Bendigo Gold set for a new era in the VFL

BENDIGO Gold chairman Tim Dickson has declared a new era for the club after announcing its Victorian Football League survival on Friday.

Dickson revealed the Gold has succeeded in its survival campaign at the club's business luncheon.

The Gold has met its targets of 500 members for next season and increased sponsorship.

The club has also negotiated with council to use Epsom-Huntly Recreation Reserve to run a commercial venture on an interim basis.

"This process that our club has been through will produce a new era for our club," Dickson told the luncheon.

"For the first time in 15 years we will have a tangible footprint in the community.

Bendigo Gold chairman Tim Dickson announces the club's VFL survival.

"This coupled with the great culture that we are developing will allow us, for the first time, to look like a real football club."

Dickson also announced a further two-year sponsorship deal with the Bendigo Bank and a contract extension for coach Aussie Jones on Friday.

Jones has recommitted to the Gold until the end of 2015.

Dickson said the club is now in a position to be sustainable off-field and competitive on it.

The Gold went winless in 2013 after ending its 10-year Essendon affiliation.

"We’ve put the club in a realm where I don’t believe it ever has been in the last 15 years," Dickson said.

"We’ve actually galvanised Bendigo too.

"There’s been a lot of debate, we opened up and accepted that debate - the negative and positive - but that debate’s over now as far as should we be around because we are around."

Dickson admitted there were times when he doubted the Gold would survive.

"To be honest, five weeks ago, myself and Aussie right from the start each day would say ‘what are the percentages?’. We’ve been as low as 10 per cent," he said.

But the Gold will meet its VFL licence requirements next season and apply for an extension.

"We can show financial viability moving forward," Dickson said. "Now the pressure’s on us to become more competitive, but I've got total faith in Aus."

Dickson praised the coach for sticking by the club.

"He is our number one asset," Dickson said. "It was before my time, but what he was interviewed for and what he was offered and what transpired was different, but he’s hung in there.

"He’s had offers even at AFL level in development roles in the last eight weeks, but he’s said ‘no, I’m going to see this through’."

We’ve put the club in a realm where I don’t believe it has been in the last 15 years - Tim Dickson

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