Brisbane Roar- what’s next?

It’s been a season to forget for Brisbane fans. We’ve seen our two time championship winning team collapse in a heap to the point where they’re scrapping away for the final spot in the finals. We’ve also seen what we assumed was an automatic group stage berth in the Champions League turn into a playoff spot, and now seen that disappear with an insipid performance. So- what may lie ahead as the long and depressing off-season edges closer?



I’ll start with head coach Mike Mulvey who arrived in December with the mandate of qualifying for the group stage of the champions’ league and making the A-League finals. He’s already failed to meet the 1st of those and is on course to flunk on the second aswell. The GM Sean Dobson has been on the record saying we’re backing him with new signings and anything else needs which shows were not giving up on the season, but we expect some return’. To date, that hasn’t occurred- last night’s defeat takes Mulvey’s record to a porous 3 wins, 1 draw and 6 losses in 10 competitive games in charge. When appointed I said id wait and see how he had the team going when the ACL rolled around, the proof is here now and unfortunately for Mulvey, and Brisbane, it isn’t positive.



Dobson was also quoted as saying just last weekend that Mulvey would be highly unlikely to keep his job next season if he doesn’t get a result in Buriram, now that hasn’t happened the odds of seeing a 4th coach inside 12 months in the Brisbane hot seat looks large if he is let go at seasons end. Looking ahead- the Australian candidtates are lead by former Adelaide boss John Kosmina, Olyroos boss Aurelio Vidmar, ex Glory boss Ian Ferguson and inaugural Victory coach Ernie Merrick. That’s just the local options, you would hope and expect them to atleast consider people from anywhere in the world. You would assume that if they went local, they’d want some experience, but more on that if and when that move happens.



Ofcourse it’s not just the coach that has underperformed this season, the playing group has also failed to live up to the high expectations they’ve set- both individually, and as a collective unit. That customary style we’ve come to know and love has gradually disappeared with every confidence shattering loss to the point now where its hardly recognisable.



It’s no secret however that it’s easier to move a coach on than players, for the simple reason that paying out players contracts counts towards the salary cap. There could be some finals payments money (that counts towards the cap) freed up by not making the finals, but that wouldn’t be a huge amount and would only go some way towards paying out a player’s contract. So in essence, the only way to break this squad up is for players to ask for a release, or for an overseas club to come in and buy them. I think however after 3 years of mostly huge success, it’s possibly time to bring in some fresh faces hungry and motivated to achieve the ultimate in this league to drive the team forward. The other thing about the players is- if you’re going to hire a new manager, it’s likely that he’ll want to bring in some of his own players so the players situation is unclear right now, and won’t be cleared up until that decision is made.



Finally, the board shouldn’t escape without taking some of the blame for this season, after all they’re the ones who appointed the coaches, agreed to sign the players and they also played a key role in this AFC Champions League tie. Before I get to that, im not calling for the GM and the football department to necessarily be replaced, but I do think their decisions from April onwards haven’t been the best and should be reviewed.



I mentioned they played a role in the ACL disappointment, and by that im referring to the rather farcical circumstances that saw the game moved from Brisbane to Thailand. For those unaware- Brisbane were initially drawn to host this game, last Saturday (9th)
Due to both Brisbane’s A-League commitments, and the NRL All-Stars fixture at Suncorp, Brisbane asked for a change of venue to which Buriram agreed on the provision that it was moved to Thailand. Brisbane agreed, before going to the FFA and asking for the Sydney game to be moved forward to give them more time to prepare over in Thailand- a request which was knocked back, almost certainly due to commercial arrangements with broadcasters.



So what may lie ahead? Well, it seems like we’ll be seeing a new coach for next season, possibly some new players to go along with that. It promises to be a far more news packed off season than last season where next to nothing happened after the whole Ange/Rado swap.


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