I’d better alert you to this piece in the Canberra Times that purports to be the inside story of how Matt Giteau found himself going back to Canberra. Lots of interesting detail but it fails to spell out what Giteau must have gone through when he began to realise that Firepower was all one big fraud. My favourite line from Giteau’s new minder: “I might be a cynic, but the thought you could put a pill in your car and it’d go further I find a bit strange.” How wise we all are in hindsight.
Archive for February, 2009
Probably the most interesting part of this story is what it doesn’t tell. When Matt Giteau went to the Western Force it was dubbed the most spectacular deal in Australian rugby history. He was to be paid $4.5 million over three years. People naturally assumed that $4.5 million meant $4.5 million. As in, cash. But Tim Johnston of Firepower liked to do business a little differently. Giteau was convinced to take part of his wages in shares. Just what percentage is a detail you will need to wait for – it is revealed in my book. Why did this make sense at the time? Again, there is a more than interesting back story. But for the time being it is bye bye Giteau.
Blind Freddie could see where this would end. After destroying the Sydney Kings it looks likely now that Firepower will destroy a second sporting franchise – the Western Force. It’s hard to feel sorry for the Force because of the way it allowed Tim Johnston to actively recruit players, including many serving Wallabies, on the promise of El Dorado. It was all a fairytale of course, but one without a fairytale ending. You will need to read my book to get the inside story. Suffice to say, many of the details in today’s Australian are incorrect and miss many of the obvious points. For instance, the connection between Ross Graham and Firepower. The fact that Peter O’Meara now works for Graham. Doing what, you ask?
Thanks to the West Australian, we learn that Tim Johnston’s youngest daughter, Emily, has been making news of her own. She was a finalist in the recent Face of Perth modeling competition and in its gossip column the newspaper chose to illustrate her achievement by using a picture of her in a swimsuit, no doubt enjoying one of the fabulous overseas holidays paid for by her father. Unfortunately, like most shareholders in Firepower, she didn’t win.
I have heard there was an interesting auction recently in Perth where the remnants of Firepower were sold off by the liquidators to the highest bidders. Lots of old Firepower signs, liquids and other mementos of a glorious past. One of the prized items was the Western Force jersey that Tim Johnston purchased for $30,000 back in May 2005 at the beginning of his involvement with Australian sport. Back then, everyone suddenly wanted to be his friend. I understand the jersey sold for a few dollars at auction. It’s enough to make some people weep.