Gold Coast not ready yet for a sequel, says Bleiberg

A second A-League coming for Gold Coast United is a realistic proposition but the timing is not yet right, according to the club’s inaugural coach Miron Bleiberg.

Miron Bleiberg

Miron Bleiberg in 2011 as Gold Coast United coach Source: Getty Images

Six years after their expulsion from the competition under the controversial ownership of minerals magnate Clive Palmer, a group of local businessmen want the club included in expansion discussions for the 2019-20 season.

And Bleiberg, who is part of the bid team behind Brisbane Strikers’ A-League ambitions, insists that past failure doesn’t preclude the prospect of future success.

Factoring in the feel-good effect anticipated by the tourist strip staging the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Bleiberg said: "Population-wise, location-wise and facility-wise, on the back of the Commonwealth Games, then Gold Coast deserves to have a team in the A-League.

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"If Gosford has a team, then certainly it should happen again on the Gold Coast.

"But I don't think they're quite ready yet.



"I think it's too early for them and they might be better placed for the FFA's second wave of expansion, from 12 teams to 14, in three years time.

"They need to do a Iot of homework regarding marketing and attracting crowds.

"There will come a time when it will be a crime from the FFA not to put a team on the Gold Coast, but that time isn't quite right now."

The FFA are set to call for formal expressions of interest by bidders at the end of this month, with a decision on which two will be invited to join a 12-team competition by the end of the year.

Having risen from the carnage of the Palmer-led crash landing as an NPL Queensland club, United chairman Danny Mather, chief executive Troy Bingham and Sports Gold Coast chairman Geoff Low are determined not to repeat past mistakes, which turned United’s home at Robina into a half-closed ghost stadium shunned by locals.

Bleiberg, whose flamboyance and outspoken prognostications helped fuel a bright start for the Palmer franchise, said the seeds of failure were sown when the owner's interest waned in year two.



"Initially we had some good crowds and there was excitement around the team but when Clive's enthusiasm went away that was the beginning of the end," he said.

"It was partly because of Clive's internal problems with FFA and partly because there wasn’t much interest from him in football in the first place. It just suited him at the time.

"Yes, things didn't work out but that doesn't mean the Gold Coast can't support an A-League team. Quite the contrary.

"I think you learn from your mistakes - if you fail first time it's much easier to succeed second time."



Bleiberg believes one simple - but significant - change that would help a reincarnated Gold Coast United would be to forget about playing at home on weekends.

"People on the Gold Coast are busy then because they live on the tourist industry and they don't have time," he said.

"Other codes have also made this mistake ... one of the micro-solutions is to play on Thursdays or Mondays.

"Perhaps if the crowds for the AFL Suns and NRL Titans start to pick up then the landscape will be ready for a football team."


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3 min read
Published 26 March 2018 at 5:38pm
By Dave Lewis