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ON TOUR ... Thunder managing director James Gage had a successful trip to South Africa


THE push for a Townsville-based team to join football's A-League gathered further momentum at a major international football conference in South Africa this week.


Northern Thunder FC managing director James Gage said encouraging talks with Brazilian and South African clubs and English Premier League outfit Everton had been among the `huge' footballing and business opportunities created during Soccerex 2007 in Johannesburg.


The Thunder last week officially unveiled their bid to join an expanded A-League in 2009.


The Thunder's delegation in South Africa also included head coach Wynton Rufer, chief financial backer Allen St James and marketing manager Dean Deighton.


Gage said the Thunder had been well received at Soccerex, the world's largest football exhibition.


"Our logo and promotional material have gone down sensationally well," Gage said from Johannesburg.


"Lots of people from all over the world have been talking about us."


Gage said contacts created at the conference promised to prove valuable in

player recruitment and development.


He said talks with Brazilian clubs boded well for the establishment of links with one of the world's most powerful footballing nations.


"Within the football world, you've got to have reliable people you can contact," Gage said.


"Some of the people we've talked to from Brazil have been very, very high quality.


"We can benefit by getting Brazilian players to come into our A-League team, and we will know the quality of the players. There are some possibilities for very good partnerships for our club, with our coaches and youth players.


"And that's just Brazil, we've also had some very good discussions with Everton Football Club as well as some South African clubs."


Gage said Oceania player of the century Rufer had proven a valuable ambassador for the Thunder this week, not least in what had been particularly encouraging talks with Brazilian first division club Atletico Paranaense, league champions in 2001.


"Atletico's director of international affairs Paulo Rink is a Brazilian-German, he played for the German national team when Wynton played in Germany," Gage said.


"He and Wynton got on great guns. A lot of people have said it's a big coup for us to have someone of Wynton's calibre."


Gage said the conference had seen fruitful talks on the business front.


"The talks we've had with possible sponsors and even possible future investors have been quite phenomenal," Gage said.


The Thunder are considered frontrunners for one of a possible two new A-League franchises for 2009, having lost out narrowly to Wellington for a vacant licence this year.


Bids are also expected from the Gold Coast, Canberra and Wollongong, and possibly Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.


Football Federation Australia is expected to make a decision on expansion in March next year.




Will keep half an eye on .

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Good news I suppose.


Shame about the Dairy Farmers stadium name. The Thunderdome would have been a better choice for a stadium. A homage to Mad Max ;)


What year would they likely to be joining the A-league?


Speaking of South Africa, there have been murmurings that Everton have been invited to the Vodacom Challenge in Johannesburg (in July).

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Pat    2

The stadium as is the modern way is named after a sponsor " Dairy farmers" yep they make milk.( well i figures cows actually make the milk, these guys justproduce it)


Has been the long term home of North QLD Cowboys NRL Rugby L side.


Excpected to be admitted to leauge by March this year -> For next season or season after @ latest.


I like the idea as this will be my closest associated A League club & to get in bed with my beloved Blues, would make any association with this team all the more natural for moi.



This A League seems to get better each year ( in 3rd season - albeit short) & im actually starting to enjoy it.


Whislt they play 4 week finals series, finishing top of reg season ensures Qual for Asian Champs League & a home venue final.


With 1 match to play the top 4 looks like this -> with none in top 4 playinge ach other in final game.


#1-Queensland Roar...............P -2o - GD+6-PTS 31

#2-Sydney Fc.........................P -2o - GD+4-PTS 31

#3-Central Coast mariners......P -2o - GD+3-PTS 31

#4-Newcastle jets...................P -2o - GD+3-PTS 31


Bloody Close.

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The Gold Coast will get in before the thunder. Id like to see another tards from victoria get in before the thunder


As much as i like to have the A-League spread out across qld... would there even be a market of players and fans for these bloody queenslanders?

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Pat    2

The Nortth QLDe'rs are very parochial & would turn up @ there stadium to watch a tiddly winks match against any southerners.


And they finish every sentance with "yeh eh " gota love that.


Gold Coast is the bigger market-> nearly a million people. ( & the new stadium @ Robina is magnificent)


I think the suits are looking 4 long term viability & the fact these 2 are backed by a Group Of Casino's , property developers & in the Northern franchise sense a Giant Mining Company, ensures that.


I am in between, more to the north & wouldnt mind a team to half follow. Brisbane doesnt relate to us that much, whilst a NQ side would wif an association to Everton would be great 4 me personally.


Victoria must get a new team, second biggest state pop wise & only 1 team thats weird when 1 considers theres 3 teams within a 50 mile radius of Sydney.


Anyhwos I really hope the Everton thing eventuates. ( and Qld currently is producing some super Kids)

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