They’re a joke
Fans vent fury at FFA as axe finally falls
IT’S official. The North Queensland Fury have been killed off.
Football Federation Australia chief executive Ben Buckley yesterday delivered the death knock locals had expected but were desperate not to hear, sparking a bitter response across the North’s soccer community.
Shattered Fury team manager and clubman of the year Tony Lambert couldn’t bite his tongue when asked what he thought of FFA.
‘‘ People will just think they’re a joke,’’ he said.
‘‘ You feel so let down by what you thought was the overall governing body . . . we’re just very disappointed with the FFA.’’
FFA knew they would face a backlash but said the decision came down to the Fury being too much of a financial risk.
Having spent about $ 9 million on the NQ team over two years and believing the Fury had not done enough to plug the holes ahead of the 2011/ 12 campaign, Mr Buckley said it was decided they would cut their losses and run.
But Fury management said they had exceeded the $ 1.5 million target set for them.
‘‘ I think there has been some con- fusion about what the targets have been,’’ said Mr Buckley.
‘‘ We set a target to raise capital of a minimum of $ 1.5 million and the guys have done a really, really good job of increasing the sponsorship, but even with that there is still a deficit on the income statement of $ 2 million and potentially more.’’
‘‘ That’s just too big a bridge for the FFA to fund.’’
FFA claim the only ‘‘ capital’’ was the $ 300,000 raised from the community ownership model.
Fury management were privately fuming following the 90-minute meeting where it became clear FFA had no intention of extending the club’s licence.
Most Fury staff left before Mr Buckley and A-League h e a d L y a l l Gor man a d - dressed media. Those who stayed, as FFA employees until the end of the month, chose their words carefully.
‘‘ Today is a shock . . . it’s a very emotional day for the club,’’ said Fury chief executive Rabieh Krayem.
‘‘ It’s very sad to tell people they don’t have a job, it’s going to be very sad to tell a lot of kids there’s not a football club around.
‘‘ I respect their ( FFA) decision, at the end of the day they are the ones that take t h e r i s k o f t h e c l u b , ultimately they’ve made a decision – I don’t have to agree with it and I don’t agree with it – but you have to respect the person that pays the bills.’’
I f g i v e n a n o t h e r s i x months, Mr Krayem was convinced the club would thrive without any financial input from FFA.
But Mr Buckley believed the Fury were given more than enough time to save t hemselves, even t hough Adelaide United received close to two seasons to earn their independence.
Player Chris Grossman was adamant the sport’s national governing body wanted North Queensland FC gone as early as October.
‘‘ We always knew the FFA didn’t want us in the league, that was another battle we had during the season,’’ he said. ‘‘ That was the feeling among the boys . . . when you’ve got the governing body against you there’s not much you can do.’’
Mr Buckley denied the FFA were to blame for rushing expansion into the region and accepting a ‘‘ flawed’’ original business plan.
FURY-OUS: The team’s kit man Tony Lambert was at a loss yesterday after the club he gave his heart and soul to was consigned to the scrap heap
FFA boss Ben Buckley leaves town
yesterday after axing the Fury