Gold Coast United – Season One
How We Went
Played 27 matches for 13 wins 5 draws 9 losses 39 goals for 35 goals against for a total of 44 and finishing 3rd. Shane Smeltz also won the Golden Boot award with 19 goals for the season. With 8 teams in their 5th season and the 2 teams above us have won 3 of the 4 championships I would say that Gold Coast United can hold their heads up high. Certainly as a fan I am very happy with that.
We had a heap of highs both on and off the field as well as some lows. But that is Football and I wouldn’t give up the emotional roller coaster of being a fan for anything.
The biggest problem and most commented on issue all season has been Crowds. Why can’t we get a decent size crowd? To put it in context to the whole league, on average there has been a 20% drop in crowd numbers. SFC, Glory and the Nix are the only clubs to record an increase. 3 clubs had 30% or more drop in crowds. Per head of population, Gold Coast ranks 4th. Yes GCU had the lowest crowd average, but also have the 4th lowest catchment of people to reach. And yes, 4100 to a Semi Final is unacceptable.
These may seem like lame excuses to some but they are real issues that other areas do not have to deal with other than maybe the Fury.
- Gold Coast has no National Football history
- Gold Coast has no Football Culture.
- Very small ethnic football populations, who have been the backbone of Football in this country for decades.
- It is an area of the country where people come to chill out either for life or on holidays. It takes a lot to get a Gold Coaster moving, believe me.
- There is so much to do here for locals and tourists. It is one of the reasons I moved here 15 years ago from Sydney.
There is no doubt our crowds must pick up if we are to be a sustainable football club, and if I have to defend this in 3 years time then maybe I shouldn’t be. This issue has been constantly debated on the forum since the season started. I don’t know if we have found one particular answer, but we do have the population base and a good base of junior footballers to draw on. It is up to the club to tap into that somehow. Just look at what the NRL has done and what the AFL is doing.
Our illustrious owner. He certainly knows how to score a headline. When I first heard that Clive had bankrolled the team I was really excited. Not only did we have an A-League team on the Gold Coast, but it was backed by the richest man in Queensland. Surely we couldn’t fail. Clive said all the right things in the media about supporting the local football community, bringing a first class team to the Gold Coast etc. Then he goes and bags the Titans, and then he goes and says we will win the competition undefeated. Way to go Clive, a real winner with the majority of Gold Coasters.
Then throughout the season he continued to gain headlines by capping the crowds, bagging the FFA and eventually accusing them of a conspiracy against the Gold Coast. Why would they do that after they granted a license to him to build the game on the Gold Coast. Unfortunately he came across to the Gold Coast community as a whinger who has too much money. And this is not just my opinion, this is what my friends tell me and just about anyone outside football tells me when I start spruiking about getting along to Skilled Park to watch GCU.
I find it almost embarrassing that the FFA took over control of match days because the richest man in Qld had a dummy spit about losing money after he was so adamant about building the game on the Gold Coast and Northern NSW.
There is no doubt we need people like Clive in the game with his money. But we also need him to work with the FFA, clubs and fans to build the game. It is a hard sell not only on the Gold Coast but to Australia in general. He can’t run a Football club like a mining company, and he can’t micro manage people running a club in a game he knows very little about. Put some football people in management and one on the board, and let them do their job.
It did appear to me from the outside that Clive had a huge influence on the day to day running of the club. Unfortunately this seemed to lead to people not being able to do their jobs. They have sacked their Marketing Manager probably for the lack of marketing. I believe it was his lack of resources. Andrew is a passionate football person who was very supportive of our supporters club and understood what we wanted to achieve in the home end. Thank you Andrew for your support this season.
They also did not renew Paul Okon’s contract after indicating from the beginning he would take over from Miron. I have no idea what sort of a coaching job Paul did but is suspect a clash of ideas with Miron was the ultimate decider. Thanks Paul.
During this off season I expect the Club from Clive and Miron down to be very active in the Gold Coast community. Our local football season has just started and we need our players to be active every weekend at some level with our youth. This is where we will gain crowds as these people already play the game. We need to build the product name in our own community before we look at the wider community.
Whoever the new marketing manager will be needs to be tough and innovative in getting people to the games. The club needs to give the person the resources to do this.
“The Beach” as we called ourselves in the home end grew steadily throughout the season. We have a long way to go with coordinating our chanting but it is getting there. We have a great core group of supporters who have been there week in week out despite the problems off field and with the crowds. The way we reacted to the Cap was a great bonding experience and was a real turn around. We want to create an atmosphere at the ground that everyone can enjoy and hopefully we did that.
Standing, singing and wearing beach hats are not everyone’s cup of tea, and the hats are not traditionally a football thing. They have come in for a lot of flak from our opposition fans but this has only steeled my like for them and I hope they continue to be popular. We sold 200 this season. I think what they have done is identify us to our own community and people want to wear them. Along with our name they are an iconic symbol of our region and one which I wear with pride not only at the game but as a volunteer once a month.
Ah well that’s my first bit of writing since November and it felt good to vent. I have a heap of subjects in my head to blurt about so come back again. Also leave a comment below and let me know what you think.
PS. I am going to the World Cup in 85 days time. woo hooo