Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Jolly Old St Clive; Christmas Comes Early for Fans with Owner Announcing Free Entry to Blockbuster

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Jolly Old St Clive; Christmas Comes Early for Fans with Owner Announcing Free Entry to Blockbuster

Article excerpt

Byline: Jamie Gallagher jamie.gallagher@tweednews.com.au

WHETHER you believe it's ain honour of FFA chairman Frank Lowya or simply to boost crashing crowd figures, you can't knock Clive Palmer's good deed this festive season.

Christmas came early for Gold Coast United fans and players alike yesterday, with the billionaire owner announcing free entry to all supporters for the December 19 clash with the Central Coast Mariners at Skilled Park.

In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, Palmer stated that opening the entire stadium to all fans for United's final home game before Christmas was a tribute to Lowy and the Australian FIFA World Cup bid team. "I felt it was important to do something positive to highlight exactly what Frank Lowy has contributed to not only the bid, but to football as a whole," Palmer said.

Gold Coast CEO Clive Mensink echoed Palmer's thoughts, but added that the concept was just as much a present for all football fans on the Gold Coast.

"I'd like people to know that while we're doing this in appreciation of Frank and Ben's (Buckley) efforts, we're also looking to turn the frowns upside down," Mensink said.

"A lot of people feel let down after the (World Cup) decision but we want to help them shake it off and get back into the spirit of things.

"It's a great way for the local community to enjoy some free entertainment and I encourage everyone who is a football fan to not only come along themselves, but to tell everyone they know or bring a group of friends to enjoy the match with them.

"Not too many things are free at this time of year!a

Nice sentiments, but critics may see dismal attendance figures as an equally plausible explanation for the charitable gesture, with the club tallying record lows of 1714 and then 1658 for their last two bouts at Robina.

Palmer has been under constant pressure to boost attendance figures almost since the club's inception and was hammered by local fans and the FFA alike when he opted to cap Skilled Park crowds at 5000 in October, 2009. …

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