Time to Right the Ship

February 20, 2012 at 7:51 pm 7 comments

The whole Clive Palmer saga continues to roll on and sadly continues to embarrass the sport that he now claims he doesn’t hate.

Miron Bleiberg has departed, and in truth maybe it was for the best, as Miron never seemed as enthusiastic to coach his young charges when he was told that he must make do with the youth players coming through. Sure they made mistakes, but one felt he never had faith in a lot of them, and as Clive Palmer rightly says many are extremely talented.

Palmer is also correct when he says “I’m not happy about the fact that the top five executives in the FFA are paid in excess of $5 million, but at the same time we’re going cap in hand to the federal government asking for $8 million and it was granted to them to support the league.”

Neither should any football fan in Australia. The time has come for fans to find a voice.

Palmer says that he is not pulling out of the League but the FFA may well try and force his hand.

If he and Gold Coast United do go that will mean that the A League will have lost two clubs within the first seven seasons of the A League. Something that is nothing short of catastrophic. If we include the acceptance and subsequent withdrawal of the West Sydney bid, it is an even greater blow to the game moving forward.

It is time that the fans found voice and demanded that people are held accountable for these decisions. Such backward steps must also make the Federal Government, who has supported the game beyond the call of duty, question their loyalty, as they too become implicated.

It is time we looked at who was at the helm when North Queensland Fury and Gold Coast United were accepted into the League. Who felt that the time was right for expansion? Who was in charge and accepted the bid from West Sydney?

Ben Buckley the CEO of the FFA was the man to oversee all of these events and to simply admit he made a mistake, which he did last year, is not enough. This is the same man who tried to justify the FFA giving its support to Sepp Blatter for another term as President of FIFA, despite the farce that was the voting for the World Cup hosting rights in 2018 and 2022.

There comes a time when the fans have to say enough is enough. Does this man have what it takes to take the game forward, if we trawl back through his performance over the last five years questions have to be raised?

The FFA is quick to promote weekends where the Football communities pull together for a cause. Maybe the fans around the company should all do a Poznan at the start of every home game in the next week, to send a message to the powers that be that they are far from happy in the job being done by those at the top? Only the power of the people can change the direction the game is headed.

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A Lesson for the FFA? Shear Madness

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Colin Wood  |  February 20, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    Good blog Ashley. I heard most of Clive Palmer’s interview on the ABC this morning and thought he came across well, airing some very pertinent questions. Certainly seemed to have a bit of fire in his belly which is not too apparent from the FFA. Even started to wonder how much different the WC bid may have been if CP had taken the reigns…

  • 2. Pete Rowe  |  February 21, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Clive Palmer is not good for the game. Self centred and with no idea how the game works, from his comments last night. To say he was misquoted is disingenuous to the reporter who wrote the story.
    If CP thought he would make money from owning a licence, then he shouldn’t be in the game. He would have know the cost to support a club – and would have had a business plan with a commuity strategy to suport that.
    It is now clear the GC had no idea how to implement any link towards the south east Queensland community. Yet, League and AFL certainly has.
    From personal experience the GC have totally alienated themselves from the grassroots of the game, so to place the blame at the FFA’s doorstep is not right.
    They have been a basket case for some time. The chairman does not select the team or appoint the captain – no wonder Miron left.
    A CEO does not operate a player selection, recruitment plan alone – it has to be a team effort with the coaching staff playing the lead.
    CP’s whinge that his players didn’t get in the Olyroos squad, and this and that didn’t happen struck me as a spoilt child who had thrown the dummy out of the pram.
    He then says Europe has got it wrong – uh? Clearly Mr Palmer has no idea how football works, or should work. Because he can’t make a buck or two, he’s had enough.
    He obviously has no idea how the TV deal came about – or the fact no one wanted the rights before Fox stepped in. SBS would have taken it for nothing, but that would have totally undersold the code, and to be honest SBS’ coverage of the game is now very poor and outdated compared to the live game experience offered by Fox.
    CP sounds like a bully who has been found out. Good riddance.
    As for the FFA, Ben Buckley is hardly going to take the bait and publicly enter into a war of words with him on national TV. That would be stupid.
    Buckley and the FFA will evaluate all A-League clubs at years’ end, and make some tough decisions based upon that.
    He’s right, 2011-12 has been a great year with some encouraging figures.
    2012-13 can of course be better. It is only season 7 – Rome wasn’t built in a day.

  • 3. supersub  |  February 21, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    I don’t like Clive Palmer or Tony Sage as neither are really fans of the game as stated in the article albeit by implication.
    Yet Peter, despite raising some valid points you are missing the point of the original piece. Ben Buckley and his team approved Gold Coast coming into the league and they must have asked what CP was going to do to drive fans through the gates, if they didn’t then they have failed the game.
    Buckley is a puppet, knows very little about football and this debacle confirms that he must go. He won’t of course because he is on a good wicket, a “yes man” to Lowy, protected from the media as he simply could not cope one on one, and on a very good salary in a prestigious position.
    The FFA is all smoke and mirrors and Buckley has taken the game backwards.

  • 4. not the footy show  |  February 21, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Thank you everyone for your comments.

    Peter I was not saying that Clive Palmer was faultless, he has certainly not helped Gold Coast be a success.

    The sad thing is Gold Coast ar e not the only club where owners and/or CEO’s are signing players or changing the length of contract wanted by the coach. Which proves we have people who do not wholly understand how the game works in positions of power.

    The FFA have to take a big portion of the blame, Ben Buckley and his team approved the introduction of North Queensland Fury and Gold Coast United and both have failed. They also accepted the Sydney side which luckily withdrew before they were admitted into the league. That to me says they did not carry out due diligence and as they are charged with running the game are accountable.

  • 5. not the footy show  |  February 21, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    I hit enter too early.

    On this season being a success that is debatable. How do you gauge success?

    Many believe a close competition is the sign of success, and therefore this season this has been the best yet. However there has been some very poor football this season, as well as some outstanding games.

    Personally I believe that this season the reason it is so close is that the league has plateaued. The big positive has been the resurgence of Perth Glory, we have been waiting a long time for that!

  • 6. Colin Wood  |  February 21, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    For the record, I did not mean to suggest that CP has the answers but made some valid points e.g. the exclusive deal with FOX which probably appeared as a good deal when it was signed but was a very long contract and perhaps shuts out too much of the remainder of the media. The FFA still don’t seem to have many obvious answers on technical development of both players and coaches (there needs to be a national framework).

    Clubs are still losing a lot of money and there is a certain amount of joint responsibility. Rich chairmen bailing certain clubs isn’t necessarily good for the game as a whole either. One key has to be better development of community and grass roots relationships by the clubs themselves.

  • 7. not the footy show  |  February 21, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Colin, You are right. Their focus is sadly purely on the Socceroos and World Cup qualification and the rest of the game appears to get band aid solutions. They are trying to raise funds by improving coaching levels, but the costs are prohibitive.

    Happened to talk to someone from the sales side at Fox a few weeks ago and sadly many people are trying to stop their subscriptions as a cost cutting measure – and maybe because there are so many repeats!

    The ridiculous thing that I found out a week ago is that the owners of the clubs have never had an independent get-together to discuss their thoughts to then lobby the FFA. Which when you think about it is crazy and maybe they deserve to not get what they want. Maybe there are too many egos to be able to sit down and discuss maturely? I don’t know but all very sad.


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