After an interesting pre-season so far for Adelaide United, Club Chief Executive Officer, Grant Mayer, gives fans an update on where the Reds are.
Whilst many of us are looking back at 2015/16 with pride and excitement, your club has been working overtime to ensure that Adelaide United continues to build to ensure you all have a financially sustainable and competitive football team well into the future.
From a team perspective, I understand that many of our fans are waiting patiently to hear some news from the Club regarding player signings for the upcoming season. I will address this shortly.
However, from my chair, I will never cease to be amazed that there appears to be a small section of fans who believe we have been sitting on our hands in the off-season.
This is not remotely true.
Firstly, I want to tell you about some of the many successes the Club has had off the field. People will tell you that on-field success breeds off-field success. Whilst this is true in part, professional sporting clubs need to be suitably ready to capitalise on the success a club may be lucky to experience.
Not once in my 25 years of doing this has a company called a Grand Final-winning club and said, "I want to be your major sponsor". These relationships take time and effort to nurture before companies sign on the dotted line.
As you would be aware, Adelaide United have recently announced the signing of IGA as our major partner for their next three years. What a tremendous result for the Club and we sincerely thank IGA for their support.
It is an exciting partnership for all concerned and it is important to know that our members will share in the spoils that come from this partnership.
On behalf of the club, I would like to thank Laurie Kozlavic and his team at Veolia for their support over the last few seasons. At a time the Club needed assistance, Veolia took the leap of faith and ended up experiencing the joys and exposure that a Championship-winning team brings to corporate partners. Thanks Laurie!
Many other corporate partners have jumped on-board for the 2016/17 season and we thank them all for their support. Some we have announced and others will be announced over the coming weeks, so please stay tuned!
Membership overall continues to build. We are around 18 per cent ahead of the same time last season. We have slightly tweaked the offering for the coming season with pricing and inclusions more reflective of the packages on offer.
Think back to your own little story about Grand Final day 2016 and remember that there is nothing like being a member of the Reds!
Further to this, the club has launched The United Clubs Program for 2016/17. Details are available from the Club but in its simplest form, Adelaide United are offering all clubs the chance to raise revenue for their own clubs by helping us sell more memberships. Great rewards are on offer for all clubs so sign up now!
Our retail program has also evolved with the long term signing of Macron. Like Veolia, Kappa supported Adelaide United at an important time for the Club. They worked hard on building an appealing retail range and ended up reaping the immense rewards of our Grand Final success.
Thanks Kappa and welcome Macron. Over the coming weeks the Club will unveil four new strips for the 2016/17 season as well as an exciting range of off-field apparel – something for all ages.
From my point of view, I can't wait to reveal the Remembrance Day strip for our game against Brisbane Roar in Round 6.
Other improvements have been made in our community engagement and match day space but more about those in my next update.
This brings me to football.
From the outset, let me say that revealing a shopping list of names and their salaries is something a club CEO will never do. I will leave that to the media and other experts to float.
The only time names will be mentioned is when we announce or when we are forced to make a comment due to range of reasons. Kuranyi for example. Names and numbers create unnecessary emotion and commentary. I'd rather deal with facts.
Winning a Grand Final was great. Losing players was inevitable after our success and losing in the Round of 32 in the Westfield FFA Cup was a massive disappointment. Completely unacceptable with everybody at the club emotional about that result. It is not good enough and can't be repeated. That said, didn't it bring the Westfield FFA Cup competition alive?!
Stefan Mauk and Bruce Kamau were on nobody's radar in last year’s pre-season. Our Club and coaching staff put them both on the map. Stefan pursued his dream to go overseas and Bruce decided to link up with Melbourne City. Craig Goodwin was always heading overseas and Bruce Djite got the offer of a lifetime. I expect that two or three of these guys will come back to Adelaide in the future. It hurts us all, but it is the way of Australian football. Just ask the Roar and Melbourne Victory.
We currently have 18 contracted players, 11 of which were named in the line-up that won the Championship.
We have recruited some great South Australian talent in Ben Garuccio, Ryan Kitto, and Marc Marino and promoted Mark Ochieng, Jordan O’Doherty, and Riley McGree. Jesse Makarounas joins us from Victory. A really solid foundation.
Within the week we will announce an overseas-based Aussie and a local NPL player who has been given an amazing opportunity.
We are also talking to a former Socceroo now based overseas and have a short list of three strikers, one of whom will take the prized fifth visa spot.
Kevin Kuranyi was a target but he simply didn't want to come to Australia. Our offer was generous and substantial. We will have 21-22 squad members by Round 1 and we expect that our total squad will play in either one or two of our last pre season trials.
Will our fifth spot go to a 35-year-old former great? Highly unlikely. The history and success of this Club has been built on recruiting the right players for the occasion. Marcelo, Sergio, and Isaías were not household names but can't they play! It will be a striker and will likely come from Spain, Albania or Brazil. That's all I can tell you.
The Club will also be active in January in the lead up to the AFC Champions League. Additionally, we are working with the Government to ensure Iacopo La Rocca’s Australian citizenship goes through in order to free up another visa spot. We will be busy during this period. Trust me.
Out of this playing group our coaches fully expect we will unearth another Mauk or another Kamau. Who this will be will unfold in the coming weeks. If you haven't done so already, grab a seat at Coopers and make your own decisions on that one.
For all those of you who feel uncomfortable about where we are at, I ask you to cast your mind back to November 2015. We were in a world of despair, winless, and the talk of Osama Malik and Jimmy Jeggo leaving the Club just on the horizon.
In many people's eyes, we may not have been at rock bottom but by gee we could certainly see rock bottom from where we were. The Club made some astute decisions and the rest is history.
Please keep that in mind when you are making judgement on where we are at today. The Djite departure was unexpected and forced a change in direction. It also slowed things up. Slowed – but not halted.
The coaches are comfortable with where they are. This team will be their team and they are the ones that need to be satisfied. We all have a little bit of football coach in us at times but I ask you to have faith in the Hyundai A-League’s Coach of the Year.
Please remember – nobody can ever take the success of 2015/16 away from all involved with our Club. That said, those same people are fully aware that we are involved with the most competitive industry in the world and that our future results are how we will be judged.
Become a member, come for the journey, and ride the wave of emotion that is professional sport!
Come on you Reds!