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Broken promises, four years of mismanagement, disrespected players and staff - the time is up and the Bakrie Group needs to go.
By
2 Oct 2015 - 12:34 PM  UPDATED 2 Oct 2015 - 12:36 PM

It should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone that Wednesday night’s fan forum attracted angry, frustrated and hurt Brisbane Roar fans. 

Fronted by a panel of Bakrie representatives, Rahim Soekasah and Denis Djamaoeddin, head of the A-League Damien de Bohun, interim Roar Chief Executive David Pourre and Fox Sports pundit Mark Bosnich - their messages did little to quell fans’ concerns.

Long-time supporter Jaimee Steuart, who attending the forum with close to 100 other Roar fans, was clear about her thoughts on the night. 

"I felt like it was a PR stunt. I walked out feeling the exact same as I did when I went in," she said.

"All we heard about was January deadlines. That makes me feel like they’re just trying to get their ducks in a row to sell the club. I don’t feel like they have longterm interest in us."

It’s a position held by almost all of the fans I spoke to in the aftermath, including member Cailtlin Lindsay who has been attending Roar games for seven years and a member for five.  

"A lot of people walked away thinking I am not convinced that anything is going to change and I am one of them. I don’t think after January 2016 that things are going to be much different," she said.

"From my point of view, the panel kind of expected to be able to make everything better on the night and kind of sweep it all away and that they will have dealt with it and we‘d all turn around sign up for memberships the next day.

"Within a few minutes, it was very clear that that’s how it wasn’t going to go. It was extremely tense, there was a lot of passion and a lot of emotion behind what a lot of the members were saying.

"To my mind there was nothing said that really said to me that after January 2016 the club would be stable and financially well supported and we wouldn’t be back in the same position again."

After a string of incidents including public details of the club’s financial woes and the failure to pay players, staff and creditors on time, Roar’s best player Luke Brattan walked out the door, and its trust with supporters is broken. 

Personality clashes between the Roar board and former coach Mike Mulvey ultimately led to the Englishman’s sacking and sources have revealed the board's continued mismanagement of the club, right down to the football operations department.

With season 11 of the A-League due to kick-off in less than a week, reported membership numbers are shockingly low for a club which won the grand final as recently as May, 2014.

A staggering 7,000 members chose not to renew for 2015/16. 

"To anybody who is not renewing their membership because of what’s happening, I am totally in support of that. It doesn’t make them any less important, I fully support them not renewing their membership," Lindsay said. 

"A lot of the people who haven’t renewed their memberships are active support members. With the new rules that the FFA have brought in that you have to have a membership to be in active support, that has thrown a spanner in the works for The Den enormously because that cuts our numbers down dramatically."

In a poor attempt to try and address this issue during the forum, de Bohun appallingly went on to suggest that Roar fans should get down to a Western Sydney Wanderers game to experience the atmosphere at Pirtek Stadium. 

"I was shocked. I thought, you’re at a Brisbane Roar Forum talking about issues with Brisbane Roar and you’re telling us to go down and see a Western Sydney game? That was very out of line," Lindsay said.

Out of line and out of touch are just some of the deserved comments both the Bakrie Group and Football Federation Australia have been branded with in the wake of yet another A-League related drama. 

For years, the Bakries have duped their fans, players and staff. For months, they have said one thing and done another and as recently as July, conceded to wanting to sell the club.

Brisbane Roar set for new owners as Bakrie Group confirms sale
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Now, in front of loyal and paying members, they have tried to sell them a new lie and suggest that "a new Brisbane Roar" is on the horizon.   

Worse still, for the governing body to continue to sit on its hands in the face of proven failures suggests it is incapable of maintaining a stable and flourishing league. 

It is no secret that FFA is in a financial cul-de-sac of its own and cannot afford to rescue yet another club. 

Nevertheless, I have always maintained that this a problem it, not fans or players, should be punished for. 

The embattled club yesterday announced coach John Aloisi would host another fan forum, this time to focus on the football operations of the club. 

Outcomes from the night stated that "the Bakrie Group is committed to rebuilding the organisation into a better and stronger club" and that "Football Federation Australia and the Bakrie Group have agreed on a timeline to resolve all backdated financial matters by January 2016."

It’s a stark contrast to the position FFA CEO David Gallop held as early as August. 

"On our part, FFA has advised the Bakrie Group that they will forfeit any right to the A-League licence if the current situation continues," Gallop said.

"Paying wages and superannuation arrears, clearing debts and recapitalising the business are the next urgent steps."

However, the outstanding superannuation payments are set to remain unpaid for at least another two to three months.

After previously promising and failing to do so, there is no reason why anyone should trust the Bakries to deliver. 

The scenario has left many fans wondering what will happen beyond that deadline, with no clear or concrete direction on a way forward for the club. 

"I am very hopeful that after January 2016 we’re right to go, we’re back to being a successful football club but there was nothing concrete," Lindsay said.

"There was also nothing to say that would be safeguarding not just our club but other clubs in the A-League from this kind of stuff happening again."

The lifeblood of any club across world football are the players, staff and the fans. 

To point the finger at any one of them and urge them to maintain their unwavering support for Roar after years of financial and personnel mismanagement is simply ridiculous and unjustifiable.

The Bakrie Group had its chance. 

The longer it is at the helm of this great club, the more the fans, and football in Australia, stands to lose.