PARRAMATTA director Steve Sharp fears it could become ‘‘open warfare’’ between new coach Ricky Stuart and the board if a ticket formed by the triple premiership former Eels star doesn't succeed at upcoming elections.
Sharp, who is a current member of the Eels football club board, has organised the ParraFirst ticket to contest the December 8 elections and next April's leagues club annual meeting.
Despite the high-profile appointments of Stuart and chief executive Ken Edwards, as well as the impending signing of Israel Folau, Sharp believes the Eels are likely to again struggle next year and he said further changes were needed after a disastrous season in which the Eels sacked coach Stephen Kearney and finished last.
‘‘When you have hired and fired two or three coaches and CEOs and chief financial officers in a three-year period you are obviously making a lot of mistakes and I think they are doing the Russian roulette trick at Parramatta and just rolling the dice,’’ Sharp said.
‘‘Hopefully, they have got it right this time but when we start to struggle next year - and I believe we will because our playing roster has not improved markedly and the cold, hard facts are that we need to win twice as many games as last year just to compete for eighth spot - will the board go back to their old ways and ultimately put pressure back on Stuart and Edwards?
‘‘Both … are strong individuals so it could turn out to be an open warfare sort of thing and we need to avoid that but there is a history of that happening with [former coach] Daniel Anderson and Stephen Kearney.’’If the ticket is successful at the football club elections, Sharp wants a review of Parramatta's current structure and constitution, which requires four leagues club directors to sit on the football club board.
He said the findings of the review would be presented before next year's leagues club elections, which will also be contested by ParraFirst.
‘‘I am not convinced we are in the right place at the moment as far as governance goes,’’ Sharp said.
‘‘After a few years of frustration and trying to get a few things in place it appeared to me that the only way to go about it was to get suitably qualified people together, talk to all the sponsors, people around the club and past greats like Mick Cronin, and put a ticket together.
‘‘We have an opportunity now with Ricky Stuart coming on board and the new CEO, who is fairly well-credentialled, and with a new board in place that would equal success.’’The other five candidates on the ParraFirst ticket - Phil Sim, Peter Serrao, Matt Hollier, Tom Issa and Lawrence Shepherd - all have business backgrounds and a long association with the Eels.
Eels chairman Roy Spagnolo declined to comment, saying he preferred to concentrate on the positive news currently coming out of the club.