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Glory find themselves at a critical juncture

As the Hyundai A-League launches into its second decade of existence, one of its founding clubs prepares to celebrate 20 years of top flight football, in the form of Perth Glory Football Club.

But it has been a rough ride of late for the boys in purple, with the 2014/15 salary cap scandal just one of many issues that have continued to plague the club.

Despite the club using it’s #WESTvREST social media war-cry, it’s never been a more fractured landscape on the Western seaboard.

Loyal fans still hold disdain for the club’s administration, brandishing their own hashtags (such as #nofuturewithsage) at the end of posts on social media.

During the salary cap scandal itself, there was talks of boycotts against the management of the club — another sign that all was not well.

It is yet to be seen if this has been rectified or if the healing has even begun for those who’ve felt slighted by the club.

Incoming CEO Peter Filopolous will have his work cut out for him from the get-go to re-unite a fan base that is splintered into two camps — those who have faith in how the club is run, and those who clearly don’t.

Some camps are calling for the return of the license to Football Federation Australia, however these same supporters must also have short memories of the previous tenure of FFA control in the 2006/07 season.

Struggling to get players to relocate on a shoe-string budget, the FFA-run Glory lost major sponsors Western QBE and fielded arguably one of the weakest Glory sides of the past twenty years.

It was a dire time, and one that I’m sure many Glory fans do not wish to repeat.

So how does the club ensure that it doesn’t implode and return to those darker times?

In some circles, the belief is that the best way to do so is by re-engaging the public with a positive, embracing outlook, and signings that reflect a winning culture and ambition.

Whilst the club have done well so far by signing squad players in Golec, Sandor and Covic, the pool of quality players uncontracted for the 2015/16 season continues to diminish.

Whilst news of former club favourite Nikita Rukavytsya returning has resurfaced, along with fringe Socceroo Tomi Juric being bandied about as an Andy Keogh replacement, words are only words until they are a signed, sealed and delivered in a purple jersey.

Concerning, however, is that Perth Glory seem to be going back to the recruitment of yesteryear, with former Sydney FC defender Marc Warren emerging from the A-League wilderness to go on trial with the West Australian club.

The club needs to show that it’s ambitious, and willing to right the wrongs of the last season. But with its playing stocks cut, and its reputation tarnished, the club may find that difficult to achieve.

But Perth has to show its positivity on this front, and accept that they are in this position due to their own mistakes.

Articles flying out saying “We’re over last year” do nothing to strengthen the resolve of the club nor the fans, and only serve to undermine the age old adage of ‘No Pain, No Gain’.

Whilst its East versus West mentality may have garnered them some support, now it’s time for Perth to take on that self-inflicted pain and build on it, with the promise of growth, success and stability, and putting the darker times behind them.

For if the club, its players and its fans cannot, the club could be set back years in its dreams of a maiden A-League championship — and a weak Perth Glory is no good for the competition.

As their fabled club song decries, “Our game’s a great tradition, let the future now unfold, as the Glory marches on”.

About the author

avatarKris is a freelance sports journalist, a two-time WA media guild award winner, and podcast host and writer for Ultimate A-League.

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