‘It’s easy to see why players want out’ - Ex-Roar attacker’s brutal A-League verdict

Former Brisbane Roar striker Aaron Amadi-Holloway Source: Getty Images

Former Brisbane Roar attacker Aaron Amadi-Holloway says concern over further A-League player stand-downs was a major trigger in him joining the mass exodus to the Indian Super League.

The lure of reuniting with former Brisbane bosses Robbie Fowler and Tony Grant in Kolkata at East Bengal FC was also pivotal, as the Welshman became one of the 15 A-League players to join ISL clubs in recent weeks.

He believes more will follow - if they can - to a competition which is expanding while the A-League is contracting.

“A lot of good players are leaving the A-League and that doesn’t surprise me at all, especially in light of the COVID situation,” said Amadi-Holloway.

“You wonder whether the whole thing could happen again, with players stood down on hardly any pay.

“It’s easy to see why players want to get out.

“I feel sorry for some of the boys who can’t (join other leagues) because literally any moment you don’t know what’s going to happen.

“In the case of foreign players, there’s the concern that you fly around the world to play and might potentially be stood down on minimal money - if any at all.

“To be fair, Brisbane was one of the few clubs that paid imports the same as the local boys during the (three month) shutdown

“But at the same time, I was also eating into my savings just to make ends meet. I was down about 80 per cent on my wages. It was basically just survival money to pay the rent.

“You have to ask yourself whether you’d be prepared to take the risk of that happening again?

“I’ve still got a lot of mates in Brisbane and I’m praying they’re going to be okay.

“I think the whole COVID situation messed things up in the A-League.”

Amadi-Holloway, who was released from the second year of his Roar deal, has traversed the lower rungs of English football during his career.

He described the decision to leave Brisbane to ultimately rejoin Fowler as a “no brainer”.

“The offer came out of the blue a bit and chance to play under Robbie once more was too good to refuse,” he said.

“The reason I went to Australia in the first place was because he was there. I wouldn’t have ended up going so far to play for any old manager.

“The same’s true of India ... him being here Is a big thing as far as I’m concerned.

“He’s got seven or eight visa players in, including a few big hitters with Premier League and Championship experience. “I think we’re going to do well when the season kicks off (in December).”

The foreign list includes his former Roar teammate Scott Neville, on loan, and German midfielder Matti Steinman
from Wellington Phoenix.

Though he made 23 appearances for Brisbane, 18 were off the bench, and the final five of those - under Fowler’s replacement Warren Moon - were fleeting cameos.

“I was only coming on for the final five or six minutes and it was frustrating,” he added.

“When Robbie was there he sort of understood the impact I could make off the bench.

“But I just felt wasted coming on for a handful of minutes when the league resumed.”