Perth Glory coach Alistair Edwards will have won over many of the Perth public with his post match comments on the decision to stick with the kick off time of 2.30pm in Perth when the temperatures were reaching 37C.
There were many fans who felt that Edwards who had worked at the FFA in their technical development department was still aligned to the the game’s governing body, but his comments after the game against Adelaide United which was greatly affected by the high temperatures will left everyone in no doubt as to where his current loyalties lie.
Owner Tony Sage, and coaches before Edwards have complained about similar issues and how Perth Glory is greatly ignored as part of the Hyundai A League, but they have been dismissed as simply whinging, and were told to stop making excuses. Hopefully now that a man who has been part of the establishment has spoken out, those that can make these decisions actually start to listen.
“Why is it that not one Perth Glory player is not involved in the promotion of the A-League I have asked that question, you go through the right channels but it seems out of sight out of mind.” Edwards said.
“Being asked to play in those conditions is unacceptable moving forward, its just ridiculous. it ruins the spectacle. You had two teams out there and it was lucky no one got hurt.” The Glory had asked all week for the kick off time to be changed, due to predicted high temperatures, but as Edwards stated those pleas fell on deaf ears. “I feel sorry for the fans, I feel sorry for the players because it just kills the spectacle of the game. The concern for us was player welfare because literally to be asked to play in 35 degree heat or whatever it was is just dangerous.”
“We are supposed to be part of the league and we’re trying to grow the game, but for Perth, in our weather conditions, and we knew it was going to be these conditions, but to be asked to play at these times shows a lack of respect.” Edwards went on, “if you look at the A League, whats happening with the A League, they are promoting the whole A League and say be part of the A League, but there is not one Perth Glory player as part of the promotion. We go to awards nights there is nothing hardly about Perth Glory, except for maybe seven seconds of a seven minute montage and we ask for a simple request to have the game at a reasonable time, so it doesn’t affect the players welfare and they still don’t listen. So its very very frustrating from our point of view.”
The records books will show that Frenchman William Gallas made his debut in this game coming off the bench in the 63rd minute, but had the kick off been at a more reasonable time Edwards confirmed he would have started.
“Gallas would have started the game but there was no way we can play a player like that, who has just hopped off the plane, it just ruins it. He was set to start, we did everything before the game still thinking that they would change the fixtures with him in the squad, but there is no way I am going to do that to a player like Gallas. Welcome to Australia, 35 degrees, good luck I hope you don’t get injured.” Of course Stewart Petrie had to do just that in Perth with Northern Spirit in 2003 in the old NSL, and was in a great deal of discomfort after the game; many thought we had progressed from those times, but we obviously haven’t.
Edwards then revealed that he had more frustration to deal with in relation to his players sitting on the bench. “If we are supposed to be a part of this great A-League, if Perth Glory is going to be part of the A-League why not give the opportunity for our fans to come in at least semi-decent comfort. its dangerous. I had to fight for our players to not sit on those plastic chairs in 35 degree heat. I had to fight for that and I think that is ridiculous. You know, Oh William come over, fantastic, welcome to Australia, but you’ve got to sit on a plastic heat in 35 degree heat. I had to fight for that before the game. Luckily some common sense prevailed and they were allowed to sit in a bit of shade.”
Edwards should be applauded for speaking out, and he will undoubtedly be fined. However the point is he is right on every single count, and this is why a fine should not be paid or accepted by the club. On social media today suggestions have been made that the fans club together to pay any such fine, which shows how Edwards has won them over for speaking out, but no fine should be paid for speaking the truth.
The A League needs more truth, it also needs, as is clear from this episode more professional management. Sadly the events of yesterday again show that a Perth Glory coach is embroiled in issues off the field that should not even arise, and his attention is diverted from the team. At least two of the last three coaches found themselves in the same position, this simply should not be happening.
As Edwards states they are trying to build Perth Glory up to where the fans expect the club to be, but the support is not there from the governing body. They may well argue that their hands were tied with the contract they hold with Fox Sports, and that the game had to be broadcast at that time, but this again begs the question why schedule a game in Perth at 2.30pm?
There is no argument, yesterday’s game was an administrative balls up and Adelaide United and Perth Glory are lucky that no player has suffered because of it. Congratulations to Alistair Edwards for speaking up, time will tell is the club is now afforded the respect it deserves.