Gold Coast United Chairman Danny Maher: “We are chomping at the bit to get back into the A-League”

Danny Maher is the current Chairman of Gold Coast United FC and is leading the charge to bring a Gold Coast team back into the A-League.

In a wide-ranging chat with Soccerscene, Maher speaks openly about his involvement in the game, provides an update on Gold Coast’s bid for the A-League, the current on and off the field progress of Gold Coast United and his future ambitions for football in the city.

First of all, I’ll ask about your role in Gold Coast United – how did your involvement come about and what is your background in the game?

Danny Maher: There was a group of business people who got together to return A-League to the Gold Coast basically, but with a strong focus on reforming the elite pathways at the Gold Coast. We wanted to start by ensuring there was at least two top NPL clubs on the Gold Coast and provide some local interest in the game.

So, we reformed Gold Coast United, entering it into the National Premier Leagues (NPL). I am the Chairman of the club and I was obviously heading that reformation process. I’m also chairing the A-League bid for the city.

I’ve got kids that play the game, I played representative football and was one of those people who left the game as a teenager. I was president of Magic United prior to this, which has basically now turned into the Gold Coast Knights (the other NPL club in the city).

I’m very much using my background of being a tech entrepreneur and investor, looking at it as a long-term play, with a group of business people that are very interested in football.

Is there an update on Gold Coast’s A-League bid, are there any details you can reveal?

Danny Maher: I can. The A-League bid is separate from Gold Coast United and it’s an all of city bid supported by both NPL entities and the city itself. I chair an investment firm and that’s the lead entity for the bid. It’s backed majorly by a group of US business people including Jordan Gardner and Brett Johnson. They lead a US consortium that own football clubs around the world and would like to add the Gold Coast in to their portfolio of clubs.

If a Gold Coast bid were to be accepted in the A-League again, how would the team excel this time around?

Danny Maher: First of all, we need to determine the brand it would fall under and whether we would return to the Gold Coast United moniker. That will be up to the city, all the football clubs and participants, but ultimately the decision will be made by the owners and the APL.

One of the previous myths about the A-League and the Gold Coast is that United went under, but it actually didn’t. The license was removed by the FFA when Clive Palmer was butting heads with Frank Lowy, but the club didn’t fold.

We’ve got a situation at the Gold Coast where we have two excellent NPL clubs, the fastest growing population in Australia, the largest population without an A-League team, an empty $200 million stadium and an international football group that is backing the bid.

The AFL and NRL both have a professional team here and they are investing heavily in those sports in this area, but we are not asking for a dollar. We are just asking for permission to invest.

Would the consortium look to enter a national second division, or would it only consider an A-League expansion spot?

Danny Maher: The consortium for the A-League bid isn’t interested in joining a National Second Division at the moment, but the NPL clubs individually will look at that. For example, Gold Coast United, the NPL entity, may be interested in the second division and we are currently part of that group investigating the viability of a second division.

How is the Gold Coast United NPL club currently progressing on and off the pitch?

Danny Maher: It’s a really happy place. It’s the highest rated academy in Queensland, I believe. It’s the only academy in this region that has females and our senior women were the league champions last year. The men are going well, we don’t spend the amount of money some of the other clubs do as we are pursuing a long-term strategy with a youth policy. We’ve got a great facility that council has provided us down at Tallebudgera. It’s a really peaceful, scenic setting with six football fields and three of them operated by Gold Coast United. We have a really low turnover of players and its quite difficult to get in the academy.

We have good levels of sponsorship so we don’t use any junior fees to fund senior programs, so that’s great, and we focus strongly on the junior setup having to be self-sustaining.

One last one Danny, where do you want to see Gold Coast football with the NPL entities and the A-League bid moving forward in the next 5-10 years?

Danny Maher: We definitely would like to see sustainable NPL clubs that have good local competition and we want to see the football ecosystem connected. So, for example, clubs working together and not being sensitive about talented players moving to the correct pathway for them. We want to see committees, from the Gold Coast Knights and ourselves, collaborating together for the greater good of the game and leaving the competition to the fans, players and coaches.

Then ultimately, the A-League is an all of city entity so it doesn’t belong to any one club. It belongs to the city and all football fans in the region. We want to see the A-League team connected to all the NPL clubs and the NPL clubs connected to other clubs below them in their geography (which we are very close to reaching).

We are chomping at the bit to get back into the A-League for the city; we don’t talk about it a lot in public because we don’t need anything, everything is in place.

 

 

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Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Successful applicants confirmed for Tier 2 assessment process

Football Queensland (FQ) has recently confirmed that several clubs located across the state have successfully applied to be involved in FQ’s 2nd Tier Club Development Assessment, that drives their committing to the evolution of technical improvement across regional football entity’s in Queensland.

Three regional clubs ranging from the Far North, Gulf and Northern Regions were part of being viable for the assessment process. The Southside Comets located in the Far North and Gulf region were joined by Northern region clubs Brothers Townsville, and MA Olympic. Metro entity’s Springfield United and Noosa Lions join the regional clubs in the Tier 2 assessment.

In addition two extra regional clubs including Riverway JCU and Edge Hill United, have been included in undertaking the Tier 2 Club Development Assessment on a conditional basis.

The sole purpose of the Tier 2 Assessment is for FQ to continue its ongoing support for clubs within their pyramid to receive opportunities which will establish them amongst the states best within the future. The assessment will support clubs in their efforts in upgrading technical and developmental capabilities.

Upon the FQ website, Football and State Technical Director Gabor Ganczer stated via press release:

“We are excited as more clubs, especially regional clubs, are entering Football Queensland’s FQ Academy club assessment process at the Tier 2 entry stage, highlighting FQ’s technical strategy in action as an increasing number of clubs across the state who are dedicated to elevating the standard of technical development of both players and coaches.”

With five regional clubs involved in the assessment, Ganczer disclosed FQ’s message surrounding its contribution to the growth of their regional clubs.

“This is a strong indicator of the increased state-wide progression opportunities available and the appetite of clubs to work with Football Queensland to advance the standard of football and coaching expertise across the entire state.

“The FQ Academy assessment process is designed to measure a club’s technical performance from a planning, delivery and outcomes perspective, while it strengthens its accountability, transparency, and visibility across all areas to foster high-quality development and facilitate accessible tier progression.”

The Club Development Assessment process was first initiated within FQ in 2020, serving as their primary system in the evolution of clubs within the state, designed to guide clubs towards growing on a technical basis.

The Club Development Process further supports coaches, players and club officials through licensed courses, webinars and information workshops, proving insight and clarity surrounding what the assessment entails.

Silverware manufacturer for Football Queensland reaffirms commitment

Football Queensland (FQ) has solidified its partnership with The Trophy Superstore, becoming its Official Trophies and Medal partner for two years.

The Australian company, with its headquarters located in Brisbane, will continue to provide FQ competitions, tournaments and major award events with silverware and medallions.

The superstore will ensure that their services are executed in a quality, timely, individualised and articulate fashion for the Queensland Football Community.

The partnership between both FQ and the silverware provider has occurred for several years. The Trophy Superstore offers the creation of trophies, medals, achievement plaques and engraving services to several different sporting codes across Australia.

“Football Queensland is proud to partner with Queensland owned companies like Trophy Superstore who are committed to producing top quality products with the upmost care,” Football Queensland CEO Robert Cavallucci said via press release.  

“This partnership comes from a long-established and very positive working relationship developed with Trophy Superstore in recent years which has seen the company produce trophies and medals for our most prestigious awards including our FQ league titles, Football in Queensland Awards Night recipients and most recently the winners of the 2024 National Futsal Championships held on the Gold Coast. 

“We are looking forward to building on our existing relationship with Trophy Superstore as we recognise and celebrate the achievements of the Queensland football community. 

“Football Queensland is committed to maintaining and developing these vital commercial partnerships as they help to support the growth of the game and improve the football experience for our entire community.” 

Managing Director Ian Stuart is excited to deliver high-quality trophies, medals and awards to the Queensland football community to help recognise all those who contribute to the game.  

“Our relationship with Football Queensland spans many years and we are delighted to formalise a partnership which will continue to recognise the importance of Football, its members and supporters, at all levels within the community,” he added via media release.

“The Trophy Superstore is ready to assist the FQ community in recognising their clubs, members and communities for the 2024 season and beyond, by offering special FQ Club pricing on awards and medals.” 

With the consideration regarding the importance surrounding the visual appeal and quality of a trophy in the eyes of both its holders and fans alike, the partnership already established has pleased FQ officials. It’s important that a player feels satisfied when receiving a trophy, they are not exactly applauded for their quality, but are definitely exposed if they are not something deemed worthy by players and fans alike.

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