Perth Glory fans are one group of sports fans hoping that 2014 will bring them the success that their loyalty deserves, but one feels that this may still be some way off.
The departure of coach Alistair Edwards is one that may well have put the club back by two years. The club currently has an “interim coach” in Kenny Lowe, who shares many of Edwards’ philosophies when it comes to giving younger players opportunities, but what of the new coach when he is appointed?
Perth Glory’s off field management have stated that they intend to take their time before making a decision on the new full time appointment, but they need to be very careful how long they wait. No doubt having made the decision at the end of last season that they were going to start rebuilding, with a strong emphasis on local talent,- a move that many thought they would use to try and pull fans through the door, but has not been evident as yet – the new coach is presumably going to have to continue down the pathway that has been set.
This may deter some applicants, especially in light of the short lifespan of a coach at Perth Glory under owner Tony Sage.
What will be a concern to some who have already submitted their applications are the announcements of players having contracts renewed, not just for one year but for two year terms.
This is where the club’s decision to take its time in making a decision on a permanent successor to Edwards is heavily flawed. A new coach will have his own opinion on players within the squad. He will also form opinions as soon as he takes over the reins. By having these players committed to two year deals he is going to be restricted for the next two seasons, as to to buy out a player’s contract – something the club has always been loathe to do – is included in the salary cap, and will restrict his buying power.
Saying that, one can understand why the club has made such a move in signing the likes of Jack Clisby on a two year deal. He is a local boy who has done well since being promoted to the first team. He is the future of the club that they have talked about, and which Edwards was looking to build. The club really is in a no-win situation in terms of keeping everyone happy.
Fans have seen it many times before, a new coach comes in and states that the squad is one he inherited, the opening season is mediocre until he brings in the players he believes can play the way he wants. It would have been prudent to have made a decision on the new coach, even if he was unable to take up the reins until next season. At least then the new coach could look to build the squad that he wanted for next season. He could have had the club approach players out of contract at the end of this A-League season with view to signing them for next season.
To wait until the end of this season could be a huge error of judgement, as by then some of those who have applied may already have gained employment elsewhere.
There will still be plenty who will put their hand up for the role as coaching positions in the A-League are few and far between. However there will be those looking for a long term future in the game who will already be looking at who is tied to the club, whether they are still going to have to follow the path of bringing through local young talent, and how much is likely to be left in the salary cap.
It will be these issues that may well deter some of the big names that have been bandied about such as Gianfranco Zola and Paolo di Canio heading down under, although both are sure to believe that their futures still lie in Europe. Some local coaches are keen, but are concerned at the lack of security in the job at Perth Glory and the clauses that other coaches have had in their contracts related to their future and success. Not surprisingly word of these clauses is out there amongst the coaching fraternity.
Perth Glory may be delaying on a long term decision, some have even speculated that this is a sign that Tony Sage will walk away as owner of the club, and so is leaving the door open for a new owner to bring in their own man as coach. If that proves to be true it makes sense, as the new contracts signed could be made void with a new entity taking over. If it is as many believe, pure supposition, the longer the Glory leave making a decision, and continue to re-sign players one feels many applicants may start to lose interest in the post.
One thing is for sure Glory fans may have to wait a little bit longer for the success their loyalty deserves. It is unlikely to come in 2014.