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Northern Fury building foundations for the future

northern_fury_stylisedThe axing of the North Queensland Fury came across to many as both the FFA cutting their losses as well as an unwillingness to back a flailing club in the wake of a lack of investor support.

As you might remember, I was one of the many people advocating a second chance for the North Queensland club back in 2011.

But in the form of National Premier Leagues Queensland team Northern Fury, the club is making many inroads in the region, with success on the field and off it as they attempt to return to the A-League in the near future as an official franchise.

However, the most convincing thing that the Fury are doing is that they are building not a franchise, but a club.

Former North Queensland Fury player Gareth Edds has been installed as player-coach, and inaugural season manager Ian Ferguson has returned to the club as Technical Director – which gives a sense of continuity at the club.

Then there’s the fan support. The Fury averaged over a thousand fans at their home matches, with 2,500 fans packing out the Townsville Sports Reserve for their first home match this year.

Perhaps another criteria that the Fury has in their favour is the romanticism of football.

In the last of their two seasons in the league, North Queensland Fury won many fans for their attacking football, as well as through their charismatic coach Franz Straka.

Given the financial footing, and reasonable home support for the club, who wouldn’t back a battle between two Queensland sides as the state’s only A-League derby?

I would argue that it would be greeted with open arms, as the northern tropics are also an area that desperately needs representation. Especially given some of Australia’s finest, such as Brisbane Roar defender Shane Stefanutto, were born and bred on the Northern Queensland coast.

That said it’s not just the local players who are getting a look in at the new look Fury. 21-year-old former Fury player and Newcastle youngster Alex Read has returned to the Fury fold, and picked up the golden boot at the club this season with 11 goals. It’s a tell tale story for a lot of youngsters who haven’t been able to crack the A-League level, with Read being top of the charts at every club he’s played at despite not getting a look-in at the top domestic level.

But that’s where the Fury have come up with a bold plan for the future, and a goal of returning to the promised land of  A-League football.

The club is aiming for a 2015 license for inclusion in the National Youth League, a 2016 license for the Westfield W-League, and inclusion in the Hyundai A-League at the first possible convenience thereafter. It’s all in an effort of nurturing the pre-existing talent on the North Queensland coast and building on it for the future, which of course is one of the reasons for the setup of the National Premier Leagues structure.

The Fury are without a doubt setting the trend of how clubs can take an assertive plan and enact it in the hopes of playing top-flight football. And I, for one, will be calling for their inclusion in the A-League at whatever date they call for it after the 2015-16 season.

About the author

avatarKris is a freelance sports journalist, a two-time WA media guild award winner, and podcast host and writer for Ultimate A-League.

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