GCU scrap the cap to win back fans

GOLD Coast United fans are celebrating news Clive Palmer will lift his crowd cap following talks with the Football Federation Australia yesterday.

United fans vented their spleen at Palmer’s cost-cutting move on Saturday, sending the coal mining magnate a clear message they wanted their stadium open to all-comers before this weekend’s blockbuster with Sydney FC.

After talks with the FFA it was determined the 5000 crowd limit would be lifted with ticket prices to be restructured.

The aim is to attract more fans, with FFA chief executive Ben Buckley saying a campaign aimed at building support in the local community would begin soon.

“We have always believed the fans are there and this move will help Gold Coast United get back in touch with its supporters and endeavour to build support and create new fans for the future,” he said. “This is the first stage of winning the fans back and building strong community support for what is a very good football team.”

United chief executive Clive Mensink said the club had listened to fans’ views about the crowd cap that allowed the club to host matches with a $100,000 reduction in operating costs.

“We’ve listened to the fans and the community and they have told us that they want the stadium opened up and there are some issues around pricing,” he said.

“I have heard them loud and clear.”

Only 2616 fans – the club’s lowest attendance and one of the smallest crowds in the competition’s five-year history – turned out for Saturday’s match against North Queensland Furty.

After the game United captain Jason Culina took the unusual action of approaching fans to apologise.

“I basically apologised to them and told them that we’re going to put things right,” the club’s marquee signing said.

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