Three-time Lions Premiership coach Leigh Matthews has finally answered the call to run for a place on the Brisbane Lions board after a tumultuous week at the Gabba. Matthews appears prepared to save the Lions for the second time after backing dissatisfied directors in their stoush against unpopular Chairman Angus Johnson.
Johnson has come under fire from the media and supporters alike for the clubs handling of the sacking of legendary player, and former three-peat Captain, Michael Voss.
During last week’s media conference announcing the dismissal, Johnson said that he believed the majority of the club’s members had faith in the board he leads. “The bottom-line is that if they don’t, they can kick us out,” he said. “My expectation is that that certainly won’t happen.” That expectation certainly appears to have been put on shaky ground.
Matthews is joining the ticket of current board members Paul Williams and Mick Power who will be running for the position of chairman and deputy.
Johnson’s public and unsuccessful pursuit of former Sydney Swans Premiership coach Paul Roos was the catalyst for the action. Williams said he hoped the spill did not have to be a drawn out affair and called on Johnson, along with fellow directors Linda Nash and Cameron Milner, to stand down. “We hope for the good of the club they decide there is no point going to a meeting, but we are prepared,” he told the Courier Mail yesterday.
Matthews told the Courier Mail he has been reluctant to join the board on multiple occasions since the end of his coaching stint but could see that he was needed to usher in change. “I know [Williams and Power] well and believe in what they are doing,” he said.
Johnson indicated at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon that he would not go quietly. The alternate ticket has already engaged supporter advocacy group The Lions Roar to start collecting the requisite number of member votes required to trigger an Emergency General Meeting.
A statement on the group’s website said December’s Annual General Meeting was too far away and although they did not back any particular candidate, they would like the turmoil ended as soon as possible. “The current instability and uncertainty at board level cannot be allowed to fester until December,” it said.