Sun sets on United rivals
Wednesday, February 29 2012 @ 06:38 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Brett Northey
At worldfootynews.com we make an effort not to make too much of the sometimes rabid Aussie Rules versus soccer versus Rugby League debate that so often rages in Australia, especially on sports forums. But we do acknowledge that there is a battle for the hearts and minds of the sporting public. So back in 2009 we took particular note of a scathing attack on footy by Clive Palmer, one of Australia's richest men and owner of the Gold Coast United soccer club.
When most codes argue that there is room for all and they just want a slice of the action, Palmer ridiculed attempts to establish an AFL club on the Gold Coast, despite a healthy and growing local competition. Palmer stated in 2009 that "The biggest loser's going to be GC17 and Australian rules itself. I give them three years they'll be gone (by 2014)". See Football codes continue to position themselves and Palmer sets the bar low for Gold Coast.
So we watched with interest to see whether his soccer club would indeed outperform the Aussie Rules club, and whether the AFL's efforts would succeed.
The soccer club, Gold Coast United, then set about seasons 2010/11 and 2011/12 recording average home crowds of a miniscule 3,900 and 3,400 per game, respectively. In contrast, GC17, launched as the Gold Coast Suns, averaged around 18,000 per game (for matches at their new stadium in Carrara) in their debut 2011 season. That's 4 or 5 AFL supporters for every one A League supporter. Surely a demonstrative win for footy.
But Palmer was also at war with his side's fans, then their coach, and constantly with the FFA. In terms of viability it seems the club only continued to exist due to his largesse, and now to complete the debacle they have had their licence terminated by the FFA.
A stunning tale of failure for the club whose owner predicted that the AFL would be the big loser on the Gold Coast. Aussie Rules 1 - soccer nil.