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Fury renaissance a step closer

27 January 2014-SBS EXCLUSIVE: Philip Micallef

north queensland

On way back ... North Queensland Fury fans show their colours (Getty Images)

A group of benefactors headed by former North Queensland Fury chairman Rabieh Krayem has re-formed the club in the hope that it is allowed back in the A-League in 2018.

The new entity is expected to compete in the National Youth League and Women's League under the name of Northern Fury in 2015-2016.

It is hoped the club will be able to build a compelling case for inclusion when Football Federation looks to expand the competition in four years' time.

The Fury club was disbanded by Football Federation Australia (FFA) in 2011 due to financial instability two seasons after its acceptance in the A-League.

"We are very confident of being in a position to take the A-League licence when FFA decides to expand the competition after taking the basic steps of getting a youth and women's team in the competition," Krayem said.

"We have set time to get ourselves into the A-League and we have spoken to the FFA who have been very receptive to our concept.

"What we've learned from the past is that we've got to build from grassroots.

"At the moment we are competing in the National Premier League in Queensland."

The old Fury club came into the competition in 2009 in a blaze of publicity.

It signed former Liverpool and England striker Robbie Fowler and drew healthy crowds but it all went wrong in its second season as crowds dipped and the team finished bottom of the league.

Krayem said he has no doubts that the second bite at the cherry would be successful because, contrary to the club's first acceptance, it has enough time on its hands to get things right.

"This time we've got all the clubs and associations on board," Krayem explained.

"We've got 12-year-olds playing in the NPL and have provided them with a pathway to the senior level.

"Three years ago, on the other hand, we were given a licence and asked to get the local associations on board.

"Basically three years ago we were handed a licence whereas this time we want to earn it and deserve it.

"That's what I told (CEO) David Gallop in the talks with the FFA which have been very positive."

Krayem said that drawing big enough crowds to make the club sustainable in the A-League would not be as problematic as in the past.

"I'll give you an example. We had average crowds of 2400 per game in our matches in the NPL last season," he said.

"Now when you have a club with many members and 12-year-old teams right through to senior sides you get community backing and you are not just relying on corporate support.

"Football is still the number one junior sport in the region and four years should give us enough time to build support.

"If Fury are back in the league the rise in supporter numbers and media support would be significant."

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