Perth Glory management are supposedly in the throes of a review of the past season both on and off the pitch. Which is obviously good business practise. However there are a few key areas that we believe, as outsiders looking in, that need to be addressed, areas that do not have restrictions placed on them by the FFA.
The first and most obvious one is the issue that sees the power resting firmly with the players rather than he coach. Every football fan knows that these days when it comes to wages many players earn more than their coach, which in itself is questionable, as the coach is the one who puts his head on the line each week in terms of selection and results. The buck stops with him. We know that this is not going to change for the foreseeable future.
However owner Tony Sage’s insistence that the coach only be given a one-year deal does not auger well for the club as a whole. This is not even in relation to the current coach as he has stated that if he brought in a replacement the same would apply.
With only one year how can any coach build for the future? In business you are supposed to have a five-year plan that is reviewed on an ongoing basis. With players on contracts of one, two and three years, it is always going to be a case of a coach having to have a three-year plan.
With players having contracts that are longer than their boss, it gives them the balance of power, if they start under performing then the coach is moved on. In a city like Perth that is even more likely, as was witnessed in the past when player power helped remove the coach.
If Perth Glory is to move forward and build on their first finals appearance this is an area that needs to be addressed. If Tony Sage feels that every week he is suffering fans telling him to sack the coach, welcome to football. Show the strength that has made you successful and back your man.
One thing that should not be tolerated by the club or the coach is players on the staff writing newspaper columns or having regular slots on television or radio, unless the club controls what they say. As this is an area this season and in the past where the club has sent mixed messages to the fans.
Similarly the senior management and the owner have to realise that they cannot socialise with players. In the past this has been the case and when issues have been raised between a player and the coach, the player has gone bleating to his ‘friend.’ This simply cannot happen, can you imagine the Glazers having Wayne Rooney to dinner and the next time he gets an earful from Sir Alex Ferguson, he picks up the phone and calls them?
Another area that will hopefully come under review is the clubs relationship with the media. Everyone knows that they have a media partnership with one radio station. This radio station has put money into the club, and that being the case they should, in fairness, receive some perks in terms of access to players, however this cuts both ways. Surely the presenters of their daily “sports” show should be educated as to the rudiments of the game and be expected to actually be seen at a few games? They should also have to broadcast every game, or if not offer another station the chance.
We would never advocate that the media should be gagged but when the official media broadcaster has a presenter who constantly puts down the club they are sponsoring, and airs his dislike for the game, there is an issue. What is even more bizarre is this presenter is going to put aside those views to be the MC when Socceroo coach Pim Verbeek comes to town, and the club apparently arranged this! Surely this smacks of someone having no integrity?
Then there is the issue of the city’s weekly paper – note we did not use the word news. When was the last time that this paper ran a positive story on the club? They frequently choose the negative, or what they would try to justify as the sensational story angle that sells papers. To make matters worse their writer is hardly ever at the game. For the good of the club a stance needs to be made with this paper, and ties cut unless they lift their game.
The club also has a new CEO. Hopefully we will see some protocols put in place in terms of their role and public persona. When the previous incumbent was in the chair he struggled having three and then two masters to answer to, and they wanted to be the ones who spoke to the media. Which when you consider it is their money that is keeping the club alive they have that right.
No doubt Tony Sage will continue to wish to air his views on various matters and again as it is his club he has every right. After that we need to see the coach or his assistants being the ones talking about all playing matters and players, and the CEO only on administrative or FFA issues. If a player finds himself in trouble with the law, or has a family issue, then again the CEO is the appropriate one to make a statement. A CEO should only be heard from when there is an issue of some substance.
If they can address these the club will be laying foundations that will create a strong base for next season, one that it is vital they build on after the season just gone.