Over the past few weeks many have been casting an eye at Perth Glory and many are trying to work out if the club has reached its nadir and is on the rise again, or if there is more bad news to come for their loyal fans.
The structure of the club and the turnover of staff has been one of the issues blamed for a lack of consistency at the club, but when one looks outside of Western Australia it would appear the club is no different from some of the game’s key administrators over East.
For a start although Perth Glory was the richest club in terms of history when the A-League started, Sydney FC was the richest in terms of high profile investors, players and coaches, with Chairman of the FFA Frank Lowy having a share in the club, actor Anthony LaPaglia being involved, a world cup winner n Pierre Littbarski as coach and the high profile player Dwight Yorke as its star signing. They lifted the inaugural A-League title, but later it was revealed that they had not surprisingly breached the salary cap, then there were more than dubious issues with the contract of one of their returning Australian players; yet has this harmed the reputations of those involved?
Interestingly Sydney FC are in a similar position to Perth Glory when it comes to coaches. They too have had seven people in the chair since the A-League started: Littbarski, Terry Butcher, Branko Culina, John Kosmina, Vitezslav Lavicka, Ian Crook and Frank Farina. Some would say that this should not come as any surprise as recent statistics from the UK state that the average life of a top flight coach there is one year and four months. Even so it may be some comfort to Glory fans to note this fact.
In fact if we look at the game’s governing body the FFA, they too have had a similar turnover. When the FFA took over running the game Frank Farina was in charge of the Socceroos. He was sacked following the Confederations Cup in 2005 and Guus Hiddink was appointed in his place. Following Hiddink, Graham Arnold took over for the Asia Cup, then Pim Verbeek took charge, when he left it was German Holger Osciek. Following his sacking Aurelio Vidmar was interim coach before the reins were given to Ange Postecoglou. Seven coaches, the same as Sydney FC and Perth Glory, but is that any comfort?
If we then look at the administrative side of these three organisations again there are some similarities. Founded in 2006 the FFA have had four people at the helm in eight years. John O’Neill was the first CEO, when he left Matt Carroll stepped into the breach until it was announced that Ben Buckley was taking over and when he left, David Gallop took charge. A position that has a little more longevity than the national coach’s position.
At Sydney FC the same cannot be said. Sydney Fc have had seven CEO’s in the club’s 9 years of existence. They have been: Andy Harper, Tim Parker, George Perry, Stefan Kamaz, Edwin Lught, Dirk Melton, and Tony Pignata. Perth Glory by comparison has only had six men at the helm.
When one considers that it is suggested that the ideal lifetime for a CEO is seven years is it any surprise that these clubs have been unable to find any consistency? The coach is the CEO of the playing side and he too needs to be given time to deliver success.
Having investigated these facts it is a definite concern to all who love the game. It explains why the game appears to be treading water and in some cases drowning. Hopefully the future holds more consistency and vision than the past nine years, no longer can we use excuses such as ‘the league is young,’ ‘we are a new league.’ No longer can A-League clubs afford to give key positions to “mates.” If they wish to be a successful business and a thriving club they need to employ the best person for the job and pay what such a specialist role warrants. Football has been plagued with personal agendas, egos and fans wanting to be a part of the game, and work for a club without the relevant knowledge or expertise. Running a football club is not a game, and the cheap option will cost the club dearly in the long run. If anything, the last nine years have proved that clubs need stability and they need no more of the Australian “mateship” in the boardroom if the game is to progress and reach the heights that people keep saying it can achieve.