Yesterday, Frank Lowy, inspired by fellow octogenarians, the recent Oscar winner for best supporting actor Christopher Plummer and nominee Max von Sydow, gave it his best shot in a feisty speech at the Melbourne Heart Business Luncheon held at Las Vegas on the Yarra.
Well, you can’t really blame him.
In the last few weeks he’s been reeling back the years and feeling like a jilted teenage boyfriend.
“Before the controversy with Gold Coast blew up I reached out to Clive Palmer. I emailed. I phoned him and left messages. I sent an SMS.”
“I offered to fly to Queensland on a Sunday to meet face to face. What did I get? I got the brush-off.”
I know the feeling, Frank. I’ve been there before.
But you came to your senses and saw the relationship for what it really was.
“The very least you could say about the Gold Coast is that there has been a spectacular failure to connect with the local community to get fans to turn out for the game, despite the fact that the club serves possibly the most vibrant region in the country.”
If only your mates had given you better advice before you got up close and personal with Clive Palmer. You admitted as much when having a heart to heart with Phil Rothfield.
“Since Ben Buckley arrived in December 2006, there’s been five finance chiefs, four heads of A-League and four heads of PR. Is this a reasonable level of executive turnover?”
“Not really. I have a record of people in my business working for me for 15, 20 or 25 years but this is a new organisation and maybe some not-so-good appointments were made.”
This could explain why Lowy did not mention in his speech “the elephant in the room wearing moccasins” as broadcaster Francis Leach astutely described the A-Leagues failure to have a presence in West Sydney?
But, you do have to feel some sympathy for Mr Lowy.
Just look at the pronouncement by Gold Coast United CEO Clive Mensink to explain their “Freedom of Speech” stunt on player jerseys and advertising hoardings from last Saturday night.
“It was suggested internally that as a replacement, something non-controversial would serve as a message to the broader community. We have two African refugees playing for the club who have experienced what it is like to live in a country fighting for freedom of speech.
“Currently we are all concerned for those in Syria fighting for their freedom. Australians have fought in world wars and other actions to protect our freedoms, there was no way we would condone any disrespect for freedom of speech.”
“It is our constitutional right to embrace this message and we don’t believe FFA should have the power to intervene.”
Yes, mini-Clive. It is your constitutional right to employ unethical doublespeak worthy of George Orwell’s “1984”, but the when it comes to what you put on jerseys there are rules.
Then again, I might have felt differently if you had gone with “Eat The Rich.”
I better not push it too far. Last week, The Gold Coast Bulletin reported: “Mr Palmer launched a $10 million lawsuit against independent arbitrator Shaun McCarthy for his findings that his soccer club, Gold Coast United, should pay dumped German playmaker Peter Perchtold $340,591 in compensation.”
“He is suing the Gold Coast Bulletin for the same amount for reporting on the Perchtold matter.”
Oh, I have been sidetracked. Back to Lowy’s speech.
“Getting crowds through the gates is what will solve problems, not arguing about who controls what.”
“That is why the idea of a separate body to run the A-league is madness. The A-league could not survive if separated from FFA.”
What are we to make of Frank Lowy’s big performance?
Allow me to borrow the prescient tweet of one of talented football writer, Kathy Stone.
“Depends who you ask – anti FFA or pro FFA… Pick your truth”
And this gets to the heart of the matter.
The Socceroos are in town and the A-League season is reaching its climax, but the football discourse has been dominated by unpleasant dissonance as vendettas are played out in the mass and social media by all the so called “players” who are trying to get you to “pick your truth”
I am fed up. The fans are fed up.
All we ask is for everyone to get their shit sorted out when the A-League season finishes.
Give the fans the respect they deserve.
Athas Zafiris is on Twitter @ArtSapphire