The first female president in AFL history, Peggy O’Neal, has waved goodbye to Richmond after serving nine years at the club.
In a video posted by the club, O’Neal goes on to speak about her time at the Tigers, a place where she always felt welcomed.
The end of an era.
Thank you for everything, Peggy 💛🖤 pic.twitter.com/GmPRIszYO4
— Richmond FC 🐯 (@Richmond_FC) December 19, 2022
“At Richmond, I always felt I belonged,” O’Neal said.
“My time at Richmond has taught me about patience. It’s taught me a lot about how great people can be. It taught me a lot about unity and a common endeavour and how good people can do great things.”
O’Neal started her presidency at the end of 2013, when she was appointed in October as Gary March’s successor.
She initially joined the Tigers board in 2005, shortly after she crossed over from America two years earlier.
During her time, O’Neal saw a 37-year premiership drought come to an end, when Richmond defeated Adelaide in the 2017 grand final.
She also played a key role in the 2019 and 2020 flags, especially the latter whilst navigating through COVID-19 times.
In what is her “final column” as president of the Richmond football club, O’Neal reflected on her stretch with the Tigers and felt “an enormous sense of pride.”
“I find myself reflecting on how much we have achieved in the past decade. I do so with an enormous sense of pride,” O’Neal shared.
“And I say “we” because it is the collective that has delivered so much. And it is the collective that will do so into the future. Sustained success is built on these foundations.”
O’Neal also had strong hands in developing and successfully bidding Richmond’s AFLW team as well as creating “a strong business and a diverse and inclusive football club that engenders a sense of belonging among all who are a part of it.”
O’Neal has paved the way for women within the AFL industry after being appointed the first female president.
Since she took over, Melbourne (Kate Roffey) and Western Bulldogs (Kylie Watson-Wheeler) have announced female presidents as well as other positions on the board.
John O’Rourke has officially taken over as president, who has been on the board since 2015.
Who is John O’Rourke?
John O’Rourke is Richmond’s new president as of Tuesday, December 20.
“John is a highly experienced director and has been on our board since 2015. John has outstanding business acumen and I know that he will do a wonderful job. With his background in developing major projects around the world, he will bring expertise of particular importance as we get the Punt Road redevelopment underway,” O’Neal said.
“John will of course be supported by a passionate, talented and committed Board of directors that want to see this Club continue to thrive on and off the field.”