If Brisbane Roar fans are so upset about the sudden exit of Thomas Broich, they should pack Suncorp Stadium tonight to show it.
Broich’s impending departure after seven trophy-laden seasons in the Queensland capital is certainly worth reflecting on.
The German playmaker is by far the best foreign import to have ever graced the A-League.
And it’s not just the trophies – three championships, two Johnny Warren medals among them – that made Broich the most important A-League signing to date.
It’s the fact he gave fans in Australia something we all crave – a genuine glimpse of the beautiful game.
But for all Broich’s undoubted impact – and the outpouring of emotion following Tuesday’s shock announcement underscores just how beloved the German is – he’s not bigger than the club.
Brisbane Roar may have felt blindsided by Broich’s decision to reveal his plans to The Courier Mail’s resident football journo Marco Monteverde, but they still have a business to run.
And a key part of that business is ensuring they boast a competitive squad that fits under the salary cap next season.
If a 36-year-old with limited minutes left in his legs no longer fits into those plans, so be it.
Yet so much of the emotion around Broich’s decision is misplaced.
Instead of complaining about the club’s handling of events, petitioning for statues to be unveiled or calling for the salary cap to be scrapped, Brisbane Roar fans would be better off rallying the troops and turning out en masse tonight.
Want to honour Broich? Get 50,000 to his final A-League game in Brisbane.
That won’t happen, though, because to do so would require more effort than sitting behind a computer and simply venting one’s spleen.
More’s the pity, because both of this weekend’s elimination finals should be cracking games.
Football Federation Australia may be hoping for a couple of derbies in the semi-finals, but if John Aloisi and Kenny Lowe are worth their salt, they’ll be using that very idea as extra motivation.
There’s no real reason why the Roar shouldn’t beat Western Sydney Wanderers at home – they beat them once and drew once at Suncorp Stadium during the regular season – and they’ve got as much finals experience as any club.
You can’t quite say the same for Perth Glory – who are yet to add to their two National Soccer League titles – but the Western Australian outfit should be equally determined to see off Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Sunday evening.
Many thought City would be a legitimate title contender this season, but things haven’t quite clicked for Michael Valkanis’ star-studded side.
And if Perth Glory have any sense – and this is a club that wears its ‘West versus the rest’ mentality on its sleeve – they’ll relish going into Sunday’s clash as underdogs.
Glory could well upset the applecart against a City side already smarting from its inability to finish the league campaign in the top three.
You can watch delayed coverage of the game on SBS’ Viceland from 7.30pm on Sunday night – and judging by media reports, we’ll be watching more A-League on a public broadcaster for the foreseeable future.
According to the Australian Financial Review, not one of the nation’s three commercial networks put in a bid for free-to-air broadcast rights.
That’s a remarkable statistic, given that for months it has been whispered around the game that the A-League would end up on Channel Ten.
No doubt it was football’s wasted potential that prompted the Sydney Morning Herald’s resident sporting snob Peter FitzSimons to pen a satirical take on Sydney FC this week.
It was nice of FitzSimons to take some time out from his Old Boys’ reunions to proffer his thoughts on our humble little league, but he’s right to suggest the A-League should be getting bigger crowds.
We should start tonight. After all, if anyone deserves a decent send-off, it’s Broich.