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EXCLUSIVE: Gold Coast United's Steve Pantelidis

Gold Coast United defender/midfielder Steve Pantelidis had a very interesting 2009/10 A-League season.

The 25-year old left his hometown of Melbourne to join Gold Coast and at the time admitted he was extremely excited about the prospect of being involved in Australian football history with a brand new club.

Fast forward seven months and the former Australia U20 international is still excited but his excitement comes with a realisation that things must change if he is to become part of the A-League's elite.

He was delighted to help United reach the finals in their debut season and his form was solid when he was on the pitch but therein lies the problem - he was too often sidelined by suspension.

tribalfootball.com caught up with Pantelidis to reflect on the season that was and look forward to the next chapter in his career.

"Gold Coast United had a successful season," Pantelidis said.

"There's a lot of challenges starting a club from scratch and to finish third was a great achievement. Having said that, we felt we could have done better in the finals."

As for himself, the former Melbourne Knights and Oakleigh Cannons man was happy with the way he performed but made one frank assessment on his own game.

"I think I had a very good season," he added. "I was involved in every match I was available which was one of my aims for the season. Obviously there are things I need to work on and my discipline is high on my list."

With a league-high 12 yellow cards, Pantelidis missed more games than he would have liked and although his coach, Miron Bleiberg, believes most of his cautions were unwarranted, the player himself was more realistic and said he was extremely disappointed with a five-match ban he received late in the season that forced him out of Gold Coast's debut final - a knockout semi which they lost to Newcastle Jets on penalties.

"I think a few of them were a bit soft but others were definitely warranted," he added further. "I don't think I was targeted by the referees (like Bleiberg indicated) but they probably took a closer look at incidences which I was involved in.

"The ban was extremely disappointing. Every player wants to compete in the finals and to miss out wasn't a good feeling. I let down a lot of people which is hard to take.

"The suspension was warranted and I have taken steps to help me become a better footballer."

As for the future of both the club and himself, Pantelidis plans to take a short break before returning to Skilled Park to undertake another pre-season where he will striving to become a regular first team player with the Gold Coast - a club he believes can experience plenty of success with a few minor alterations.

"I'll take a couple of weeks off than I'll start training to have a base before the start of pre-season. It's my last year of my contract so I'll be working hard to earn another contract," he said.

"(As for the club) obviously crowds were down in the first season even though results were decent.

"I believe we will be successful again in the upcoming season. The players were disappointed after the loss in the finals and we want to correct a few things in season six of the A-League.

"The squad we have is a very good one and with the addition of a few players hopefully will be challenging for the title.

"With the support of the Gold Coast community we will be a strong club this year."

Andrew Slevison
About the author

Andrew Slevison

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