Time to Reunite a Fractured Supporter Base
“To the Brisbane Lions Administration,
I am writing to express my support of the recent movement by a select group of passionate Brisbane Lions supporters to have the club’s traditional Guernsey reinstated.
As a Brisbane Bears/Lions member for 19 years I have been extremely fortunate. I have been witness to the greatest team ever to play the game; I have been witness to the development and success of some of the most talented players of the modern era; I have been witness to 3 outstanding premiership victories; and I have been witness to a club that developed a strong culture formed by a proud and passionate administration, football department and supporter base. This club was once considered the epitome of on-field and off-field success, a club so strong and prosperous that rivals feared us and revered us in equal measures. The Brisbane Lions regularly set the ‘football agenda’ and dictated the ‘football landscape’ long before they became popular catchphrases on nightly football programs. No other club got even close to being the powerhouse that mighty Brisbane Lions were.
Because of this sustained success I had always believed that the decisions made by the Brisbane Lions’ Administration have been in the best interests of the various stakeholders that underpin our great club. I have never had cause to question the decisions of the clubs Board and Administrations, save for a couple of inconsequential issues that amounted to very little. Indeed, when the Paddlepop Lion was introduced on our Guernsey several years ago I did not give it too much initial thought, ignorantly assuming that the decision was probably in the best interests of the club’s ongoing commercial viability and growth.
With time however, I have come to appreciate what our traditional club Guernsey represents and what it means to our passionate and loyal supporter base. Not only does it respect the history and origins of our great club, it acknowledges the success the club achieved and the standing we once had not only in the AFL community, but on the national sporting stage. Under the traditional Brisbane Lion Guernsey and logo, our club was once the most recognisable and marketable brands in the country.
I am pragmatic enough to know that reverting back to the traditional Lion on the Guernsey will not necessarily translate into on-field success. The notion of the players playing for the history or colour of the Guernsey is nice, but it is not sustainable, nor is it realistic. What I do know is that if the club reverts back to the traditional Lion on our once proud Guernsey it will offer our dwindling supporter base hope and identity. I believe I am not alone when I say that I find it hard to identify with the Paddlepop Lion and I feel a strange level of emptiness towards the current design. A Guernsey above all else should be the one thing that all supporters feel that they can identify with and have clear ownership of. The Paddlepop Lion offers neither of these.
I would implore the club to listen to its members. Whilst we do not always appreciate or have a clear understanding of the reasoning behind decisions that propel our club forward, I firmly believe that the club’s supporter base is best served to make judgement on this matter.
It is no coincidence that financially strong clubs rich in culture (i.e. Collingwood, Geelong, Richmond, Essendon et al) have changed their Guernsey design very little over the course of their proud histories. As a collective we need to return the Brisbane Lions back into this fold – a progressive and driven club that importantly recognises its proud origins. Most significantly, a return to the traditional Lions Guernsey would provide a beacon for uniting our supporter base in an effort to return the Brisbane Lions to the greatest club in the country.
Loyal and passionate Lions Member,
Member No ********