K rock Football

Last contract for Cook

Geelong CEO Brian Cook. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

BRIAN Cook expects 2021 will be his last year in charge after the long-serving Geelong CEO signed a one-year contract extension.

The 63-year-old (he turns 64 next month) had discussed stepping down at the end of next year when president Colin Carter vacates his position.

“You never know, but that’s my plan (to step down at the end of 2021),” Cook said. “I have no desire to work full-time past that at the club.

“I think I’ve had a fair run – it’ll be 23 years by the time this contract’s finished, and I think it’s a fair inning for any CEO.

Cook, who has been in the role since 1999, says he isn’t ready to depart at a critical time for the club.

“I’m excited about a lot of things at the footy club, in particular, our footy team and stage five finishing off the stadium (upgrade) – we start that next year and won’t be finished until sometime in 2022,” he said.

“There’s always something to do; something exciting to do.

“But it’s also what football can bring to people’s lives for me. I see a lot of joy in people’s lives from footy.

“And I see a lot of personal development in people, particularly young players coming through the system.

“I see what football can do for them; when they compete and they have to learn to lose properly, and they learn about skills and work in teams.

“When you see people coming out the other end so much better people than what they came in as, you’ve got to feel proud about that.”

Cook will now play a role in helping the Kardinia Park Stadium Trust find the extra $20m promised by now Labor leader Anthony Albanese for the stage five upgrade if the ALP won May’s federal election.

“There is all sort of options there at the moment,” he said of the hoped-for $120m redevelopment.

“Whether the extra $20m comes from the state government, or federal government or a combination of both.

“Or we don’t get it, and we have to change the scope of the project.

“Either way, we will have a project in place, and we’ll aim for the 40,000 capacity by 2022.”

Work will start on stage five following the group stage of next year’s T20 cricket world cup in which GMHBA Stadium will host six matches, with the last on October 22.

Twitter: @tom_king79
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