A few days ago, the FFA revoked Gold Coast United’s A-League license due mainly to Clive Palmer’s mismanagement of the club. All we’ve heard about is the ‘battle’ between Frank Lowy and Palmer. But what about the fans?
There are many jokes made about Gold Coast United’s fan base, and as we all know it’s pretty bad. Their average crowd of 3,858 for this season is by far and away the worst, but they still have some of the most loyal fans in the A-League.
A similar sort of comparison with this situation is Fitzroy in the AFL of 1996. Sure they are at opposite ends money wise, but in terms of crowds and performances they’re much the same. The AFL also won’t admit to this, but it’s quite clear they wanted Fitzroy out of the league; the same as with the A-League and Gold Coast.
How would you feel if you lost your football club. It certainly won’t be easy for Gold Coast diehards to just trade their allegiances to Brisbane, despite their good position on the table. It will be harder for the turncoats, if you will, who switched from the Roar. How much ribbing would they get from their mates if they switched back.
What Clive Palmer needs to realise is that the club was not just him. What the FFA need to realise is that the club was not just Clive Palmer. A club is the players, staff and fans. The fans are an integral part of the club, and ultimately due to Palmer’s wrong doing by locking one of the stands a few years ago, they broke the club by not turning up.
Just like the loss of the North Queensland Fury last year, the A-League will lose some more fans. It’s fair to say the A-League expansion is a fail, except for the Melbourne Heart, who continue to grow. It’s also expected, that with the growth of New Zealand football, that the Wellington Phoenix may exit the league soon.
There is talk of a Canberra team entering the competition to fill Gold Coast’s position, and I think this is a good thing. Their W-League team had good crowds and won the Premiership this year. But with their exception, I don’t think the A-League should expand for many years yet. If they do and that team fails, they could do football a lot of damage in this country. They just can’t afford that.