They’re a joke

Fans vent fury at FFA as axe fi­nally falls

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page - From page 1 Antony Ste­wart Wed­nes­day, March 2, 2011

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.

Photo: SCOTT RAD­FORD-CHISHOLM

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

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