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  • 03 Jul
    Whoever dreamed like a Western Bulldogs supporter? Almost certainly, no-one has dreamed like their president Peter Gordon.Through all the years of struggle as he likes to call them, sandbagging the club from folding in the early 1990s and more recently fighting to build a football machine capable of contending in September, Gordon has hung onto his dream of a grand final.The last time the Bulldogs got there was 1961. Gordons first memories of the club are as a seven-year-old in 1965, when they finished 10th of 12 clubs with just four wins. The following year they finished in identical position, and the year after that, last. Yet Gordon had grown to love them, as he said at the Norm Smith Oration in 2015: Somehow the Bulldogs in that critical formative period got me for life. Somewhere my psychotherapist is laughing until he wets his pants!That night 15 months ago, Gordon recalled a dinner with Robert Murphy and their wives, in which he let his imagination take full flight. After a few glasses of wine, which Ill admit were all consumed by me, Rob and I were moved to confess to the table we had both fantasised about what a 21st century Bulldogs premiership might look like, Gordon said. Neither of us have any experience of what a Bulldogs Grand Final might look like because while Im nearly twice his age, neither of us have ever seen our club in a Grand Final.For my part I was able to provide the entire table with a kick-by-kick description of what our Grand Final would look like. Itll be against Hawthorn. We will come from 22 points down at three-quarter-time. We will get to the front at the 20-minute mark and we will storm away to win by 28 points. I can actually provide you with multiple choice options for who puts us in front.But it always ends in the same way. With Murph having marked on his chest, 45 metres out from goal when the siren goes. His teammates, Matty Boyd and Roughy, they just want him to throw away the ball and celebrate. But he insists on taking the kick, even though the game is won. His teammates want him to just drop it, but Bob, no doubt driven by pure narcissism, insists on kicking the last goal of the premiership so he can say he had that honour. He puts it through.Somewhere in the background, Bruce McAvaney or Tim Lane or someone can be heard saying everyone in the whole worlds a Bulldog today! Thats my fantasy.The passion inherent in Gordons dream was what drove him to get involved formally with the club in 1989 when they were, in his words, a matter of days from extinction. The then VFL was about to become the AFL, and with ideas of national expansion there was little interest in safeguarding the future of a struggling club west of docklands. Melbourne and Victoria were at the time falling into the grips of recession, and blue-blooded administrators to the north and the east felt Footscray an obvious target for downsizing.Well it was in receivership and it was days away from being wound up, Gordon recalled. The then VFL had plans to raffle off the players to various other clubs and it was Im sure closer to extinction than any other club has ever been that has survived. Its not the only time its been close, in 1996 we had our struggles, and I know in the 16 years of David Smorgons presidency before I came back there were various moments there where the sheriff was nearly at the door.Its been a history of struggle, but the moral to the story is that if you continue to struggle and continue to believe eventually a week like this will come along.As a young and energetic lawyer, Gordons passion for the Bulldogs was writ large across seven years as club president, from 1989 to 1996. That final year was another grim one, immortalised by the documentary Year Of The Dogs. Exhausted and burnt out, Gordon departed the club and spent some years apart from it, concentrating on his expanding legal practice.It was his successor Smorgon who prevailed upon Gordon in 2012 to return, making a lengthy sales pitch in his city office. By now the AFLs attitude had shifted from one of Darwinism to that of equalisation, with better awareness of how Melbournes evolution and growth had made 10 Victorian clubs a far more sustainable concept.Older and a little less fiery than he had had been, Gordon recently found himself launching the autobiography of the former AFL chief executive Ross Oakley, the man he had once sparred with on a daily basis during the 1989 crisis. It was a moment symbolic of the changed relationship between club and league.Ive made the point on several occasions that with a really strong Western Bulldogs football club representing the western region of Melbourne in Victoria, the biggest beneficiary of that is the AFL, Gordon said. Im really pleased with the partnership weve got with Gill [McLachlan, CEO] and the AFL, they recognise that every bit as we do.It is the sort of message we tried to send the AFL back in the 1990s when they had a different philosophy and different priorities. The single biggest difference I think is that we see the AFL now as a really constructive and co-operative partner, rather than someone to be looking over our shoulder worrying about what theyre going to do to us next.Gordon is a demanding figure, having overseen the enormous turnover in terms of staff and players since his return. The appointment of Gary Kent earlier this year made him the third chief executive in the space of 12 months. But at the same time Gordon is also very close to those with whom he shares a similar vision - he has not been shy in singing the praises of the coach Luke Beveridge and the captain Murphy, almost since the day the former joined ahead of last season.Its a story of if you keep pushing hard enough the wall breaks down, Gordon said. Im very proud of everyone at the club. I couldnt be prouder of Bevo, and Bob Murphy the two men I credit more than anyone else with the turnaround in the club the last two years. I wasnt always sure wed ever get to this point, but we are at this point, and I couldnt be happier.Equally, Gordon has overseen an upsurge in support to the point that the club now boasts 40,000 members, 10 times as many as in 1989. Were really grateful to all of our new corporate partners and to the number of people who wanted to get a womens membership for next year and who are coming along and joining in the fun and jumping on the bandwagon. Theres plenty of room, and if we run out of room well just build more bandwagon.Injury, of course, means that Gordons captain and dinner partner Murphy will not be running out on Saturday afternoon. But that does not mean that the dream he shared with Gordon will not take place. Prophetically, Gordon related Murphy speaking less of the game itself than the possible aftermath.Singing the song, holding up the cup, and then of the team, the club staff, the members and all of our supporters walking the cup through he city together, down Footscray Road, to the Footscray town hall where it last was in 1954, and finally to the Whitten Oval, as the sun sets.After saying those words at the Norm Smith Oration, Gordon sighed deeply. Not even his dreams depicted such a sight in prospect for 2016. Rashad Fenton Jersey . Malkin got tangled up with Detroits Luke Glendening early in the third period and his left skate took the brunt of collision with the boards behind Pittsburghs net. 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COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Michael Birdsong threw three touchdown passes, Deven Sullivan returned a second-quarter interception 37 yards for a score and Tennessee Tech beat Murray State 55-19 on Saturday to lock up third place in the Ohio Valley Conference.Birdsong was 18 of 25 for 278 yards passing, hitting Dontez Byrd on 43- and 29-yard scoring passes, and Austin Hick on a 42-yarder. Byrd had 14 catches for a career-high 198 yards and broke the school record for single-season receptions with 69 to become the fourth Tech player with 900 receiving yardss in a season.ddddddddddddYeedee Thaenrat and Maleek Hall each scored on 5-yards runs and Colby Brown threw a 20-yard pass to Jordan Smith. Thaenrat gained 118 yards on 15 carries.Hall also intercepted a pass by Murray States KD Humphries, leading to a 46-yard field goal on the Golden Eagles next possession.Humphries hit Malik Golson on a 14-yard TD pass and Mareio McGraw scored on a 1-yard run for the Racers (4-7, 4-4). 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