Northern Fury: We’re not into nostalgia, we’re about the future

Rabieh Krayem Roar Rookie

By Rabieh Krayem, Rabieh Krayem is a Roar Rookie

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    It was interesting to read the piece by Roarer Luke Paraman regarding ‘nostalgia’ for former A-League clubs such as Northern Fury.

    He asked how the football community know a reborn Northern Fury wouldn’t suffer the same fate as last time.

    As he didn’t attempt to answer the question by speaking with anyone from Northern Fury, allow me to do so.

    Let’s recall why North Queensland Fury was set up by FFA in the first place.

    It was a rush decision to place two expansion clubs in Queensland for one reason – the World Cup bid.

    FFA needed more stadiums to include in the bid and the only way in which it could be assured of the stadiums it needed – and, more importantly, the funds required from state governments to upgrade the stadiums to the standard required by FIFA – was to have two A-League teams located in Townsville and the Gold Coast.

    The FFA found a willing owner, without a strong knowledge of the game or community links, and North Queensland Fury was born.

    The difference now is this. As a community we had to metaphorically pick ourselves up and brush ourselves off after we were dumped from the A-League three years ago.

    But what has held fast is the love of football among the community of North Queensland.

    The previous owner has gone to be replaced by a board of people with deep community roots. We have a new ownership model in place in which our members will be the owners, and we have strong national and local corporate support.

    We’ve rebuilt the club to field nine teams in the National Premier League (NPL) competition, and we intend being part of the ‘big picture’ of football in Australia.

    That is because we want to give the young people of North Queensland something to aspire to, and we want to build on our proud record of producing outstanding players for Australia on the national stage.

    North Queensland’s most famous player, Frank Farina, refers to as much in his blog.

    In short, from my perspective as Chairman of Northern Fury, the difference between Fury then and Fury today is we now have the opportunity to build from the ground up.

    Our long-term aim is to be part of the A-League again. But we’re not in a hurry. We don’t see this happening until around 2018 when the A-League is likely to be in a position to expand on a sustainable basis.

    In the medium-term (the next one to two years) we want to be part of the W-League and the National Youth League, as this will help lay the foundation for participation in the A-League.

    We intend earning the right to be there, rather than having it imposed on our community.

    I won’t debate the point about the other locations mentioned in the article. All of them have their merits.

    Like anyone involved in football, I hope the A-League continues on its upward trajectory and is able to sustain expansion by two, four or even more teams eventually.

    But this has to be done at the right time for the club, the community and the competition overall.

    Rabieh Krayem is Chairman of Northern Fury and is the former CEO of the North Queensland Fury, a position he assumed to help save the club after it encountered financial difficulty under the first owner. He has had a long career the sport and recruitment sectors, including as CEO of North Queensland Cowboys. He runs his own recruitment services company with operations in Townsville, the Gold Coast and Sydney.