After a tough 2015 Brisbane Roar CEO David Pourre isn’t looking too far ahead as we enter the New Year, with the aim for the year to see out the current repayment of debt and to see the club continue on its current path.
In an exclusive interview yesterday the Roar CEO touched on how the club has rebounded from the financial crisis, and some of the successes of the first half of the season.
Updating the financial situation
Brisbane’s CEO was unequivocal about how difficult things were in the past off-season, when he stepped up to help save the club in the wake of what he called an extremely difficult time with a handful of staff keeping the club running.
Things have improved since then however with Pourre confirming that all players and staff had now been fully back paid, which includes superannuation and bonuses in line with the ownerships previous commitment of clearing the situation up by January.
That however was brought forward by a month in line with the regulations of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. While wages are now up to date, the clubs debt from past administrations is still being repaid with Pourre indicating the original plan for repayments was still on track.
Pourre went on to outline his belief that the clubs Indonesian owners are still fully committed to the Roar for the long term, citing the arrival of representatives Rahim Soekasah and Demis Djamaoeddin to oversee the business as a positive while saying that he will support the ownership group while that remains the case.
Talking about on-field matters
On field topics were only briefly discussed with Pourre outlining that discussions are underway with a number of the clubs out of contract players, and Pourre was hopeful that there would be some positive news on that front in the coming weeks.
One of those players in particular, James Donachie, was a surprise admission to the out of contract list, with Pourre reluctant to discuss the situation, saying that the Roar are ‘fully committed to fulfilling their part of the original contract’ which would see Donachie remain in Brisbane through the end of next season.
Pourre also outlined that while the football department are disappointed the youth side can no longer qualify for the Grand Final, they are very happy with the performances this season and the development of individuals within the squad.
The football department are also happy with the performances of the W-League side this season, whose bounce back to the finals for this season is almost complete, with a win in the final round this weekend against the Jets securing their place.
On crowds for the 2015/16 season
One of the big positives of the first half of the season has been the crowd figures at Suncorp Stadium, including the season high of 17,696 in the most recent home game against Perth Glory. That figure, albeit boosted by the recent ‘Kids Go Free’ initiative –which Pourre explained came from the club CEO’s at a recent meeting- is indicative of an increase in crowds this season which should only continue with traditional high drawing fixtures to come in the second half of the season.
On the regional game in Cairns
Recently Brisbane played their first A-League home game outside of Brisbane taking their regional home game to Cairns, an experiment Pourre described as a ‘resounding success’ citing the community work done in the lead-up to the game, the enthusiasm from the local government and the crowd attendance as hugely positive.
Pourre also admitted that it was a process he would consider again in future seasons, possibly as soon as next season referencing the recent example of Central Coast moving their regional home game to Geelong. The CEO also outlined his and the clubs belief that the population up and down the state, made regional parts of Queensland such as Cairns, Townsville along with the Gold and Sunshine Coasts as prime candidates to host regional games in future seasons.
Despite the success of the regional game experiment in Cairns, Pourre was adamant that the club would not move any of the clubs 13 home games away from Suncorp Stadium, confirming that discussions were underway for a new deal, with the current one set to expire at seasons end.
On Community engagement
On the topic of community engagement, Pourre outlining the clubs desire to remain humble with what they do in that sector of the club, saying that the experience provided is more important than any public goodwill gained in the process. He also went into detail about the clubs Roar Active Program, which will continue to move into the schools system this year.
The club are supportive of the guest player concept, however any decisions on that front will be firstly made by the football department on what they bring to the side, before they consider the financial cost and benefits of the player.
While there isn’t any news on high profile off-season friendlies, the club are always open to the possibility of those games. Pourre also briefly touched on support for the club from the local and state government, which he described as improving and he is hopeful that will continue and begin to bring some results in the future.
Pourre also provided an update on a regular question at recent fan forums, and outlined that plans are in place for supporters to be able to attend this year’s end of season gala, with the club waiting to hear back from the venue before confirming the details. There will also be another fan forum before the end of the season.