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Ever since the Bakrie Group acquired the Brisbane Roar in October 2011, fans have been asking crucial questions. Who are our owners? What are their intentions? What vision do they have to make this club great?
The Bakrie Group’s financial moves have been well documented since, yet they have continued to cough up the money required to keep the club alive.
And the club has remained the most successful of in the A-League.
Since October 2011, Brisbane Roar have won the premiership, finished runners-up in the race to the premiership once, made the finals every season, and won the grand final twice.
No other club has managed such consistency and success – but more questions remain than answers.
Heading into season 2015-16, the club had threats of being wound up and sent into liquidation, lost fan-favourite Luke Brattan due to unpaid superannuation, while there were more unpaid players and staff, and longstanding club sponsor the Coffee Club withdrew.
Just weeks prior to the season’s start, FFA CEO David Gallop held frank discussions with the Bakrie Group, making it abundantly clear what was required. The group were to clear debts, restore faith in the supporters, and create a longstanding vision for the club to grow and prosper.
The group said they could turn the club around, appointing interim chief executive David Pourre to become the Roar’s permanent CEO.
With outstanding debts paid, a CEO anointed and the club back on track, Brisbane rallied and came within a whisker of fourth grand final appearance in six years.
Though as the season drew its last breath, Pourre was out the door and the club’s direction once again came under question.
Fox Sports commentator Simon Hill penned an article briefly skimming the troubles that lay ahead for the besieged club, though he did not delve too much into the underlying issues.
Now, according to the Courier Mail, Football Federation Australia have handed the Bakrie Group a one-day ultimatum to document their vision for the club or risk breaching their A-League licence.
It would appear it is groundhog day for Brisbane Roar fans, players and coaching staff. There is a distinct possibility the club could once again end up in the hands of FFA.
In On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft Stephen King wrote: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, shame on both of us.”
Brisbane fans, coaches and players continue to be taken for a ride, and FFA continue to allow them. The Bakrie Group are making fools of us all, and enough is enough.
With FFA looking to assure the financial viability of the competition and its clubs with a new broadcast deal to commence in 2017-18, it needs to ensure fans do not grow discontent with the running of the club.
It was not that long ago Brisbane Roar eclipsed a club record of 10,000 memberships after winning the premiership/championship double. Now the club struggled to scrape past 5000 for the past season.
It is truly astounding, especially when you have the community willing to back the club long-term.
Recently the club relocated to Logan City, their first permanent home in the club’s 11-year history – further proof there is support for this club.
Though from the Bakrie Group’s perspective, what support is there for Brisbane Roar and its fans?
Even if the Bakrie Group can, for the first time since their taking over of the club, clearly articulate and outline a vision, fans such as myself will remain suspect.
Until that clear vision becomes reality, I will not be taken for a fool any longer, and my hard-earned money will remain firmly in my pockets.
There will be those who cry out the need to support through both good times and bad, and I hear you. But actions speak louder than words and if other Roar fans continue to be treated this way, the club will go nowhere.
At present, I see no vision for this club under the ownership of the Bakrie Group.