Supporters rally for Gold Coast United

March 7, 2012
By Tony Bartlett

A meeting of Gold Coast United supporters and fans has set up a steering committee to present an alternative ownership model for the club to Football Federation Australia (FFA).

The meeting on Wednesday night, facilitated by Griffith University, drew about 150 fans, one of the team's two Gold Coast sponsors, a number of players including captain Michael Thwaite, and interim coach Mike Mulvey.

The head of Griffith Uni's Business School, Professor James Skinner, said the steering committee is driven by a sense of urgency.

"But it's also driven by the need to come up with a viable business model that appeals to the FFA but also embraces the community at the same time," he told AAP.

"The first thing they have to do is have some discussions with the FFA in terms of what they require for the Gold Coast to remain viable.

"I think they also need to speak to Clive Palmer about where he sees the club going and what role he would like to play in it."

The club is being run under FFA's control for the remainder of the season after Palmer was stripped of his licence last week.

Prof Skinner said the business model would likely involve a supporters trust.

He said it could cost close to $6 million to fund the club next season.

The inaugural president of the Gold Coast United Supporters Club, Nathan Mulhearn, believes fans would still be open to Palmer maintaining links with the team.

"The model we're trying to set up is that anyone donating money, or sponsoring, or being an investor wouldn't have the say or the power he had in the past.

"So I think they would warm to the idea of Clive Palmer being involved if that was the case.

"There's a lot of water to go under that bridge and they might warm a little bit to it but the FFA might be a different story."

Mr Mulhearn said the steering committee would come up with a plan of action over the next few days and hold formal talks with the FFA within the next week.

FFA has remained coy over whether it will seek new investors for next season and persist with a team on the Gold Coast but Mulvey and the players are hoping there may still be a future for the team.

Mulvey told reporters after Wednesday's training run he hoped potential investors would express their interest.

"We've proven what we can do on the field and I think if anybody is prepared to back the team they've got the nucleus of a squad.

"But you know what, they need to act quickly because the vultures are already circling."