Mike Berry, (from left) founder of Football Far North Coast; Isaac Smith, deputy mayor of Lismore and Goonellabah player; and Bill Coulter, chief executive of Ballina RSL. The trio have put their hands up for election to the FFNC board.
Mike Berry, (from left) founder of Football Far North Coast; Isaac Smith, deputy mayor of Lismore and Goonellabah player; and Bill Coulter, chief executive of Ballina RSL. The trio have put their hands up for election to the FFNC board. JAY CRONAN

Lismore could be soccer capital

POLITICS could land on the soccer pitch – or at least in the boardroom – if Lismore deputy mayor Isaac Smith is elected to the Football Far North Coast board tonight.

The 35-year-old achiever already has a full plate with family commitments, playing soccer for Goonellabah and his council duties but is keen to grow the sport he loves.

Smith regards the Far North Coast as a hotbed for soccer talent and wants wider recognition for locals in representative teams, among other things.

“I would love to see a world-class pitch in Lismore,” Smith said.

“We want the Far North Coast to be known as the soccer capital of Australia.”

The deputy mayor has vision, and while he may seem over ambitious you don’t get to where he is by sitting on your hands.

“If you’re gonna go, you’ve gotta go big,” he said.

Smith heads a group of five business leaders gunning for the four available spots on the board.

Existing member Bob Perrin is seeking re-election, while also well-credentialled for the roles are candidates Bill Coulter, the Ballina RSL Club chief executive; Mike Berry, a private insurance consultancy operator; and Leonardus Smits, a retired solicitor.

FFNC general manager Steve Mackney says the organisation is looking to a new direction with business operations paramount.

“We need to run this as a business, not just a sports club,” he said.

“Having candidates of this ilk stand us in good stead as we seek corporate connections which can make a positive contribution.

“We are in a good position but our business model needs some work and these guys, if elected, are perfect to provide strategic direction which will maximise our efficiency.”

FFNC covers 26 clubs from Tweed to Woodburn and west to Kyogle; all will have one vote at the election, which will be held during the FFNC annual general meeting in Lismore tonight.



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