Say goodbye to Gold Coast United

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

By Mike Tuckerman, Mike Tuckerman is a Roar Expert

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    Former Gold Coast United coach Miron Bleiberg is understood to be heading up a second Brisbane A-League bid. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

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    “The A-League is a joke.” There, in a nutshell, is the problem of getting into bed with the devil.

    We talk about the need for football people to run our clubs and Clive Palmer has made it palpably clear he is not one of those.

    Palmer’s outburst in yesterday’s Sunday Mail may have been extraordinary, but surely it was also calculated.

    It was as considered as the decision to appoint a 17-year-old rookie as captain was calculated.

    Just as the slashing of the wage bill at the end of last season and the signing of players to one-year contracts was calculated.

    Just like getting offside with a proud and clearly competent coach like Miron Bleiberg was calculated. Did Palmer want Bleiberg to quit as coach of the Robina side? I think so.

    Why else would he have publicly belittled a coach who led his team into successive finals series?

    Perhaps because he thinks the A-League is “a joke” and men like Bleiberg are expendable.

    “I don’t even like the game,” Palmer told the Sunday Mail’s resident football journalist Marco Monteverde. “I think it’s a hopeless game. Rugby league’s a much better game.”

    So why invest time and money into the sport in the first place? Is it because Palmer the businessman thought it was a sure-fire way to score points in football-mad Asia?

    Or like the archetypal playground bully, did Palmer simply feel his status as Queensland’s richest man would buy him instant sporting success, only to turn around and throw a tantrum because things haven’t gone his way?

    How else can United make a statement saying Bleiberg has been “disrespectful,” only for the club’s owner to say two days later he thinks football is a “hopeless game?”

    One rule for Bleiberg and another rule for Palmer? Absolutely.

    Because Palmer has always wanted to run his football club as an oligarchy. And he’s always been frustrated at the thought of having to play by somebody else’s rules.

    One gets the sense that when the FFA politely dismissed some of his less helpful suggestions – the football “State of Origin” idea springs immediately to mind – Palmer was genuinely shocked.

    And while it may be cliché to suggest Palmer doesn’t hear the word “no” too often, surely there’s some truth behind it.

    Because every time Palmer has been criticised for the way he runs Gold Coast United, he has reacted by doing or saying something even more outlandish.

    The only question remaining is why?

    Why deliberately antagonise and provoke such a backlash if there are still two years of his A-League licence to run?

    Having decided Gold Coast United is no longer his preferred plaything, is Palmer simply burning all his bridges before relinquishing control?

    That’s what I think is happening. Palmer said it himself.

    “The club is a very small, insignificant portion of what I do,” he said yesterday.

    I can’t see one of those projects being Gold Coast United once the 2011-12 campaign is over. Whether FFA can afford to take over at yet another club is another matter entirely.

    For now, the competition has a real problem on its hands.

    Clive Palmer has made it clear he has no interest in the A-League.

    Football fans – starting with what’s left of United’s support – should make it clear we have no interest in having him.

    Because the sooner Palmer is hounded out of the A-League, the quicker we can move on from the sorry mess that is this club inexorably bound for extinction.

    More opinion:
    Adrian Musolino: It’s time to cut Gold Coast United loose
    Luke Doherty: A-League’s Palmer feud expected to drag on

    Mike Tuckerman
    Mike Tuckerman

    Mike Tuckerman is a Sydney-born journalist and lifelong football fan. After lengthy stints watching the beautiful game in Germany and Japan, he settled in Brisbane, and has been a leading Roar football columnist from December 2008.

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    The Crowd Says (135)

    • February 20th 2012 @ 8:25am
      The Special One said | February 20th 2012 @ 8:25am | ! Report

      It’s unfortunate it has come to this, but questions need to be asked about the FFA as well .

      • Roar Guru

        February 20th 2012 @ 8:32am
        The Cattery said | February 20th 2012 @ 8:32am | ! Report

        There are many lessons for the FFA, especially in relation to handing out future licenses, for instance, is it wise to give out a 5 year license?

        • February 20th 2012 @ 8:40am
          Kasey said | February 20th 2012 @ 8:40am | ! Report

          There’s nothing wrong with a 5 year licence if the owner isn’t an egotistical megalomaniac with no idea on how to engage with the co9mmunity. If 5 yr licences aren’t given out, then sokkah haterz accuse the league of being a fly-by-night operation and death ride it. A 5 yr licence allows for a 5yr plan and stability in planning for both the FFA and the licence holder.
          That said, there are absolutely lessons to be learned by FFA. I don’t think they are the lessons you think they are though. It should be as simple as better due diligence carried out prior to expansion and appropriate framework for new licence holders to follow in setting up their new club.

        • February 20th 2012 @ 10:12am
          Matt F said | February 20th 2012 @ 10:12am | ! Report

          5 years seems like the ideal time frame for me. Anything less and you’re not really giving them time to establish themselves. The problem here isn’tt the length of the license, but that it has clearly been given to the wrong person. Then again hindsight is 20/20

          • Roar Guru

            February 20th 2012 @ 10:18am
            The Cattery said | February 20th 2012 @ 10:18am | ! Report

            Matt F said: “The problem here isn’tt the length of the license, but that it has clearly been given to the wrong person.”

            And my point is that if you can reverse that, then the length of license doesn’t matter if it’s given to the right person, or consortium.

            All that is needed is some due diligence and a bond to cover, say, 1 years of player salaries, but otherwise, the license is relatively open-ended.

            • February 20th 2012 @ 10:59am
              Matt F said | February 20th 2012 @ 10:59am | ! Report

              True, though I think a 5 year license still privdes good security. Players might be more hesitant going to a club if it’s only got a 2 year license for example as they may see it as more of a 2 year “trial run.”

              An open-ended license might also give the impression that the club can be scrapped as soon as it starts going a little below it’s targets. Certainly, with the quick demise of the NZ Knights, NQ Fury and now maybe GC, the FFA doesn’t have a great track record of long-term support.

              Although the license does go for 5 years, their are various conditions that must be met for them to keep ther license for the full term, hence how the Fury were cut after 2 seasons. The problem the FFA have is that, no matter how much money GC lose, as long as Clive bails them out then they’ll meet their financial requirements for the license. Judging from his recent comments, he may well just do this out of spite.

        • Roar Guru

          February 20th 2012 @ 1:44pm
          Griffo said | February 20th 2012 @ 1:44pm | ! Report

          The question is: do you give a 5 year license to someone with no experience on the game or at kick-starting a club?

          The more I think about it, the more I think there should be a clause in a new 5-year license that contains outlines of the FFA appointing an CEO to the owner to help start and run a football club.

          This might also make the FFA do better at researching the best place to choose where the new license will go, especially if owners of Palmer’s ilk might hold the FFA liable for the club’s failure in the first five years.

    • February 20th 2012 @ 9:01am
      jamesb said | February 20th 2012 @ 9:01am | ! Report

      Kasey i agree

      5 year licences is the right time frame. But the problem for the FFA is their dealing with an egotistical so and so.

      If GCU does fold, than I don’t think you’ll see a franchise there again. If not for a long time. Its an area which NRL and basketball teams have struggled in the past, and thats a warning for Titans and Suns.

      I reckon down the track the FFA should look towards getting the Fury back and base a team on the Sunshine Coast. A pop. of over 250,000 and growing, plus theres no other team to compete with like the Suns, Titans and Blaze.

      The FFA can have the sunshine coast all to themselves. It will be a long time before the NRL and AFL base a team there

    • February 20th 2012 @ 9:14am
      Titus said | February 20th 2012 @ 9:14am | ! Report

      Meanwhile talk of a Western Sydney team heats up;

      http://www.foxsports.com.au/football/a-league/tycoon-in-secret-talks-with-a-league-as-second-sydney-team-dream-moves-closer-to-fruition/story-e6frf4gl-1226275412008

      As much as I think WS is the right move, I hope they get the foundations right this time. 3 months wouldn’t give them a lot of time to prepare.

      • February 20th 2012 @ 9:25am
        Kasey said | February 20th 2012 @ 9:25am | ! Report

        I agree 3 months is much too short a time frame, even if Gold Coast went belly up right away, giving the new team 30-odd players on the market instantaneously. WS is a crucial expansion for football. After failures in Townsville and Gold Coast, the FFA just cannot afford to mess this up. It would be better to give the new WS team 3 months plus next season to plan and get everything right before entering in season 2013-14. I like the linking of Ante Milicic to the new team. I was always an admirer of his playing style.

        • February 20th 2012 @ 9:35am
          Titus said | February 20th 2012 @ 9:35am | ! Report

          A team of Mllicic and Popovic would be a pretty good start in terms of admin, local boys too.

          • February 20th 2012 @ 12:08pm
            Kasey said | February 20th 2012 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

            Isn’t Poppa currently involved with SFC?
            That would be a coup for a WS team and could be the kick- start of a beautiful rivalry, not that I imagine it would take long to germinate(unlike the red and blue twins in Melbourne, WS and SFC would immediately have a definite geographic point of difference:) )

            • February 20th 2012 @ 12:21pm
              Titus said | February 20th 2012 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

              Poppa is currently assistant coach at Crystal Palace, he was assistant at SFC for a while.

              I think everyone at SFC was assuming Poppa wouldn’t be ready to come home, or that he wouldn’t be ready for a head coach gig, hence why there hasn’t been a lot of speculation of him taking the SFC job.

              • February 20th 2012 @ 12:26pm
                Kasey said | February 20th 2012 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

                I really feel that Miron and Sydney FC would be a good match. Miron has form in bringing on a young team and still playing attractive & competitive football.
                Miron also has great form as a promoter(in the Sheedy mould) of the game. Both attributes I think would be well suited to the Sydney job. Now that he has quit GCU, I think SFC could do a lot worse than at least sound him out.

              • February 20th 2012 @ 12:48pm
                Titus said | February 20th 2012 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

                I am a fan of Mirons and think that if given the resources he would do well. The season that Sydney won the double, I thought that GCU were the best team playing the best football. However, I think Sydney will go after a bigger fish, at least initially.

        • February 20th 2012 @ 10:05am
          Matt F said | February 20th 2012 @ 10:05am | ! Report

          I agree Kasey, 3 months is too short. The Fury were rushed in probably a season too early and look what happened there. Assuming this consortium gets up, give them another season to get properly set up and get the foundations right.

    • February 20th 2012 @ 9:32am
      Bondy said | February 20th 2012 @ 9:32am | ! Report

      Generally I like to add my two bobs worth on most articles , but I think this article sums everything up .

    • February 20th 2012 @ 9:35am
      Roger said | February 20th 2012 @ 9:35am | ! Report

      I really want to hear what Qantas supports Australian Football thinks about all this. But he has seemingly dropped off the roar?

      • February 20th 2012 @ 9:38am
        striker said | February 20th 2012 @ 9:38am | ! Report

        Roger i think finally he has seen what we have been telling him for weeks that this club has to go and will.

      • February 20th 2012 @ 9:38am
        Kasey said | February 20th 2012 @ 9:38am | ! Report

        If my team was being put through the wringer like this, I’d probably be curled up in the foetal position, rocking back and forth and avoiding the interwebz too. In the midst of all this, we should remember that although small in number the Gold Coast still has a small core of passionate football fans who will be terribly hurt if GCU is killed(by Palmer or the FFA) I really feel sorry for all 10 of them(sorry, that was mean.)but the points stands, The area will be scorched Earth by these shenanigans:( for at least a generation IMO.

      • February 20th 2012 @ 10:55am
        Roger said | February 20th 2012 @ 10:55am | ! Report

        I would be doing the same guys – it would be a very horrible thing to go through!

        Still, I’d very much like to hear his thoughts on the matter, given he is the only faithful GCU fan I know.

        I was talking about the issue over the weekend, and was wondering whether or not FFA taking the license over again might improve the perception of fans who may have been put off by this whole sorry affair.

      • February 20th 2012 @ 11:30am
        Titus said | February 20th 2012 @ 11:30am | ! Report

        It’s a terrible situation for the fans, how can you honestly expect people to invest money, time and energy into something if it seems likely that your club won’t be around the following season because your owner doesn’t even like the game?

        As a Sydney fan I will turn up week in week out, get the membership, buy the merchandise–regardless of how bad the onfield viewing has been(and it’s been dire at times), provided the board and management are commited to the team and are commited to improving the product. I do this because I feel myself to be an investor in the team and it is the future and growing the club that I am focused on.

        Chin up Q!

      • Roar Guru

        February 20th 2012 @ 1:54pm
        Griffo said | February 20th 2012 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

        Wasn’t that long ago the Jets were looking down the barrel of the FFA executioner and the prospect our national football comp not being in Newcastle were creating a whole set of ulcers in fans.

        Perhaps a new owner, single, consortium, local or foreign is being lined up and Gold Coast United will kick a ball in anger again next season.

        From one fan to all the GCU fans out there, I hope you get to cheer for your team again next season.

        • February 24th 2012 @ 12:17pm
          PeterK said | February 24th 2012 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

          So do I, Griffo.

          I don’t think many realise the huge damage that the demise of GCU would have on the local population. And that takes into account the damage currently continuing!

          I’m a Fury fan from NQ, and one day we’ll be back, but I can’t see it happeneing for a very long time now. Had we not been allowed to enter so quickly, we might by now be about ready for a really strong and lasting bid. As it is, local support will be very wary now.

          I suspect that an “Apprenticeship League” needs to be set up — professional players and coaching staff, but with much lower costs for travel and stadiums. Then applications for “promotion” can be made rather like the entry into the fourth tier from regional leagues in England. The travel costs can be lowered by having at least the first half of the season in regions.

    • February 20th 2012 @ 9:53am
      Lucan said | February 20th 2012 @ 9:53am | ! Report

      All the dilligence and fiscal responsibility that was supposed to come with this new era appears to be a furphy.
      We saw this with Peter Jess and Carltoon FC in the NSL. Farcically this owner continues to make money from the on-sales of players transferred under his ownership.

      We’re looking at another owner who will walk away scott free after damaging the game, and potentially profiting from the experience (assuming he takes the FFA for damages/compensation).

      Let’s learn from the past, not ignore it. Buckley and co. need a swift kick in the backside after falling head over heels for a clown flashing large dollar signs.

      • February 20th 2012 @ 12:16pm
        neos osmos said | February 20th 2012 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

        time for a massive change. Time to devolve to manageable state-based comps.

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