Brisbane Roar hit self-destruct button
There are football clubs that are run as models of efficiency, with directors overseeing business affairs, highly-paid coaches poring over tactics and a flotilla of support staff all employed to ensure the best possible results on the pitch.
And then there is Brisbane Roar.
To suggest that the struggling A-League club have endured a nightmare season would be to understate things just a tad.
From stayaway fans to disciplinary problems to a stadium tenancy that looks liable to cripple the club, Brisbane have lurched from crisis to self-made crisis throughout the campaign to date.
But things really came to a head in a bizarre 2-1 defeat away at defending champions Melbourne Victory back in Round 9.
It wasnÃ¢ÂÂt so much the scoreline that was confounding, but rather the fact that several of the Brisbane players took to kicking ex-Roar midfielder Robbie Kruse for the entire 90 minutes.
Kruse had left the Roar just weeks earlier, so it was somewhat of a surprise to see the youngster become the target of a spiteful Brisbane midfield.
He was bodychecked by former Manchester City and Leicester hard-man Danny Tiatto, who was later given a one-match ban for flipping Melbourne fans the bird.
Ex-Rangers midfielder Charlie Miller then took it upon himself to king-hit Kruse in the dying minutes, with the off-the-ball incident earning the Scotsman a two-match suspension Ã¢ÂÂ a decision that outraged Victory officials for its leniency.
It also prompted several stern rebukes from The Courier MailÃ¢ÂÂs resident football man Marco Monteverde, who was nonplussed by BrisbaneÃ¢ÂÂs attempted intimidation.
Yet the local newspaperÃ¢ÂÂs blunt appraisal incensed Miller, who was quick to blame Ã¢ÂÂthe mediaÃ¢ÂÂ for his suspension.
It was a precursor of things to come.
When word broke that Roar coach Frank Farina had been arrested on drink driving charges on the eve of BrisbaneÃ¢ÂÂs Round 10 derby with Gold Coast United, it rapidly became headline news.
Incredibly, it was the second time the ex-Socceroos coach had been charged with DUI during his tenure as Roar coach.
Sources were quick to speculate that Roar officials would use the charge to sack Farina, citing his influence on a squad that has been wracked by ill-discipline.
Sure enough, Brisbane announced that Farina had been Ã¢ÂÂsuspended indefinitelyÃ¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂ but that was apparently code for the fact that the club was locked in a bitter dispute with Farina over severance pay.
Days later the pair finally came to agreement, but not before Farina had lashed out at Football Federation Australia, claiming that the gameÃ¢ÂÂs governing body were responsible for making him Ã¢ÂÂa scapegoat.Ã¢ÂÂ
The unseemly affair is the last thing Brisbane needs, as fans continue to boycott home games.
Less than 9,000 turned out for the derby with Gold Coast United, prompting Brisbane officials to slash ticket prices for the rest of the season.
But with the club now considered a basket case, recent events will do nothing to improve their dismal attendances.
Indeed, the Roar may be lucky to attract crowds in excess of 10,000 to the cavernous Suncorp Stadium home for the rest of the campaign.
The clubÃ¢ÂÂs plight is proving a major headache for FFA officials, who already have their hands full dealing with newcomers North Queensland Fury and Gold Coast United.
North Queensland are suffering from a shortfall in sponsorship, while Gold Coast have consistently attracted the leagueÃ¢ÂÂs lowest attendances Ã¢ÂÂ despite possessing a star-studded squad.
But itÃ¢ÂÂs Brisbane who currently hold the mantle as the A-LeagueÃ¢ÂÂs problem child, with the Roar constantly creating headlines for all the wrong reasons.
With several players reputedly loyal to former coach Farina, assistant coach Rado Vidosic has the unenviable task of trying to unite a fractured squad.
Improving performances on the pitch might be the least of VidosicÃ¢ÂÂs problems, with the Roar looking more likely to self-destruct than win a maiden A-League championship.
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