The following is a summary of the questions and answers from last night’s RSF Fan Forum with David Pourre held at Lions F.C. from 7PM until 9PM. There were 44 people in attendance, a similar number viewed the live broadcast and just over a thousand people have “viewed” the recording of the session.
Of the questions submitted on-line and via twitter all but two were asked, the outstanding questions were handed to DP and we will follow-up for appropriate answers in the near future.
This summary has attempted to represent the question and answers faithfully and as accurately as possible however, for the avoidance of any doubt we refer people to the live recording of the session if they
seek clarity or context on what was said.
Thank you to all that participated especially David Pourre (DP) and the club staff that gave up their time last night to be in attendance.
Q: Will BRFC purchase a foreign striker/goal scorer
DP: The squad has filled its quota of foreign players so probably not. We are looking for 2 more players though, both will be Australian, and negotiations are taking place with several prospects.
Q: The club has had significant injuries over the past 4 seasons – what is being done about it?
DP: Last winter the club had two respected medical individuals review the clubs medical and physio operations. This review was led by the respected Dr. Craig Duncan and resulted in a restructuring of the department in line with their recommendations. Last season we still suffered from a high number of injuries, but those players injured were either pre-existing conditions or what is known as “structural injuries” such as knew or broken bones. We vert very pleased with the low level of soft- tissue injuries we had compared to previous seasons. So, the necessary change has already taken place although we continue to monitor the situation.
Q: With FFA control over the A-League gone will it improve ‘Active Support’ and make it “more English like”?
DP: The club believes how Active Support define themselves is up to the fans. The club provides the environment and will do its upmost to facilitate that environment, but the type and style of support
is up to the fans themselves.
Q: The club has obviously had disappointing crowd figures for the past couple of seasons, what are the club doing to market the new season?
DP: My Marketing team is here tonight. They have been working on a range of creative programs although the FFA retain central control for marketing the league itself. The club has been concentrating on reaching local youth players and clubs through the Roar Activity Program and Roar Rascals
Q: Are we expecting club merchandise to be available before the season starts?
DP: Yes, we are. We are launching 4 kits this season and we will be launching them soon, but I can’t give you exact dates. We will be sticking to our traditional Orange as you’d expect but there will be something a little different in the design this year. There will also be a whole new training kit and the players won’t be training in Orange at Robbie’s (Fowler) instruction. His message is players have to earn the right to wear the Orange (hence the message “Earn the Orange”)
Q: When will the new kit be launched?
DP: Soon. We won’t be doing what other clubs have done and just release photographs in a low-key type of launch. We like to be a little creative as we were last year and thank the RSF for paying for the fireworks at last season’s launch …. Although the council were less than impressed we had used fireworks so close to their methane extraction plant.
Q: Does the club have any plans to capitalise on the Women’s World Cup?
DP: Unfortunately, we need the New leagues Working Group to conclude their work, so we know what we are dealing with. As a club we will continue to invest in our women’s team. Last season we
fought hard to get standalone W-League games to give our players the prominence they deserve including fighting to get the semi-final as a stand alone fixture – which would not have happened without The Roar Corps and RSF directly lobbying the FFA to make it happen.
Q: Will the New Leagues Working Group impact the women’s game?
DP: Yes, they will but how we don’t yet know. I believe Roar sets the benchmark for promoting the women’s game and there will be more investment in our team this season as well as an increase to
the salary cap.
Q: The Den has been poor for the past couple of years and there seems to be a battle between young and old people [in the Den], what can be done to get The Den back to its former glory?
DP: The club will not and cannot drive ‘Active Support’ it has to be done by (Den) members. The club will provide a suitable environment and welcome Active Support.
Q: When I buy a ticket to an away game I end up getting spammed by the home teams marketing department, what can I do about it?
DP: Roar do the same, we want you back. We have no idea whether you travelled to see the game or live locally but either way we want to try and get you back. The best think you can do is just block that stuff.
(Then perhaps the only controversial or contentious moment of the night occurred)
Q: Will the club deal with the lack of basic needs for the women’s team e.g. lack of ice baths, strapping tape, physio services etc)
DP: That’s an interesting question. I don’t think that is the case – I think they have everything they need but I will check.
(Follow on Q from same person): More than one player has told me this is the case
DP: if it is true I am concerned that it has not come to me (or at least the PFA). There is ample supply to all teams, but I will check with Mel.
RSF note: There was some back and forth debate in the room, see the video on our Facebook page if you are interested, but the upshot was the person asking the question was adamant that is what they have been told and DP was adamant that there were ample supplies to all teams and that he would check with the WL coaching team. The RSF will follow this up as clearly it’s important to our members and report back.
Q: How can (our) African community get involved with The Den?
DP: Easily. There are people in this room working on helping The Den re-establish itself and I’m sure they’ll reach out to you.
Q: Why are there Two Dens (one at the front and one at the back) and we (younger members) feel we are being oppressed by the club?
DP: Security at Suncorp has been reduced in recent years but how the Den area is policed remains a matter for Stadium Security and QPS. Referring to an earlier answer – how the Den members conduct themselves e.g. front v back is a matter for the individuals concerned.
(While the above question was being asked a follow-on question came through on-line and was read out in the room)
Q: What are you (“the club”) doing about the rotten behaviour of The Den?
DP: We have to accept that although we are one club we are made up of very different groups in terms of age, backgrounds, culture and experience. We just need to accept that and remember that we support one club.
(Follow-up Q to the previous one) How do we harness that?
DP: That’s a matter for the fans to work together. When they do, they are very powerful as we saw with The Roar Corps and RSF successfully lobbying the FFA last season.
Q: there are so many new players, what are the club doing to promote them?
DP: The marketing tea has plans for this. We are only 2 weeks into preseason mind you.
Q: Last season many of the bars, toilets and food outlets were closed at Suncorp meaning long walks for many fans?
DP: I will review that with the Stadium.
Q: How will playing at Dolphin Stadium work this season?
DP: We are still waiting on the fixtures to some out, but we are planning on three Sunday games kicking off at 3PM. When we have the details, we will work on logistics on the day itself including transport.
Q: With the death of the NCIP will BRFC be connecting with its Hollandia roots?
DP: We can’t change history and we acknowledge our heritage with Hollandia. We are currently rebuilding our relationship with Lions F.C. and we have our annual club awards dinner here and I believe supporters groups even meet here. Will we be wearing a Dutch flag on our shirt, no, that’s not necessary – the Orange and emblem are sufficient to acknowledge our past.
Q: How do you balance being a Brisbane team versus serving all of QLD?
DP: We are a Brisbane team, but we do want to serve QLD as well. In preseason we will be in Gladstone, Hervey Bay and Cairns.
Q: What financial losses do the club make each year?
DP: We continue to lose money at a level the owners are prepared to cover. We don’t disclose annual losses as we are a private company, but I can say those losses are in to seven figures. The average (club) loss in the league is around $2.5m per year and that’s about where Roar are.
Q: What will an independent HAL mean for the club?
DP: It will mean a lot. We don’t currently own our assets such as the badge, the FFA do and we can’t commercialise that and make a profit. The new league will let the clubs own their assets and that
will create enormous opportunity.
Q: I’m at a school with 2,000 other kids and very few support BRFC and most follow the big European sides, what are the club trying to do about that?
DP: These big European clubs get lots of exposure; it comes easy to them unlike Roar. Our RAP program reaches over 60,000 kids each year and that’s a start, we are then doing the Roar Rascals
which last year saw nearly 8,000 people attend Roar games. We desperately want to reach the audience you talk about but accept it’s hard. One of the things we have decided on is if we are to compete with these teams, we have to play attractive football, football people will enjoy watching.
Q: In America the women’s team get their own name/brand, will BRFC consider that?
DP: We can’t do that at the moment as we don’t own the brand but when we do have control, we are happy to look at that
Q: Kick off times last season were awful; will it be any different this season?
DP: The full draw has not been made public yet although we have seen a draft version. Clubs were given until Wednesday (tomorrow) to respond to the draft draw, we responded immediately on Saturday last week as we were not happy with what we saw. We need to get better scheduling,
especially for the W-League side who can’t be expected to play in that heat, and we will work with the FFA on this.
Q: What do BRFC do to support grass roots clubs?
DP: We try and spread our preseason games around and let the clubs keep the profits. When we play at Logan Football Brisbane run the canteen there and the profits go back into their football programs, and when we know a club needs help, we do what we can to help by donating things where we can.
Q: The Ambassadors Program started a couple of years ago and then stopped, why?
DP: I don’t know why it stopped as I wasn’t here. I started the program originally and we do review things like this but to some extent things have moved on. We now have programs independent of the club such as the African Supporters Group, uROAR and Cub Station as well as Roar Rascals and a more coordinated RAP program, so things are still happening. Fans are generating their own ideas and making them work which is great.
Q: Will the club have W-League Memberships again this year and sponsorship for the team?
DP: Yes, we will have W-L Memberships this season. In terms of sponsorship I believe we have the best commercial department in the country, we have to work very hard as sponsorship dollars are hard to come by but we are getting good deals and we grew our revenues in this are by 20-30% last season and we look like we will do that again this year. We are currently working on a sponsorship deal for Mel and also for Robbie.
Q: Robbie Fowler is the most interesting thing to happen to BRFC is years, will the club be doing anything special to market him?
DP: Yes and No. In the short term he is the Head Coach of the men’s team and we want him to focus on that (he wants to focus on that). Longer term we will look at what we can do to leverage that but right now, it’s all about Robbie the coach.
Q: BRFC get poor local media coverage, what is being done about that?
DP: We hold weekly media calls (at Logan) and regularly get C7, C10 and Fox Sports there but clearly, we don’t get our share of voice. So, we do have to sell our message to other channels.
Q: What is being done about the club walk out song?
DP: We have to have walk out music, what that is can be our choice. The song will change this year. We are aware of how MVFC did it and we are trying to engage through fans.
Q: Is there any progress on a Boutique Stadium?
DP: The recent Queensland Government review said there was no further need for stadiums in SEQ and that there was ample capacity
Q: Last season the NRL’s ‘Magic Round’ meant Roar could not host a home Grand Final; will that be the same this season?
DP: We are aware of that but at this stage we haven’t been advised of dates for the Magic Round or the Finals series, but we will monitor that.
Q: Will the kids go free program continue this season
DP: yes, it will along with the Roar Rascals Program
The following question was asked after the session had finished and is included here for completeness:
Q: Is the club planning on providing a sensory room at Lang Park as St Kilda are currently trialling?
DP: That’s actually a brilliant thought. We don’t have any plans but obviously for certain people this could be really valuable. We don’t have any plans and it is a question for the stadium and other codes using it as well which we will start the conversation on.