Captain - Coach: Carl Ditterich
Finishing Position: 9th
Best and Fairest: Laurie Fowler
Leading Goalkicker: Brent Crosswell (31)
Best First Year Player: Stephen Bickford
Major Sponsor: Mayne Nickless
|Matches||Ladder||Playing List||Best and Fairest||Reserves||Under 19s|
Despite suggestions in the press than the return of Ron Barassi was already a done deal at the end of the season Carl Ditterich resigned from his job as a teacher and became the VFL's fifth full-time coach.
After a number of committeemen resigned to end 1979, an election was held to fill their vacancies. Former players Dick Fenton-Smith, Geoff Case and Geoff Slade ran. Slade battled with Max Scales, a former secretary of *Richmond for the one position elected by football club ticketholders. The MCC elected positions were contested by Rick Mollison, Greg Ross, Ken Mitchell, Tom Jackett, Slade and Fenton-Smith.
Coming off a second last place finish in 1979 Melbourne first hit the headlines in January when Richmond accused them over attempting to poach David Cloke and Kevin Bartlett. They failed to land either player, but did recruit Brent Crosswell and Bill Nettlefold from cash strapped North Melbourne during February in a straight financial transaction.
Going the other way was champion midfielder Greg Wells, and much of the season was played out against the backdrop of Wells trying to win a clearance to Carlton. He eventually made it to the Blues in time to play in their premiership team.
A new ruck rule was introduced that drew a white line across the centre circle and forced ruckmen to approach the centre bounce from opposite sides of the line. Another change was the instruction from umpire's boss Harry Beitzel to try and pay less than 50 free kicks a game, the change proved unpopular with coaches at first as it led to packs developing and wrestling matches breaking out. Carl Ditterich was one of the most strident complainants about umpiring, leading to an early season 'please explain' from the league. In another major change for the first time umpires took pencils and pads of papers onto the field with them to instantly report players.
In late June the football club broke way from the MCC after 91 years of being a section of the club. A joint statement by the MCC secretary and the club announced that the Demons would now be "an autonomous body with responsibility for its own affairs and liabilities". Chairman Wayne Reid described it as the first step to turning the Demons back into a football power. The change had originally been planned in early 1979 but the MCC's football executive failed to follow through.
The cricket club would no longer cover deficits, or take profits. This was a potential problem given that for the previous few years there had been all deficit and no profit. The cricket club had bailed the footballers out to the tune of $120,000 in 1979. As part of the split the club was forced to move its administration from the MCG to premises in Jolimont Terrace which had earlier been earmarked for a Social Club. The club also had to start looking for alternative training locations given the increased match load on the MCG.
An article on famous fans in the Age named the following as celebrity Demons;
Annette Allison (TV personality), Sir Henry Bolte (former premier), Peter Russell-Clarke (cook), Greg Evans (media personality), Derryn Hinch (radio announcer), Barbara Horn (ABC announcer), Don Lane (TV host), Billy Snedden (speaker of the House of Representatives), Judge Alec Southwell (Supreme Court) and Tony Staley (Federal Minister for Post and Telecommunications). Snedden was the #1 Member and Annette Allison the #1 Lady Member.
For the first time in 1980 the league introduced a salary cap, but in practice the regulations were often ignored and club's continued to pay players as they liked.
On-field, despite showing improvement on the year before Ditterich announced in July that that he would resign as coach at the end of the year to take up a position as director of a holiday resort in Queensland. This cleared the way for the Demons to bring Ron Barassi back as coach in 1981 - though it had already been reported that Barassi had not only signed but was being consulted on player movements by the club. The master coach denied the suggestion and The Age were forced to print a retraction - though Barassi confirmed the Demons had first and last refusal on his service.
After the Round 17 match against South Melbourne the club was fined $500 for comments Ditterich made about umpires, and in his last match Ditterich was reported for striking then left the ground to a warm reception. He was cleared of the charges.
In the end the master coach did come, after putting an ad in the papers asking Demons fans to write in if they wanted him. Predictably they did, and the club's end of season report showed a $239,833 purchase of two companies which were wholly owned by Barassi. The deal was structured so that the Demons owned the company which in turn owned the rights to Barassi's coaching and advertising services.
That year the club also became the first to list players as assets, showing their squad being worth $1.6 million and revealing they had been paid $502,966 for their services during the season. They reported a profit of $141,054 for time between splitting from the MCC and the end of the year.
Best and Fairest
Redlegs Trophy - Tony Elshaug
1980 Reserves Season
Reserves Best and Fairest - Graham Hunnibell
Second Best and Fairest - Chris Woodman
Special Awards - Peter Maynard, Maurice Wingate, Henry Coles
Under 19s Best and Fairest - Paul O'Brien
Second Best and Fairest - Glenn McKissack
Special Awards - John Tossol, Greg Boyle, Ian Todd
|1980 Escort Cup Round 1||Brent Crosswell||Striking||4 matches|
|Pre-Season||Michael Byrne||Striking||1 match|
|Pre-Season||Garry Baker||Striking||Not Guilty|
|Round 1||Cameron Clayton||Striking||Not Guilty|
|Round 5||Peter Giles||Striking||Not Guilty|
|Round 10||Garry Baker||Striking||Not Guilty|
|Round 22||Jim Durnan||Striking||4 matches|
|Round 22||Carl Ditterich||Striking||Not Guilty|
Practice matches may also have been played at Sandringham.
Some sources list the MFC/MCC split as happening in August and some in July, but a certificate shows the official date the MFC became a company as 25 June 1980. The Age 23/02/1980 suggests Melbourne would take on their own $120,000 debt.
Age - 26/10/1979
Age - 09/01/1980
Age - 14/02/1980
Age - 28/02/1980
Age - 27/03/1980
Inside Football - 10/04/1980
Age - 03/07/1980
Age - 04/07/1980
Age - 12/07/1980
Age - 18/07/1980
Age - 21/07/1980
Canberra Times - 14/08/1980
Canberra Times - 04/12/1980