29 May 2013
Brisbane Bears and Fitzroy Football Club
PO Box 1535
Coorparoo DC QLD 4151
To the Board of the Brisbane Bears and Fitzroy Football Club
I wish to highlight my concerns regarding the current guernsey worn by our great football club. I acknowledge that I have sent previous correspondence of this nature but felt it timely to reiterate these concerns in another desperate plea for action.
My feelings towards the guernsey highlight a concern about the cultural thinking (or lack thereof) behind some of our decision making. We had our inaugural hall of fame function last year which celebrated the proud and unique history of our club. I feel the introduction of the new Lion is entirely contrary to this so called pride; in fact, it is essentially quite dismissive of our history. As someone who was initially a Bears supporter, I have embraced the merger with Fitzroy and am grateful for all the tradition that it has brought with it; over a hundred rich years of history that all players, members and supporters can be proud of. The new Lion, whilst an aesthetic, represents a substantial departure from tradition and all those things that we can be proud of. We all witnessed the pride with which the players played against the Bulldogs in our heritage guernsey in round 13 last year (how good were Rockliff’s 40 touches?). We all witnessed the pride and effort shown by our boys against Essendon over 4 quarters just 2 weeks ago. A guernsey has the power to inspire. The ‘Paddlepop’ lion does not. In fact, it verges on the ludicrous.
If you look at the largest clubs in the league – Collingwood, Hawthorn, Carlton, Essendon, Richmond, etc – they have always stuck firmly to their roots. I mean, Collingwood won’t even have an away guernsey, for god’s sake; and while I am not a huge fan of Collingwood, I acknowledge that they are a fantastic business, a club that is one massive family, rooted in years of unwavering, proud tradition.
We were a foundation club. We won the second ever premiership in 1898. We played in 4 consecutive grand finals from 2001 to 2004, winning 3 of them. If we want to boost our membership numbers, let’s make the club something that people want to be a part of by highlighting our incredible history and making prospective members feel like it’s a privilege to be a part of this club because of that history – because it is. This, obviously coupled with on-field performance, is how we will re-establish ourselves as a credible football club and business organisation, and gain the respect of the competition and football followers alike, whilst differentiating ourselves from the likes of the Gold Coast who are tarred with the ‘new, babysat by AFL, tradition-less club’ brush. We have already lost members to the Suns, who are clearly on the rise, so differentiation of our product is key to stemming the tide.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter.
Membership no. ########