RSF Forum Recap- 10/01/2018

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Last night at the XXXX Alehouse in the shadows of Suncorp Stadium the Roar Supporters Federation hosted their first forum of 2018 with returning Brisbane Roar Managing Director David Pourre the guest of honour.

Before I begin to recap the event, you can watch the video of the night here, and also listed to our exclusive chat with David following the event here.

On returning to the role
The first question of the night was around his somewhat surprising decision to return to the club after the departure of Mark Kingsman, with Pourre outlining the first contact was made from the clubs ownership. David outlined the reasoning behind his decision to depart in the first place –owners putting the club in jeopardy once again following a restoration project- and he sought assurances there would be no repeat before agreeing to return.

On the A-League’s side struggles.
Unsurprisingly, Pourre was frustrated at the sides current predicament but outlined that the club remains positive of a positive outcome, with a maximum of 36 points still to play for and a belief within the playing group that they could achieve something.

On Head Coach John Aloisi and his future
David once again reiterated his public statement from last month where he publically backed the coach to remain in the job. Pourre also outlined the clubs situation at the time when Aloisi walked into the role, saying that what he’s achieved in the two years prior to this has given him a lot of credit with the owners.

He also went on to say that John is as frustrated and as disappointed as anyone over the results this season and that he’s the first to take responsibility for the clubs struggles this season in his role as the head of the Football Department.

While acknowledging that the fans have every right to be equally frustrated and hold whatever views they like surrounding the manager, the club wouldn’t be making any changes for the foreseeable future. Pourre also said that the playing group was still 100% behind the manager, and that it would be obvious to all observers if that wasn’t the case.

On Craig Moore’s role at the club
Craig is the Football Director of the club, with his roles including engaging in contract negotiation and construction in addition to dealing with travel logistics for all the clubs teams and providing counsel to the coaching staffs of each team. Pourre also outlined that Aloisi has the final say on all contract and transfer decisions, which are all approved by Pourre and the clubs owners provided they fit within the agreed budgets.

On club culture
While reluctant to discussion what happened in his time away from the role, Pourre did outline that there had been a tremendous turnover at the club and not everyone fully understood exactly what the meaning of Brisbane Roar was. To use David’s words, ‘were some of the way there, but not all of the way’. Pourre also said that he didn’t agree with the perception of a boys club culture infiltrating the Roar this season, outlining the success of the clubs W-League, Youth League and academy as things which wouldn’t be the case if such a culture existed.

On Injuries
Pourre was reluctant to talk about the changeover of medical teams in the off-season given it happened prior to his return, however last weeks arrivial of national team back-room staffers Craig Duncan and Les Gellis to oversee the entire high performance unit was welcome. Pourre described the duo as highly respected in the game given their histories and that he was awaiting their report before deciding upon further steps. He also said those findings would remaining behind closed doors for both competitive advantage reasons and also player privacy given the level of detail about injuries and the like.

On players and contracts
Pourre outlined the sheer number of players out of contract -145- and that discussions around who to retain and who to target for recruitment were currently underway amongst the Football Department. He was reticent to mention any names however.

David also discussed the January transfer window plans, outlining that for someone to arrive there would need to be a departure given they have a full roster. There was space left for a January arrival, however those plans were scuppered when Luke DeVere’s injury was revealed to be less serious than planned. Initially the club were looking at Ivan Franjic as an injury replacement, however the earlier than expected return of Devere saw the versatile right sided player take the allocated space for January.

The clubs discipline was also mentioned with Pourre calling it “uncharacteristic” to see so many issues this season. He also however stressed they would stand by the players as opposed to ‘throwing them under the bus’.

On the success of the W-League side this season
“They’re going well”. That was the rather modest assessment of Mel Andreatta’s sides return to the summit of the W-League table this season, before going on to say the appointment of Andreatta as coach of the women’s team was one of the best decisions the club has made due to her management of the team and the ideals she brings to the table.

The question of where the team should play came up once again, with Pourre admitting the crowds at Suncorp Stadium and the new active supporter group –The Roar Corps- added a great atmosphere to the games, however the club has a responsibility to make the team accessible to the entire women’s football community and it may be prudent to play more games at regional venues.

While not wanting to jinx anything, Pourre admitted there was a plan in place for any potential home finals –or Grand Final- and that Suncorp Stadium is not an option due to scheduling issues. Amongst the venues in the mix to host the games are Ballymore, QSAC and Perry Park.

On the Logan training precinct
The clubs much awaited home is still on track to be opened next month with works on the players facilities currently underway, while the playing surface was ready to go. Amongst those facilities will be dedicated lockers, a kit room, medical rooms, player lounges, a kitchen and dedicated rooms for meetings.

While the move is still on track as planned, Pourre outlined it would be imperative for the players to simply just ‘turn up and train’ on the first day, with the transition for the staff set to take place over the next month.

Pourre also shared an exchange between himself and John Aloisi back in 2015 about things the coach wanted for the club. “A home” was Aloisi’ response, with Pourre happy to hear that as he held a similar belief.

David also talked about the Logan City Council’s commitment to the game with the regional council investing $9million into the facility which will be shared by the Roar and Football Brisbane, with Brisbane Roar having a 10 year lease on the main field of the facility giving them sole access.

The question of the W-League side joining the men’s team at the base was suggested, with Pourre outlining the sides relationship with the current home venue in Fig Tree Pocket. While not excluding the possibility, he did mention the possibility of W-League and NYL games being held at the venue.

On the owners
Pourre outlined that to his knowledge the club was not for sale and there had been no legitimate discussions for a sale despite media reports suggesting otherwise in recent months. David also outlined just how much money the Bakrie Group have invested since purchasing a controlling interest back in 2011, with upwards of $19million stumped up by the clubs Indonesian owners to keep the club afloat. Pourre also outlined a loss of just under $4million for the 2017 financial year.

On the standard of refereeing
Pourre gave a real glimpse of the clubs frustrations over the standard of refereeing this year, both in terms of the on field referees and the much discussed VAR.

“My level of satisfaction is significantly diminished by refereeing of games, How many goals have been denied by linesman errors? I can count three. That’s pretty big. Im very disappointed”

Pourre was not interested in hearing any excuses on the matter, saying they needed both coaching and education before going on to outline that they don’t understand the ‘fiscal and emotional’ impact their decisions make on clubs and supporters alike.

When asked if the controversial VAR system would return next year, Pourre succinctly quipped “I hope not”, a response which got the largest round of applause of the night from those in attendance.

Miscellaneous
Just to wrap this up, a few dot points on other things to come out of the forum

– The club is spending upwards of 4million on the A-League squad this season, with only one or two clubs spending significantly more.

– Pourre outlined a plan to take pre-season games to the regions, similarly to the 2015-16 season when games were held on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Cleveland Showgrounds and at QSAC.

– The annual members photo will happen once again, with a date set aside for one of the two games in February.

– Pourre wanted to examine all options before confirming where the clubs ACL games would be played, with a range of factors including conflicts with the Commonwealth Games mentioned should they reach the Group Stage.

– Umbro will be returning as the clubs kit manufacturer for the next three seasons, with the original deal set to expire at the end of this season.

– On the issue of playing kits, Pourre also outlined that the club will go back to a more traditional orange and black look for next season, while the second and third kits are TBD. There will however be one ‘light’ option and one ‘dark’ option to ensure no clashes with rival clubs.

– Pourre was “very surprised” when made aware of the ticketing strategy for the FFA Cup game, outlining his belief that the game should be to engage the community and not a profit making exercise. He also made it clear the club takes the competition seriously despite exiting in the Round of 32 for three straight years, despite being a pre-season competition in his eyes.

– The club is limited in what they can do in terms of merchandise with FFA controlling the clubs brand and choosing which products to sell and who produces them.

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