Recap of todays press conference/ thoughts on Mulvey, philosophy

Marco/ News Ltd.

Marco/ News Ltd.

Brisbane Roar have today held a press conference to discuss everything from the decision making process that lead to the dismissal of Mike Mulvey as Head Coach,  the clubs philosophy, the appointment of Frans Thijssen and everything in-between. The purpose of this will be two fold- firstly to recap the key points for those who haven’t heard it, and at the end a few thoughts on what was said. I’ll cover the Thijssen part in a later post, for now this will be about what was said in relation to Mulvey, and club philosophy.

Apologies in advance if this is a long post.

Starting off with what was said in the Press conference:
Recap of General Manager Sean Dobson’s opening statement:

On the process of arriving at the decision and the leak to the press:
– Made on Sunday morning.
– Plan was to tell Mike first, Players second, Media/Members third
– Before plan could take place, decision was leaked to the media
– Investigation into who leaked the decision to the media is underway

On his meeting with Mike Mulvey:
– Talked through the decision and agreed to move forward
– Mike was strong, respectful, and understood the decision.

On how it was handled within the club:
– Playing group was made aware of decision yesterday afternoon.
– Thijssen introduced to the players this morning
– Frans took training this morning, assisted by Ken Stead and Jeff Hopkins
– “Group is focused, focused on getting a result Saturday, focused on continuing work and committed to  Brisbane’s renowned style of play”.

On the club’s Philosophy:
– Number 1 factor is as a club we believe in the way we play football, the way we train, the way we approach the game, the way we educate, the conduct, ect.
– Changing the way we train, the way we play, the education of players and the progression of young players aren’t acceptable.
– Meetings have been held to find a solution to these problems.
– End result was a deviation from club philosophy, changes to the way the team trained, analysed, communicated.
– Club strongly believe in the way they do things.
– Thijssen is here work with Ken Stead to bring back the clubs philosophy
– We are entrusting the senior group to Frans, with support of Stead. We believe they have the capacity to deliver our philosophy, in and out of games.

“ Ken has been an integral part of developing the football philosophy, worked with Ange/ Rado, understands the detail, the balance, capacity required on coaching staff to deliver philosophy”.

“We have great faith in Frans and Ken to deliver what were looking for- the Brisbane Roar philosophy. Here to get team back on track, style back on the park. Were not giving up on the season, especially the Asian Champions League, and a key reason to change now was an emphasis on Asia. Want to test Brisbane style/ philosophy against Asia’s best.”

– Mulvey didn’t refute that he was going against/ trying to change the clubs philosophy. Board had to make a decision on that.

– Initially talking to Frans as a Technical Director, working under Ken Stead. Role is required due to continued integration of local NTC program and Brisbane Roar. Frans is being brought in to support and help the clubs youth development. He will coach the team for the remainder of the season, then take up the Technical Director role.

“He is a solution for the current season”

How did Mulvey deviate from philosophy?

It’s about being diligent in the detail (analysis, training, planning, ect). “We create a fabric that runs through everything we do, that was not happening”. Key reason for the change.

Dates back to the end of last season when discussions first took place. “Editing or changing our identity or philosophy is not acceptable. We know what we stand for as a football team and a football club. Results were excellent, but that doesn’t mean we accept a change in what we represent”

Who decided he deviated from philosophy? 
– One dominant voice we listen to- Ken Stead
– When we do a review- it’s about the planning process. Planning phase, execution phase, delivery phase, execution phase.
– Proud of recent achievements under Ange and Mike, but wont accept a change in delivery.
– Player group didn’t lead to the decision, didn’t express desire for a change to the board.
– Chairman (Chris Fong) has only an informal relationship with players. Keeps his distance. Football, performance, structure or training isn’t a topic of discussion between Chairman and the players.

Example of the breakdown?
Example: Training.
– Works in 5-6 week increments, each block of 5-6 weeks builds on the previous. – Breakdown in the pre-planning phase of the training process. How the team trains, conditions itself, what is happening technically and tactically with the players to prepare for games. Training sessions morphed from emphasis on player development to 9v9 and 11v11 games. Was Mikes decision – and his right- to change the sessions, but feedback was that players liked how they prepared previously.

“This is part of our philosophy, how you complete the recovering sessions, training sessions, game day analysis and team talks is linked to the success of the club. Cannot have a philosophy on game day without a philosophy in training, and there was a deviation in that”.

– Influence of Ken Stead:
– Ken’s knowledge and experience in football got intrinsically linked to Brisbane’s philosophy. He was instrumental in establishing that philosophy. – Head coach always has the freedom to change things, but if club moves too far away from the clubs philosophy, discussion becomes how to fix that. With Mike decision was made that it couldn’t be fixed.

– Focus is on Asia and making sure that the playing style and philosophy is corrected in time for the Champions League. Best way to do that was to Bring Ken stead in as assistant, with Frans as coach.

Did recruitment play a part?
– Unfair to judge given we aren’t happy with the way training was occurring.

Few quotes from Matt Smith:

Smith on how it was handled: Happy?
Absolutely not- Sean’s already said it wasn’t professional, simple as that. Processes were in order, but they were breached. Im not sitting here liking what happened yesterday.”

“From when Mike first took over, there was an open channel of communication –between leadership group and other players. He’s the head coach, im not going to question how satisfied I am”. “Over the last 5 years, there has been deviation, which comes from different coaches. It’s upset the playing group that it’s come to this.” “We play for ourselves, the club, the coach and the fans. That hasn’t changed” Do I take responsibility- of course im captain of the club”

Just to round this out, a few thoughts, or things I took out of todays presser:

1) It’s clear that this isn’t a decision that was made after the loss on Friday night. There was no mention of poor results, position on the table ect. Almost 20 minutes was dedicated to talking about club philosophy, particularly around training methods. That’s not something you decide on after a handful of games.

2) One of the main criticisms last night is that there wasn’t any reason or rationale given for this decision. I think that the statement delivered today outlines pretty clearly the reasons why the change was made, and ultimately why it was necessary, whether you agree with them or not.

3) As for how it was handled, I don’t think there’s any debate around that. It was awful. None of us know the logistics of this, but for the media to get hold of this information over six hours before Mike was made aware isn’t fantastic.
4) On the training issue specifically, while it is the coaches right to run training how he likes, there are parameters within that however and if the standards were dropping then he is ultimately responsible for that. The way that you train has a direct influence on the way you play, and if that wasn’t working then a change is needed.

5) I think it’s safe to say that Ken Stead has a lot of influence in the football department currently, and that he and Mulvey disagreed on the way forward. The methods that he, along with Ange Postecoglou brought to the club back in 2011 in bringing Brisbane’s philosophy to live clearly hold a lot of sway.

6) It was reiterated a few times that Asia is the focus, and at this point it should be. Nobody likes to concede a season, and they’ve admitted that they’re not going to do that, but to currently sit 15 points off the pace after ¼ the season –with a game in hand- makes it extremely difficult. Historically everyone knows how important it is to finish in the top two if you want to achieve the ultimate success, with only two sides in 9 years – Central Coast season 1 and Perth season 7- making the Grand Final from outside the top two. A classic example was two years ago with Brisbane itself, when they had tremendous momentum going into the finals, but the home ground factor the Wanderers had helped them get over the line. With that in mind, Asia should absolutely be the primary focus for the remainder of the season, while also simultaneously trying to achieve something in the League.

7) Without saying as much publically, when Dobson said ‘Frans run the session, assisted by Ken Stead and Jeff Hopkins’, it’s safe to say that Mulvey’s assistant Ron Smith has also been removed. There’s no real surprise in that though, when the head coach goes, so does his support staff.

8) Ultimately, it sounds like the relationship between Mulvey and Stead, and amongst the rest of the board soured pretty quickly from the end of last season due to a host of reasons. Some of those were mentioned today –philosophy, training methods-, others weren’t –recruitment, performances-. In the end however, if the relationship between the coach and those in the football department got to this point, it was probably the only outcome.

9) I would still like to hear Mike’s view on all of this. Perhaps some day he’ll be willing and able to give his side of the story on what happened, particularly in relation to the stuff about training methods and attempting to break away from the clubs philosophy.

2 Comments on “Recap of todays press conference/ thoughts on Mulvey, philosophy”

  1. Margaret Pereira says:

    So, Ken Stead had a lot to do with Mike Mulvey’s dismissal!

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