Fremantle have become the latest AFL club to lay bare their lofty targets for growth and success in an ambitious multi-year project outlined to members by chief executive Simon Garlick.
Still without a premiership since joining the AFL in 1995, the Dockers are aiming to deliver their maiden men’s and women’s flags within four years as part of a wide-reaching “strategic plan”.
They are chasing three top-four finishes for both teams in that time frame and have also set their sights on expanding their membership base to at least 80,000 – up from 50,342 this year.
Fremantle are targeting average crowds of more than 50,000 for AFL home games at Optus Stadium and 6000 for AFLW home games at Fremantle Oval.
Garlick also wants the club to double its cash reserves from about $2 million to $5 million by 2025.
Meanwhile, the Dockers will place greater emphasis on their traditional anchor symbol as one of strength and stability.
“We feel we’ve built a really strong foundation to launch into what we’re planning to be a period of sustained competitiveness and ultimately, success,” Garlick said.
“We come from a region of football heritage and history that is equal of any in the country.
“We’ve got rich stories of great Fremantle people who love their club and have done phenomenal things.
“There’s so much we can build on, from such a strong foundation.
“This is our opportunity and we think there is so much upside in what the Fremantle Football Club can achieve.”
Fremantle’s “strategic plan” is somewhat similar to the Richmond project famously outlined by Brendon Gale in 2010.
The Tigers’ vision for three premierships and 75,000 members within a decade was ridiculed at the time, but ultimately laid the foundation for one of the most dominant periods by any club in the modern era.
Several other clubs have embarked on similar projects over the past decade, with the jury still out on blueprints unveiled by Port Adelaide (2021) and Carlton (2019) in recent years.
Garlick accepted Fremantle, who have missed the AFL finals for the past six seasons, have opened themselves up to criticism.
“There’s always a risk when publicising our aims and aspirations but I also think that’s the beauty of it,” Garlick said.
“We’d much prefer to set ourselves ambitious goals and do everything we possibly can to achieve them and put ourselves on the hook to do so, rather than quietly keep your head down and not attract too much attention.
“We think that’s a far better element.
“We’re going to go as hard as we possibly can to tick these off one by one and I’m sure there will be some that prove more challenging than others, but we’ll deal with those challenges as we go.”