Fury- ous fans in a sad farewell
SAYONARA STRAKA: F-Troopers console coach Franz Straka after yesterday’s announcement ‘‘ THE A-League is dead’’.
That was the blunt message delivered by one shattered fan to Football Federation Australia decision makers after they yesterday made the agonising call to axe the North Queensland Fury from the A-League.
But Neil Gibson was hardly alone in his sentiments.
A band of hard-core supporters turned up to greet FFA chief executive Ben Buckley and A-League head Lyall Gorman ahead of yesterday’s D-Day meeting, full of hope but ultimately braced for the nightmare news to follow. Mr Buckley remained confident the region would not give up on the code’s national competition. Not so the supporters. ‘‘ This is the death of the A-League, in my opinion,’’ North Ward resident Mr Gibson said.
‘‘ There will be a lot of people from other clubs that realise that if they’re going to do this to us after we’ve j u mped t h r o u g h a l l t h e h o o p s , d o n e e v e r y t h i n g asked of us by the FFA, and to still be axed, there will be a lot of fans that lose confidence in this.’’
Passionate Fury group spokesman support Michael Palmer spoke to Mr Buckley on his way in, offering him his NQFC jersey and asking him to hold on to it during the 90-minute meeting with club executives. Later, after a series of interviews, following the bad news, he broke down in tears.
The pain was just as bad for Fury team manager Tony Lambert, who has dedicated up to 60 hours a week of his time free of charge to the club over two seasons only to see the dream unravel.
‘‘ It’s gut-wrenching,’’ said Lambert, who was named Fury clubman of the year less than two weeks ago.
‘‘ The eyes welled up a bit, but mainly I was just frust r at ed. Everyone put i n 110 per cent for the last few years and it just feels like you’ve had it dragged away from under you.’’
Kirwan’s Kristen Court s a i d : ‘ ‘ I ’ v e w a n t e d a n A-League team up in Townsville since I was a kid and when we finally got one it was so exciting – I’ve been to nearly every game – it’s so disappointing.
While Mr Buckley said ‘‘ never say never’’ to an A-League return, Mr Gibson struggled to be as optimistic.
‘‘ It won’t happen again, people here won’t have the confidence to go out and support a team again,’’ he said.
‘‘ What do you tell little kids when they say ‘ when’s the next Fury game on?’.’’