The loss of Des Hasler â€“ one of Manlyâ€™s favourite sons and in my view the best coach in the NRL â€“ is a significant event for our great club so naturally a lot of us (myself included) are upset. We want to know how it happened and who is to blame. I have tried to refrain from making any substantive comments on the events until the dust settled in my own mind on what I think has actually happened and I think I have now reached that point. I donâ€™t purport to have any inside information or any ties with anyone who has any power whatsoever within the club. However perhaps what I lose from not having any â€œinside knowledgeâ€ I make up for in having objectivity. Like most of you all I have been doing is reading the papers with a healthy dose of scepticism. On that basis this is how I see it: â€¢ At the end of last year/beginning of the year Des and the Board started to negotiate an extension to Desâ€™ contract. â€¢ Des quite reasonably saw this as an opportunity to secure remuneration commensurate to his status as one of the leading coaches in the NRL and to exert some pressure on the Board in relation to some other areas where Des felt the club was not taking the right approach. â€¢ Desâ€™ demands on remuneration and his other demands about how the club should be run â€“ while quite reasonable from Desâ€™ perspective â€“ were difficult for the Board to deal with because, quite simply, Manly didnâ€™t have the money to meet them. â€¢ At this point in time Manly were without a sponsor and looking down the barrel of a loss of $1m plus for the 2011 season. This meant that the funds required to top up Desâ€™ remuneration and fund his other demands â€“ such as spending the cap for the Toyota Cup â€“ would have to come directly from the pockets of the shareholders in addition to the bucketloads of cash they were already pouring in. â€¢ While it is easy for fans like us to say â€œkeep Des at any costâ€, if we were dipping into our own pockets for these things Iâ€™m sure we would give them much more thought. While the shareholders have made financial contributions to the club and have given every indication that they will continue to do so, they will not write a blank cheque. â€¢ Without an unconditional commitment of the shareholders to tip the additional funds in, each director on the Board would have been negligent and in breach of their duties under the Corporations Act if they were to vote to agree to all of Desâ€™ demands. It could quite conceivably have led MWSE P/L towards insolvency. â€¢ While I believe the Board (as a whole at least, and probably each individual member) wanted to keep Des. I donâ€™t think they would have adopted the â€œkeep him at any costâ€ mentality that some fans would advocate. They would have been thinking about their other options. They would have considered that Geoff Toovey had been waiting in the wings for many years now as the heir apparent to Des. If Des was to go â€“ which they probably considered unlikely until the Bulldogs deal came along â€“ Manly had a pretty good Plan B ready to go. This would have been the backdrop to negotiations from the Boardâ€™s perspective. â€¢ This predicament would have naturally led to some difficult discussions between the Board and Des â€“ and between the Board members themselves as well. In the heat of these discussions no doubt some things were said that should not have been said or things were not expressed as well as they could have been. There has been much conjecture as to what these things may have been, but unless you were there you donâ€™t really know what they were. â€¢ Des became frustrated with the Board because it was so difficult for him to get what he wanted. This is understandable because he is a professional at the peak of his career and he thoroughly deserved everything he was asking for. If Manly were still the Silvertails, I dare say he would not have had any problem getting exactly what he wanted. â€¢ This is where Greenburg stepped in. Along with a compelling offer of remuneration â€“ which at the time was undoubtedly significantly higher than Manlyâ€™s offer - he would have told Des that he could have free reign and a massive budget on all things football at Belmore. Desâ€™ frustrations would have played right into Greenburgâ€™s hands. â€¢ Naturally the picture Greenburg painted of the Bulldogs and Desâ€™ possible role was appealing to Des. It served to highlight the difficulties he was having at Manly and re-enforce his belief that what he was asking for was right and reasonable. This would have only made negotiations more difficult, and it led Des to consider what he probably never thought to be a realistic option â€“ leaving Manly. â€¢ The Board had probably been increasing its offer to Des throughout the year â€“ particularly when Kaspersky came on board - but financially I donâ€™t think Manly was in a position to realistically compete with the Bulldogs offer until after we won the comp. As we all know that significantly helped the bottom line. â€¢ The Board ultimately caved in to all or substantially all of Desâ€™ demands and put forward a compelling financial offer at the eleventh hour. However by then it was too late. I donâ€™t know whether Des had already signed on with the Bulldogs at that point or not, but unquestionably the difficult negotiations had taken their toll on the relationship between Des and the Board. Personally I believe Des had made the decision (at least in his own mind) to go to the Bulldogs before the GF â€“ but I have no real proof of that and it is more of a gut feeling than anything else). The point I am trying to make in this post is that the Board was in quite a difficult position and that negotiating an extension to Desâ€™ contract was not as easy as some may have you believe. Could a better Board and CEO have secured Des? Possibly. You might even say probably if you think a better Board and CEO could have secured a major sponsor much earlier than Manly did (here is the cue for the Lowe haters to come out). Overall I believe the Board as a whole did everything it could to try to secure Des on terms the club could live with, and the claims of a â€œdysfunctional Boardâ€ have been overstated. However this was not enough to overcome the â€œperfect stormâ€ outlined above that led to Des do the unthinkable and become a Bulldog.