Former Fremantle captain, three-time Doig Medallist, Life Member and current club director Peter Bell has been appointed to a new role as the club’s general manager of football.
The 42-year-old, a dual premiership player with North Melbourne, past president of AFL Players’ Association, inaugural chairman of the AFL Players’ Trust and Australian Football Hall of Fame inductee, is next month due to return as a full-time administrator to the club where he started his 286-game AFL career in 1995.
Bell, who completed his secondary education at Aquinas College and has a Bachelor of Laws from Melbourne University, has carved out a highly successful career as a businessman, radio broadcaster and sports commentator in the decade since he played his last game for Fremantle in 2008.
Bell’s appointment to the newly created role of general manager of football is a key plank in the restructure of Fremantle’s football operations, which was foreshadowed in August with the departures of general manager of list management Brad Lloyd and general manager of football operations Chris Bond.
He is due to start in the role on 4 October.
The next key appointment is that of list manager who, under the new structure, will report to Bell and be based in Perth.
Bell was selected from an extensive Australia-wide list of prospective candidates, with a subsequent short-list of candidates interviewed by a sub-committee that included Fremantle president Dale Alcock, board member Peter Mann, CEO Steve Rosich and general manager of human resources Nicole Horrocks.
Rosich said Bell would bring a wealth of knowledge of both the game and AFL clubs to the new role and further enhance it with his energy, drive and desire for the Fremantle Dockers to have the ultimate success.
“In addition to his ability to readily engage with people at all levels, Peter was, throughout his 286 AFL games, renowned for his resilience, tenacity, leadership and determination – all outstanding character traits which also served him well in his post-football career as a businessman, radio broadcaster, football commentator and board member, which included a role on the club’s football sub-committee.” Rosich said.
“Peter’s extensive involvement in the football media has provided him with exposure to ongoing player analysis and the ability to maintain a contemporary view of game and coaching styles, industry trends and strategic planning procedures at clubs across the AFL.
“His involvement with the club both as a player and as a director provided Peter with a deep knowledge of our strategic aim to return to playing consistent finals football and contributed to him being a stand-out candidate for the job.
“It is a new role and a key outcome of the restructure of our football operations, which we announced in August. The next step is the appointment of a new list manager, who will report to Peter and be based in Perth.”
President Dale Alcock also welcomed Bell’s appointment.
“We are delighted to welcome Peter to the new role of general manager of football,” Alcock said.
“Peter is a Fremantle legend and it’s exciting to have him take on this new role as a key driver in the growth of our emerging playing group and football department.
“This is a significant appointment for our club and I look forward to Peter’s very positive influence driving our future on-field success.”
Bell said he was thrilled by the prospect of returning in a fulltime capacity to Fremantle.
“I’m excited by the opportunity to support Ross Lyon, Trent Cooper and the players and staff of the Fremantle men’s and women’s programs,” Bell said.
“I very much look forward to working diligently with our football department and the club more broadly as the general manager of football.
“The Fremantle Football Club means a lot to my family and I am thrilled to be back here in a fulltime capacity being able to contribute to the club itself and to all of our members, partners and stakeholders.”
As Bell has stepped down as a director to accept the role, Rosich said Fremantle would hold discussions with the WA Football Commission over his position on the board, a post he has held since December 2015 as a member-elected director and which also included positions on the football sub-committee and the finance, audit, integrity and risk sub-committee.