Brown's bittersweet GCU double

There was a tinge of the bittersweet in Gold Coast United's comprehensive 3-0 defeat of Perth on Sunday.

There was a tinge of the bittersweet in Gold Coast United's comprehensive 3-0 defeat of Perth on Sunday.

The bottom placed club released months of pent-up frustration on the finals-bound Glory.

But whatever relief or satisfaction the breakthrough win gave them was ever-so-slightly tempered by the source of their last two goals, Gold Coast product James Brown, who told the story of their life in limbo.

The 22-year-old attacking weapon made his comeback from an ankle injury after spending eight games - almost a third of the season - on the sidelines.

Running on for Mitch Cooper in the 67th minute, the way Brown slotted right back into the thick of the action after so long on the treatment table should have made for titillating viewing for Newcastle fans.

It is the Jets, after all, who will benefit from the rising star's play next season. Brown signed on with the Hunter club a few weeks ago, because his embattled hometown team could not promise him a future.

United coach, Mike Mulvey, who can take plenty of credit for the youngster's development over the past two years, admits his loss has already been felt.

"We're going to miss him at the club. It's a shame, but we wish him well," he said.

"He's been a great servant for Gold Coast United and you can see out there the quality that we're going to miss and Newcastle will gain.

"It was like he hadn't been away really. That gave everybody a lift as soon as he got on the ball and he could see visibly that he lifted."

Brown is just one of a handful of starlets at Gold Coast who have been groomed for senior football by Mulvey and former coach Miron Bleiberg, and after a tough initiation they are now starting to make their presence felt.

Together they have breathed new life into a season that could have easily fallen into a downward spiral after chairman Clive Palmer was given the boot by the FFA.

The question is how long they will be able to play together. "There's a great future for this particular group," Mulvey said. "It's up to the powers that be if that continues or not."

"I can't speak highly enough of them. You have to remember the nucleus of this team has won the last two youth titles.

"They know how to win, they've got a winning mentality, but you've got to take that from youth football to senior football.

"That's not easy. These six or seven games these lads have been afforded is invaluable in their development."

The push for Gold Coast to remain in the A-League next season would not have been helped by the crowd that turned up at Robina, which was estimated at around 2000 by officials.

A precise figure was not available due to technical failures with the turnstiles at Skilled Park. It's believed 1720 fans had scanned their tickets before the 'spectometor', in the words of Mulvey, broke.

But pointing to his team as proof of what can happen when young players are given a go, the coach said it was imperative that the club be allowed to continue their work.

"The people who were here today, it doesn't matter if there's 1700 or 50700, they got value for money, made a lot of noise, and enjoyed it. It's their team," Mulvey said.

"It's a bigger picture than just this group. I think that Queensland itself should have two teams minimum.

"There's a great number of players in Queensland that need to aspire to something. If there's only one team and it's the Roar, then that's a great shame.

"Mums and dads on the Gold Coast are going to be looking over the border and they might have to move house to get their kids a game."