RIP Gold Coast United

RIP Gold Coast United

Well, the FFA showed their gutless side today by announcing that Western Sydney will be the 10th team in a 10 team completion next season. Not one mention of GCU and our fate.

I have been a season member for 3 seasons now and an active agitator to get palmer to either change his attitude or leave. I finally got my wish when the FFA stripped him of his license.

After todays press conference at Parklea it is obvious that the FFA have been planning this Western Sydney side from before they let Palmer go. They couldn’t have secured $8 Million in funding in the last month. The money that us tax payers have pored into this body is ridiculous

Now I for one have no problem with Western Sydney getting an A League team, it had to happen. But not in this way. How underhanded and clandestine have the FFA been? They never once said to our Community Model bid team that we had zero chance of getting a license. They just had to be honest and open with the Gold Coast public.

I fully expected this decision as did a number of other GCU fans. It doesn’t make it any easier though.  I expected it after season 1 when I realized that Clive Palmer was not going to do anything to promote football on the Gold Coast.

How can a so called peak body be so two faced when dealing with the people who want to further the development of football in this country. The led our consortium on by drip feeding them bits and pieces and then totally ignoring the player exodus.

Now I know many of you GCU haters will bang on about poor crowds and that Gold Coast just doesn’t deserve a team. You are right, our crowds were absolutely terrible in size. But the passion from the small band who turned up was fantastic and I am glad I got to meet a great bunch of people.

There were many fans who just refused to turn up after the first “crowd cap” in game 6 or so of season 1. They turned their backs on the club and in turn the team. If they really loved the game they should have kept coming. What many of you don’t get is the utter disdain they have for Clive Palmer. His management of the club was like a cancer and people just kept self medicating by removing themselves from the disease.

To Brand has been terminally harmed in my opinion and our Save GCU campaign was too little too late for these people. I have no doubt with 7 months work we could get many people back and crowds of 6k to start next season. However that is not to be.

And now we have the peak body making a decision to start a team on their own back because they have no one interested in investing in the game, when for a fraction of the price they could have let Gold Coast United stay and use our existing infrastructure and team to gain the public’s trust.

The stunt of a press conference with Gillard was a joke. Buckley must stand down for his total incompetence and I am afraid that Frank Lowey must go as well. As much as I have been a Frank supporter and love his contribution to the game over many decades, he is simply too old to run it and his decision making is very poor.

April 04 2012 | A-League and Gold Coast United | No Comments »

Its The Vibe

It’s the vibe of the thing, your Honour.

Dennis Denuto summed it up in the classic 1997 Aussie movie, The Castle. It is that something that is hard to convey to non-football people, but we all know what “the vibe” is.

Last night I went as usual to watch and support my Gold Coast United football team play Melbourne Victory at Skilled Park. Apparently there were over 2000 of us, but I don’t know where the other 1000 were.

Its all about the people at a football match, and I think that is something most other codes of sport don’t get. It is certainly something Clive Palmer doesn’t get.

3 years ago we came together as a small supporter group and thanks to Clive Palmer we have shrunk to a smaller supporters group. But the people who remain are fantastic people and I certainly am better off for knowing them.

In the past 2 weeks it has been a roller coaster of emotions when it comes to GCU and Palmers treatment of our club and indeed our game. Last night Clive was at it again with new signage and new jersey “sponsor”, “Freedom Of Speech”. Surely he is having a laugh. My experience over the past 3 seasons is that Clive has no intention of allowing freedom of speech unless it is his own. Just ask Miron.

Woke up this morning,
from the strangest dream
I was in the biggest army,
The world has ever seen
We were marching as one,
on the road to the holy grail

I remember singing that song walking through a tunnel in Kaiserslautern, Germany on our way to watch one of the most memorable Socceroo matches of all time. It truly was a fantastic experience, and those of you who were there can only know “the vibe” that we felt that day.

I don’t for a minute compare GCU crowds and “the biggest army the world has ever seen”, but as supporters and a team we covet the “Holy Grail” of winning a premiership. Alas I fear that will never happen after Clive’s antics over the past 3 years.

Forza GCU supporters

February 26 2012 | A-League and Gold Coast United | No Comments »

You’re A Very Naughty Boy

I had planned to be writing a post about my 25th Wedding Anniversary Football Road trip following GCU away to Gosford and Newcastle. But alas that is not the case. Our Dear Leader, Clive Palmer, has again shown his ignorance of active support and punished a whole section of supporters due to the actions a a few. Below is my letter to Clive Palmer.

You're A Very Naughty Boy

Go to the Naughty Corner

Thanks for Nothing

Dear Clive, once again you have proved you have little or no respect for active support at Gold Coast United home games.

Ever since day 1 and you proudly proclaimed that we would win the competition undefeated you have alienated potential Gold Coast Fans. And your actions since then with 2 previous ground reconfigurations have ensured many more supporters have left the club in droves.

I have personally defended the club on forums and in pubs around the country for the past 2 seasons but I just can’t do it any longer.

This week you have insinuated that I am a Hooligan, and that I need to prove myself as a well-behaved supporter. Well, I don’t have to prove anything to you or the club, and I won’t be trying. I find this totally abhorrent and unacceptable. Don’t dare treat me like a naughty boy and send me to the naughty corner.

I thought no stone was going to be left unturned in finding the culprits behind the violence. Who is in charge of the investigation? How many GCU and Roar supporters have they spoken to? None that I know of.

Its Not Me, Its YOU

This isn’t about what happened at all. It is about you cutting costs yet again. It is about you whining about why no one turns up to the games. I’ll tell you why, it is YOU. No one likes you. You have alienated the football community on the coast with your outrageous statements and point blank refusal to market the team/club to the Gold Coast community.

I could go on and write a novel on WHY, but you are simply not worth any more white space. You owe fellow supporters and myself an apology.

A very angry

Terry Hands

January 08 2012 | A-League and Gold Coast United | 7 Comments »

3-0 Loss and I am Excited

3-0 and I am excited

On Friday night I made the short trek to Brisbane to watch Gold Coast take on Brisbane in the M1 Derby. Since our first encounter the fixture has evoked a lot of passion among the fans and this was no different.

After replacing 12 players in the squad, signing up some of our double winning Youth squad and a number of unknown internationals I have had no real idea how we would fare in the A-League proper.

A lack luster draw against the Nix with James Brown netting the equalizer in the dying minutes in the first round to leading for most of the match against last years runner up, I was very nervous and excited on Friday night to see how we would fare against the Roar on a 30 game winning streak.

And after the first half the butterflies in my stomach were ones of excitement. We were down 1-0 but could have been up 2-1. Yeah, I know that Brisbane had their chances as well and our set piece defense was just awful, but what they showed me was that they could play attacking football and match it with Brisbane for a period of time. A little bit of luck and it could have been different.

I am Excited

Most people would not be excited after such a convincing loss, but I walked away from there not feeling like a 3-0 loser. The young guns Brown and Halloran are showing what they can do and why they are on the radar of National Team selections in junior ranks. And Maceo Rigters showed me he will be a live wire and a handful for defenses.

Likewise the traveling fans never let up as well. There was a good contingent of us stuck up in Bay 317 and the Beach was in fine voice.  No doubt the rest of the competition will continue to deride us as irrelevant, lacking fan numbers and that the Fury should still be in and not us.

Sure, I would love double the crowd number, but these issues are out of our control. We will just keep on turning up and hopefully set an example for the rest of the Gold Coast. I am a Football fan, and whilst I have a local team, I will support it.

There is no doubt the boys were beaten by a better team on the night, but they showed enough to get me a little bit excited about the season going forward.

October 23 2011 | A-League and Gold Coast United | No Comments »

Open Letter to Clive Palmer

Dear Mr. Palmer,

For the past 40 odd years I have been a fan, player, coach and administrator in the game of football. There is nothing more important to the code in Australia than the success of the A-League.And there isn’t a sport i would follow more than Football.

3 years ago I was a critic of the FFA for considering the expansion of the league with the Gold Coast Galaxy bid. In my opinion the league was not financially ready for any expansion anywhere. (And probably still isn’t)

Then came along a white knight in his helicopter, landed at Skilled Park and handed over a $5 Million cheque to the FFA. This forced the hand of the FFA and they then forced the North Qld Fury into existence before it’s time.

As a fan of the game I either had to get on board or stand on the side and criticise. I chose to believe the white knight and get on board the Gold Coast United bandwagon. After all there was a billionaire funding us and it is 15 mins up the road from where I live. I was very skeptical about the Fury and whether that was a good idea, but the FFA were going to move forward in any case.

For the purpose of this letter I will stand aside any arguments to do with the FFA and Stadiums Queensland. On these issues I for the most part stand shoulder to shoulder with you regarding your issues with them.

My issue is with you and your grandiose statements to the press 3 years ago and ever since. I jumped on board largely on the back of what you said in the media 3 years ago. Your vision for the A-League and Football on the Gold Coast, here are some quotes from the news back then by yourself and CEO Mensink.

Mr Palmer, 54, who made his money in property before switching his focus to mining, sees soccer as the ideal avenue to lift his profile in China, where he already has a business base.

“I’ve got a lot of friends in China that support the national team up there,” Mr Palmer said.
“China’s part of our community. We’ve got to get together, talk, exchange ideas, and certainly sport’s a great medium to do that.”
Restricted by the A-League’s salary cap in how much money he can offer players, Mr Palmer said he had not approached soccer with the idea of making money. “More with the idea of losing money,” he said.

And the only thing preventing him from throwing more millions at his pet football project is the A-League’s $2.5 million annual salary cap.

“This is a great opportunity for players to be a part of history. Our new goal is to go undefeated and take the title. We really think we can do that. We feel we will have the best team in the A-League.”

“I aim to play any part I can in making it No.1 in Australia and having a team in the league that does well and wins in style will go some way to achieving that ambition.

“But it’s not just about building a great club, we’re committed to turning football into Australia’s most loved code. It’s a long-term project but we all believe it’s something that will happen.

Mensink aims to turn the Gold Coast side into the ‘peoples’ team and will court the support of the community with several roadshows spruiking the brand.

“And it won’t just all be about the Coast either,” added Mensink. “We realise what a big role northern NSW has played in football’s development down the years and we want the people there to also embrace this club.”

The one thing you did follow through with was building a competitive team who were good enough to win the title. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. But along the way you have failed miserably to engage the local community. Especially the local football community.  Also, ask the people of Lismore and surrounding areas how they feel about you.

And in one of your latest interviews, here is some of what you said.

It’s three years since you started Gold Coast United. Is football getting into your blood?
It gets more exciting as the years go on. You understand the rules better, you understand the teams, the players. This year for us is very exciting. I believe we have our best-ever team. A lot of our squad is made up of youth players who wouldn’t otherwise get the opportunity. They might have been lost to the code. So I get pleasure out of that.

I should hope so, it is a fantastic sport. You need to really convey that to the general public here on the Gold Coast. I know you attend as many games as you can at both senior and Youth levels. And the word is you have been a bit more engaging with the public this year.

A lot of your players are on one-year contracts, which has raised speculation about the long-term future of the club. Are you going to roll up Gold Coast United at the end of the season?
I would only roll it up to expand it. As for the one-year deals, I would recommend them as the best way to motivate players. We had a guy, I won’t say who he was, working for us in the first year, who told some of our players ”play a couple of good games, get a contract, run dead for a couple of years and then make sure your third year is a good one so you can get another deal”. That’s what a lot of pro footballers have been doing, and it’s despicable. One-year contracts, you either perform or you’re out.

Suggesting that a lot of Pro Footballers act like this is an insult to the profession. You may have had 1 guy, but to generalise like that is abhorrent. I could say most mine owners have no respect for the environment, or the safety of their workers and are only interested in profits, but I know that is untrue.

Suggesting that 1-year deals are the best way to motivate players is ludicrous. You need to secure the services of senior, experienced players, and they are not going to stay for a 1-year deal if there is something better on offer. Also I wonder how your sponsors have reacted to this news? If we didn’t have companies owned by you as a major sponsor I really don’t know how you would go attracting a sponsor with this strategy.

I like the youth coming through but suggesting they are better than the team of the past 2 years is a bit rich when they have not been tested on the pitch as a team.

You’re intimating that sometimes the criticism has got to you. Has the reaction from your own community – you were brought up on the Gold Coast – been hurtful?
The criticism about us not doing enough in the community is a beat-up. We have our breast cancer fund-raisers, we supported a benefit recently for a local detective who was killed, we’re sponsoring the local league, the players are out there every day. [The club claims it has connected directly with 75,000 people in the past year.] The people who know the efforts we make in the community are the people who need it. They’re the ones who we care about, not the journos doing a beat-up.

The criticism is not a beat up. The supporters club has been making suggestions to the club for 2 years on ways to help with crowds and getting out into the community. The increase in this activity has only happened this year. Sponsoring the Local league has only happened this year. It has taken 3 pre seasons to even start making a difference

There are 1000’s of disenfranchised supporters of the game who deliberately do not turn up to the games simply because they don’t think you are doing the right thing, haven’t engaged with them at a local level, and haven’t listened to them. They simply don’t believe you and have no respect for you.

Is it time the owners had more of a say in running the league?
The Crawford report [2002] talked about a management team of the owners getting together to run the league. Ultimately that’s what we need to happen because then everybody gets a fair say. But there’s good reasons why that hasn’t happened yet here in Australia. A lot of our clubs aren’t community-based – they were just created out of nothing. So until we can get more established, it’s hard to see how [separate management from the FFA] can happen.

I totally agree. And this takes a lot more work especially in the community. You cant just rock up in a helicopter, hand over a cheque for $5 Million to the FFA, say we are going to win the comp undefeated and then just expect people to turn up. You need to have a local connection; you need to have someone passionate about the game out there every day of the year sprouting about the club and the game.  You are marketing to an emotion not a balance sheet.

What is the mood of the owners at the moment? How critical are the next couple of years, and are they going to stick?
They’re very concerned because they don’t want to lose larger and larger amounts of money. We lost about $4 million last year, and I decided that was too much. We’ve reviewed our operations, pared them back and we’ll probably lose about $1 million to $1.5 million this year. A lot of people reckon we won’t be able to do that successfully, but I’m sure we can prove them wrong. The owners are hoping we’re right.

I also agree that you shouldn’t lose money hand over fist or there will be no club around at the end of the day. And the FFA model could be argued about here but I wont. By my calculations you plan to spend $2.5 – $3 million less this season. I hope you haven’t pruned any off the Marketing Budget.

“Everyone has been running stories for three years saying we’re losing money and we’re closing down,” Palmer said. “Well, if money is what it takes to run a football team I will be committed.

“As far as we go, we are staying at the Gold Coast as long as we can.

“I started the club so I don’t want to see it closed. I quite enjoy it, plus we can afford it.”

You have made a number of quotes in the past 3 years about being able to afford it, I’m not in it to make money etc. Latest reports have you either spending millions on building a new stadium or at least chipping in to modify an existing ground in conjunction with the Commonwealth Games bid if we win it.

To me this is another grandiose statement to get the punters on board thinking you are in it for the long haul. In the words of the Greek God of Victory – “Just Do It”. Prove to us you really are committed to the code and the community.

I simply want action from you.

I have done my bit, as have a core group of fans that turn up every week and sing their lungs out. Bring our friends along, talk up the team, and defend the club and sometimes you to the many detractors out there. I just cant do that any more, defend you that is. I still want to support the A League and I want GCU to survive here on the coast. I also want you to stay at the helm. I simply want you to honor your commitment to the people of the Gold Coast and make it a real “Peoples Team”.

People Buy from People they Like and Trust

You are selling tickets to an emotional roller-coaster. Price is a sticking point with a lot of fans and families but not all of them. Most people were happy with the prices last year, they just didn’t like the way you treated them or the game here on the Gold Coast. Give those fans something to be excited about, gain their trust and respect.

Personally, I buy my ticket to support the team, the League and the Gold Coast

Regards

Terry Hands

 

August 25 2011 | A-League and Gold Coast United | No Comments »

Welcome to the A-League HK

Everyone else has had their say on Harry Kewell, so I don’t see why I shouldn’t.

I am absolutely delighted that one of our best ever Socceroos, and one that is still playing and having an influence at the national level has decided to join the A-League. It will be a crowd booster not only for Melbourne Victory, but for their away games as well.

We have Victory coming to the Gold Coast twice this season, however the second visit is the weekend before the Socceroos take on Saudi here at home in February.

The whole thing has been drawn out, and received much flack from fans and journos across the country. The so-called Journos who think they are in the know printed many a story deriding Harry and his greed. Insinuating he will not only take money from Victory but our away gates as well when he travels here.

I dare say the truth is much more palatable than the fiction we have been reading, and that the crowd increases we will all see as a result of HK coming to town will reap our own benefits in increased gates.

Welcome to the A League Harry, I for one will applaud you when you walk off the pitch at Skilled Stadium. Don’t listen to the negative crap and just get on with your job, entertaining football supporters and shutting the mouths of those detractors.

August 21 2011 | A-League and Socceroos | 2 Comments »

Club v Country

Club v Country

This Sunday the Socceroos take on the New Zealand All Whites in a friendly at Adelaide Oval. My wife and I will be flying down to catch up with fellow supporters and watch the match. I just love it when the Socceroos are playing and especially when I can go to watch them LIVE.

The players these days also look forward to the games and always make themselves available, fitness prevailing. The Club v Country argument rarely pops up these days and the national Team is better for it.

However, this is not about the players but ME, a fan. And perhaps others as well.

I grew up in the Sutherland Shire, South of Sydney. There was no LOCAL NSL team to support.  The Shire in those days was a very Anglo area, Football was and still is big at junior level and I played for the Engadine Eagles.

However the NSL was seen as dominated by “Wog” clubs. It wasn’t until a mate of ours ended up playing for Sydney Croatia that we started to show any interest in the NSL. It was all local stuff and watch the Rugby League on the TV.

For me though I was always interested in the Socceroos and what they were up to. I got what news I could, as Dad wouldn’t watch that “Wog” channel.  So for me I grew up with no “Tribal” allegiance to any particular “Club” or “Team” other than the Eagles and the Socceroos.

Fast Forward to 2005 and the A-League is kicking off, the Socceroos have  to again play Uruguay to make the World Cup in Germany and I am now living on the Gold Coast.

I made the trip to Brisbane a number of times to watch the Roar play. I was excited to watch a Professional Game of football in Australia for the first time. I was 41 years old, my boys are mid teens and my financial situation was that I could afford to do this stuff. I also had the desire, which was never there before. 12 months earlier I had said to my wife “if the Socceroos make it to the World Cup, we are going on one hell of a family holiday”.

Although I enjoyed going to Brisbane to watch A-League, I had no attachment to the club. But I did have an attachment to the Socceroos. On November 16, 2005 I was in the crowd. Within 2 minutes of Aloisi putting us into the World Cup I rang my wife to let her know we were going to Germany, even though she was well aware of the win and was jumping around our lounge room with our boys.

I continued to attend a few Roar matches each season depending on the draw and the team they played. I always felt I was supporting the League rather than the club. Then in 2008 it was announced that Clive Palmer was bank rolling Gold Coast United into the A-League. I started to get real excited about the AL then. It was 15 mins to Skilled Stadium and it was my “Local” team. After all I had been here 13 years by then.

I set about finding fellow supporters on line and in the end was part of the inaugural committee for Gold Coast United Supporters Club. It was a buzz getting this up and running. I had never been apart of something so local on a National Stage before. I got to meet a heap of great people and be part of something historical. A First.

During that first season I only went to Brisbane as an away game and made a deliberate decision NOT to go to any others. After all I was planning another World Cup tour, this time to South Africa.

The ups and downs of GCU are well documented and I don’t intend to go over them. I came back from South Africa pumped for another AL season, and this time was determined to do at least 1 away game.  Although I booked and paid for the heart Game, it didn’t happen for personal reasons. A number of things then happened both at the club and personally which deflated me and that enthusiasm.

Although I still went to the games I just wasn’t as enthusiastic. I love the game and want the AL to continue to grow, but couldn’t explain how disappointed I was with my own Club.

So when the New Zealand match was announced I was right on to it. I booked flights, bought tickets and booked a Hotel. Absolutely looking forward to it yet again.

The A League draw was released on Tuesday. GCU forum is a buzz with activity and a thread has started already about a “National Service” game. An early favourite is New Year against CCM followed 4 days later by the Jets on that massive Wednesday. I will wait until December to make up my mind.

I could also by a season membership now for a 10% discount, but haven’t. I will buy one but have decided I have other things to spend my money on at the moment.

I suspect the main reason is I have to develop my “tribal” following of a Football Franchise placed on the Gold Coast by a Billionaire without any organic growth. I had to get into it straight away with a bunch of people I had never met. These people are great and I will gladly go to the games with them, but there is definitely something missing in my Football experience here on the Gold Coast.

So, Club v Country. For me it is obviously Country
Cheers

Tezza

June 02 2011 | Gold Coast United and Socceroos | No Comments »

Will Gold Coast United Survive????

This is a question that a lot of A League supporters around the country hope the answer is a resounding NO.

It is no secret that GCU is the team that most would want to see axed from the competition, and the fact that the Fury were just given the chop has only reinforced that position. It seems that the Fury captured a lot of hearts around the country whilst also capturing bigger crowds than GCU despite a population 1/3rd the size.

As a long time fan of the game I feel very much for the Fury fans, players, staff etc. Football has an emotional attachment, and that is what Ben Buckley does not have. And at 80 years Old Frank Lowy has just lost it I think. He has been a wonderful supporter of the game but now is the time to hand over just like he has done at Westfield. Bring in some new blood, football blood. People with passion and emotion for the game, like Charlie Yankos or Kimon Taleodoris (thanks Bazza). We also have to have that business minded persons as well, and if they are both even better.

The FFA are to blame for what has happened in Townsville and on the Gold Coast. There has to be a solid business and financial case to start a team anywhere. It all happened way to quick back then.

Will GCU Survive?

This weekends game is the most important game in 2 years of existence. M1 derby pales into insignificance. A win on Saturday gives Clive his dream of an ACL spot. This is the sole reason he bought an A-League license. Asia is where all his big spending cliets live, Asia is where his minerals go. He wants his time to shine in front of them.

A win on Saturday night will ensure Clive goes after a big name Marquee player. Maybe even a Socceroo and an Import. Imagine a name like Harry Kewell on the Gold Coast. Imagine what other names he would attract to the Gold Coast. Then there is the question of the Gold Coast public. If a Harry Kewell type name were here that the public knew, and perhaps a quality foreigner, then we would definitely get bums on seats.

Without an ACL spot, Clive will be gone after next season in my opinion. He has committed to next season, after he turned down the FFA to take over the Roar. But beyond that, i just don’t see it. Who wants to run a business at a $7 Million loss each year or whatever he claims to be losing. So just like the FFA did with NQ, Clive will just cut us lose.

I guess that sits well with a lot of HAL supporters. But just like them, the small band of people who turn up each week will be just as gutted as the NQ Fury fans this week. We are just as emotionally tied to the team as any football supporter in the country

In any case I am in Gosford on Saturday to cheer on a quality team who have done great things in the past 2 seasons. ACL will be a great reward for their hard work

March 03 2011 | A-League and Gold Coast United | No Comments »

The FFA MUST Consolidate NOW

Time for the FFA to consolidate.


A lot has been written and debated about crowds in the A League.  The facts are they have been declining since a high in Season 3. Season 6 sees a 40% drop in average crowd numbers since that season. Indeed it is only Adelaide and Melbourne Victory who can hold their heads high with having the most consistent crowd numbers since season 1. MV crowd’s only dropping off big time this season with the entry of the Heart.

The New Zealand knights lasted 2 seasons averaging just over 3k each season. Financially unviable and the FFA rightly handed the license to the Phoenix, who have done a great job in engaging the community. However their crowds are down 25% since their first season as well.

The FFA were adamant in season 1 that the league had to learn to walk before it could run and had a “No Expansion for the first 5 seasons” policy. I think this was for existing cities.

Season 4 sees the FFA give licenses to Gold Coast and Townsville. The original GC Galaxy bid was never going to fly under the FFA rules, as it could not guarantee financial support. Townsville was the same. Up steps Clive Palmer, the Qld Billionaire who just writes out a cheque for $5 Million and the license is his. The FFA rush to bring in Townsville before they have the cash.

At the end of season 5, Don Matheson can’t keep taking the losses in Townsville and hands back the license to the FFA who took over the running of the club. Gold Coast loses money as well, but Clive can take the hit. However the battle in the stands heats up with most supporters backing the Fury supporters who have had better support than the Gold Coast with a 3rd of the population. Most punters outside of the GC are calling for them to be axed. This is mainly aimed at the Club management, with our loyal band of supporters getting some encouragement from other supporters and media.

Season 6 sees GC crowds plummet by almost 50% after Clive announces he is shutting down ¾ of the stadium so he can limit his losses. Many GC supporters left “en masse”, vowing never to return until Clive is gone. Some media and a lot of other supporters call for GCU to be axed and not the Fury

We have Sydney, the most populous city in Australia with a 25% drop in crowds from last season and 50% down from season 3.

Brisbane Roar, riding high on top of the table, winning the Premiers plate and playing very attractive football have managed to reduce their crowds since last season, and again a 50% drop since season 3.

WHY?

The question is WHY? Now each club could analyse their own unique position and have some reasons. But the biggest indication lies in a report from the ABS recently released, FOOTBALL: FOUR GAMES, ONE NAME

This report clearly shows that “Soccer” has the highest participation rate from age 15 to 44 out of all the Football codes. However it has the lowest attendance rate by a long way out of all the Football codes.

What this says to me is that there is a huge number of people out there who play the game but who just wont support it at the top level and go and watch. Aussie Rules and Rugby League are part of the Aussie Psyche. We will play the game but wont go and watch it.

Despite being the “World Game”, it hasn’t penetrated this part of the world like it has elsewhere.

The FFA needs to stop any expansion of the League immediately and look to build what we have. It looks like the Fury will go and that Gold Coast will stay (for the time being). The FFA needs to revisit their “Franchise Model” and re jig it to make it more financially viable for the clubs and the fans. Build a league that people will talk about in a positive light. Get the grass roots involved. This may take 20 years to get right, but it must start now.

By ditching the Old NSL and creating the A League, the FFA has made some powerful enemies. It is time to start mending those bridges and talking to those sate league clubs on how to grow the game. Its great we don’t have the basket case that was Soccer Australia, but it is a shame we have lost some much football passion from the people who brought the game to this country.

There has to be a compromise or we will just end up like the Middle East and always be in crisis looking for the next attack to bring our game down.

I love this game, and I want to see it survive. The Game is the most important part of the whole equation, followed by the Fans. The administration and the clubs must remember this, or in fact be told this. They might be running a business but the shareholders are the fans, and our stake in the game is emotional and not financial.

February 06 2011 | A-League | No Comments »

One Very Proud Aussie

Last night like so many other Aussie Football supporters I stayed up to watch the Asian Cup Final live from Doha. Personally i wished i was in Doha and had made the mad dash with a dozen or so other supporters just to watch the final against Japan.

Earlier in the night i attended a 21st birthday for one of my sons best mates. Whilst there i invited a few of the other parents back to my house to watch the game. In fact one bloke just invited himself and his family. But that was ok. Another guy is a Hockey nut. He loves the game as I love football. We have had many discussions over the years about the similarities and differences of the game etc. This time i was to show him why “Soccer” is such a passionate game. I told him to expect a very low scoring match, in fact I told him it will be an extra time winner to the Socceroos. :)

We made it home and then another mate arrived on the doorstep as well. 9 of us in the lounge room with beers and bourbon in hand.

What we witnessed was one of the most enthralling games the Socceroos have played in, in the past 4 years. They have built through the tournament like the good teams do in tournaments. And we came up against a Japan outfit who were always going to be tough. Our defense stood up to be counted like they have never done before IMO. Neil and the Og were absolutely fantastic as were Wilkshire and Carney in defense. And it was always going to be one mistake that broke the deadlock. That mistake came in the 109th minute when Carney was outsmarted by Japanese fresh legs and who then was able to nail a volley like it was his last.

every one of the Socceroos who played last night can be very proud of what they did on the park. We had our chances and the Japanese GK was equal to the task when required. There will be much debate over whether Harry should have scored and whether Carney should be dropped all together. But in the end, we lost.

I woke up this morning and the world had not ended. I even mowed the lawns and normality came back. It doesn’t erase the feelings of utter devastation, but it does mean the dawn of a new day. And a new era in Australian Football. There were some sterling performances from the old heads as well as the young guns who stepped up when required throughout the tournament. largely thanks to Holger Osiek. His tactics and belief in his system and players has earnt him the respect of not only the players but also the supporters.

The next 3.5 years until Brazil will be fantastic and filled with more drama I am sure.

bring it on I say.

January 30 2011 | Asian Cup and Socceroos | 1 Comment »

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