David Barham - Our new Board Overlord

As you may or may not be aware I am nominating for the Essendon board. I have been an Essendon supporter for all of my life. My earliest memories of watching the bombers revolve around watching Max Crow at the Western Oval, must have been mid 1970’s. I have strong connections within the club and I am good friends with former champion and premiership captain Ken Fraser. Our families have been friends for a long time, so have a good feel for the club and its history.

I have been fortunate to see all 4 premierships, however was working on the 2000 Grand Final, so it was nowhere near as enjoyable as the other 3. I feel very lucky to have grown up barracking for Essendon, not every football fan gets to see a premiership.

I have been involved in the AFL industry for 25 years. First of all with my own business AFL Films, where I established the AFL’s Film and Videotape Library. It is something I am proud of, as up until 1991 no one was keeping the matches and the history of the game was disappearing. The AFL library is now one of the best of any sporting code in the world. I did this for nearly 20 years, passing it on to the AFL in 2010 and moving to Sydney as Head of Sport for Ten. The AFL Library is now a major part of AFL Media.

I have worked in television since the early 1980’s. I produced many episodes of Talking Footy for Seven, the documentary “100 years of Australian Football”, along with the 2000 AFL Grand Final. I then worked for Ten as executive producer on all of their AFL content from 2002 through until 2011. This included 5 Brownlow Medal counts and another 8 Grand Finals. I moved to Sydney in late 2010 and became Head of Sport. Over the past 5 years I have been responsible for the Delhi and Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Sochi Winter Olympics, 5 Australian Grands Prix and over the past 2 years the Big Bash cricket. I have been in charge of all productions as well as being responsible for signing deals with the International Olympic Committee, Formula 1 management, Netball Australia and Cricket Australia.

My job has been interesting and challenging and has involved clearly understanding what our audience wants and then delivering it. This requires listening to feedback, adjusting quickly and then giving viewers what they like. I am particularly passionate about the Big Bash and currently setting up for our 3rd season. It has been a great boost for cricket and for Ten. I have learnt many things whilst managing this, including how to engage new audiences and offer fans new and exciting experiences. I am hoping I can bring some of these skills to the Essendon board if elected.

I have been involved on and off for many years with the club, without being able to give a bigger commitment. I have made motivational video’s, testimonial video’s and served on the innovation committee for a short time. I have run my own company and served on that board, worked in senior management at Ten and believe that my negotiation skills, extensive media experience and contacts can help the club. I am a passionate fan and now have the time and space to be able to devote more time to one of my passion’s, that being the Essendon Football Club, if the members believe I am the right person.

I am happy to answer any questions you have about my background or what I have done, in order for you to decide if you think I am the right person.

Dave Barham


Hi David

Thanks for introducing yourself. Impressive CV!

I have a couple of questions relating to your skill set…

  1. In the games I attended last year I was annoyed by the manufactured hype pregame and at quarter and half time break. It was intrusive and felt very Americansised. I understand that atmosphere at games is important, especially those where the crowds are small. Do you have any ideas around maximising the fan experience while still retaining the uniqueness of our game?

  2. The AFL website is rubbish. While ours is much better I really dislike the Telstra branding and am frustrated by the limitations of the IPad App not working in landscape mode. Can these things be easily fixed and do you have any new ideas on how the club can better use its online presence to communicate with fans?

1 Like

Hi Darli,

With regard to point 1, I agree with a lot that you say. I grew up watching the reserves and loved it. One idea I would have would be to involve more of our clubs history and the great players and characters from our history. Our history, past champions and great moments are effectively what gives us our uniqueness. I would start by going down this track. I think this would appeal to all members and would help educate younger members on why this is such a great club.

With regard to point 2, I haven’t spent a lot of time on the website but it is something that I am hoping I can help with if I get involved. The digital age has given every organisation much better ways of directly communicating with fans. Like this website, it is a great way for fans to communicate with key people within the club. Regular communication, that is planned, structured and worthwhile is the key to everyone being more involved. It takes a genuine ongoing commitment over time. I am hoping this is something that I could help with.

Thanks David, looks like it’s just you and me, that’s OK, I’ve got plenty of questions :slight_smile:

The clubs relationship with the AFL has been strained to say the least over the past three years. Many members feel the club should have been stronger in its stance against sanctions etc.

How would you manage the relationship moving forward?

Can you tell us more about your relationship with Sheeds and are you still in contact?

1 Like

Darli, it is really important that we have a close working relationship with the AFL. All senior people at the club should be working hard at and having good relationships with the AFL>

CJohns. I met Kevin Sheedy at a supporters function in Ballarat in 1990. He was very good to me in the ear;y days of building my business AFL FIlms. He gave me great advice and helped me understand how the football world worked. I made motivational videos for Kevin Sheedy for several years in the 1990s and worked with him on several projects, including Dreamtime. I haven’t seen him as much over the past few years but he remains someone for whom I have deep respect and would go to for advice.

1 Like

Hi David
Here are the questions I am putting to all the candidates

Welcome to Blitz

I am interested in
where in non-football terms you think the club should be heading in the next few years?
what do you think the club needs to do to improve its operations not just football in the future?
your thoughts on communication strategies that have been employed in the past three years and if and how they could have been improved and improved into the future?
What are your thoughts on making the board more accountable to the members in terms of reasons for decision making, and how can this be achieved?
What are your thoughts on having a comprehensive review of the actions of the board in relation to the SAGA over the past three-four years?


Hi David. I don't have any questions but I would like to wish you all the best. You and Paul Brasher will be getting my votes.


1 Like

fogdog… thanks so much, appreciate it.

Thanks Reboot


Here is my best attempt at your questions…

Until I have a lot more information from the club about where the revenue comes from, what the significant cost bases are, it is almost impossilbe to give you an answer of any consequence with reference to your first question. One of the first things I will need to do is to get a full breakdown in great detail of how the clubs is structured and works.

Operationally I will need to spend time looking at what happens from the inside to make any judgements. However, in what has been a really difficult time for all involved with the club, I would like to praise the many people internally in all the various departments who have stuck to the task. It cannot have been an easy time and I think they deserve credit for sticking it out and not just chucking it in. In the end what any organisation needs are the best possible people and that is the key to operational success and that should be the goal for the future, many of whom may already be in place and just need some clean air.

Communication strategies can always be improved and in particular now that we have such great digital options, like this for example. Again in this period where things have been very difficult if is hard to make judgements, but I come from an industry that relies upon communicating at a high level, so hope I can help if help is required.

The board will always be accountable to the members, there is no more power than having the chance to vote someone in or out. I believe really strongly in communicating news when and if possible to the key audience, which in this case is the fans and in particular members. I think consistent opportunities should be scheduled and put in place in forums like this so that key senior staff and board members can stay in touch with what fans and members think.

Scorpio, on your last point, I am really keen that we get moving forward again as soon as possible. I also have great faith in the board members that I have met, in particular Paul Brasher and have full confidence that someone of his experience would have made the best decision he could at the time. I really want to keep moving and get back to enjoying the footy.

I hope this answers your questions and I am sorry to not be able to answer as definitively as you would have liked, but without the information it is just guessing. I have spent a lot of my life producing television programs under great pressure making split second decisions and have watched many people in hindsight point out how wrong some of those decisions have been. This is hard to take at times, however I understand this is the way the world works. I am trying however not to do this and that is why I am being careful.

Thanks for your questions…all the best …Dave

Hi David,

What are your thoughts on the EFC being involved in gambling and in particular owning poker machines. I’m very much against poker machines due to the social misery they cause and I do not believe we should be profiting from such a venture.

I agree with you on poker machines. I am unsure what the exact situation is with Poker Machines within the club, but personally I don’t like them.

Hi David
Thank you for nominating for the board of the mighty Essendon Football Club and I wish you the best of luck with the upcoming election.

Hi David

The clash jumper. I understand it is an AFL directive. I accept we cannot avoid having one. But surely we can come up with something more representative of the club’ colours than that hideous grey thing. Red and black. Forever.

What are your views on this?

Sab-Dons…thanks appreciate it…Dave

DonsForEver…yes like you I would much prefer we played in our normal jumper all the time, jumper designs are always subjective, what you and I like will never be the same, which is going to make an away jumper design that everyone likes almost impossible. Appreciate your opinion though…Dave

Hi David

The clash jumper. I understand it is an AFL directive. I accept we cannot avoid having one. But surely we can come up with something more representative of the club’ colours than that hideous grey thing. Red and black. Forever.

What are your views on this?

You must have missed it DFE, but there is a new one on it’s way, sans grey. The abomination is dead.

At least we’ve been told, … would have thought it’d be out, loud & proud by now.

Not sure whats going on with it … hope it hasn’t hit a snag.

Some feedback for you David, or should that be feedforward? Anyway, the current Essendon website has deteriorated somewhat in that the video items have lost there controls. Previously I was able to pause playback while the content loaded and then play it for a buffer free experience. It is now buffering all the way through. This is particularly pesky when the item of news is solely a video item. It can’t just be my connection. It only happens on EFC site or the AFL site. Everywhere else that I view video content from my desktop works very well. I am asking you what you might do to fix this in view of your media credentials. I would also add that my questions regarding this problem have been completely ignored by the Club. Or at least, they have completely failed to respond to my questions about this problem. Interstate members like myself have limited access to the Club. The website used to be a pearler when it was run independently. Since AFL Media took it over, it is only our site because of the livery. Everything else is available on the AFL website. Anyway, have a think about it. Cheers.