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.