It has been just over a year since I took up the role of Managing Director of this great Club, during which time, like every Roar fan, I have experienced the highs and lows that our game delivers.
From beating Shanghai Shenhua in February, finishing third again in the Hyundai A-League, to losing in the semi-final in April, it has been a rollercoaster ride for all of us.
We are now just over six weeks away from kicking off our Hyundai A-League campaign away to Melbourne City, having once again been chosen to appear in the season opener.
Our disappointing results against Melbourne Victory in the Westfield FFA Cup and Western Sydney Wanderers in our pre-season fixture last Friday have raised many questions; questions that we are confident we can answer.
Whilst the team played Peninsula Power, I was in Jakarta discussing our plans for the coming years with the club owners. I then attended the meetings with the FIFA delegation that involved all the game’s stakeholders and the discussions surrounding the FFA Congress, while we hosted Melbourne Victory in Brisbane.
Believe me, when I say that being sat next to the Victory Chairman as Twitter feeds continued to bring me the bad news from Perry Park was far from enjoyable.
We recently hosted a Fan Forum for Roar supporters at Queensland University of Technology Kelvin Grove Campus, the new home of the Brisbane Roar Football Club Academy (BRFCA).
Those who attended were able to watch our young players train followed by a presentation on what the program looks like by our Academy Director, Drew Sherman.
Recently in Jakarta, we discussed the Academy at length including the development of junior footballers, both boys and girls and the need to align the best coaches with the best young talent along with the best educators.
It is vital that the BRFCA goes beyond just creating the players of the future but also future coaches, medical practitioners, sport scientists, analysts, in fact all facets of the game.
With the owner’s support, BRFCA will invest over $1million during the next 12 months, which in conjunction with our high-performance centre will see the creation of the State’s number one sporting program and one of the leading sports academies in Australia.
Roar debuted seven youth players into the first team last season, which was the highest of any club in the top flight throughout the world. Adding to that success, we had players move on to new challenges in overseas further emphasising the strong culture for player development that we have at the Club.
For the last year financial year ending in June 2017, the Bakrie Family once again invested heavily in the Roar, taking their total investment to in excess of $25million and we have requested a further $4million for this financial year.
This additional investment will enable us to develop concepts such as Roar in Business, our business networking club that is due to launch in October and developing our high-performance program.
As with all Hyundai A-League club owners, the commercial value of the club is of paramount importance to justifying the continued levels of investment in the game.
There has been so much talk of late of a new operating model which would completely change the way in which clubs are able to generate revenue. I will continue to lobby for this change on behalf of Brisbane Roar Football Club.
The ongoing discussions with the FFA, while complex and naturally sensitive in nature, also touch on vital subjects of Hyundai A-League expansion, a national second division, and a second team for Brisbane.
As a Club we welcome positive dialogue in all these areas, in fact we believe not only that Queensland should have a second team in Brisbane but expansion should be considered in other areas of the State reflective of the overall growth of football and the good work Football Queensland has done and continues to do.
Last season we paid $4.6million on Hyundai A-League player wages of which $2.5million was covered by the FFA distribution of the broadcast revenue. A further $573,000 was paid on player welfare, including medical and analysis.
Our Westfield W-League side were paid $236,000 against an FFA distribution of $50,000 with a further $60,000 on medical. Both of these figures are rightly set to increase significantly for the coming season. Discussions are ongoing between the Clubs, FFA and PFA to establish the framework for the coming seasons.
The cost to the Club for our Foxtel National Youth League was a further $322,000.
So in total, last season the Club invested nearly $5.8m in our three main teams, a figure which will increase in the coming season when we add a further seven teams to our portfolio.
From next season, Brisbane Roar teams will compete within all age groups of the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Queensland competitions with our BRFCA students fulfilling our earlier goal of having more players wearing Roar orange.
Membership income was a little over $1million with match day ticket sales at $1.75million, both figures showing increases on the previous year’s number, however over of 85% of these amounts were spent on venue costs.
Our match day attendances grew by 9% last year which went against the overall trend for the league. Memberships rose by 32% year on year, second only to Melbourne City. Four Clubs reported decreases on the previous year.
For the coming season, we will be working harder on producing an event that appeals to the whole family, despite not continuing with the Katy Perry walk out theme.
There are many things that we are currently working on, including our new Logan training facility which we anticipate opening in January 2018.
These projects are always complex and involve multiple different elements, all of which will take time, some years and some that will be much quicker, but rest assured that we will keep you informed as these ambitious plans start to turn into reality.
Our Head Coaches John, Melissa and James will once again be given the support to build teams that they believe can deliver the success we all crave and there is a lot of optimism within the playing groups that this could be our year once more.
That optimism is being converted to hard work and dedication on the training grounds ahead of the coming season.
Damon Voss, formerly at English Premier League side Sunderland has joined us as our Head of Medical and has recruited a team of top-flight sports physicians. For the first time a dedicated rehabilitation specialist has been brought into the Club.
Like many, I have been frustrated at not being able to see some of our new signings in action so far, but it is vital for our season that these players are provided with the best possible care, so that they are in optimal condition for the 2017/18 campaign.
By employing these specialists on a full-time basis as opposed to the previous practise of using contract services, our players now have considerably more access to our medical team which should hold us in good stead for the challenges ahead.
Memberships have been on sale since April with over 4000 full season memberships already sold, this is ahead of where we were this time last year and the Club thanks you for your continued support.
Further member promotions will be announced in the coming weeks. Don’t forget, entry is free to Monday's (August 28) game against the China Olympic U-22 National side at Cbus Super Stadium. Gates will open at 6:30 pm with the game kicking-off at 7.30 pm.
Following Monday's pre-season fixture we look forward to the exclusive members event to launch our 2017/18 jersey which will be held at Rebel Sport Queen Street Mall store on Wednesday, 30 August from 6:00-9:00 pm.
As a Club we committed to more fan forums in the last 12 months than in any previous year. With the support of our fans we intend to continue that engagement and seek supporters’ direct feedback to the plans for this great Club.
Our next forum will give fans the opportunity to hear from our Head Coaches and details will be announced soon.
Clearly, your support along with the support of our sponsors and owners is vital to the continued development of our Club and I look forward to seeing you at our first home game on the 13 October against Adelaide United.
We should all be very proud of the history we have all created at this great Club and with that pride comes a clear focus to continuously improve every single facet of the Club, on and off the field so that we can build an even more successful Club in the future.
Together we can build a new era at the Roar.