Is the bigger picture out of focus?

'We Are Football' but right now we're hardly united as one... so where does the solution lie?

At the launch of season seven of the Hyundai A-League, the new inclusive campaign "We are Football" was rolled out with much fanfare - a campaign to "empower fans and make them proud of their league".

In the words of Lyall Gorman, head of the A-League, it was "a call for unity, for the football family to come together as one".

Someone it seems, forgot to copy Clive Palmer in on that memo.

Football fans have been left reeling in the wake of Palmer-s sensational comments - some disappointed, some disillusioned and others disgusted that an owner of one of 'their' clubs - be it bottom of the table or not, should dismiss it - and the game, as insignificant.

Of course, as the man bankrolling Gold Coast United, Clive Palmer is entitled to say whatever he thinks (he says his comments were misconstrued incidentally - a claim that passionate football fans may find hard to swallow). Conducting his exclusive media interview on Monday night wearing a "come play" scarf - a relic of Australia's failed world cup bid, was also a rather unusual choice to say the least.

However, Palmer is a businessman and he didn't become the richest man in Queensland by being ‘Mr. Popular-. He has his own ideas and opinions. A salient point he raises is the fact that he is not the only disgruntled owner.

This is an issue that needs to be addressed.

The general consensus seems to be that in an ideal world all the key roles in this game would be filled with 'proper football people'.

For now though, the ones willing to stump up millions of their own hard-earned are not always from football backgrounds, and quite frankly, beggars can't be choosers.

While the A-League is beholden to cashed-up individuals, they are always likely to be at the whim of human nature.

Nobody is suggesting that the wealth controlling the game should be pandered to without reservation, but it certainly appears that communication needs to be improved, and a common, transparent path negotiated.

Ideas from different backgrounds should be heard, respected and where appropriate embraced, not marginalised.

Recently, the clamour has been for traditional members of the football community to have their voices heard - but new members of the football family should also be welcomed - and, where there is a genuine desire to help the progression of the game, given a chance to prove their worth, regardless of the shape of their preferred 'football'.

Sydney FC CEO Dirk Melton has first-hand experience of the code jump and has fallen head over heels in love with the round ball, while still retaining his ongoing passion for the game of Rugby League.

Melton sees football as "one of the greatest conduits to social change in the world".

Yet despite his ongoing fight to put the former champion on a firmer footing and engage the club with the broader community (through initiatives such as the partnerships with 'Beyond Blue' and UNICEF), he still experiences vitriol from those who see him as an interloper.

Glenn Elliott used to kick a Sherrin around, yet could regularly be seen in the 'cheap seats' at Hindmarsh as a fan of Adelaide United, until his appointment as CEO of the club repositioned him in the corporate box.

Elliott believes a cross-fertilisation of ideas appeals to all sports. On the field, he says the creation of space and playing a possession game is something all coaches strive to achieve, and it's no surprise that ideas from one code permeate across to others.

Off the pitch, he observes that a crowd at Hindmarsh on any given day would contain a large spread of both Crows and Port supporters. "Adelaide people" he says, "know how important all these teams are to our community".

Elliot says the biggest challenge facing our code is to present a consolidated front. The game - he believes - has to have a voice if it is to work with government, attract funding and secure high level partnerships. Unity in the industry works better politically.

However, while most newcomers appear to have the best of intentions, they would be well-advised to remember the need to engage on a football level. The game has a proud history in this country that the football family want acknowledged. Most fans are too educated in the game to be taken for fools and few see 'crowds' of 2,000 at an A-League match as acceptable - no matter what the per capita ratio says.

The drama surrounding Gold Coast United has resembled a Shakespearean tragedy - passionate outbursts, unrequited love, vitriolic hate and a few disembodied heads rolling around. While the actors are, for the most part, still on the stage, let's hope it does not end in a tragic death.

There is no doubt that Clive Palmer's comments were a dagger in the heart to those of us who love the game and want it to thrive.

But it's also perhaps a timely reminder that if 'we are football', then 'we' should stand shoulder to shoulder and be truly united.