Gold Coast suspend Miron Bleiberg

Thursday, 16 February 2012 12:32 PM

Gold Coast suspend Miron Bleiberg

Miron Bleiberg has been suspended indefinitely by Gold Coast United for comments to the media about the appointment of 17-year-old Mitch Cooper as captain for their match on Friday night.

Cooper was announced on Wednesday as stand-in captain for the team's next game against Melbourne Heart, but remarks made by Bleiberg at the press conference drew the ire of club management.

It is believed the club's billionaire owner Clive Palmer, who made the decision to hand Cooper the captain's armband on debut, was not happy with Bleiberg saying that it was a 'ceremonial' appointment.

Club chief executive Clive Mensink delivered the news at the club's training base at Carrara on Thursday morning, saying United made the decision to appoint Cooper as captain 'seriously'.

"Reason being is the club does take the matter seriously in appointing Mitch as captain," Mensink said.

"We believe in Mitch for the future of the club and the game and he's proven himself at international level.

"The club did take the matter very seriously, the decision was not made lightly or jokingly and I think it's being disrespectful, some of the comments towards Mitch and the club in regards to his appointment... that it was ceremonial.

"We haven't made it that way at all. It was a decision made in all seriousness with the future in mind. It was an opportunity to provide more leadership for the future."

Assistant coach Mike Mulvey, who is also in charge of the club's National Youth League team, will take the reins for their match against Melbourne Heart.

"Mike Mulvey will step up as coach (for this weekend) and we'll just go from there. Mike's been around (Miron) long enough to be able to do the job," Mensink said.

It has been reported that some senior players at United remain furious with the decision to hand Cooper the captaincy.

Gold Coast are likely to only field two players over the age of 23 on Friday night due to the unavailability of 14 top-line players, mainly due to injury.

Now they will be without their senior coach.

But Mensink said the club's management had not lost the respect of the dressing room, instead pointing to the media for 'beating it up'.

"At the end of the day, the players have just got to play," he said.

"They're all talking about contracts, et cetera et cetera... (but) if they're not playing and they're not getting positive results then they don't get contracts."

"The thing to think about is we are on the bottom of the ladder whether we like it or not. We are looking to the future. We need to depend on these (young) guys and give them the opportunity."

When asked if Bleiberg could walk out on the club, Mensink said: "That's for Miron and the club to discuss."

Hyunday A-League boss Lyall Gorman weighed in on the decision, supporting the right of Gold Coast United to make their own deicisions.

“The coaching appointments and player roster for a team is at the club’s ultimate discretion within the guidelines set down by FFA,” said Head of A-League Lyall Gorman.

“Gold Coast United have appointed Mike Mulvey as stand-in coach for the match against Melbourne Heart this weekend. Mike meets the requirements as an A-License holder and has completed the first part of his Pro-Diploma.

“The appointment of a stand-in captain due to the suspension of Club captain Michael Thwaite is again at the Club’s discretion.

“The Hyundai A-League and the feeder competition in the National Youth League have created a platform for young players to be given a chance and professional pathway in football and that is what Gold Coast United has embraced.

“We look forward to seeing two clubs play on Friday night at AAMI Park that both put an emphasis on the development of their young players.”

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