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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.

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    The Crowd Says (87)

    • February 12th 2014 @ 4:16am
      Cantab said | February 12th 2014 @ 4:16am | ! Report

      Nice piece, good luck with the long road ahead.. I still have a northern fury football.

    • February 12th 2014 @ 6:35am
      Bondy said | February 12th 2014 @ 6:35am | ! Report

      Good luck Rabieh there are optimistic times ahead for football in North Queensland . I loved watching the Fury the atmosphere at the grounds was great very family orientated day out.

    • February 12th 2014 @ 7:16am
      whiskeymac said | February 12th 2014 @ 7:16am | ! Report

      Good luck. Short sighted cynicism were the hallmarks of the rushed expansion and contraction. I too was a favourable neutral, if such a position exists , with respect to the nqf and wish the new, roots anchored restructure all the best in getting back to the table.

      • February 12th 2014 @ 7:48am
        Kasey said | February 12th 2014 @ 7:48am | ! Report

        “favourable neutral” I guess describes me also. I would love to see a successful A-League club built from the ground up and even though the WSW were/are a success, I think the ground-up model is a much more sound method for building a long-term successful club that is part of because it was ‘born of’ the community:) and I’d like to see Northern Fury demonstrate that a different method that ” the WSW model” to other prospective A-Lague bid-teams.

        • Roar Guru

          February 12th 2014 @ 6:53pm
          Ben of Phnom Penh said | February 12th 2014 @ 6:53pm | ! Report

          It will be interesting to see how many “favourable neutrals” buy a non-participatory membership in order to help get this off the ground. I suspect there may be a few.

    • February 12th 2014 @ 7:45am
      Punter said | February 12th 2014 @ 7:45am | ! Report

      Good luck Rabieh & Northern Fury, you are making all the right noises. For any other potential regional teams with aspirations for the A-League competition, I think this is a very good template.
      I hope to see Nth Queensland in the A-League soon

    • February 12th 2014 @ 8:10am
      Franko said | February 12th 2014 @ 8:10am | ! Report

      Good luck to you Rabieh, sounds like you are on the right track. Would be interested to know your thoughts on the below David Gallop quote and your chances of gaining entry in 2018:

      “Certainly the experience in Australian sport generally is that you need to be looking at areas with millions of people not hundreds of thousands if you’re going to really have a viable crack at it.”

      I understand the population of Townsville is around 200,000.

      • February 12th 2014 @ 1:41pm
        PeterK said | February 12th 2014 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

        Thanks Franko, from a long-time Fury Fan.

        Yes, lack of population has always been our major problem, but I believe that “our men in Townsville” (and I think they’re all male at this stage?) are indeed on the right track. I live 90 minutes away from Townsville, and the only NQFury home-game I missed back in those days was one when I was in Europe — and I timed that to be a single home-game in a five-weekend stretch so that I could go OS for a month and still miss only one home-game!

        There are not too many more people outside of Townsville who are within 50 minutes of Townsville either, though if you extend that to 100 minutes you include three more towns. Mind you I suppose lots of people in the Big Smokes could travel 50 minutes (or more) without leaving their city? I believe that from time to time, there were people at home games who came from Cairns (4 hours or more), Mackay (5 hours?) , and even at times Mt Isa (9 or 10 hours).

        I believe that the Powers That Be are this time wanting a minimum of 5000 “owners” at this early stage before they will feel thoroughly encouraged, and then 10 000 “owners” (with hopes for maybe 15 000) before entering the A-League. I also believe these figures are achievable — why?

        Despite our poor attendances when in the A-League relative to other clubs, we did get the HIGHEST attendances when measured as per head of population. There is no reason why we can’t replicate that, and even improve on it.

        As for the nostalgia bit — I reckon it’s not too bad a motivational foundation for the fans to build on, though I can see its problems for other clubs who have that nostalgia. Other clubs having nostalgia won’t really help us much to be strong (but it could help keep us motivated. Mind you not all members of all clubs feel nostalgia for us — I know many hated having to travel too far from their own back yard too often, and some complained that we had rain when they came (but forgot that an equal numer of our away matches also suffered similar conditions (or were cancelled).

        Well done, Rabieh! Keep up the good work.

        Now I must egt my ownership organised!

        • February 12th 2014 @ 6:04pm
          bill boomer said | February 12th 2014 @ 6:04pm | ! Report

          The ” HIGHEST” per capita attendance is meaningless. While it is commendable to have community support, if that community is small the gate is small, even if everyone is there. Numbers are whats important not percentages.

          • Roar Guru

            February 12th 2014 @ 6:50pm
            Ben of Phnom Penh said | February 12th 2014 @ 6:50pm | ! Report

            Per capita attendance is a key indicator to measure the potential success of a community driven model. Hence it is a risk assessment tool and rather useful for measuring resiliance and the likelihood of further community input into the club. This in turn can determine the ability to access the community’s resources to reduce the cost of running the club, which in turn reduces the mininimum gate taking required each game to break even as a club.

            Numbers matter, but percentages help determine how low those numbers can be realistically set.

          • February 13th 2014 @ 10:19am
            nordster said | February 13th 2014 @ 10:19am | ! Report

            It is meaningless in some respects in this league. A failure of the level playing field model though which is out of reach for too many areas in Oz.

    • February 12th 2014 @ 8:42am
      Stevo said | February 12th 2014 @ 8:42am | ! Report

      Don’t you hate it when someone writes a levelheaded article and talks about not rushing but building sustainably from the ground up. Nice.

      • February 12th 2014 @ 9:10am
        clayts said | February 12th 2014 @ 9:10am | ! Report

        Ground up? Sustainable? Slowly? What is this nonsense you speak? If a new team doesn’t come in and win the comp straight away they might as well not enter. Also, they need to average at least 20k to be considered anything but a failure. Oh and make sure they have a distinct geographical point of difference so people aren’t confused.

        • February 12th 2014 @ 9:28am
          Australian Rules said | February 12th 2014 @ 9:28am | ! Report

          Exactly – like the Wanderers. 😉

          • February 12th 2014 @ 2:41pm
            clayts said | February 12th 2014 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

            Sweet as. I look forward to the next team that is gifted a million people to choose from, and owned by the people running the show (and in the same city). Plenty of other places to choose from in Aus that meet those criteria

          • February 13th 2014 @ 12:44pm
            Allan said | February 13th 2014 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

            What’s with the WSW comments ?

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