I want to talk about many issues in the game, but right now everyone wants to know about Gold Coast, so I will start with that before I move on to other issues, which include Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory.
Even though the decision to terminate Gold Coast United’s licence , I’d like to comment on my leaving the club.
Whether I was sacked or resigned is semantics, I wanted to leave and they made me leave. Everybody is happy with that and the one word I would use to express my feelings is relief. I am happy not to be part of the club at this place in time.
As for the recent problems between Gold Coast United and Football Federation Australia my reaction is that those issues are not good for anybody.
Like any fight, this one is no good for anyone and I am happy I am not part of it, because on one side I should have been loyal to Clive Palmer and the Gold Coast and from the other side being involved in football in this country for so long, if we are not united and acting as one big family we will go nowhere.
As for Clive, Clive is like a kid with potential. It’s the same with a misbehaving club; you keep punishing him and send him off the grass or you find a way to tell him to make a positive contribution into a negative one, but that’s why the executives at FFA are getting paid money to make those decisions.
Coming out of this situation, what I am truly concerned about is how the game is viewed by some people in the media and the attitudes of those in power, especially when it comes to what others might think of our game in other codes.
A lot of people said that we would be the laughing stock of other codes and I didn’t like that because that represents us as having no respect for ourselves, and says we are too worried about what the other codes think about us, which in turn means we have an inferiority complex which will take us nowhere, especially from those in the media writing about our code in a negative light.
For example when the NRL is fighting amongst themselves, they never think, “I wonder what the football people are thinking about us and whether they are laughing at our expense?”
They are too big and too powerful to worry about that and too proud, even if they have to wash their dirty laundry in public they don’t care about what we think about them, so why should we care what they thing about us?
If we do start from this lower point then we will be the laughing stock of the other codes and we always seem to be the small code that doesn’t believe in itself.
Any other code there are differences and in fights, but we should be proud. We are working on our game and should not think all the time about what the other codes think of us.
Simply put, who cares?
The other subject I wanted to touch on is why is the top six such an important achievement? Thirty-six points should get you there, but why is it that teams think the top six is the Holy Grail?
The teams in sixth, seventh and eighth have more losses than wins, and teams in fourth and fifth have nearly equal wins and losses, so you can have situations where teams finish in the top six and lost almost the same games as they have won and still call that a successful season.
The question to me is who is cheating who? Are we cheating the public or are we cheating ourselves?
Even more shocking to me is that Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC are in positions where they may very well miss the finals and what amazes me is that it has been the same in recent seasons.
How can these two big clubs have to fight [to make the finals] and then see it as a success if they finish in the top six?
They represent the big cities with the big funds and the big fan bases - why is it seen as a success if they reach the top six?
If you look back to the old NSL, if you wanted to make a team and took the best player from a team like Marconi or Melbourne Knights, take their best player then you could easily win any title.
So how come Sydney and Melbourne can’t repeat it?
Even at the youth level, these two clubs are closer to the bottom than the top and then you look at a small club like the Mariners and they are winning championships. Something in the kingdom might be rotten at these big clubs and the first thing these clubs should ask themselves is why they are struggling?
Why should they see the top six as something exceptional? It’s not.