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The A-League clown

by Francis Leach on Feb 20, 2012

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What’s an old fashioned travelling show without a few clowns?

Never fear if you’re a Gold Coast United fan.

Forget about playing your next home game in front of the empty seats at Skilled Park, let’s put the game under a big top tent and be done with it.

Your club is a circus.

And owner Clive Palmer is the one with the painted face and the oversized red shoes.

In a week which has seen the unloved Glitter Strip Gang appoint a debutante teenager as Captain and stand down its coach, Miron Bleiberg, who was helpless as he watched his club being humiliated and his dignity being sacrificed.

In the end Bleiberg decided to quit his job and run away from the circus.

It was hard to see how you could top such high quality farce.

That would be to underestimate Clive the Court Jester, Prince of Pranks. He saved his best till last.

“I don't even like the game. I think it's a hopeless game. Rugby league's a much better game,” the Gold Coast United owner told Brisbane’s Sunday Mail.

Yes, that’s right. A man who has poured millions of his own money into the bottomless pit of his own dysfunctional football club admits he despises the very game it plays.

Guess what Clive, you’ll be unsurprised that for the wider Football family, the feeling is mutual.

For the players, coaches and staff at your club, your contempt is probably a known quantity.

Having treated the club the way an aged, bloated alley cat would treat a wounded mouse, they’re attuned to your particular brand of self interest and self loathing.

Take young Mitch Cooper for instance. You managed to turn what should have been the most important moment in that young man’s life into an awkward, embarrassing melodrama.

Your intervention put the kid in an invidious position that no professional footballer let alone a kid playing his first game should ever be in.

Cooper became a pawn in a silly game.

It may have satisfied your need to exercise power because power unrealised is no power at all. You know that, and so do we. And when wisdom, empathy and grace are absent where power resides, this is what we get.

The folks at FFA HQ must be suffering from a severe case of coulrophobia (fear of clowns) after their dealings with you.

That doesn’t absolve them from their responsibility for this whole mess.

Having relied on the kindness of strangers to bankroll its franchises, the FFA has discovered that there is a price to be paid for allowing its clubs to become a millionaire’s plaything.

Power and money can buy you most things. The way you carry on, it’s quite clear it can’t make you happy. And no amount of money can buy respect.

Just as in the best Shakespearian tragedies, it took a clown to reveal the truth.