Fitzgerald isn’t Eels’ answer: Cronin

Denis Fitzgerald isn’t the answer to Parramatta’s off-field crisis according to club legend Michael Cronin.

The Eels have gone through 25 directors and six chief executives since 2009 when Fitzgerald was ousted by the club seven years ago, and face even more turmoil with five board and staff members facing deregistration from the NRL in the wake of the salary cap scandal.

And while Cronin – who coached under Fitzgerald for four years – said his 30-year reign was the most stable in the club’s history, he doesn’t believe the former boss is the club’s answer.

“I think it’s fair to say Denis has got a lot of enemies,” Cronin told AAP.

“I’m not one of them but they won’t want him back.

“That’d be going backwards, you’re going back to another faction that the other three hate.”

Instead, Cronin believes the club must rid itself of warring factions and embrace stability if they wish to move forward.

“They need a stable board and people running it,” Cronin said.

“There have been factions there since when Denis Fitzgerald was put out and there have been factions every year since.

“The thing about it, once they are beaten there always seems to be people in the background sniping at the people in charge.”

However he admits it’s a lot easier said than done.

“Everyone will quote Jack Gibson’s `success starts at the top’ … but there seems to be a lot of drama there,” Cronin said.

“You’re looking for someone to come in and take over and rule with an iron fist that everybody likes. They’re hard to find.”

Cronin also remains a close friend and former teammate of current chairman Steve Sharp, who on Tuesday night along with four other key board and staff members successfully filed for an injunction against the NRL’s attempts to deregister them.

Such a move could threaten the Eels’ hopes of accruing points again next Friday against South Sydney, and while Cronin admits he doesn’t know the finer details, isn’t sure the group’s decision is the right one for the club.

“I think the smartest thing would be to stand down, just so the players have got hope and the fans have got hope,” Cronin said.

Cronin scored 75 tries in a 10-year career for the Eels which yielded four premierships.

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