Moment #64: Sydney goes for the doctor
FOOTBALL met showbiz in 1985 when the VFL sold the Sydney Swans to flamboyant medical entrepreneur Dr Geoffrey Edelsten and his consortium for $2.9 million.
Edelsten immediately set about selling the Swans to a reluctant Sydney market. Warwick Capper, all tight shorts and flowing mullet, was marketed as a high-flying sex symbol, the Swanettes cheerleading troupe was introduced, and Edelsten’s wife, Leanne, was flown about in a pink helicopter.
The Edelsten regime hired Tom Hafey as coach, and lured Gerard Healy, Greg Williams, Merv Neagle, David Bolton, Bernard Toohey and Jim Edmond to the club. The team played exciting footy, and drew big crowds.
But Edelsten’s relationship with fellow owners was quickly strained, and he resigned as chairman of the Swans after less than one tumultuous year at the helm.
In 1988, three years after Edelsten and his partners outlaid almost $3 million for the club, it was sold back to the VFL for $10, with the Swans massively in debt.
Edelsten was struck off the NSW medical roll in 1987 for over-servicing and having unqualified people carry out laser surgery. In 1990 he was jailed for six months for attempting to pervert the course of justice for hiring an underworld figure to assault a former patient. And in 1992 he was also struck off the Victorian medical roll.