Off-season timelinePosted: June 26, 2015
This off-season has been one of, if not the most eventful in the Roar’s 10 year history, with the club seemingly going from one drama to the next. Since the season ended we’ve seen a coaching change, numerous player and front office departures and growing rumours of financial instability.
Here’s a look back on the events of this off season -to date-. Orange squares are facts confirmed by the club or a media outlet, or are common knowledge. Black squares are things reported by media outlets which are yet to be confirmed.
Brisbane’s season ended prematurely obviously with the Elimination final loss to Adelaide and a Group Stage exit in the ACL, however the changes started almost immediately. Within 24 hours of the loss on the Gold Coast to Urawa Reds, Director of Football Ken Stead had announced his resignation from the role he’s held for the past two years.
It was also at this time that reports first came out alluding to the clubs financial plight, with a newspaper story speculating that Brisbane were set to lose 2.5 million for the 2014-15 calendar year, primarily due to the AFC Champions League. That report sparked speculation that the club may go and cut costs in order to minimise losses.
Barely a week after Director of Football Ken Stead resigned from his role, General Manager Sean Dobson also followed suit, standing down after three years in the role. With Dobson and Stead seen as the two men who primarily pushed Mike Mulvey out the door, it was seen as a fresh slate for the club as they look to rebuild. Chris Fong, the clubs Chairman announced he would take over day to day control of the club.
Aside from the resignation of Dobson, very little else was confirmed with the clubs position up in the air, with no manager and very few football people remaining to oversee the appointment of a new Manager. Chris Fong jetted back to Indonesia, while Melbourne Victory went on to win the double to conclude the season.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom however, with Seven of the clubs talented W-League players selected for the Matildas World Cup squad. Clare Polkinghorne, Larissa Crummer, Laura Alleway, Elise Kellond-Knight, Tameka Butt, Hayley Raso and Katrina Gorry were all selected, while defender Kim Carroll was unlucky to miss out. With Germany selecting goalkeeper Nadine Angerer, there would be 8 Brisbane players in Canada.
It was then in late may when the club made a string of announcements, firstly with the appointment of David Pourre as the clubs Interim CEO before then announcing John Aloisi as the clubs new Manager 24 hours later. Aloisi joined on a 2 year contract and was given the task of rebuilding the club and returning the Roar to the top of the league.
Chris Fong meanwhile announced his intention to stand down as Chairman of the board, with Pourre taking over day to day operations.
There was also some movement on players with Andrija Kaluderovic, Ben Litfin, Kofi Danning, Jesse Daley, George Lambadaridis and Adam Sarota all moving on to pastures new. Shane Stefanutto however signed a new 1 year contract, while youngster Lachlan Jackson headed to the NPL Victoria in an off-season loan move.
Matt McKay won the clubs player of the year award at a hastily arranged end of year function.
It was at this point of the off-season that the on the field action was again front and centre with a high profile friendly against Villarreal CF, a game which Brisbane won handily thanks to two goals from Devante Clut.
That game was the last game of the Frans Thijssen era, with the Dutchman departing the scene, despite it being strongly suggested that he would be taking up some kind of Technical Director role following his coaching stint. Assistant Rado Vidosic, who returned in January, was also shown the door with Aloisi hinting at bringing in his own assistant as a replacement.
The on field action was also with the National Teams’, with Matt McKay playing a role in the Socceroos win over Kyrgyzstan which kick started the Road to Russia 2018. Meanwhile over in Canada at the Women’s World Cup, Katrina Gorry was busy creating the goal which would give the Matildas a 1-0 win over Brazil, and a 1/4 final berth.
There were no players coming in or going out, however there was a loose link to Eli Babalj, a striker who has worked with Aloisi in the past.
That brings us to this week, which started with a leaked email from Chris Fong to members of the staff, after it was revealed that player and staff payments were significantly overdue. It was revealed that the club has ‘serious liabilities’ and that 3.5 mil of capital is set to be injected to turn things around. It was also strongly suggested that legal action could be forthcoming against the clubs former General Manager, Sean Dobson, who resigned from his role a month ago.
Despite this apparent shortage of capital, the club announced that former captain Craig Moore would be returning to Brisbane as Football Operations Manager, a role that has been created to support John Aloisi in his role as Manager.
Barely 24 hours later, we saw arguably the biggest sign that finances were tight when the Roar forfeited two NPL Queensland clashes against FNQ Heat and Northern Fury due to what they called fixture congestion. The decision was universally panned, with many quick to the conclusion that the club couldn’t afford the travel costs associated with the two trips up north.
There was also speculation that the clubs former manager, Mike Mulvey was set to add to the clubs financial problems, with the sacked manager seeking the remainder of his payout. It was also suggested that the Coffee Club was set to walk away with their sponsorship up, while they were also left scrambling to find a training venue for pre-season which begins next week.
Finally, young goalkeeper Fraser Chalmers left the Roar in search of regular football, opting to move across Perry Park to the Brisbane Strikers, who the Roar face tomorrow in the NPL.
It’s been a hectic off-season with many twists and turns, and with pre-season set to get underway next week there’s no doubt plenty more to follow in the days and weeks to come.