Miron sees GCU future

Former Gold Coast United coach Miron Bleiberg believes the region deserves one more shot at having a Hyundai A-League club.

Former Gold Coast United coach Miron Bleiberg believes the region deserves one more shot at having a Hyundai A-League club.

Following Football Federation Australia's decision to revoke the license of outspoken billionaire Clive Palmer, the future of the game on the tourist strip beyond this season is up in the air.

United has suffered from perilously low crowds under the ownership and management of the mining tycoon, but the Gold Coast, one of Australia's fastest growing areas, remains a key market.

Given FFA chairman Frank Lowy's determination for a western Sydney team, and reports that the league is scurrying to find potential investors, it appears the competition is faced with a number of options.

The first is to axe United and proceed with a nine-team competition.

The second is to conjure up a western Sydney franchise in a matter of months and rush them in for next season, to replace Gold Coast.

But Bleiberg, who quit as coach of United three weeks ago, proposes a third possibility - give his old side one last run as a community club.

"In my humble opinion it is the best choice," he said.

"That will give FFA enough time to create a strong western Sydney team, without any time pressure, without rushing. Meanwhile, Gold Coast will get the chance to prove they want a team.

"The most important thing is to make sure, for the sake of the community and everything that the club has done so far, that there is Gold Coast United next season.

"At the end of the year, if they don't prove it, then you bring in western Sydney. If they do, then we have 11 teams and it's win-win for everybody."

As always, it will come down to funds - but the affable Israeli has suggested a model that strays from the sole ownership structure.

Bleiberg, who has enjoyed success outside of football in business and real estate, said a ballpark figure of $3 million would be needed to keep the club alive - much less spent by the supposed powerhouses of the competition.

"If you can get around that much, from my experience, you can run a club," he said.

"Sydney and Melbourne Victory spent much more and still at least one of them will not make the finals.

"Gold Coast can be a club that runs similar to the way the Mariners are run."

Bleiberg said the money could come from a variety of sources.

One is Gold Coast Soccer, the governing body of the sport in the region, which has already met with A-League chief Lyall Gorman for talks over keeping a club in the area.

By assisting with administrative staff and logistics, Bleiberg said Gold Coast Soccer could effectively save hundreds of thousands of dollars.

That contribution could be complimented by funds from the private and public sectors, as well as money from an expected new television rights deal.

"They don't have to spend millions of dollars but private people, the government, private enterprise, donations ... it all adds up," Bleiberg said.

"I hope Clive Palmer will come to help too, because he said many times it was about creating the club for the community."

Finally, Bleiberg said the community could also take part-ownership through a supporters' trust - an organisation that has saved several clubs worldwide from the brink of closure.

For a membership fee of around $500, as suggested by Bleiberg, fans would have representation on the club's board and input with regard to the running of the club.

"I'd be happy to put in the first cheque of $500 to get the ball rolling, if that's what's required," he said.