As goodbyes go, Ange Postecoglou’s leaving gift to Brisbane is the best the A-League's ever seen.
What a way to sign off. As goodbyes go, Postecoglou-s leaving present to Brisbane Roar is one of the most-talked about Grand Final triumphs in history.
Roar-s decisive, last-minute smash-and-grab raid to become the first club to claim back-to-back Hyundai A-League championships will long stay in the mind - and it-s a fitting gift from the coach that transformed them from an inconsistent rabble to record-breaking powerhouse.
Speculation over Postecoglou-s future has been rife for months; the only real question appeared to be when it would happen.
But the now former-Brisbane coach has never been one for long goodbyes. Just ask any of the ageing, disruptive or under-performing players he shipped out of Ballymore when he first took over the Roar.
Back in October 2009, Brisbane were a dysfunctional mess. Frank Farina was sacked following a drink-driving incident and the club was riven with internal factions and player power.
Postecoglou-s appointment was a surprise to some, given how long he had been out of the domestic game but he joined Brisbane with a crystal clear vision of how he wanted the club to work and what he wanted to achieve.
"Apart from coaching I have a real drive to build a football club, which I don't think really exists here in Australia," he said at the time. "It's not just the Roar, it's the league in general.”
Roar finished a sorry ninth place that season, and as he set about implementing that vision, Postecoglou had to rebuild the squad from top to bottom.
Any usual A-League squad that lost a list of players including Liam Reddy, Craig Moore, Charlie Miller, Sergio van Dijk and upcoming stars Tommy Oar, Michael Zullo, Adam Sarota would be expected to collapse the following year. And Postecoglou wasn-t without his critics at the time.
But he went to Brisbane because he had the license to create a team as he saw fit, and talent-spotting has become one of his trademarks.
Defender Matt Smith was recruited from the defunct North Queensland Fury alongside teammate Shane Stefanutto, while striker Kosta Barbarouses was brought over from Wellington Phoenix.
Costa Rican striker Jean Carlos Solorzano was brought in, and Postecoglou wasted no time snapping up German midfielder Thomas Broich, initially offered to Adelaide United.
Postecoglou set about pushing his new squad through an intense pre-season training schedule that many Australian players were unused to but that aimed to help them peak at just the right time.
Season 2010/11 started slowly - a scoreless draw with the newly created Gold Coast United, and just two goals scored in the opening five games, culminating in a 3-0 loss to Melbourne Victory on 12 September, 2010.
Brisbane Roar didn-t lose another game until 4 December, 2011.
In two home-and-away seasons under Postecoglou, Brisbane Roar won 32 out of 57 games and lost just seven. They scored 108 goals and conceded just 54. They took 114 points from a possible 171.
Their 26-game unbeaten run made headlines in a way that the A-League had never done previously, and the way they went about it made it even more special.
Postecoglou will always talk about his philosophy on football - everyone shares that vision of a fast-tempo, quick-passing game that requires swift thought and feet - but not many can actually implement it successfully.
Halfway through 2010/11 people started calling Postecoglou-s team “Roarcelona” and the breathtaking football they played proved just how much influence a coach has in shaping his team, and that domestic Australian players are capable to playing to an extremely high level, given the chance and the right coaching.
Indeed, Postecoglou-s influence was enough to turn Matt McKay form a run-of-the-mill midfield chugger into a game-changing playmaker and A-League-s first genuine home-grown Socceroo.
Should Postecoglou join Melbourne Victory, as is widely expected, it will herald a new chapter for the A-League. If he-s anywhere near as successful, the two-times champions would seem likely to reassert their position as the biggest and most successful club in the competition.
Victory-s current crop of awesome attacking talent would threaten the competition like a tsunami.
And Brisbane Roar would look, most likely, to Postecoglou-s assistant Rado Vidosic to maintain a style and performance level the competition has never seen before. Can he do it? Only time will tell.
But Brisbane Roar will be left with the memories of joining the ranks Australian sport-s undisputed champions, a team that redefined what A-League teams can achieve. And for that, they should be forever thankful to Ange Postecoglou.