It Belongs To Us

To the Brisbane Lions Board,

I am a Queenslander and for the most part a Brisbane boy. My interest in AFL was piqued when the Bears played finals in 1996 and more so in 2000 when I struck up a close relationship with my brother in-law. He is a fanatical Bombers member whose son played with Jason Akermanis at Mayne. Their life was consumed by football. For me, Brisbane would be the only team for which I could barrack as the only team connected with Qld. They are my local club. 

Watching the team of 2001 had me in awe. Mid-season that year it was obvious something special had been built. It had come about not as a result solely of hard work and good coaching but because of a merger of 2 struggling clubs. We had already secure Lynch but now also had Johnson. The history and merger with Fitzroy gave Brisbane a true place in the still now Victorian centric game, a sense of tradition and a whole new band of supporters. The use of the Lion as a symbol of that history was perfect to make Brisbane supporters feel part of the tradition and Fitzroy supporters feel part of Brisbane. It was the symbol worn proudly to 4 consecutive Grand Finals. The jumper worn in those years would mean so much to all those who wore it and those who supported them. That jumper was and is a symbol of hard times ending in the ultimate success. We didn’t just win a Premiership, we won 3, still considered the greatest team of the modern era.

And here we are, 2013 in a stylised lion that means nothing to anyone. The current thing represents 2 things in the minds of supporters and players alike, a failed administration that has been reviewed and resulted in desperate change and on-field confusion and defeat. The club has for the last few years been at its lowest since Fitzroy couldn’t win a game and The Bears were again bottoming out. The current “Lion” represents to all and sundry, FAILURE.

Two proud men remain at our club representing our joint past. Michael Voss is indisputably the greatest player to have led this club, battling defeat after defeat with dogged determination, deserving of every honour bestowed upon him. To most supporters it is evident that this same attitude and fortitude is now being instilled in our young list. He is eternally the face of this club and representative of our heritage as Bears. Jonathan Brown on the other hand, equally regarded as one of not just the club’s greats but a true great of the game. He represents our connection with the old Fitzroy and the merging of 2 proud teams. I don’t think I need to go on about his greatness or importance. My point is that the 2 greatest men to have represented this club not only individually represent our heritage of Fitzroy and the Bears but built their careers and success wearing the same jumper. The jumper we love. 

Administrations come and go. The current board of the Brisbane Lions is not the one of 1997 nor of 2001. The players of today are not those of 2003 (aside from our remaining 3) and will not be the players we are supporting in 2028. Many if not most of the board will not have any association with this club in 15 years’ time. Nor will most of the players. But the supporters, many of whom supported the Bears or Fitzroy 20 years ago, will still be cheering the Brisbane Lions. You see, football clubs belong to the supporters. It is the supporters who stay with a club for 20, 50 years, life. It is not an administrators role to determine the symbol of a club that was around before they got there for a club that will hopefully be here 50 years after they have gone. 

That symbol which you discarded means much more than a marketing image. It is an eternal symbol of combined greatness being the birth of a great club, a club permanently etched in history as one of the greatest. That traditional Lion that you removed represents much more than the club board ever imagined. It is ours, the supporters and the club’s Lion. It is not for a group of business people to choose what represents us, what is in our hearts and what our once great side should wear going into the future. 

Put OUR Lion back where it belongs, pride of place on the front of OUR Guernsey. Let us, the members be heard.

Regards,

Brent Z. - Member no. #######