Daniel in the lion's den By Ray Chesterton | November 18, 2008 12:00am Have your say!Add your comments or read what others are sayingEmail article ShareAdd to DiggAdd to del.icio.usPost to NewsVinePost to FacebookWhat are these? Printer friendly Text size+- IT would be easy to herald new coach Daniel Anderson's call for a tougher attitude from his Parramatta players as the door opening on a brave new world of guaranteed success and reform. But Parramatta's record suggests it might also be unrealistic - through no fault of Anderson. He does not deserve to become another disappointment who did not ignite a docile, largely floundering Parramatta who have not won a premiership for 22 years and bring unkind comparisons with North Sydney, whose failures for 70 years made them a laughing stock until they dropped out in 1999. As a former assistant coach at Parramatta, Anderson will be delighted to know nothing has changed since he left to coach the New Zealand Warriors and St Helens. Denis Fitzgerald, the self-styled guru of administrators, is still in charge. Club chairman Alan Overton's favourite song is still Silent Night because he rarely speaks publicly about why the football and leagues clubs he controls are struggling. Perhaps board members Geoff Gerard and Ron Hilditch, who gave the club great service as players, can explain what has been going wrong for so long and why old teammates such as Peter Sterling, Brett Kenny and Ray Price are no longer linked to the club. Oh. Another thing, Daniel. Could you tell Denis that the word doyen does not mean greatness or wisdom? It just means oldest in the group. In his 60th year, Fitzgerald is certainly that as he watches younger, vital, visionary CEOs emerge. Most of all, Anderson will see that Parramatta supporters could still teach the Indian mystic Gandhi about pacifism. Eels fans have made tolerance an art form. The club's spent more than $100 million since 1986 in a futile chase for another premiership, yet each year followers renew their support in acceptance of more ritualistic punishment. Years of hopelessness, questionable administration, astonishing decision-making and failure to win a premiership are ignored as the same directors, headed by Overton and Fitzgerald, are returned. Parramatta is now a synonym for depression - and no one cares enough to push for change. The football club election is on next month but the tightly controlled 600 or so members are dominated by the supporters club, which is sympathetic to Fitzgerald and Overton. The leagues club elections are in April. But in a leagues club with 30,000 members only a few hundred bother to vote. Since 1986, Parramatta have hibernated in geographical isolation while clubs with less money, less access to players, fewer resources and fewer commercial agreements grabbed success. Six new clubs emerged from their chrysalis to win the premiership for the first time, some so fresh the paint was still drying on their infrastructure. Melbourne won in 1999 - their second year in the premiership - and in 2007. Canberra won three times. Newcastle twice. Penrith twice. Brisbane won five NRL titles. Wests Tigers one. You remember the Tigers, Daniel? They formed after Balmain chose Wests rather than the Eels in a merger. It gave Fitzy a chance to publicly parade his foresight. "The decision by Balmain will bring no joy to the NRL," he said. "Having two struggling clubs coming together will leave a joint venture with real difficulty in regard to long-term viability on and off the field." When the Tigers won the 2005 Grand Final, some supporters wanted to send eggs to Fitzgerald for a facial. In that same time span Parramatta have gone through four coaches, had a key player in Jamie Lyon walk out and join Manly, and fallen out with former Test star Noel Cleal, the game's best talent scout. Price felt the full venom of Overton's board when it refused to contribute to building a statue honouring his contribution to the club. It was built anyway. Welcome home, Daniel.