The media today is full of Russell's video message to members and fans of his beloved South Sydney Rabbitohs. In it, Russell speaks about the need for the team to become more self-sufficient and to stand on its own financially. Here is a portion of his message to members:
"I'm always going to be a Souths' boy, that won't change," he says. "Next week someone will have to find a couple of hundred grand for gym equipment, 50 or 60 [thousand] more for interior fit-out costs at Redfern [Oval], individual named lockers, ice baths built in, inspirational things, huge photographs, boards with every player from every premiership we've ever won, team photos from every year we have on record, inspirational things the players will benefit from, and an atmosphere which brings them inside 100 years of history.
"Now don't worry about the bill, between generous sponsors and myself, we'll get it done this time. I will tell you this, though, I won't continue to put the type of cash I've had to into Souths so far, forever. The business has to begin to stand on its own. Be quite sure that is not an emotional issue for me, it is what it is."
This has brought criticism from some, like chronic complainer George Piggins, whose comments about Russell's message can be read at the Melbourne Herald Sun. One of Piggins' remarks was that he "always worried about what would happen if the novelty wore off." Who is Piggins kidding?
Russell has put millions of his own money into the South Sydney Rabbitohs. He has always let it be known that he was a passionate fan. That same article contains a poll: Is Rusty a Scrooge or a realist? A full 88% of those voting so far are more realistic than Piggins, voting that Russell, as well as CEO Shane Richardson and Chairman Nick Pappas (who requested that Russell send the message), is right to expect the team to become more self-sufficient.
No one fan-not even Russell Crowe-can solely fianance the team forever. Other fans and members need to help support their team.
View Russell's entire video message at Rugby League Live.