning to Belmore, which has not hosted an NRL match for a decade, was not viable but will meet with lobby group Back to Belmore Inc this month to discuss future options.

"It's not currently a viable option but that doesn't mean we won't entertain possibilities and probabilities of looking at it," said Greenberg.

"I'm not shutting the door on Belmore, all I'm saying is in its current state and the current environment it's not a viable option at the moment.

"I'm happy to work with all groups and lobby wherever possible."

Luke Brailey, president of Back to Belmore, said he wanted Greenberg and the club's new board to rejoin the fight to return to the boutique ground.

He said the club's previous administration, ousted by a members vote earlier this year, put the corporate dollar ahead of the fans and sold the club's history in the process.

"They were like a kangaroo caught in the headlights. They were paralysed into inaction and blinded to the suffering and concerns of the supporters," said Brailey.

"Their solution was to simply abandon the ground.

"We've lost our history, we've lost our identity, we've lost our culture.

"We don't have a home ground anymore and that's moving forward. If that's moving forward I want to go backwards.

"There's a difference between moving with the times and selling out, compromising the club's history for the sake of trying to gain mass appeal."

Brailey claims he held positive talks with NSW premier Morris Iemma last year about upgrading Belmore, but previous chief executive Malcolm Noad failed to support the lobbying.

With Greenberg now settled into his new role as club boss, Brailey says the new CEO should listen to members and resume the fight to take some home games back to Belmore.

"If people don't learn from the mistakes of their predecessors then they're destined to repeat it and I don't want that to happen to the new board and new CEO," said Brailey.

"It's important the club strikes a balance between commercialism and traditionalism.

"We only want a select number of home games, games that would potentially draw in less crowds and would be better suited for an upgraded Belmore Sports Ground."

The Bulldogs have struggled with poor attendance lately with their three most recent games at ANZ Stadium ranked sixth, seventh and eighth on the list of their lowest crowds since moving to Olympic Park.



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