Saturday, October 21, 2006


Disquiet on the Western Front

Nothing, but nothing, is going right for Perth Glory at the moment.

The last two games, in which they dominated for long periods, have both been lost 2-1. Against Queensland, two clear penalties were denied them in a frantic second half. In Gosford last night, they were very much in the ascendancy late in the game, with the score at 1-1; but a nasty injury to Jason Petkovic, and a consequent long stoppage, thoroughly took the wind out of their sails.

A marvellous piece of opportunism from Tom Pondeljak restored the Mariners’ lead, and despite a concerted effort in injury time, Ron Smith’s team couldn’t level the scores.

So, the team heads back west with an injured goalkeeper, a key midfielder also in trouble, and spirits low.

But that is not the only problem facing the club that was the very emblem of “new football” until quite recently.

The FFA, of course, have been administering the club since the departure of Nick Tana at the end of last season. One would have expected a viable consortium to have taken the reins by now, but, for whatever reason, it hasn’t happened yet. And the fans are not happy.

Most of the vitriol from the diehard Glory fans has been directed at Matt Carroll, the FFA’s A-League supremo. The feeling seems to be that he has ignored the existing culture at the club in favour of marketing Perth Glory along rigidly similar lines to the other A-League clubs.

Indeed, some of the completely generic and rather featureless public faces of the clubs – such as the abysmal official websites – have been one of the worst features of the A-League.

Here is a sample of the opinions of the Shed. Recent hints that the club may be changing its colour scheme, or even its name, have been met with predictable (and, in my opinion, deserved) criticism.

Perth was in an unfortunately anomalous position as the only A-League club with a significant history behind it when the new competition began. The NFL-style generic branding favoured by Carroll was never going to be particularly popular out west, where the desire for individuality is, for obvious reasons, stronger than elsewhere.

A plea to the FFA, on this and other Perth-related issues: tread gently. The first few seasons of a new franchise competition may be all about standardization, but, like it or not, Perth Glory is a special case, for a number of reasons.

Chiefly, because they have a history.

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