Archive for the 'Gold Coast United' Category
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 »
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 »
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.
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
January 08 2012 | A-League and Gold Coast United | 7 Comments »
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 »
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  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
August 25 2011 | A-League and Gold Coast United | No Comments »
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
June 02 2011 | Gold Coast United and Socceroos | No Comments »
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 »
Well who would have thought?
When Clive Palmer announced he was throwing the gates open for our game against Central Coast Mariners on December 13th I was a little skeptical as to the reasons given why. I was also little skeptical as to how many tickets would be snapped up by an apparent apathetic Gold Coast Football public.
The club took this on board and stepped up their marketing to unprecedented levels in my view. It was all over the media. The story of FREE tickets was too big to let go. Then the supporters club got in on the act as well. President of the club, Nathan Mulhearn, started a viral marketing campaign using Twitter and Facebook. #GoGCUtarget20000 was born.
I don’t know the statistics of how effective it was but there was a certain amount of interest from A-League Twitterers around the country. The guys at The Football Sack got on to it and supported it really well.
As the game approached it was all eyes on ticket “sales” from Ticketek. Nathan was getting daily updates from the club and I was blown away by the level of support on the Gold Coast. By kickoff there had been over 23,000 tickets allocated. A fantastic effort by the Gold Coast to show Clive and Ben Buckley that support for an A-League team on the coast was not dead.
The only thing we had no control over was the weather. We knew a wet day would turn people away in droves, especially people not really committed to the sport. I woke up yesterday and it was raining. I just felt disappointed for the Club and Supporters club who had put in a huge effort to publicise the game for a whole week and now it was looking very bleak.
I was hopeful of a break in the rain but deliberately kept away from the BOM and the forum so I would just not have to read or hear negative news. I headed off to RQ’s to join up with the rest of “The Beach” at our Beach Party put on by RQ’s. It just kept raining. But the pub was filling up with each passing hour and minute. I had a good feeling and was thinking could we really get 10,000 people on a day like this?
I posted some photos on Twitter and had a CCM fan reply to me that he thought the game should be called off due to the pitch. I refused to believe this and had a tongue in cheek reply about being soft. When I arrived at the stadium I couldn’t believe that I had to actually line up to get inside the stadium. All the gates had lines, I took a photo and posted it on Twitter, “What Rain”. It was awesome.
Inside I couldn’t believe the state of the pitch. It was atrocious and the rain just kept coming. But the crowd was building. How awesome was this. The Gold Coast was saying loud and clear, that they support a team here on the Coast. It had to be the only answer, 90% of these people had ZERO financial commitment to the game. They could have easily brushed it and watched from home or gone to a shopping centre etc to do something else. But they didn’t. They came out in the pouring rain to Skilled Park to cheer on a damn fine Football team.
30 mins to kickoff and the Beach began to fire up. We were not under cover and we were wet as. But the atmosphere was party time. We sang loud and proud and the Naming of the players was fantastic. They could have heard it in their dressing room.
The game kicked off and we were into it. The singing hardly abated. A highlight however was not supplied by the Beach but by the Crowd. As Kwasnik stepped up to take the penalty, the Crowd started booing and we followed. It is normally the home end to supply atmosphere and chants but not this time. He missed and the crowd erupted.
It is history now that the game was abandoned about 20 mins and I have no problem with that decision. Maybe it shouldn’t have started, but it did. And I believe that 20mins has started something special here on the Gold Coast. It is one small step back to some decent support.
By no means does one moment change everything, but it is a start. The club now needs to build on that support and make changes. There is obviously a price point problem for people in a struggling Gold Coast economy. But there is also a message there about generating publicity and getting the public involved.
Next home game is against Glory on Jan 3rd and you will receive a $5 discount on entry if you kept your ticket from yesterday. I would like to see more but it is a start.
It was an awesome afternoon with no result on the park but a great result in the stands. 10,146 and a new A-League record in atrocious conditions
I took a mate of mine to his first ever A-League game. He lives in Canberra and is a Roar supporter but he had a great time as well. We will go to the M1 derby together as well.
December 20 2010 | A-League and Gold Coast United | 4 Comments »
I came away from last Sunday’s game feeling very flat and unimpressed. Was it because we lost? Was it because of the Crowd Cap? Was it because of the lack of numbers in the crowd?
I deliberately did not read the forum because I knew it would simply depress me. There would be our own members having a go at the club and in particular our owner, Clive Palmer. There would be the obligatory posts from Victory supporters telling us how crap we are as a supporter group, how crap our team is, and what a crap time they had because of the crowd cap. There would be posts from supporters of other clubs telling us what crap supporters we are and we didn’t deserve a team.
I have tried to work out why I didn’t want to read the forum and why I felt so sad after the game. I have tried to work out why I avoided meeting up with some Victory supporters I spoke to on Twitter, and another guy who I have known personally for the past 3 years from Socceroo travels.
It comes down to I am embarrassed by what has gone on. As a fan of the game I am just completely embarrassed by what the club has done and how it showcases us to the A-League public. I love this game and have done all my life. I know what it was like under the “Old Soccer” when it was the NSL. Hell I remember when it was the “Phillips Soccer League”.
So when “New Football” arrived I was so excited that I was supporting it no matter what. It is our last chance to show the Australian Public that we are a legitimate Football code that can stand alongside the other codes here in Australia.
So when Version 1 arrived I hoped on the train to Brisbane to support “New Football”. I bought a Social membership and a supporter’s shirt for the Roar. I managed to see 3 or 4 games a year until it was announced that the Gold Coast would have its own team in Season 5. How good is that I thought? My very own A-League team to support in the town I live in, and only 15min drive.
Working in the mining industry I knew exactly who Clive Palmer was, but could not find any link to Football. So what I thought, this guy has the money and is saying all the right stuff in the local media, I just have to support him and the club.
In the ensuing months I had many a debate in person and on forums with detractors, who didn’t think Clive was in it for the right reasons. That as soon as we were not winning he would be out of there like a shot. I argued that the game needed new money and benefactors who wanted to support the game. After all, Clive is a local Gold Coaster done good. He made his initial money as a property developer before ending up as a mining magnate.
I ended up as an Organiser of “The Beach” to promote active support at GCU matches. We copped an absolute bollocking from supporters of every other club in the league at some time, because of our small numbers and apparent lack of originality in our songs/chants.
Before a Socceroos game in Brisbane earlier this year I defended the right for the Gold Coast to have a team to some GGArmy faithful who said then that the A-League does not deserve the crap that Palmer is doing to the league. Again I defended our right and that of Clive to have the team; I got so angry I had to walk away in the end.
When I arrived at Skilled Park for game 1 against or rivals from up the M1 and I saw how small the crowd was I sort of knew how the season was going to go. 40-50% of the crowd was from Brisbane and their away supporter’s bay had as many people as ours but more standing on their feet than ours.
Then during the week the bombshell was dropped, the Crowd Cap was to be invoked again. I was so angry I told my wife I was going to cut up my season pass and send it to Clive telling him to stick it where the sun don’t shine. It went through our supporters like Epsom salts. By that night there were many threads about the cap and Clive.
Supporters from other clubs had a field day, and supporters from within our own group split in to 2 camps. Those who were staying and those who were going. That divide is even greater after last Sunday’s game where only 3624 people turned up.
So Who Is To Blame?
In my opinion the club did not do enough to engage with the community in the first instance and secondly simply did not advertise the fact that there was a team on the Gold Coast. Even with all this publicity and what has gone on since day 1 there are people who simply don’t know that GCU exist. These people know more about an AFL team who has 3 contracted players than they do about us.
Does the Gold Coast Deserve a Team?
This is now the burning question inside of me. The calls for the FFA to take back the license or simply kick us out of the league all together are gaining momentum now. Not only from other supporters, but from respected journalists. Have a read of Les Murray’s latest TWG Blog.
Many of you have made up your mind and want us kicked out ASAP. I think that decision should be left until the end of the season. I think every town has the right to want a team and has to then justify that commitment. I question whether the FFA jumped at the chance of having a benefactor like Clive at the helm and thought, we have a team that will never have money troubles.
Will GCU survive?
It took Rugby League 3 goes (I know they were kicked out after Super League) and Aussie Rules are having their second tilt at a team here. The gold coast is a Rugby League town, no question. Due to massive interstate immigration there is also a healthy support for Aussie Rules as well. Football has always been the poor cousin to these 2 codes and Rugby Union lurks there as well.
The only way our code can survive anywhere in Australia is with the grassroots support of the local Football communities. This is the area I believe that GCU did not concentrate on when they were first granted the license.
Clive Palmer is the key here. He controls the purse strings and gives the CEO direction he wants the club to move. It is not sustainable for him to lose money hand over fist, I understand that. But surely there could be a better targeted marketing campaign that encompasses advertising, community involvement, cheaper ticketing and FREE stuff for kids. Get the community on side first; get them coming in the gate and then reign it in. From where I sit, the reigns have never been loosened.
It is easy to go on from here into the financial woes of the A-League and FFA especially considering the Jets predicament this week. But all I will say is that “Sustainability” is the end game here. It must be if GCU and every other club are to survive. GCU have to find that balance here on the Gold Coast and fast or we won’t have it too much longer. It’s all catch up from here on in, 2 years after being granted the license.
I will be there
When we play CCM on September 19, I will be in the stands singing like I always have. I just hope a few more Gold Coasters come along as well.
September 02 2010 | A-League and Gold Coast United | 2 Comments »
Here is the list of excuses/reasons I have heard why GCU don’t get a good crowd on the Gold Coast. These are from supporters, football club, general public and newspapers. I may have even used some myself.
- It is a League Town
- It took the NRL 3 goes to get it right, why would the A League work right the first time?
- We are still in a recession here on the Gold Coast
- Our unemployment rate is twice that of the national average. (sits about 6.5%, not exactly twice)
- The Titans are still playing and are sitting 2nd on the ladder. Families are not going to spend up on 2 sports especially if they are at home on the same weekend. (This was the case for first game against Roar)
- Tickets are too expensive
- Nowhere to park (I don’t get this because it is the same whoever plays there)
- Lack of community involvement
- Lack of advertising
- Clive Palmer is too arrogant and has put the Gold Coast offside with his boasts.
- Gold Coast United are boring to watch
- The A-League just isn’t good enough to pay money to watch. (ie no stars, not the EPL etc)
- Too many other things to do on the Gold Coast
I am sure locals could come up with a heap more. In the end they are mostly excuses. What we need to find are the “reasons” people are not turning up to the games.
I believe the main reason is that either people don’t know or they just don’t care. Either way there is almost no connection between the Gold Coast public and the Football Club.
The 3 biggest things that must happen are:
- Market Research into “Why”
- More interaction with the local Football community.
- Stop being so negative
The interaction will happen with the clubs commitment to us supporters that they will meet with us face to face on a regular basis to discuss ways of increasing crowds.
And the club and supporters have to stop the negativity and get some positive vibes out there, just like Dennis Denuto in Kerrigan v The Crown.
There is no doubt the Cap will turn people away this weekend, and I know some of them.
But I love this game too much to just turn away and let it fall apart.
I am in it till the end, so come on Gold Coast help it end soon and turn out to Skilled Park, Pleeeeeeaaaasssseeee.
August 24 2010 | A-League and Gold Coast United | No Comments »