Mulvey returning pride to the Roar
On the verge of the finals after a torrid start, Mike Mulvey looks to have silenced his critics and given Brisbane a reason to roar again.
Football fans love their stats and records. Here-s one for you - the shortest honeymoon period for any new manager?
I reckon this year Brisbane Roar boss Mike Mulvey had that inglorious title all to himself. (Until Rafa Benitez turned up at Stamford Bridge…)
Having been permanently appointed in the middle of February after the short and tumultuous tenure of Rado Vidosic, Mulvey was greeted at his first home game after the appointment with a banner screaming, “Mulvey Out!”
Brisbane Roar went on to beat Wellington Phoenix that night 2-0 and the boo boys sheepishly packed their eviction notice away. Since then, Mulvey has continued his painstaking job of restoring the Roar, who had hit the earth with a decided thud after the heady heights of back to back triumphs under Ange Postecolgou.
This weekend Mulvey-s team heads to Gosford to take on a battle-weary and travel-fatigued Central Coast Mariners. A win would make finals football a real possibility, something that seemed fanciful as their season unravelled in the new year.
The former Gold Coast United assistant and Melbourne Victory W-League coach would have been hurt seeing the banner asking for him to be sacked before he-d seen kick off. However, the affable Mancunian bears no grudges.
“Everyone-s entitled to an opinion” he told me on the Top Of The League podcast on Sunday.
“There-s been a sense of frustration around the club. The fans have voiced their opinion and are entitled to do that. What I have done is given them a commitment that I-ll work as hard as I possibly can to bring success back to Brisbane Roar”.
After winning in Adelaide and pushing Melbourne Victory to the wire at Suncorp on Sunday, Mulvey-s men are starting to exhibit elements of the irresistible football that made Brisbane Roar an unstoppable force.
It hasn-t been simply a case of flicking a switch for Mulvey. He could see there was a danger that success had spoiled the Roar and he needed to address the situation quickly.
“There were some issue when I arrived but we-ve righted the ship now. The danger for us is that it might be too late in the season for us having found form and we might run out of games. “
Mulvey understood quickly that the success of Ange Postecoglou-s teams had given the players enormous self-belief. That-s fine when the club is chalking up wins, but it can be problematic when the results dry up.
“The word I use is ‘entitlement-,” Mulvey said. “There was a feeling around the place that it was just going to happen and that we were entitled to success. Anybody in business and sport knows that success doesn-t come without hard work.”
“We-d just taken our eye off the ball a little bit. The focus had changed. It wasn-t as pointed as it used to be. I think we-ve righted that. We-ve had a good long look in the mirror, all of us, from top to bottom.
“The lads have really rolled their sleeves up and they-ve managed the environment themselves. They-re demanding excellence on and off the field and if you-ve got that drive within the group anything is possible.”
Mike Mulvey has won over a once divided dressing room and the denizens of The Den are slowly realising the leader of the pack is the right man for the job.
And with confidence and optimism creeping back into Brisbane-s game, Mulvey is excited by what he sees.
“What we-ve got now some balance to our team. We-re building on the right hand side, we-re building on the left hand side. We-re creating chances and we-re very, very tough to beat at the back.”
And if they do make the finals, there-s one thing we know about Brisbane Roar - they know how to win them.
And that thought will be giving A League coaches across the country plenty of food for thought over the next few weeks.