Western Corridor bid chairman Steve Johnson.
Western Corridor bid chairman Steve Johnson. Sarah Harvey

Troubles won't touch Western bid

THE financial dramas of the Gold Coast Titans won't impact negatively on the Western Corridor's quest to be included in the 2015 NRL competition.

In fact, it could be a positive. That is the clear position of Western Corridor bid chairman Steve Johnson.

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The Titans, a privately owned club, are in such financial straits that the very survival of the club is in jeopardy.

There is a view amongst some in the game that the Gold Coast's tribulations will cause the Australian Rugby League Commission to think twice about electing to expand the competition to 18 teams in 2015.

The view is based on the assumption that solidifying clubs that are in financial turmoil will be first up on the commission's agenda, rather than adding others to the mix.

But Mr Johnson said the ARLC would be able to see the wisdom of the Western Corridor ownership structure, as opposed to the Titans.

As previously reported in the QT, the Western Corridor ownership model will be set up in a similar way to the Green Bay Packers model in the NFL.

"I think what has happened to the Titans will affect us, but in a positive way," Johnson said.

"What it will reinforce to the commission is the value of a football club that truly engages with the community.

"There can be no better way of engaging in your community than through our ownership model. Our fans will be our owners and they will have a valid input and a voice in the club.

"The Titans ownership model is that Michael Searle owns the club.

"In our model the fans have the ability to buy shares in the club and be owners. That is a massive difference," Mr Johnson said.

"In our entity they are buying shares. In the Green Bay Packers NFL model they are buying units, but it is the same net result.

"We have a vertically integrated football club and it involves the continued input of the community in what we are doing."

The Titans are run by Searle - virtually a one-man band. The Western Corridor side will be run by a board.

"That board will be elected by the community and it will be accountable to the community," Mr Johnson said.


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