Former Dutch international Frans Thijssen has, not surprisingly, always been fond of Orange – but it now holds an even more special place in his heart as his tenure as Brisbane Roar's interim Head Coach comes to an end.
As he prepares to head home tomorrow after seven months at the helm, Thijssen said he would be a lifelong Roar fan.
"My children (in the Netherlands) watched every Roar game this year so I will have to do that when I am back and I will," Thijssen said.
"I will keep following the guys because now I am very much interested in Australian football.
"I want to follow the younger Roar players and see how their careers develop and I want to support all the guys I worked with this year and hope they win the prize (title) we could not claim this season."
Brisbane Roar FC today thanked Thijssen for helping steer the club through an important transitional period. He led the team for 27 games across all competitions for 11 wins and five draws - including the club's first two victories in Asia.
“We have been very privileged to have Frans at the Roar,” the club said.
“Everyone at the club has benefited from his experience, guidance and friendship over the past seven months.
“He has helped shape an important and significant chapter in the club’s history.
“The club’s playing group, fellow coaches, staff, sponsors, members and supporters say thank you and we all wish him and his family the best for the future.”
Thijssen, a former Dutch international who has played and coached around the world, departs Brisbane with the utmost respect and admiration for the Roar playing group.
He praised their commitment to the club.
"They are a good bunch of lads who go well as a group," he said.
"I enjoyed my seven months here. It was very inspiring working with these guys . . . to see their positive mentality.
"They always want to train and they love to play. They kept going the whole season and despite our tough program with all the travelling, no one had any complaints.
"For me it was a new experience and I was quite surprised with the way Brisbane Roar play with a lot of pressure and a lot of good mentality on the field.
"If I compare it with the football in my country, the mentality is better here. They work much harder on the field. That was good to see."
Thijssen said nothing he had previously experienced in playing and coaching in Europe and elsewhere had prepared him for the late-season log-jam of fixtures when the Roar's Hyundai A-League and AFC Champions League commitments became congested with rescheduled rained out matches.
"In the end it was too much," Thijssen said.
Thijssen also expressed his deepest thanks to "all the people around the team, on the field and off the field".
He praised his assistant coaches, Rado Vidosic and Jeff Hopkins, his medical and conditioning staff and the dressing room and training field support crew.
"Together they did a lot of work and I am really thankful to them for helping out this season. It was great to see us as a group and how well we worked together."
He also thanked the staff at Roar headquarters for their friendly assistance and support.
The Dutchman saved a special thank you for the Roar members and fans.
"I was proud to see them continue to support our team through a challenging season," Thijssen said.
"We had a bad start, then a good spell in the middle, then at the end with a couple of injuries and national team players away, there were a difficult few weeks for us and we lost points at a key time.
"But the Roar fans were always cheering and helping us. I thank them very much for that."
Thijssen said the Roar only needed a little bit of luck to be contesting the trophies again next season.
"With the system we play, we can make it difficult for any team we play.
"I wish everyone connected to the club all the best for next season and years beyond that. Good bye and thank you Brisbane Roar."