Gold Coast United’s young team failed to end a week of A-League turmoil on a high note, losing 2-0 to Wellington Phoenix on Sunday, but captain Michael Thwaite was still happy with his side.
It wasn’t until late Friday night that the United players knew they would even play the game, when the Queensland Supreme Court dismissed owner Clive Palmer’s application for an injunction after Football Federation Australia revoked his A-League licence.
“We just want to play, and get paid. Both of those things are happening at the moment, which is a positive sign,” said the Gold Coast skipper.
Thwaite says the testing times have brought the players closer, and provided plenty of encouragement for the future of football on the Gold Coast.
“If they can get through this time, they can get through anything. To show character, turn up, and play the way we do … Whether it be next year, or in the last three games, the results will start turning our way.”
The future of the franchise on the Gold Coast is up in the air, but Thwaite believes the potential is there for football to thrive.
“If I was the owner, I’d be laughing because we don’t really need to look anywhere, we’ve got the next generation here,” he said.
“All you need to do is fill it in with a core of experienced players, and you’ve got a club.
“Imagine when they get through these hard times and these last games, imagine what steps they can make in the next year.”
Pivotal in revitalising the game would be United’s performance over the last three games of the season.
Last on the ladder, and with just three wins in 24 games, Gold Coast’s home matches against top teams Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar provide an ideal opportunity to galvanise support.
“It’s up to the players and the main power, the fans. If the fans turn up in our last two home games, it’s all up for grabs.
“If we get between 5000-10,000, there’s a big base and that’s the first step.”
Thwaite said the decision to cross the Tasman and play on Sunday had been empowering for the team.
“The players actually felt a bit of power for once, because basically if we decide not to come, what happens to the league? I think we felt really powerful, and I think we made the right decision and the smartest decision.”