Football fans rejoice: Clive Palmer is gone

Matt Bungard Roar Guru

By Matt Bungard, Matt Bungard is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger

18 Have your say

    Clive Palmer has wrought destruction on his own club (AAP Image/Laine Clark)

    Just as Andy Harper predicted, it seems that Clive Palmer got what he wanted all along. Football Federation Australia have just announced that they will be closing the doors and tearing up the beleaguered Gold Coast United franchise

    With any luck, the license will be given to a deserving entity such as Western Sydney or Canberra, but the question remains if either is ready to host a football club at such short notice. We may see a nine team A-League in season 2012/2013

    Clive Palmer has tweeted out that his club will fight the decision, labeling it as ‘ludicrous’. But is that really what he wants?

    It was clear from Palmer’s outspoken and irresponsible behaviour in the last few weeks that he was setting out on a destructive, George Costanza-esque path where the end goal was to get ‘fired’, without actually having to quit.

    And just like my favourite Seinfeld character, Palmer’s motives were pretty transparent – to absolve himself of the responsibility of running an A-League franchise (and he can try and backtrack as much as he wants, his quotes about football being a “hopeless game” left a bad taste in every football fan in the country’s mouth) and to try and take the FFA for all they’re worth.

    Whether United and Palmer pursue legal action isn’t 100% clear, but he also tweeted out that they plan to fight the decision. By what means, I’m not sure.

    Regardless, as of 2pm this afternoon we no longer have to tolerate this joke of a franchise embarrassing the league, dragging down the crowd average and making everybody cringe every time their loudmouthed owner says anything remotely related to football.

    The failures of Gold Coast have been clear for a long time – Palmer started this rot with the initial ‘crowd cap’ scheme, taking an ultra-conservative and pragmatic approach to United’s rapidly decreasing crowd numbers.

    I was there with over 10,000 football fans on the Gold Coast when they played Fulham in a friendly, and I watched with hope as Palmer opened the gates and the crowds flooded in. If it’s the ticketing, the dwindling form of the team, or the abstract location of stadium, something was never quite there with Gold Coast.

    The shabby treatment of Miron Bleiberg coupled with the unbelievably ironic ‘Freedom of Speech’ badges on the jerseys (after publicly shaming his manager because he spoke his mind) was the last straw.

    Maybe it’s a bit harsh to label the club an embarrassment, it’s clear from the games I mentioned above that there is some, albeit small, potential for football in the region. But Clive Palmer and his anti-football mindset was never going to be the answer.

    Kudos to Ben Buckley and the rest of the FFA for making a stand against this bully. Whether or not this is what Clive Palmer wanted, it’s something that absolutely had to be done.

    Hopefully this isn’t the last we see of professional football on the Gold Coast. But thank god, it’s probably the last we’ll see of Clive Palmer in any sort of A-League capacity.

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    The Crowd Says (18)

    • February 29th 2012 @ 3:06pm
      Hospital said | February 29th 2012 @ 3:06pm | ! Report

      Yes, Palmer had to go. His love/hate relationship was epic to watch. It’s a shame, it’s drastic, but it had to be done.

      PS.’Can’t-stand-yaaa’ seems to apply here, in reference to Constanza and Palmer. Nice linkage.

    • Roar Rookie

      February 29th 2012 @ 3:12pm
      Stuart Fazakerley said | February 29th 2012 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

      I do not want to see Clive Palmer as a latex salesman.

    • Roar Guru

      February 29th 2012 @ 3:13pm
      Damo said | February 29th 2012 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

      Hopefully this also sets a precedent on expansion into non-soccer areas. Albeit the bad guy here is Palmer and not the GC’s love of rugby league, but surely the next license is given to an area in soccer heartland like the fore mentioned western suburbs or Canberra.

    • February 29th 2012 @ 3:14pm
      Pecs McGee said | February 29th 2012 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

      Totally agree that Clive had to go. But I’m not sure of the timing. Perhaps the FFA were worried about it happening during the finals.

      Sad for football on the GC. I think this whole experience will disillusion alot of A-League supporters there.

    • Roar Guru

      February 29th 2012 @ 3:21pm
      The Cattery said | February 29th 2012 @ 3:21pm | ! Report

      Matt B
      It looks like the Canberra bid team have all but given up on their hope of getting an A-League license:
      http://www.canberratimes.com.au/sport/football/slavich-all-but-concedes-defeat-for-canberras-aleague-bid-20120228-1u1f9.html#poll

      that still leaves the hope of getting a Western Sydney team, and that’s precisely what the FFA is going after right now. They might not get in by next season, but it will be there the season after guaranteed.

      I note that in that online survey in the article above, 66% of Canberrans want an A-League team.

      • February 29th 2012 @ 3:38pm
        The Special One said | February 29th 2012 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

        Football fans would be the ones likely to gravitate to that story and hence why the numbers are higher.

      • February 29th 2012 @ 3:43pm
        JamesP said | February 29th 2012 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

        Thank god Palmer is gone.

        A west sydney team with 10 teams is the perfect model for mine. Sit on that for 10 years and dont dare to change it. Just copy what you did with the Melbourne Heart – simple.

        And as per my post yesterday, cut the regular season to 18 rounds (each team plays twice). with a 4 team final series after that. Fits in nicely between AFL/NRL seasons.

        • Roar Guru

          February 29th 2012 @ 4:44pm
          Matt Bungard said | February 29th 2012 @ 4:44pm | ! Report

          This is probably the best news of all. There is simply not enough good players to sustain more than 10 teams at the moment (certainly not while gimps like Mahela, McBreen, Broxham and McGarry have clubs) and with less repetitiveness in the season, people will keep interest with the competition throughout the year…I hope.

          Oh, and crowds should grow because 1. it won’t clash with the rugger or AFL and 2. because home games are now more rare – well, at least that’s the theory.

          Either way, I’m very excited about the prospect of a Sydney derby being a much closer reality than we would’ve thought a couple of weeks ago.

          • Roar Guru

            February 29th 2012 @ 4:48pm
            The Cattery said | February 29th 2012 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

            I’m starting to see a lot of merit in that approach.

            • February 29th 2012 @ 6:28pm
              philipcoates said | February 29th 2012 @ 6:28pm | ! Report

              Cutting to playing each other twice might make each match more meaningful but from a club membership and gate taking revenue point of view, and from the point of view of the TV rights deal, it is a non-starter.

              10 teams playing three times gives 13 or 14 club home games and a total 135 total games for TV advertising revenue (which is where the TV money comes from). A 10 team comp playing twice is 9 club home games and a total 90 games. That’s a potential 35% loss gate takings (which is unlikely to be offset by 35% increase in attendance) and 35% loss in TV advertising opportunities.

              If we end up with a 9 team comp playing twice it is only 72 games in total. That’s a 50% loss in advertising opportunities from the current schedule which isn’t going to happen at a time when fans and club owners are all hoping the next TV deal will deliver a huge increase in FFA revenues and shore up the leagues finances.

    • February 29th 2012 @ 3:24pm
      striker said | February 29th 2012 @ 3:24pm | ! Report

      bye bye Palmer no one wants you in our game dont need your billions.

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