MPNFL director Ray Stuart has stood down from the league’s board of management to take over the presidency of Chelsea.

Stuart has had a long involvement with the Seagulls, having performed long stints as vice-president and secretary. He became associated with the club in 1963.

Stuart has moved quickly to make changes at Chelsea, declaring all coaching positions vacant and appointing a sub-committee to oversee recruiting.

Former St Kilda and Frankston rover Brett Bowey had been re-appointed for the 2000 season, but Stuart said: “In view of the changes on the committee, we thought it was appropriate that we re-advertise the coaching positions.
“I explained that to Brett and he was fine. He said he’d be applying.”

I said to him “Look, we want to put the best possible people in the position and that may well be you.”

The MPNFL board will decide next week whether Chelsea which finished last this year, will remain in Premier division or be relegated to Peninsula ranks.
Stuart said that if the club was demoted it should “cop it on the chin. If we go down, we go down with dignity and try to return to Premier division as quickly as possible,” he said.
“I think all the ingredients are there for us to get back to being successful. I’m going to try to bring in some direction and discipline, a bit of new thinking, a bit of enthusiasm.”
Stuart said the club was in “reasonable” financial shape, but was not as healthy on the field.

“To that end,” he said, “the recruiting committee would be aggressive in attracting new players to the club, particularly for key forwards. Chelsea is as good as where it finished. Obviously there were injuries, but all clubs have injuries. The goal-to-goal line is something we will be working on.”

MPNFL chairman Ken Knight said that from the league’s point of view, he was disappointed to lose Stuart from the board. He said he had regarded Stuart as a future chairman.

“But putting my Chelsea hat on, I’m pleased that he has taken over the job,” Knight, a former champion Chelsea player, said
“I think he will do a great job. I think the league needs a strong Chelsea Football Club. I wish him well.”


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