I’M not afraid to admit that I haven’t been a Michael Searle fan over the years.
I’ll even confess to being a hater of John Cartwright as coach of the Titans. I was calling for their demise for a long time before this week.
You would think that means I’m celebrating right now. Both of them stepping down in one foul swoop to clean house and start again. But I’m not.
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Despite the Centre of Excellence bungle, which put him out of favour with locals and plunged the club into $25 million in debt that it already couldn’t afford, I have to admit a begrudging respect for Michael Searle.
The man put a lot on the line to get an NRL team on the Gold Coast. He put his money where his mouth is and funded the majority of the start-up costs associated with the Titans. His dreams and vision for the future of footy on the Gold Coast showed great passion for the game and a huge belief in the team and in our city. I have to admit that is admirable. Foolhardy, but admirable.
And what about Cartwright? Every season that I watch the Titans blow another chance to contend, I call for Cartwright’s head. And now I have it. But it doesn’t feel as great as I was hoping. Regardless of whether it was Cartwright’s coaching, the lacking depth of talent in the team or financial woes preventing it from being competitive, it has been hard to watch and as he admitted in his press conference, the buck stops with him.
There are certainly a lot of heavy shoulders in Robina at the moment. Cartwright takes responsibility for the team’s poor performance, Searle takes responsibility for the bad public opinion of the team and the players feel responsible for Cartwright’s departure as coach.
I do believe that this is what needed to be done but I’m having a case of ‘better the devil you know’. I wonder what is actually going to change at a club level in the wake of this big decision.
The new Executive Director of Football and head coach are going to be inheriting the same old problems. The Titans still have major financial issues and are still carrying a four-year legacy of mediocre football that doesn’t look set to end this season.
I only hope, as Searle and Cartwright do, that if nothing else, this is the catalyst for getting fans back on side in the form of bums on seats at the next home game. That is going to be the biggest decider of fate in this whole debacle.
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