Thursday, September 28, 2006
The Bugno Era, Part 1
In many ways, the writing has been on the wall for Bugno ever since the Lowy family gained a controlling share in Sydney FC. It’s not exactly a secret that Lowy was unimpressed with Bugno’s extravagant spending in Sydney’s opening season, and would have preferred a more, erm, malleable chairman.
Paul Lederer was the mooted replacement for Bugno at the time of the initial boardroom rumblings immediately following the 2005/06 Grand Final victory; Lederer is the nephew of a close Lowy associate.
In the end, the choice has fallen on Edmund Capon, who also has strong links with Lowy and, one suspects, will do the FFA chairman’s bidding on all matters of importance.
More on the obvious conflict of interest there in a future blog piece, but for now, let’s take a look at Bugno’s legacy.
It is, by and large, a very good one. Bugno did a superb job establishing the Sydney FC “brand”, and unquestionably made the club a drawcard in the league’s first season. It wasn’t just Dwight Yorke, either; the “Bling” tag had been assiduously encouraged by both Bugno and the Cove, and the crowds turned out in numbers at Hindmarsh, Members’ Equity, Suncorp and elsewhere when Bling FC came to town.
His efforts to establish genuine dialogue between the fan base and the boardroom were sincere and welcome. Bugno was a frequent visitor to the Cove, and although his legendary beer-shouting episodes could be written off as simply good PR, he certainly felt both an affinity with, and affection for, the ambience of the Cove.
It must be said that certain Covites subsequently adopted the attitude that Bugno could do no wrong – a rather dangerous point of view, in some ways.
One Bugno moment I will remember particularly:
The Sydney FC Unofficial 2005/06 presentation night, a joyous fans’ gathering far removed from the swanky Star City soirees routinely advertised in Sydney FC’s group emails, was held at the Campsie Hotel. It was hardly an event likely to attract the chairman of a football club. Yet Bugno put in an appearance, chatted volubly with the fans, and made a heartfelt, generous speech paying tribute to the fans who had made the club’s initial season a success.
In the next instalment: some of the things that went wrong on Walter’s watch, and what the future might hold under Lowy…sorry, Capon.
I really do hope Capon turns out to be somewhat independent of Frank Lowy, but I strongly doubt it :-(
One of my fears is that Carbone turns out to be a very useful player, well worth a marquee deal, and the board knocks it back on the basis of price...
Then he employed Butcher.
It was like putting a St Marks tie on with an Armani suit.
Fashion is a fickle industry.
Even a St Marks tie wouldnt have gone well with that brown number either.
Yeah, hearing you on that one. Very likely, IMO.
...Yes, I agree Bugno did a great job getting a good image out in the marketplace.
Then he employed Butcher....
Well, he wanted an O/S manager, but needed to keep the price down. Butcher might not exactly be the, erm, glamorous type, but probably Bugno thought (football considerations aside) that he'd be a fans' favourite...there are plenty of expat Poms in the Cove, for one thing.