Northern Fury chairman Rabieh Krayem has called on the Townsville public to show the FFA they deserve an A-League club by coming out in force for the pre-season tournament to be played in the city in August.
The Townsville Football Cup was announced on Friday morning, with A-League football returning to the region for the first time since the Fury were booted out of the competition in 2011.
A-League trio Brisbane Roar, Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets, along with the Fury, will battle it out in a four-team round robin competition from 24-30 August.
The Fury have made noises in recent tims about their ambition to return to the A-League when the competition looks to expand in the future, already pushing for National Youth League and W-League teams, and Krayem told FourFourTwo the tournament was a ‘stepping stone’.
Krayem added he expected good crowds to turn out for the opportunity to watch top-level football which would enhance the Fury’s case.
“We want to show the football community and the FFA that there’s still support for football at the highest level,” Krayem said.
“We’re very confident the crowds will come out and support the opportunity to watch the Fury, Sydney FC, Brisbane Roar and Newcastle.
“It’s a stepping stone for us to show our wares and then at an appropriate time we’ll deserve our spot back in the A-League.
“It’s about taking a proactive approach. We have to make things happen and this is the reason for the tournament.”
The Fury were kicked out of the A-League due to financial difficulties, with revenue from ticket sales one of a number of issues, including sponsorship.
The club averaged crowds of 5,395 during their two-year A-League existence. Average attendances dropped by more than 2,000 in the club’s second season following the exit of marquee man Robbie Fowler.
“We have to give people access to the highest level of the game and we know a lot of people in Townsville travel interstate to watch A-League games,” Krayem said.
“There was a number of people who travelled to the Grand Final to watch the Roar, so it’s about bringing it here and maintaining the momentum.”
Krayem and Fury director of coaching Ian Ferguson met with FFA boss David Gallop and A-League head Damien de Bohun in January to discuss expansion.
The FFA are still reviewing the futures of the NYL and W-League, meaning the Fury’s bid for inclusion in both competitions is no closer.
Krayem hoped the Fury could be included in the 2015-16 NYL and W-League, insisting they’d need 12 months to adequately prepare once given the green light.