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The Gold Coast... Fury

by Ben Somerford on Feb 15, 2012

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Wednesday's announcement that Gold Coast's Olyroos star striker James Brown was heading to Newcastle Jets next season gave me a sense of deja vu. I've heard it all before, 12 months ago to be exact. Remember that ill-fated Townsville franchise... what was their name again?

Indeed, when there's more reports of GCU skipper Michael Thwaite moving to Asia or midfielder Jonas Salley heading to China, it becomes a bit more familiar. And unfortunately it's a sad state of affairs.

Clive Palmer's GCU simply can't offer the security which footballers crave. His unwillingness to offer out many contracts beyond this season, will see players go, like so many did at the Fury last term. Lets hope it doesn't bring GCU the hidings which Fury copped late last season before their demise.

Unfortunately the stats are beginning to stack up when it comes to comparisons. GCU are eight points adrift at the bottom of the table and winless in their past eight matches. In fact they've claimed just one point in their past five games.

It's an unfortunate state of affairs for Miron Bleiberg's side, who do seem to toil hard. The likes of Thwaite, Adama Traore, James Brown and Ben Halloran are talented footballers.

Indeed, those individuals' quality has been the reason for a lot of pundits trumping out that line that 'Gold Coast aren't a wooden spoon side'. I must say whenever I hear or read that, I ask 'who in the A-League is worse?' No one comes to my mind.

Unfortunately, for the occasional glimpse of quality from Halloran or Brown, there's too weak a supporting cast nowadays to capitalise on it. Indeed, that's GCU's downfall, they no longer have the depth of talent required, because owner Clive Palmer is no longer willing to invest in it.

I managed to catch Gold Coast first-hand a few Mondays ago when they took on Perth Glory on a lovely evening. My impressions on that night were they were clear wooden spooners. Glory cruised to a 4-0 win with GCU offering little.

Thwaite seemed frustrated, Traore seemed alienated, Halloran seemed lost in the middle of the park and Bleiberg seemed out of ideas. Nonetheless, people still trump out the line they are better than their positions suggests.

However, in my opinion, no one sums up their plight more than striker Maceo Rigters, a former Premier League striker and Dutch youth international. He certainly has talent, with a good CV, neat feet and a powerful strike. He's got the style, but lacks the substance.

On that Monday night, I couldn't count the number of times Rigters collected the ball, twisted, turned, jinked but got nowhere, before passing backwards or turning over the ball. It's unfair to pick on him alone, but he sums it up. Rigters' goal return for 2011-12, two strikes!

But Rigters isn't the man to blame. In fact, none of the players are really to blame. Off-field matters have sold them short.

Gold Coast's plight is alarming, but the reality is Palmer still holds their licence for two more years. And Palmer insists he isn't pulling out before that expires.

So the question is, what happens now? Does the club continue as it is now, sitting down the bottom of the table, losing players to other clubs? Or does a plan like the mooted Queensland United come to fruition?

Put simply, Gold Coast United cannot continue like this.