Russell Crowe has made the decision to sell his controlling interest in the South Sydney Rabbitohs to focus more on his family.
When Russell Crowe and Peter Holmes a Court took over the South Sydney Rabbitohs the clubs was a mess. On the field they were not worthy of a place in first grade. Off the field they were a basket-case that lived week to week after 20 years of poor management. Crowe and Holmes a Court took the Rabbitohs from running on chook raffles to being the only Sydney based club to run at a profit and one of only two teams in the National Rugby League that can make that claim along with the Brisbane Broncos.
The Rabbitohs jersey is one of the highest priced pieces of advertising real estate in the NRL. They have one of the biggest membership bases. Where once the Rabbitohs couldn’t even hold on to their own local juniors, now players from all over the world see the club as a destination.
It is night and day compared to the state the club was in when Crowe and Holmes a Court took over. Together, they saved the South Sydney Rabbitohs, and that is something all Rugby League fans should be thankful for.
The timing of the move is unfortunate for Crowe. He spent millions of dollars of his own money to get the club to where it is today, and with the broadcasting deal about to kick in, Crowe could have been forgiven for stepping back and simply trying to cash in on the new funding that is coming into the game.
He chose not to.
One thing I haven’t seen anyone mention is that this move way well be to protect the club for any personal settlements Crowe may be forced to make in the near future.
I’ve written before that as far as owners go, Crowe was the perfect owner for any sporting club.
He looked to employ football people to run the football club. When times were tough, he didn’t make demands or start sacking people. He was always looking to use his influence to promote the club or recruit players. When there was a chance to get Wayne Bennett, he opened the cheque book and was only beaten by a godfather offer from a mining magnate in Newcastle. When he couldn’t get Bennett, he made damn sure the club didn’t panic, he waited for the right coach to come along in Michael Magure.
Every club should be lucky enough to end up having an owner like Crowe.
Now the Rabbitohs go into a new era as a stable club. No longer strugglers, the Rabbitohs are looking towards 2013 with an eye on the Premiership. That Crowe can step away at this point says everything about his time as an owner. It was always about the club. It was never about him.
George Piggins can sit back and take shots all he likes. The fact is that the vast majority of the clubs then tiny membership base knew what he had done to the club and overwhelmingly chose Russell Crowe and Peter Holmes a Court’s vision over the mess he had turned the club into. History will show who the real saviour of the Rabbitohs was.
Thank you Russell Crowe and Peter Holmes a Court.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
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