This week’s announcement that Brisbane Roar owners, The Bakrie Group have wired some much needed funds over will ensure that this month’s wages are paid, beyond that the uncertainty remains.
The embattled owners wired over a million dollars Tuesday evening to cover wages for the month in addition to some of the club’s other liabilities, with promises of a further monthly transfer of $100,000.
This commitment might have been enough to stave off Football Federation Australia from seizing the licence, however it rings hollow for a lot of supporters. Particularly given former chairman, Chris Fong’s statement that he wanted the Roar to own it’s own stadium within a decade, a statement made when the group first took control of Brisbane in 2011.
Chris Fong was this week replaced by fellow Indonesians Rahim Soekasah and Demis Djamaoeddin. The departure of the unpopular Fong is a plus for some supporters, however replacing him with two others who won’t be based in Brisbane changes nothing.
The club desperately needs somebody based in Brisbane who can outline the long term plan to return stability – assuming one exists – and not an overseas based board running the club from afar as absentee landlords.
While the short term issues were solved many longer term problems remain. This week’s development offers little to meet the FFA’s stated aim ‘restabilising Brisbane before the start of the season’. With many creditors still owed a substantial amount of money and no commitment or timetable when those debts will be paid, the instability still lingers over the club.
There is also the high probability of going through this exact same situation a month from now, when the next round of player and staff wages are due – another short term fix the most likely solution.
By the time that arrives however the season will be underway, and it could be a very interesting afternoon in Round 2 when Brisbane play Central Coast in their first home game of the season, both in terms of how the team plays and how the supporters respond to the events in the off season.
In terms of the football department, there’s a thought that this Roar side is still capable of making the finals and challenging the top sides in the competition, but that looks unlikely.
In terms of pure ins and outs, Adam Sarota, Luke Brattan, Andrija Kaluderovic, Lachlan Jackson, Kofi Danning and George Lambadaridis have all departed the side, with Jamie Maclaren the only new signing while Shannon Brady was elevated from the youth team.
Replacing Kaluderovic with Maclaren is an interesting choice that should prove fruitful, but losing three players from the midfield including a key figure like Brattan is a massive blow. Throw in long term injuries to Theo, Henrique and DeVere and depth suddenly looks non-existent.
If the Bakries were genuinely serious about re-establishing the Roar’s value, they’d be far more active in the transfer market. The fact is that they’ve now missed the boat for the off-season with most of the best talent locked up.
Renewed investment in the playing squad may also go some way to turn the tide of disapproval and contempt the clubs supporters have towards the owners, a relationship which has never been overly strong although padded by two Championships in four seasons.
As things stand, Brisbane sit in the bottom three for memberships based on the latest figures, which is in stark contrast to a year ago when they sold over 10,000 on the back of a double winning season.
FFA had a great chance to restore stability to Brisbane Roar this weekend, and unfortunately they let it slip.