Attn: Mr Malcolm Holmes, Mr Angus Johnson and the board of the Brisbane Bears Fitzroy Football Club
“It is with no small sense of disappointment and bewilderment that I find myself writing this letter. By the time this reaches you I am sure you will have a full grasp of the matter this letter is addressing, having no doubt experienced a surge in similar correspondence in the last few days.
Of course I am speaking about the state of our current guernsey and the process (or lack thereof) undertaken in 2009/10 that brought about the introduction of what has come to be mocked throughout mainstream football circles as the “paddlepop lion”.
Over the past few years the current administration has done what I believe to be a wonderful job in trying to turn the fortunes (both on and off the field), of this once mighty club, back around. Despite some harsh economic realities I have noticed significant improvement in fan engagement, media presentations, recognition of our heritage and a level of frank and open communication on almost all matters that is head and shoulders above what had been provided by the previous CEO and Chairman. The club is to be commended as a whole for this fabulous work and I wanted to point this out to ensure that you understand that by and large I personally have been most appreciative of the work that has been done by Mr Holmes, Mr Johnson and their team.
However all of this fantastic work is currently being undermined by this administrations lack of acknowledgement or even willingness to discuss the divisive symbol that is our current guernsey. Any AFL clubs guernsey is in my opinion, the strongest symbol of that clubs identity and what they represent, a link between the past, the present and the future. Any member or fan (and indeed player) should be able to put on their clubs guernsey with pride and be able to demonstrate that they are part of something more than themselves, part of a strong history, worn by their heroes both current and past.
Unfortunately members and fans of the Brisbane Lions are currently unable to partake in this time honoured and precious tradition. Instead any person who purchases a new guernsey must resort to wearing a symbol associated with a club and administration that held its members and supporters largely in contempt. An administration that provided little or no communication or consultation with their major stakeholders on the change of a symbol that is at the very fabric of what makes a football club, the core of its identity. To see a symbol that was worn with pride in four grand finals, sweated and bled in by all players since this clubs inception, and a representation of our unique history as the only merged club in AFL history, tossed away without any consultation or vote by the clubs major stakeholders is not only extremely bewildering but downright disrespectful and has left me feeling extremely offended.
Personally I implore the board and administration to address these actions and give their members a chance to voice their opinion on our current guernsey once and for all. Should this opinion be that the current design be the favoured option then I will more than accept that decision and will purchase myself a new guernsey to replace my now ageing traditional lion (something which I have refrained from doing) comfortable in the knowledge that this represent the view of the majority of members, and the symbol of what we stand for as a club.
Should this not be undertaken I will continue to support any and all action that may be undertaken to ensure that members are able to rightfully vote on the symbol of their football club, including the replacement of those who continue to ignore this issue that continues to tear at the fabric of our great club. I sincerely hope that it does not come to such measures and that upon seeing a groundswell of support for a vote on the issue that the board re-considers its position and let its members decide what represents them as a club.
I will finish this by providing a quick background on myself in case certain people have me pegged as “one of those fitzroy supporters who just care about the Fitzroy or traditional lion”. As a born and bred Queenslander and avid rugby league follower I knew little about AFL or the lions until their 3-peat. Even then I was only a passing supporter, watching the odd game on television. After seeing my first live game of AFL in 2006 I was hooked and could now most likely be named an AFL tragic. While the guernsey played absolutely no part in me taking an interest in the game (in fact it was at the nagging of my girlfriend) over the years I have developed deep sense of pride and emotional attachment to what it represents. It is this representation of traditions that has come as such a welcome change after the myriad of jumper changes I saw through my support of rugby league.
I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this letter and sincerely hope that it and the many others I am sure you are receiving give you pause to reconsider the current position on our guernsey.
Member No. #######