14 out the door in football carnage
THE rebuild of A-League strugglers Brisbane Roar under Robbie Fowler has begun with a demolition.
Fowler has taken an axe to his squad like it was filled with Milhouse Van Houtens as the Roar announced on Tuesday that 11 players would be leaving the club following their disastrous A-League campaign, joining previously announced departures Matt McKay, Henrique and Thomas Kristensen in a clear out that involves half of the senior playing squad.
The exodus sheds 125 Socceroos caps from the squad and also means all five visa positions are now vacant with French marquee Eric Bautheac, Dane Tobias Mikkelsen and Spanish midfielder Alex Lopez among those released.
Ex-Socceroo McKay has retired after 272 A-League appearances for the club, with fellow former Australian representatives Brett Holman, Luke DeVere and Eli Babalj joining him at the exit door.
Holman, the ex-Aston Villa player who made 63 appearances for the Socceroos, is expected to join McKay in retirement given the 35-year-old didn't play a single game in 2018-19 due to an ongoing knee problem.
Babalj was one of three mid-season arrivals at the Roar but failed to earn a long-term deal along with Charlie Lokoli-Ngoy and defender Ruon Tongyik.
In total the Roar have cut over 990 games of experience in Australian football from their squad, leaving just 10 players on senior contracts.
It's a clear indication ex-Liverpool great Fowler intends to start afresh at the Roar.
Just two days after his appointment as coach, Fowler watched from the sidelines as the Roar ended their season with a 5-3 loss to Adelaide on Anzac Day.
That defeat was the Roar's 17th in their worst A-League campaign, and left them with 71 goals conceded - the most by a single team in one season.
Fowler has since returned to England but is expected to return to Australia before the Roar begin pre-season training in June.
At his unveiling last week, the ex-England international hinted at the looming changes.
"I've spoken to a few players … I know what players I want to bring in," he said.
ROAR'S A-LEAGUE CLEAROUT BY THE NUMBERS
- 14 players released or retired: Matt McKay, Henrique, Thomas Kristensen, Luke DeVere, Brett Holman, Eric Bautheac, Eli Babalj, Joe Caletti, Charles Lokoli-Ngoy, Alex Lopez, Tobias Mikkelsen, Stefan Nigro, Ruon Tongyik, Brendan White
- 998 games worth of experience in Australian football and 128 goals
- Four ex-Socceroos: McKay, Holman, DeVere, Babalj
- Leaves club with 10 players on senior contracts.